Still…Memories

When I sold my house five years ago, I was not ready to let go of all of my “things”. Emotionally I was not ready to let go of the physical memories of my time with Jim, my husband. Jim died of cancer in late 2012.

I rented a storage unit and moved the things I wanted to keep into this space. It included two sixteen-foot kayaks, a dresser, desk, entertainment center, and more. I have a 150 cc scooter that lives there until I visit San Diego. Every year on my return to the Southern California area I visit the locker and relish my brief time with these treasured items. I especially love looking at my watercolors. Yes, I used to paint.

Each year I return I review everything in the unit and decided what to keep and what needs to go. One year I sold the kayaks to a friend in San Diego. Another year the dresser went to another friend who loves the Mission Style furniture. The computer desk and file cabinet went.

This year I sold the desk that Jim had bought for me. It is a beautiful cherry wood desk. Although I knew this was the right move it brought forward emotions I did not expect. I like meeting the people that buy these items. I like knowing it is going to a good home. When the sale was finally made I felt sadness and a bit of regret to see it go. Melancholy is a good word for this set of emotions.

Jim has been gone for over nine years and although all things around his death and my life transition have gotten easier, I am surprised when these emotions pop forward again. It is bittersweet, and I feel the emotions of loss once again. I am thankful that the emotions are softer and mixed with sweetness now. I treasure these memories. I am grateful for having been given the gift of such an amazing relationship with a very good man.

I don’t try to hide these emotions, I can experience them and know they will settle once again and I will be off to discover as much joy and adventure in life as I can. When I experience these emotions it brings me back to the now. It is good to be in the moment. I am reminded that each breath is precious. I am reminded that each moment is precious. I am reminded that nothing is permanent. It is OK to release and let go of treasured items.

Today I am thankful for impermanence. Today I am thankful for such lovely and warm memories.

Next Up

Does anyone want to buy a Mission-Style Entertainment Center?

Still Moving Forward.

Anniversary Time

Today is my Birthday. Tomorrow Jim died seven years ago. My October tends to be action packed with events of significance in my life. One more is coming up in another week, when I have thyroid surgery for cancer.

Every year at this time I give myself some time to reflect, on my year, on past events, on events yet to be and I try to place where I want to be in my life at this moment in time.

Grief and the loss of someone dear, is an interesting event. Sometimes it feels like it happened many years ago and it did. Sometimes it feels like yesterday. I can relive the events of the last two weeks of Jim’s life like it was yesterday. It was certainly a significant event in his life, in mine and those who were close and dear to him. Yet the significant memories change when they arrive, usually unexpectedly in my life.

The other day I saw a Tesla (a dream car of mine) and there was an instant recall of the time when I left the hospital to get in my car, and a Tesla was following me. I didn’t even know it was there. The darn things are so quiet it scared me and made me jump.

That memory drew me back into the hospital and being with Jim each day in his room. A few days before he died my sister, Ginny was flying to San Diego to help out. I knew how much she liked our hot tub and it had not been cleaned. I went home to clean the hot tub with Jim on the phone giving me instructions on how to drain it. It gave us something to focus on, but really???? the hot tub??? It reminds me of how we were a team until the very end.

I remember his good and long time friend, Doug, showing up at the hospital and staying until after Jim’s death. He didn’t leave San Diego until he knew I was OK. And then there were his long time running buddies who showed up the afternoon he died to let him know they were there for him.

And the memories go on.

I have been listening to an audio book while driving titled Resilient Grieving. It has been reaffirming for me to hear someone else who is more of an expert than I am, speak of taking hold of your grief and helping it to shape your existence, at the moment and what to do to help, as time moves on. One of the things she mentions is that these moments of memory are helpful as they may remind me that during that time of my life I lived in the moment. Each moment was precious and valuable and I was right there and nowhere else. It didn’t matter about the past and it didn’t matter about the future and I was alive and so was Jim in that moment of time.

I find those moments to be extremely positive in shaping my life since his death. Some people have told me “it is time to move on” with the implication that I need to put this behind me and live today. All our memories and experience continue to shape who we are today. So why not this one? Why should I forget it or put it behind me. If it was a good experience, although painful and heart rending, then I believe I can bring it forward with me and shape who I am today.

I hope it has made me more understanding and kind and present. It certainly has made me thankful. I have been given gifts by the Universe or God or whoever you believe in, over the course of my lifetime. Learning the “in the moment” presence is one that has shaped me more than any other. Being married to a life partner for twenty one years has certainly shaped who I am today. I hope never to forget the laughter, adventure, deep and loving conversation and more that the two of us shared. And now I want to begin to reach out more and share this with others.

I tend to get lonely out here on the road and that is my own doing. I don’t reach out to people often and I think that has to change. I find when I take Lyft or Uber I relish the conversations with the drivers. I learn and share and find it fun. I want to do this more with other’s in my life. So maybe that is a goal for this year to come.

I do know that I have been loved and cherished in my partnership with Jim. I want to do that for others. I am feeling extremely blessed to have good friends wherever I go. I hope I have carried this forward in my life with friends near and far.

Today I am thankful for my memories and for experiencing “in the moment” points of time. Today and every day I remain thankful for those twenty-one years I had Jim in my life. I miss him and I will carry him forward for the rest of my life, even as I make new friends and experience new things.