wings and things

Facing forever

on January 15, 2018

In amongst what I thought was old paperwork, I found a recently purchased ‘Reflections Journal’ in which I had written the following:

Monday 21st August, 2017: The gift of breath is a beautiful thing.

I don’t know why I wrote that now. I was probably deciding to go on a new diet, planning an exercise program for myself, or else thinking about thinking about the benefits of meditation.

People like me (with elderly loved ones in nursing homes with diseases like Parkinson’s and Dementia) should be more prepared for Death.

I wasn’t.

Wednesday, 23rd August, 2017: Anthony died. I didn’t write this in the Reflections Journal; I just wrote it in my day-to-day diary because I couldn’t find anywhere else to write/think/say it. I listed ‘Anthony died’ with a shopping list of milk, bread, apples and bananas.

After so many years of nearly dying, my beautiful husband did actually die and, even after nearly six months, I can’t quite fathom this.

I am not in denial and I know Anthony is dead. I miss him to the point of debilitating depression but, at the same time, I can feel some sort of weird, encouraging, wave; he was so resilient, and lackadaisical, and a master of calmness, easy-goingness, acceptance. Ming and I are so lucky to have this legendary husband and father to teach us about fortitude.

Ming and I have this new tradition of having breakfast together and, this morning, we talked about Anthony. It’s my birthday and for years Ants bought me a silver bangle (which I would choose!) It didn’t seem necessary this year; there didn’t seem any point.

So I didn’t buy myself a pretend gift from Anthony; it just didn’t sit well with me because he was so ill for so many years (even before the many years in the nursing home) that I just thought enough was enough. I did, however, buy myself an on-sale Oroton handbag that Anthony would have approved of.

The idea of forever (without Ants) is bleak, yes, but it is also an inevitable challenge that I am willing to meet. As a small child, I wanted wisdom so I guess this is it!

17 responses to “Facing forever

  1. Rhonda says:

    Happy Birthday sweet Jules. Glad you found something you like to gift yourself with. Sending lots of love…xoxo R

  2. Colline says:

    Life does go on for the living and what we can treasure are all those special moments we spent with those who are no longer with us. Have a beautiful day on your birthday – I am sure Anthony would have wanted you to.

  3. I love silver bangles – I can never have enough – but I understand about pretend presents – though they are different from traditions and I like your new tradition of breakfast with your son. Lovely that he is still so close. Stay busy – it is the best thing. c

  4. Writer Lori says:

    Happy Birthday, Julie. Glad that you and Ming have started a new tradition. Wishing you peace….

  5. I’m glad you bought yourself a gift, from you. His encouraging wave must feel so good, I’m glad you felt it.

    We’ve often talked about the amazing gift Anthony is to you. I think we sometimes forget the gift you, and Ming, are to Anthony. Still. Always.

  6. ksbeth says:

    and a happy birthday to you, in those moments where you may find them and to many more in the years to come. i always loved your silver bangles story.

  7. Not to sound overly religious but since you mentioned your bangles….I thought this scripture was kind of interesting…. Diane

    How much better to get wisdom than gold,
    to get insight rather than silver!
    Proverbs 16:16 | NIV

  8. susanpoozan says:

    As always, a thoughtful response to the situation you find yourself in. You are a role model.

  9. its good to eat together – we do it at the end of the day – and I like the idea of treating yourself to the handbag. Things will get better you just have to wait patiently – in the Lord’s time as they say. keep going lass.

  10. Judy says:

    Even though you believe you weren’t prepared for Anthony’s death – I think the anticipation hung over you like a dark cloud. The beautiful part is that even with that gloom, you treasured and appreciated every moment with him.
    Of course, you realize there was no preparation. Now you are in a new phase and I love how you are facing it as a challenge. Julie, it’s always how we think about things that affect how we feel. Keep imagining this as an adventure. Ants is always there in your heart and memories. You will slowly feel lighter and the grief will lift when it is ready to let go. Until then, I am glad you have so much love and support from friends and family. I know that helped me when I was in deep grief. Hang on!

  11. Happy birthdau Jules! I am so in awe of you and your resilience. Thank you for touching my heart this morning.

  12. Vicki says:

    Best Wishes for a very Happy Birthday, Julie. I’m sure Anthony is watching over you and wishing blessings upon you every day. With his love and zest for life, I’m sure he would want you to find many more new traditions and ways of living……..not without him, but knowing his spirit is in your presence and keeping you safe in his thoughts. Vicki xx

    Love never dies – it lives forever in your heart and becomes part of the history of your life and cannot be undone or changed.

    That’s the great thing about the Past. It can never be changed.

  13. Your first birthday without Anthony would feel a little odd, I also get the pretend presents have had a few of them in my life, the tradition of having breakfast with Ming is great a nice time of the day to spend some time together.

  14. Lynda says:

    Dear Julie,

    You said: “The gift of breath is a beautiful thing.”

    And you are right. Each day you are breathing. In. out. in. out…

    You are getting your balance, a rhythm, and learning to grieve, to accept, to breathe.
    Six months. That is long time to work on healing, true, but it is not long enough.
    It takes longer. Over time you will find that little things will catch you out, find you unaware, and you will be reminded of the most wonderful things. Often the feelings will be poignant. It’s OK. You will always love him. And over time and in between the memories you will take a million breaths, in and out, and be glad for the life you had together.

    Love you,

  15. judyrutrider says:

    Ah, bleak is the word that sums it up. How to claw your way through that fog that greets you when you wake to the reality of life without him every morning is the challenge. Thank goodness for Ming, and memory.

  16. It is a poignant thought that the recorded day would be among grocery lists, but somehow that makes sense–part of life, waited for, and anticipated, common to all. But yet . . . even though it happens to all, and even though it is part of myriad moments of myriad humans, it still is this huge moment with a spot light on it! We just don’t accept or walk away from those times without soul wrenching, and I pray you find peace in this part of the experience and rest in the memory of such a great love as you had. That is not quite common to all.

  17. Hi Julie: It has been a while because I am in a course but your mention of the bangles reminded me of mine. A dear friend bought me two silver bangles on a particular anniversary then gave me one of hers on my 3rd anniversary and then she died. After her death I bought one for myself for two more years in her memory. When I had five that was enough for me. I lost one but luckily it was not one that I got from her. I wear them on special occasions now. I like the idea of buying something for myself, for a few years it was a Christmas sweater. Not the ugly kind, just a new one. This year I upgraded my computer (getting expensive).I appreciate your reflections on grief, Anthony will always be alive in your memory. I want to wish you a happy birthday and hope you enjoy that new handbag.

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