It gets better.

It is interesting to see how this blog has moved through time. From a piece that I intended to write within daily, to one that I write within sporadically at best. Why is this, you might ask? How could something born of such great pain become something that only receives occasional attention? Because it gets better. The great, ragged hole left behind when your spouse is torn from you in this life heals. It doesn’t heal in the sense that it goes away – no: that gaping void is still within me. But, as I’ve said often: the raggedness – the torn “flesh” of the hole’s edge – heals, and smooths, much like the hole left in the throat when one has a laryngectomy: the thing removed is still gone, but the raw, ragged edge is now smooth and healed from the site of its removal.

Due to this, I don’t feel compelled as often as I did to vent my feelings. Occasionally, like today, I stumble onto something I need to say, but life has flown into the emotional void and filled the vacuum there much as the water will flow into the space left behind when a stone is pulled from within it.

Another reason for the long intervals is that, due to my new relationship and my recent retirement, I am no longer ever-accompanied by a PC. And, unfortunately, when I feel the urge to write when out and about, the horrid iOS WordPress App that works so well with sites fails to save posts made to sites not hosted on their system, but that’s a gripe for another venue.

Finally, I’ve mentioned a phenomenon called “Widow Brain,” a general mental fogginess and partial loss of memory function that many who have lost their spouses complain of – me, included. I noticed within the past week that my memory seems to be suddenly hitting on at least seven of its eight cylinders, and my decision-making and critical thinking have definitely improved. This is both good and bad as it is now driving a restlessness that does not comport well with my new retired state – I’ll have to find a channel for it. But the key point is that now, almost 16 months after Kim’s passing, I seem to be recovering much of the “me” that was lost. I still get melancholy over memories, but, more and more, those memories bring smiles rather than tears.

I hope the same for you.

Spring cleaning

Every 1 March, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery starts the removal and discard of the decorations they allow on the graves during the winter months. All grave blankets, wreaths, crosses, stuffed animals – they clean them all off the graves and discard them in preparation for the lawn mowing season.

I removed the blankets from Kim’s and her mom’s graves, and the crosses from theirs and those of my grandparents and my dad last weekend. The temperatures have been above freezing most of this week. The end result is that Kim’s grave is an ugly heap of dirt without even a headstone to mark who is there.

Seeing the bare mound of earth was a lot like ripping the bandage off a scabbed-over wound, renewing the pain of watching her casket being lowered into the vault, sealed off, and then being lowered into the hole in the ground and buried.

Her mother’s grave has settled into a flat, but still ugly patch of dirt, the lawn not yet having taken hold. I expect that Kim’s mound will flatten over this year, and they will be setting the headstone this spring. I’m hoping the lawn takes hold quickly, too. Maybe I’ll bring some sandwich bags of grass seed with me on my spring and summer visits and help it along.

One of our attractions to the plots we purchased was the tree and lawn – it looked like a picnic spot – somewhere a person would like to visit. It doesn’t look much like one now, and probably won’t for some time.