November 23, 2019: Ten Months



Ten months.

Two months until it is a year. How? HOW could it already be almost a year since you left me? Left our life? Our future? Our .. our us?

Ten months and it still seems ridiculous that you won’t be here when I wake up the next morning. So many things I want to ask you, tell you, show you. I want your hugs again. I want to feel your fingers in my hair, helping me to relax to sleep. Instead I stay awake until I’m so twitch that all I can do is sleep — and sometimes, even then, sleeping is too hard. But once I do fall asleep? I don’t want to leave my bed until I’m so hungry I can’t stand it. And even then, I don’t want to get out of bed, and I barely want to eat at most times.

I read somewhere that if you have an empty chair in your room at night, spirits will sit there to watch you sleep. You still visit, me, and others have told me you’ve visited them. I wonder if I leave you a chair, will you come more often?

I have what feels like a bizarre combination of emotion: Anger. Grief. Emptiness. They make sense individually, and even together for the first two, but it seems that with emptiness, the grief and anger should be absent, yet they all linger together.

My heart feels EMPTY.

My brain, sometimes too.

You remembered so much of US for us, and now . . . all those answers are gone unless I can salvage them from my unconsciousness in my brief times of sleep.

I saw this quote yesterday, from Dean Koontz: “He lives vivedly in her recollections, however, and his memory is etched on her soul.”

And it is apt. But at the same time, the vividness is too MUCH. On one hand, I don’t want to lose our memories, because they are beautiful and precious. I didn’t know I could be SO connected to someone else until you found me.

But right now, all the memories hurt. Even the good ones. And I know from grief groups, this is really true for .. pretty much all widows in general. Telling a widow(er) at least they have good memories isn’t as helpful as it seems like it should be. Maybe in a year, two years . . . ten years, the memories can be viewed fondly. But so soon after such deep loss? (And it’s still in the “so soon” period.) The memories bring back all the horribleness of our destroyed future. None of the memories are good memories right now, because there will NEVER be new ones.

For those who don’t know, I published a book of poetry in 2012. Teresa really helped a lot, including doing some of the artwork for it. The book is titled Echoes, and is available exclusively through a site called The Book Patch. Anyway, I wanted to share a poem from it with you all. Obviously from the publication date, this poem is not about Teresa. But now it feels like it could be about her, our lost love, our lost life, the torture she was forced to endure by medical “professionals”. And so forth.

The first line is also the title.

Love, tremulous and tumultuous –
as jagged and torn
as hate, lingers
Leaving raw, red edges in its wake.
Not for healing,
the gouges too deep
but only to be muted as time
pauses and hope slips away.

Tears track silently
on cheeks leaving
wetness and grief in
their wake.
Easily visible like rain
on the hard dirt
path, with deep
wagon-wheel grooves.
The rain may soften the earth in passing,
but the depth of damage
can never heal.

Grief, like acid, eats away at one’s
heart and soul: no love
found here; grief
crumbles, leaving a
heart of stone – no
love allowed here.

The heart wilts
with age and clarity
An old soul not meant
to be united
but to live alone
and die alone.

The heart lies
traitor, wounded,
crushed – there will be no happy
ending; just a
mournful, silent passing.


Nearly a year later from when I started having ultrasounds — and I still don’t know what’s going on with me. The suggested scenario is stage 4 endometriosis, per Dr. Musgrave (my Dr. M, not yours). I have my next US . . my 5th, I think, on December 3. Six months after my 4th one, as we’ve gone with the “wait and see approach”. Sometimes the pain is so bad, I cannot stand up. You should be the one going with me to my appointments, and helping me figure out if I should push for a hysterectomy or not. Everyone else will give me a variety of opinions and info, and tell me it should ultimately my choice, but no one will sit and help me make the decision. And if I need surgery, you’re the one I want here helping me recover. There’s so much agonizing physical pain, and you’re not here to help me with it. I don’t want to do this by myself, Teresa.

The 23rd of each month is really hard. But so are the days leading up to it. FB gives me “on this day” memories, which I save to a collection called “T memories” so I can find them easier, later. And no matter how far back, or how recent they’re from, I look at the date and think, “and in X months, days, whatever . .. I would be a widow, and there will never be another memory like this. One day, FB won’t have any more memories to show me, and that will be the (second) worst day of all.

I always cry when I write these. Because…? Honestly, who wouldn’t? I miss you all the time. ALL THE TIME. But most of the time I squish my grief away into the back of my mind, so I can just get by each day, until I go to bed. When I tell you goodnight and kiss your urn, and tell you I love you forever. Always.

But the grief is too raw, too much, too all encompassing, even ten months later, to think about it all, all the time. I’ve taken PTSD tests online. Scores come back as VERY likely. I really don’t fancy talking to anyone, because then I have to think about it all, for an entire appointment, probably multiple ones, so someone could tell me what I pretty much already know.

An ambulance raced down my street as I was coming home this past Wednesday evening. I don’t know if it was my neighbor (who is….. actively losing a family member to cancer), or someone else. But instant panic/anxiety with seeing the ambulance, even though it only had lights on, no sirens. And I was right back in the day we took you from the cancer center to the hospital. Ambulances would go on the highway past my parents’ house on a near daily basis, my entire life. I was used to hearing them, seeing them. Even though sudden, loud noises make me jumpy, they were often … just part of the background noise there. Not any more. Not anywhere. I can’t stand hearing emergency vehicles any more. Or seeing them. I pulled into my driveway that night and cried.

Yesterday (22nd), my dear friend Shana came over, with her son Corbin. We made dinner, dessert (of course), and played games. Corbin taught me how to use green screens with iMovie. I’m so excited to try this out with my projects! I figured out how to hook my original NES up (T always did that) so Corbin could try it.

I have 2 themed guest rooms now, btw: one unicorn, one Harry Potter — which also has some other great fandoms in the bookcase — T’s favorite, Lord of the Rings and Star Trek, among others — Narnia, The Golden Compass, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena, and even some Stephen King stuff. Both guest rooms have more to be done in them, but they’re definitely ready for company as is. Long as you give me a heads up!

I knew I would still write this after they went to sleep, because I like to have it ready to post come 10:42am, Teresa’s time of death. I like to have time to think, and edit, and rewrite . . . where I release everything I’ve held onto, closed away, for the last month. I don’t include everything I’ve thought about (and then hidden away), but a lot.

But I think this may have been the first time I had company on the eve of the 23rd, and it really helped. Two of the dishes were two Indian dishes that T used to make for the two of us all the time, and which I haven’t had in ages. And they came out perfectly: Aloo Saag (basically, potatoes and spinach with several spices) and Chicken Tikka Masala — which is a 2 day project, but the end result? Well worth it. I also made a batch of my chocolate chip cookies, which T always adored. It was the first time I’ve made them without her.

I’m really glad for Shana’s friendship. I’m really glad I visited her gluten free bakery in Salem not long after it opened a few years ago. And that T and I introduced ourselves and soon, friendship happened.

I’m really glad our dinner + play games + make desserts until sleep HAS to happen just ended up on the 22nd by chance, out of all the days that could have been picked. It made this time around far more bearable and less alone. A welcome respite in a sea of darkness. 


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