It's May ... and, as has happened each year since Vern died, melancholy envelops me. This year it hit me with an overwhelming exhaustion, and I recognized the trigger. Nine years ago today (9 years?!) we heard the word 'cancer', with surgery the next day, the bleed-out, a big mistake in the OR, followed by 4+ oh-so-hard cancer years. May brings remembrance, questions, what ifs, should haves.
And perhaps this year's melancholy includes a bit of post-retirement loss, too. I said often during my final weeks on the job that I didn't expect to be remembered, that it's normal that work goes on when someone leaves and they are forgotten. I guess I wasn't quite as prepared for the 'forgotten' piece as I thought I was.
I choose to put on the brave, positive public face and do my grieving privately. I'm traveling, I'm co-leading a local widows social group, doing LOTS of volunteering for Soaring Spirits International, taking online classes, attending women's retreats. All good stuff. Really good stuff. But regardless of all of the activity and the passage of time, I still miss him. Miss the life we had. Miss the life we should be living together right now.
In an effort to "one day ... find myself alive again" - I was blessed to attend two retreats last month that filled my soul and connected me to loving, beautiful, creative women. As I enjoyed the beauty of the Ozarks and the Nebraska farmland, I felt Vern with me. Seeing the beauty through my eyes. And that brings me peace. As I prepare to head to Costa Rica this week, a trip we thought we would do together one day, I know he would be proud of most of the things I've done during these past 4+ years spent alone. I truly believe that living my life well honors him. So "I will survive until I survive".