Heard

I dream he is holding me in his arms again. We’re snuggled up in bed together, his arm around me, fingers laced in mine. I can feel the warmth of him against my back, his long legs twined in mine, his foot between my ankles. I lean back into him, feeling the warmth and security that he always brings to me. I feel his kiss on my neck. This is my happiest place.

He loved me like no one has ever loved me: with truly unconditional love and acceptance. I couldn’t believe it at first. Why would anyone love me like that? But as time went on it seemed that he actually did.  The little things he did every day – gently drying my shoulders and hair with a towel when I got out of the shower.  Holding my hand, no matter where we were.  Warming my sunglasses in the truck before I put them on, so I didn’t have “anything cold touching that beautiful face”. And always, always, always listening to me. Not a passive sort of ‘uh huh’ but looking right into my eyes, asking relevant questions, touching my hand or nodding his head or furrowing his brow to show that he was hearing what I said to him.

He heard me.

He heard me.

No other man had ever listened to me. Not my father or brothers.  Not my other husbands. Not my boyfriends or lovers or anyone. 

He remembered things that were important to me.  While driving across the southwestern states, we took a detour to a surprise destination.  I had no idea where we were headed other than we were off into the country outside of Amarillo, Texas. Suddenly I could see the cars sticking out of the ground and I looked at him with my eyes huge,

“I have ALWAYS wanted to see Cadillac Ranch!” I said, “How did you know?”

I couldn’t believe it! I looked into his beautiful blue eyes, and a huge grin spread across his face

“You told me. We were talking one night years ago and I remembered that you wanted to see this. I had to bring you here”.

I started to cry.  I could not believe how much he loved me, how much he listened to me, how real a person I was to him.  After so many years of being ignored, marginalized, unheard, this man not only saw me but heard me, respected me, and wanted to make me happy.  It was like emerging from a dark cave and standing in the sunlight, feeling the warmth seep into bones that had been chilled for years.  I mattered to him. 

We walked hand in hand out to the field to see this art installation. We took pictures and walked from one car to the next, talked about what the artist might be trying to say and loving that the public was encouraged to spray-paint the cars. Each vehicle had been coated and recoated in so many years of spray-paint, that the cars had a coating of what looked like foam.  Weird paint stalactites hung from the fenders and frames of each car, the admirers turning the things they adored into something beautiful and grotesque.

Finally, when we got to the end of the row, I picked up a spray can and painted S & W on the last car.  I stood back to admire my handiwork, and he gently took the spray can from my hand and put a giant heart around the initials.  I comfort myself knowing that no matter how much paint has gone onto that car afterwards, our love is immortalized there, living in the layers just like his love lives in every layer of me.

I awake and I am lying on my right side, my fingers laced together, my ankles crossed. I close my eyes again trying to bring him back to my bed but with no success. He has made sure, though, that his love is still here long after his body has gone.

I miss you my Bear.

Country Music Hall of Fame!

Here’s a Throwback Thursday re-blog.

We had such a good day, and that happiness still fills my heart.

Missing you but loving the happy memories my Bear ❤️

S

Country Music Hall of Fame!

https://scarygoatfarm.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/country-music-hall-of-fame/
— Read on scarygoatfarm.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/country-music-hall-of-fame/

And then I went to Cuba

Or at least thats what is happening tomorrow. I’ll be gone for 10 days and ten days only. My little house will wait quietly till I get back.

I bought a new suitcase. Brought it home, introduced it to Big Pinky, my other travelling companion from last year.

My second suitcase is identical to Big Pinky – the same American Tourister, same bright pink. But smaller. This one holds smaller hopes and dreams.

May 5th, 2018

I’ve been watching this weekend approach for, well, a year I guess. But it wasn’t until about 2 months ago that I really started to feel the ‘anticipatory grief’…  that’s the technical term for it.  Knowing that the anniversary of Warren’s death was so close felt like I was stuck on the tracks and I could see the headlight of the train in the distance.

On Wednesday I went to see my grief therapist, told her how I was feeling, wept on her couch for an hour and a half.  When I left she said ‘you’re doing better than you realize’.  I guess I am.  I guess my life is going on, just as it should. But that doesn’t feel better.  I keep bumping up against the shock and denial – how can he still not be here?  I think there was some weird part of me that thought that once I got through this first year, it would be over and then… I don’t know… he’d be back?  No.  But that it wouldn’t have happened or… I have no idea. It’s some sort of weird magical thinking.

One of the biggest things that I realized last week, is that – and I’m sorry if this is too blunt – he’s not dying again.  It will never be as horrible or hard as it was on May 5th of 2017.  It is still horrible.  It still makes no sense that he isn’t here.  But it will never hurt as much as it did that morning, or the morning after.  Waking up without him was a shock I was sure I would never get used to.

I will never forget the relief I felt when my sister Linda and her husband Chris came to Idaho falls and gave me a safe place to fall apart.  They cared for me, let me cry and cry and cry.  Made sure I ate and drank.  Helped me pack.  Spoke to the crematory and arranged when we were to pick up his ashes.  Drove me back to Canada and didn’t blink an eye when I got angry or rude on the drive.  Our relationship is now bonded, sealed: I will never be able to think of this time and not feel gratitude for their love and gentle support.  They are both the most incredible humans.

This week I got to experience more of that support – not just Linda and Chris checking in on me each day, making sure I wasn’t sinking too deep.  All of my family, near and far, were keeping an eye on me. I received messages of love of support from all over: my cousin Kirsten in Oregon, my best friend Roslyn (who is going through her own difficulties right now). Peggy, Brenda, David, Jennifer, Kathy, Eileen – they all found ways to connect this weekend.

My work family has been fantastic – I got a bouquet and a message of ‘hogs and kisses’ from my two besties at work – and my boss and his bosses were gentle and respectful of my time away from work right now. Steve, my boss, has been very supportive – making sure I knew he was available if I needed him.

It hasn’t been the year I expected.

I, of course, anticipated a much longer time with my Warren.  But since this is the way it went, I am grateful – that’s not even the right word.  Is there a word that means grateful, amazed, thankful, in awe? Whatever that word is, insert it here.  I am grateful for the people in my life.  Grateful for the way this year has unfolded – so gently, with such support and love.

Warren Allen McLeod, you are deeply missed.  You have been in my thoughts every day – you are always with me. I love you.  I miss you.  You are my heart, my Bear.

S

One more week…

One week before Warren died, Willie Nelson released his album God’s Problem Child and had an immediate hit with ‘He will Never be Gone’. This song was, of course, about Merle Haggard, but the sentiment rang true for me a week later when my Bear died – no matter what, he would always be with me.

Today, with one week to go before the anniversary of Warren’s death, Willie has released a new song called ‘Something you get through’.  It’s a song about what happens when someone you love dies… “it’s not something you get over, but it’s something you get through’.  I like that Willie and Warren and I are in sync this way.

I can’t even begin to tell you how hard this week is already shaping up to be.  Tonight I had planned to go buy a rake to clean out my flower beds, and maybe get a barbecue so I could start grilling my suppers.  But I got home and the empty house got me again.

All I can do is sink into the sadness for a bit.  I tried to explain to someone that this week that it feels like I’m watching a train approaching and I’m stuck on the track.  I find myself thinking about April 27th last year, when Warren and I were sunning ourselves poolside in Yuma:  enjoying the quiet companionship, trying to identify the birds in the trees by the pool, giggling about things that would certainly have had our children raising their eyebrows if they heard… it was just like a honeymoon. The remembered happiness is bittersweet.

When I was at work today I tried to keep focused, but I looked at his picture and couldn’t stop myself thinking about shopping in Mexico last year. About how we had no idea that there were only 7 days left.  And it makes me want to just run away – I don’t want to think about how those days were the happiest days, innocent of the fact that this time was coming to an end.

I’m surviving.  Thriving maybe. I’m making a life for myself, putting things back in order, making friends, enjoying my work – adjusting to a life that has all my love with no Warren to give it to.  I feel him here – in my heart – and that gives me comfort.  He shows up in my dreams, and I’m always glad to see him: tall and strong and looking good –  it gives me peace the day after I’ve dreamt about him; it gives me respite from the grief.

I’ve taken next Friday off, and the week after – I’m giving myself space to just be in whatever emotional place I’m going to be on the anniversary of his death.  I’ll probably do a lot of driving, listening to our music, crying.  It’s what I do now. And I’ll reflect on what a tremendous gift this man was to my life, and how he will never be gone.

Warren Allen McLeod. I love you and I miss you my Bear.

S