Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sleepless in Wells.

I have trouble sleeping last night, as most other nights, in the past three months. So I figured I might as well put my insomnia to good use by blogging about it.

For most people, sleep is not an issue. You turn off the lights, you go to sleep, what’s the big deal?

Then picture this:

It’s almost midnight. I have watched all the shows I have recorded in my DVR, and I’ve finally gotten all settled into bed. My body felt tired but my brain is still thinking leftover thoughts from the day I’ve just had.

Hours go by.

The clock ticked, and I am no closer to falling asleep at 3 a.m. than I was at 10 p.m. Morning comes early and I find myself groggy, grumpy, and more depressed than I was the day before. It's good that I don't have a work to go to or I would not be able to concentrate on my task.

I have had more nights like this than I would like to admit.

Most times I told myself that this is just a result of being knocked off the loop. I still felt the piercing, painful sense of loss and longing. I thought that feeling this way for a few weeks, a few months, or even longer is normal since I am still able to carry out most activities and obligations of daily living. I am sure I am not a typical depressed person who’s thoughts are uniformly gloomy. I do experienced sadness in waves, often a response to some reminder of Ken but they are also interspersed with positive thoughts and memories. I am certain that my life will get back to normal and that I will once again feel like my old self.

But it is still a pain in the butt to have routinely restless nights, to find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, to toss and turn and watch the clock, to feel too tired to get up but not tired enough to fall asleep.

Also because my eyes look tired all the time. Oh well...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Thank you, Kenny.

There is discipline in A Soldier you can see it when he walks,
There is honor in A Soldier you hear it when he talks.
There is courage in A Soldier you can see it in his eyes,
There is loyalty in A Soldier that he will not compromise.
There is something in A Soldier that makes him stand apart,
There is strength in A Soldier that beats from his heart.

A Soldier isn't a title any man can be hired to do,
A Soldier is the soul of that man buried deep inside of you.
A Soldier's job isn't finished after an 8 hour day or a 40 hour week,
A Soldier is always A Soldier even while he sleeps.
A Soldier serves his country first and his life is left behind,
A Soldier has to sacrifice what comes first in a civilian's mind.

If you are civilian - I am saying this to you.....
next time you see A Soldier remember what they do.
A Soldier is the reason our land is 'Home of the free',
A Soldier is the one that is brave protecting you and me.
If you are A Soldier - I am saying this to you.....
Thank God for EVERY SOLDIER Thank God for what YOU do!

~ by Angela Goodwin ~

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One Down, More To Go.

Ken has lived in this same house for over thirty years - this house where so many memories linger.

It is so hard to be in the same house without him. This is his house, and it felt like he should be here, just around the corner in the kitchen or in the TV room. Every space is filled with his life – his medicines and classic car magazines, his tools and his cards.

His belonging surrounds me.

From his shaving kit in the bathroom, his hearing aids on the night stand, to his keys by the door. Everywhere I turn there is a reminder of Ken.

Although some of these items can be comforting, many, are just small and painful reminders of his absence in the house. There is a part of me, which want to leave the house the way it is, a perfect time capsule.

How could I possibly change this house where Ken has lived half of his life? I want so much to hold on to everything forever.

But I know I can’t. There it is. It sucks. So what do I do?

Sadly, the reality is that there are some items that need to get taken care of sooner rather than later and sometimes big decisions need to be made. Add to that, there is no getting around it. Logic tells me that I need to sell some of his belongings and I know I can part with them without feeling guilty.

The other day, I sold his truck.

The trip from the house to the buyer was incredibly difficult, because let’s face it - I am letting go of something that Ken is so proud to have. Driving behind the truck on our way to the buyer was quite emotional because it triggered memories of our many trips around the countryside. But as tears started to well up my eyes, I realized that I may have given up the truck but I am keeping the most precious item – the wonderful memories of our life together that I can revisit over and over again.

With that in my mind, I felt better and was able to go through the sell without breaking down.

Next stop, the daunting task of clearing his shop, his closet and selling more motor vehicles.

God help me.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Grief 101.

If death is inevitable, irreversible and universal, then why was I not equipped with the first-hand knowledge of how to deal with it?

I was not taught in school the subject titled GRIEF. I did not have the subject of grief sandwiched between Math and English. When death invaded my family circle, no one sat down with me to explain how the family dynamics would change. None. It is simply amazing that something as much a part of life as birth we avoid discussing at all cost. No wonder I am so unprepared for the emotions and changes grief brought into my life.

Allow me to walk you through my grief.

When I am paralyzed with grief, it affected me emotionally. I became numb and everything seemed to move in slow motion. I am not sure of what is going on around me as my emotions are unpredictable. I am confused, irritable, depressed, have bouts of weeping, afraid and angry. I felt helpless, lonely, sad, guilty and I could not concentrate as I am preoccupied with thoughts of Ken.

Then the physical. Grief throws a punch in my gut. It seemed like chemical changes were taking place in my body while I am under duress. I have stomach aches, headaches, tight neck and shoulder muscle, difficulty sleeping, racing heartbeat, lack of appetite, nervousness, difficulty breathing, chest pains, and fatigue.

I also struggle spiritually with grief. As a logical creature that love control, I am always trying to connect the dot to make sense of something. But when I am being forced to accept the death of my husband, there really is no connecting of the dots. I have to accept that I can not be God and that I too will die some day. But even that in mind, I still become irritable, withdrawn, felt abandoned, distant and isolated.

Death affected me emotionally, physically and spiritually. It is monumental. Grief feels like an emotional bottomless pit.

I need rest.

Some people say that keeping one self busy may help. But I don't feel like going back to work right now as I feel emotionally and physically exhausted. I need more time to calm my mind. It is simply too difficult for me to think about the next hour much less the next day or month.

Hey, don't worry. Things will get better. I will survive.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Still in the dark.

I woke up today in my new normal – scared and lonely.

The frenzy over memorial preparations had died down. Most family members and friends had drifted back to their normal routines, while here I am, left alone to ponder the questions, “What do I do now? How do I begin to take the first step on the road back to happiness? Will I ever be happy again?

My happiness is gone along with the death of my husband.

When Ken and I first found each other, we experienced a joy unlike any we had known before. Many were the times when we just stood in awe looking at each other, wondering how the miracle had ever happened.

Now, all I have left is intense grief. It seems like grief has no time limit or boundaries and this one will certainly last a lifetime as I will always mourn the love I have lost and the happy times we would have spent together.

Ken will continue to be a part of the fabric of my life whether I can see him physically or not. Every day I feel like there is a large hollow spot in my heart.

It is not necessarily painful or even lonely. It is difficult to describe in words other than a hollow place, that nothing or no one could possibly fill.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Memorial.

We did it!

We gave Ken a memorial service that truly honored him and gave him the send-off he deserved.

While the memorial service is a farewell, it was also a celebration of life and happiness that Ken has brought into our life. It was a bittersweet remembrance of wonderful times shared with family and friends. Memories that will forever live on in our hearts and minds.

The first part has Pastor Chuck reading the passage from the Bible about a time to live and a time to die. I heard these words hundreds of times, but this time they seemed to speak directly to me. It somehow explained to me that I will still hurt and at times be overwhelmed with the pain, but in time, I should be able to relate to my loss in a new way and seek ways to move on with my life.

The second part was the sharing of stories. Siblings and friends reflected on the funny side of Ken, his interest, his career, his passion, his mischiefs, his tenderness among others. These elicited some laughter from attendees. From the stories shared, I gathered that Ken has not lived a perfect life by any means as he had certainly made his share of mistakes. But it also allowed us to admire the strength of character that he had displayed throughout his life. It is nice to hear stories about Ken that I haven’t heard before. On special days, or any day, remembering these stories will make me smile as I reflect on the difference Ken had made on someone else’s life.

Then, there was the slide show. Photos that was able to capture 65 years of his journey. A fitting tribute that allowed those who might not have known him very well to have a glimpse of the life he had. This was the toughest part because these photos speak volumes. They remind the viewer of the happy times spent with Ken and most of us did not succeed in holding our tears as we watched it.

Finally, the three volley gun salute done by the Wells Color Guard. I never thought a salute can wrench emotion from one’s soul. I simply cannot hold back tears when shots echoed through the streets of our town and TAPS was played. It was a signal that lights has to be extinguished, that the ceremony has reached its completion.

I thank everyone who came to celebrate Ken's life with us. I am touched by the gesture of profound love and admiration you all have shown to my husband.

But most of all, I'm proud of my new family. They helped me get through this tough times and they promised to continue to be there for me for tougher times ahead. Thank you guys. I am truly blessed to have found Ken because I also discovered you!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Black or White.

I am in panic mode.


Thinking about clothes is the last thing I want to do especially at this time when the memorial service is nearing. I have a lot of clothes, the fruit of 4 years of thrift-shopping and bargain-hunting. And yet, when I checked my closet, I found that literally nothing I owned was appropriate for the event.

In the Philippines, when a family member dies, we all wear white. I was thinking of doing the same, till I realized it would seem odd. Black is still the norm here and at present I don't have a black outfit. I was thinking of buying a black dress, however it is too cold to wear one. A black pants and top would be more appropriate but finding one to suit the occasion is not easy. I scoured so many isles of different department stores looking for one yet none has caught my fancy.

I am looking for something conservative, subdued and comfortable. Although the service will not be held in a religious place of worship, I would still want to look respectful. I need something that will make me feel dignified and strong. I know I will be spending a lot of time on my feet, and that my mind will be on many other things, that's why I need something I would feel entirely comfortable and happy wearing.

You might argue that the point of the memorial is to show my love, share my burden of grief, and to celebrate Ken's life. It’s not a fashion show, nor a place for others to judge my attire (and those who do, probably have no need to be there). But it's an event I may have to revisit over and over through pictures and videos and I want to see myself looking tasteful and polished.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin