Don’t Let Fear Of Loss Close Your Heart

November 1, 2010 by  
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Angie Rubin

I’m in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the city and country I grew up in, visiting my parents.

I have not lived in this city for over twenty years, and so being here is always very emotional as I reconnect with past feelings and history.

I am here staying with my parents who are now in their 80s. I’m aware of their frailty and our time together coming to an end.  I’m not living the pain of loss, but I recognize the beginning of my own grieving process. I honor my feelings while I create new experiences.

As I deal with my emotions, thoughts come to my mind:  would it have been easier if I had let past disagreements have broken us apart?  Would it be easier now, if I had stopped myself from loving them as much as I do?

As I entertain those thoughts I realize that’s what so many of us do with our relationships, wishes and desires.

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The Way We Grieve

September 15, 2010 by  
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Yesterday, a friend sent a post, The Way We Grieve Now, she had read on www.shine.yahoo.com . She thought I would “enjoy” reading it.  I did.

In the post the writer, Piper Weiss, describes the different ways people have coped with loss. Michelle Williams (who lost Heath Ledger) found solace in gardening.  Gwyneth Paltrow who couldn’t cut her hair when her father died because that was the hair he knew, then one day she had to get it cut right then and there because her moment of letting go had arrived.

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Why Is It So Hard To Change?

May 23, 2010 by  
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4514367690_b9e59f6ac1_mI think one of the reasons it is so hard, it’s because in most cases that would mean we would have to come to terms with having been, having done or having acted in the “wrong” way.

And so because we are so attached to the concepts of right and wrong the intermediary step of recognizing that we and life could have been different if only we had known what we know now, a difficult one to take.

Let me be specific:

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Love Is Love Is Love

February 4, 2010 by  
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A couple of days ago in the middle of a therapy session, as I was telling my therapist how much I missed my husband and the great loss I had suffered by losing someone that loved me for who I am and who truly wished my happiness, she blurted out “you miss what you were to him, what you did, how you felt and how you loved him.”

I had thought about that before but hearing out loud from someone else made me stop.  Yes, of course what I also miss is to feel and to give my love.  With that came the realization that the love is still mine, within me, and it is still alive.  Not only the love for my husband but love which can be shared and given to anybody else.  I find the recognition of having this love within me, a powerful realization because it lets me know as space is made in my heart there will be a chance to again give and experience love with a partner as well as for life itself.

There are many men and women that have experienced great losses but find in time the inspiration to live life fully.  There is no forgetting of what is gone but there is respect and appreciation for what it is and what is to come.

Finding comfort and experiencing love again is always a possibility.  I am reminded of friend who told me last year that one day I would be in a loving relationship again because I had love inside of me because I had let myself fully experience love.  At the time she said that to me I couldn’t hear what she was trying to say.  How could I ever love someone else?  If it happened at all, it would have to be second rate as I had already loved someone with all my heart.  But now I do understand my friend’s statement; the love within me is me and the love within you is yours and yours to give, to experience and to share.  Once our hearts are open to love they can’t help themselves but to continue to love.

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Celebration Of Life

December 21, 2009 by  
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Walking the beach and listening to the ocean. A vacation? It definitely doesn’t feel like one. A vacation would include my husband. This trip is immensely beyond the horizon of my comfort zone. I am here alone, in a city I’ve never been, not knowing a single person.

This trip was planned around one day, December 19. The day last year when my husband left, no longer walk beside me in this life. A time in our marriage that my husband had unending peace and strength  yet I was overcome with fear and weakness.

I’ve watched the sun come up and go down every morning. Walked up and down the beach for literally hours at a time. Hypnotized by the serenity of the ocean I’ve sat and cried. I thanked him for all of our memories. I honored his life.

“You’re stronger than you think you are” my husband kept telling me those last 24 days we spent together. I’d tell him through the tears “But I don’t want to be strong” as I felt my world crumbling in front of my eyes.

My man from the land of enchantment… he brought meaning to my world and guided me to be a better person.

My husband. One year as my Guardian Angel. I love you.

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Changing Seasons

December 5, 2009 by  
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Changing seasons bring different meaning to mind. For me, cold weather means beans and cornbread made from a cast iron skillet. TV off, music on, and drinks in front of a warm fire. My husband and I used to build fires, turning out all the lights, and laying on the floor with blankets and pillows. No glamorous glitzy evening out on the town could compare with the magical evenings we shared without leaving our home.

There was a time when we bought a tree-filled building lot in the hill country of Texas. My husband promptly purchased a chainsaw and meticulously cut down the trees into stacks and stacks of firewood and cedar posts. Then situations changed, the lot and cedar posts were sold, and the firewood moved with us, twice.

Changing seasons now brings different meaning to me. Building a fire is so different. The routine of TV off, music on, and drinks in front of a warm fire continue. However now I sit the pillow on the floor and my husband is no longer by my side. He has received the gift of Eternal Life and now watches over me as my Guardian Angel.

There are days where I live in the past. I put myself back in situations that brought us happiness. Doing so produces aggressive tidal waves of emotionality. I reach for strength from deep within my soul. At times I feel like I do not exist so I try to focus…

“Live as though heaven is on earth.” – Alfred Souza

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Home Doesn’t Feel Like Home

November 12, 2009 by  
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All Dorothy needed to do was click her ruby red slippers together three times and repeat the words ”There’s no place like home.” She is my role model for self-discovery, for personal power and believing in myself.

I also agreed with Dorothy that there was no place like home. Home is where you would celebrate birthdays, graduations, and holidays because there was nothing better than a house filled with family, friends and laughter. Home was where I would sit with my husband talking for hours about nothing and about everything. It was where we laughed about funny things from the past and planned for the new adventures in our future. It was always my safe place. My husband and home would protect me from the worries and pressures of the world.

Home was also where my husband wanted to be when he knew his days on this earth were limited.

After Hospice was called we had 24 days. We sat together and held hands. We talked about our life together. He told me I was stronger than I gave myself credit for. He helped me make a list of how to take care of our home, when to change the oil in my car. He had me write down words of wisdom and what he wanted our grandchildren to know about him. No longer were there plans for our future. I didn’t want to let him go. I didn’t want him to leave me. I asked him if he believed in reincarnation. I told him through the tears that I have to believe he would hear my prayers.

After my husband left for Eternal Life our home became so quiet. I deeply miss hearing the sounds of his presence. Being quiet wasn’t his nature. He loved to laugh and had so much fun making up songs and jingles using various voices and accents. I often told him he should volunteer to read books to children or record books on tape for the blind.

When we would go shopping I could always find him because he would walk around whistling. I still find myself turning around to look for him when I hear that sound. I remember how he would hide behind something even after he knew I saw him. He would always make me laugh. We had so much fun together.

If only I had ruby slippers and could go back to home. Home to the world I shared with my husband.

I keep reminding myself of his favorite quote by Dr. Seuss…

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

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A Love Letter To My Husband

October 3, 2009 by  
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I have now been a widow for fourteen months.  I loved my husband as I have never loved anyone in my life before.  When we met it was like we both had won the lottery; neither one of us perfect but perfect for each other.

My loss is huge.  My husband was fun, funny, intelligent, and he wished for my happiness.  He didn’t compete with me and he was so self assured that he gave me all the space to be who I am; a loud, independent, opinionated woman.

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The One Year Mark

August 11, 2009 by  
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Saturday it will be one year since my husband died.  The whole experience of time continues to be very confusing and I have a feeling it will stay like that forever.  In one hand it feels it happened at another life time on the other hand it feels like it happened today. Chris is present in my every thought.

Last night I had a strange dream.  I dreamt that all of a sudden his death hit me.  I was in complete despair.  I whaled for him and for me.  I kept asking what was I going to do without him. 

I remember calling my best friend in Brazil but she wouldn’t answer.  I ran away, my father came after me.  It became a chase scene where he was running (he’s 84 years old in real life and couldn’t run a block) and calling my mother, my sister, my in-laws to try to get me.  I was running through tunnels and obstacles trying to lose them.  Somehow they finally caught up with me in what looked like an old stone walled theatre.  My dad was trying to talk me out of ending my life by offering suggestions of how to continue living.  To his suggestions, I kept explaining I did not have the talent to succeed.  All of a sudden I see Chris’ dad’ knees buckle.  His face was to the wall and he was in terrible pain.  Chris’ dad is 92 years old in real life.  I felt guilty for the pain I was causing but my pain was greater.

Anyway, there is more to the dream but I don’t think you are necessarily interested in the details of my life.  My intention in sharing my dream is to share the fear, insecurity and sadness that the one year mark is bringing to me.  Maybe you have not lost a partner but all of us have had losses or will have losses in our lives.  That is the nature of existing. 

I don’t know the answers to life, although I’m constantly asking the questions,but I do know talking about how we feel surely helps.

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Julie

July 17, 2009 by  
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I received the below from Julie, a woman I know whose interview is featured on this site’s interview page.

I decided to post her submission on my blog because what she’s writing about is so pertinent to what I’ve been posting, that I wanted to make sure you all got a chance to read it.

To me Julie is an inspiration. She is the woman she describes on her interview and below; positive and always willing to help.

“I am a cancer survivor.  I lost some parts along the way, but I am still here.  I had many wonderful people who had faced adversities of their own mentor me through my grief.  I knew one day, if I could muster the strength and courage, I would give back by mentoring other cancer patients and amputees.

Today I met with a young woman named Wendy from Pasadena. She is a mother of three children ages 3, 5 and 7. She was diagnosed with Osteo-Sarcoma a year ago and had to undergo chemo and have her leg amputated below the knee to save her life.  She recently learned the cancer metastasized to her lungs and skull. After hearing the traumas she has already had to endure at the tender age of 28, it made me reflect on my own progress in grieving the loss of my right leg, hip and pelvis.

I realized…

After my first year I decided to deny it happened, after my second year I decided to be angry, after my third year I decided to let it destroy me, after my fourth year I decided to cry and recover, after my fifth year I decided to live again, after my sixth year I decided to be angry about trying to live again, after my seventh year I decided to live in gratitude and make something positive out of all my life experiences, after my eighth year I decided to stop thinking about myself so much and try to help others in need.

I can’t wait to see what I decide to have happen in my ninth year!!!

Obviously I am over-simplifying a very complex, interwoven grieving process, but I thought I’d just put in a nutshell for today.

I always learn so much from others. Thank you Wendy! You are an inspiration…whether you like it or not!  (-; ”

Julie

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