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A Resolution

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Dear Friends,

A few days ago I sat down to write a post for the blog I write on NET--the disease that killed my wife just over a year ago. I was hurt and angry and was busy railing about the essential unfairness of it all. Bitterness has been my middle name lately.

Then my father got up--I spent Christmas in Seattle--and we got to talking about something else. I never finished the post--and probably won't.

I realized today as I was writing something else that I have spent too much time this year being jealous of what others have--spouses who are still alive and bring them joy, children and grandchildren, and lives that are unburdened by all the things a loved one's death creates. I know the pain I have--but I do not know theirs or what form it will take when it comes on them--if it has not already.

I have had something few others have had in my life--a happy marriage that ended, not in divorce and flaming anger and hatred, but in death. That has made the loss far more difficult--as my brother, who should have celebrated his 25th anniversary on Christmas Eve but has been, instead, divorced for 15 years, pointed out. He reminded me that for him, in those first days, he had the anger he felt toward his wife to sustain him and get him to move on with his life. But it may, eventually, leave me in a better place than he is four relationships later. The divorce undermined his confidence in his ability to get to the "death do us part" section of the vows. Anger and betrayal are dangerous forces that destroy love in a way that makes it difficult to rekindle.

I don't know whether I will ever have another relationship that enters into marriage. I do not know if I will ever fall in love again. But my love for Jane lives in more than memory. It lives in all the actions of my life. My life was about love before we met--as was hers. To allow her death to destroy my love of life and of the people in the world would make profane that which we both saw as the ultimate holiness.

And I realized, too, that while we who grieve need that space and time to do it in, we also cannot become someone who is simply waiting to die. Our spouse's death has aged us, taken much of the brightness from our lives. But, to quote Tennyson, "while much is taken, much remains. There is much yet we still can do..."

Tonight, I will have dinner alone. I will sift through the mail of the last two weeks. I will curl up in a corner and remember.

Just before midnight I will open a half bottle of champagne. I will pour out the first glass and drink a toast to my wife and all she went through--and to the past.

Then I am going to pour a second glass. At the stroke of midnight I will toast the future. I don't know what it will bring. Certainly it will bring joy and sorrow and a whole bunch else in quantities I can't begin to imagine--and likely in ratios that will not make me happy all the time. Somewhere in that future is my own death. But that death does not get to rule my future any more than hers ruled her life before those last hours when there was nothing left to do but wait on it.

The world is not the waiting room for heaven, hell, or death. It is the place we live. It is the place we build. It is the place we love. And it is high time I got back to it.

There will still be days I weep. There will still be days I get angry at the unfairness of it all. There will still be days I grieve.

But I will no longer cease to live.



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Harry, I agree that being thankful for all we had is essential. I also agree that we must live life. I also think we need to honor our feelings and grief and cry our tears. I think all 3 can happen simultaneously....


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Once again, perfectly said.

We all will, for the rest of our lives feel the loss of our spouse deeply. The difference between everyone is choosing to go forward or staying in a state of "what was". I loved and still do love Lars with all my being.. but I also know that he would want me to move on.

At 60 years old I am not ready to wait to die, therefore I will forge on. If I live the rest of my life alone that's okay, if I find love again ,that too is fine. But I will not let life pass me by without at least trying to find peace and happiness again.


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Wonderful Harry, you have said it perfectly. The future is a surprise to us, the past is all that we know. I will never forget Mike, and I will always miss him, but I don't know what tomorrow will be. I hope to not be alone, like Lainey, I will take what ever happens, and will forge ahead hoping for peace and happiness.

I miss the being part of a couple, and have felt such sadness at times watching older couples together, and thinking that Mike and I will never have that chance.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

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Dear Harry,

I could not agree with you more. It was our actions with My Pauline, your Jane, that, people that we did not even know could see the light of TRUE LOVE radiating from us. That is what we left for all the people who saw us, could see a truly happy married couple. Mine 30 years, together 33. Pauline's best friend Donna, told Pauline before she passed, that the best gift she had gotten, was from Pauline. To be able to witness a true loving, honest, and happy marriage was all about, something others look for and never find. I am very proud to say I, we found, cherished and built that kind of love, and marriage, that death could only beat.

God Bless


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That is so true. I had dinner with my neighbor lady (past mayor of Abilene) and I was kind of taken back when I was tearful talking of my Randy and she said she was jealous. I did not know what she meant by that statement until she said that she had two failed marriages and never had the loving relationship that Randy and I had. I was upset because he was gone after a brief 16 years yet she had never experienced what we had and yearned to have. I finally got it..I was blessed to have him for as long as I did and so blessed to experience such a loving man who treated me as his princess. I miss him greatly but so grateful for the 16 years of his presence and love. 2012 is a new year and a new outlook for me.



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I experienced the same thing...George and I only knew each other 6 1/2 years, married 3 yrs 8 mos, but we often caught people staring at us and many people spoke of our love, it was so evident! A friend used to grumble when George and I arrived at Bible Study and we'd make everyone move over a seat so we could have two seats together, but in reality, I think he was kind of jealous. I've had so many people comment on the love we had for each other. Another friend has had four failed marriages and never had anyone love her like George did me, and even though I lost him, she's envious that she never had that. In a way it makes the pain/loss greater, but it also gives me some comfort to know what we had together.

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Yes, we grieve the loss of something special that touched our hearts and souls deeply.

I understand that's why it IS such a momentous grief, otherwise we'd handle it better/faster/easier/less painfully. As Kay said, it makes it so very much harder to lose but so wonderful to have had.

I read yesterday on another site, a piece that contained some words that really hit me hard.

It said 'We loved for a lifetime - not my lifetime, but his'.

It gave me some peace, understanding deeply, that for all of his adult time on this earth, it was a wonderful love and that it made him a happy and fulfilled man. It also helped put the time I have left in perspective for me.

That, as much as I don't want it to be true, fate would have it that our love was to be only a part of my lifetime, and somehow I should seek to live the rest of it with the same sense of fulfilment, whatever that entails.

I also know that is what he would want, above all else.

Not a resolution as yet, but maybe the seeds of one...Susie Q

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