Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Last Sunday 3 of our kids and some very close family friends gathered in Sedona, Arizona for my husband's first anniversary service. We climbed partway up Bell Rock, which is a place where all of us had hiked together over the years. It was a place Chuck loved.
Emotions were running high-how could they not? I had a general idea of what I wanted to do, but pretty much trusted my gut that things would work out however they needed to work out and that's exactly what happened. We took hoops (yes, hula hoops). The big kind, for hoop dancing. Our younger daughter is a hoop dancer. We took music. I hired a professional photographer to mark the day. We formed the hoops into a circle and stood within them and each spoke as they wished and I scattered his cremains from a near rise, letting them flow into the wind.
Maybe it was my feet firmly planted on those red rocks. Maybe it was because the skies were so blue they made my eyes ache. Maybe it was because the grief was so fierce that I could no longer contain it in my normal voice. I just know that after I finished reading the poem he carried in his wallet (e.e. cummings I carry your heart), and started speaking about him, about this new life that I have to create without him, about my love for him and my equally strong determination to live loudly and proudly, my voice rose. It rose higher and higher into the rocks around me, reaching into the skies, where I hoped he would hear me. I wanted and needed him to hear me.
I'm here, D. I'm here! Do you see me? Do you hear me? I love you, I love you I will always love you I love you still I'm here and I can't stand that you're gone but I'm going to live since I'm not dying and the world will know your story and our story and I carry it in me!
All the pain in the world and in my heart and in my bones gathered strength in me and my voice reached up to him. I hope he heard me.
And then. And then we turned on the music and I grabbed a hoop and we danced while our sons took his cremains and climbed to the very top of Bell Rock, where they'd been with their dad in previous years and they scattered his cremains from there.
It was a sacred time for each of us.
No, the pain and grief isn't gone because the one year point passed. It feels as if it's settled into me in a way that scorches my bones from the inside. I'm aware of it and I don't try to deflect it, or walk away from it or deny it. It's just there.
And over here is Love. The only thing I trust in any more. The Love that will carry me forward. Whether I want it to or not. Because I must live, apparently, and if I'm going to live, I'm going to live more loudly than I've ever lived before. In his name and in the name of what we shared for 24 years.
I love you, D. Always will. Plain and simple.