Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Change Of the Calendar

Dearest Trick~
It seems like everyone loves today! They love that moment, that day where they can reflect on the past 12 months and move on with anticipation to the new, the exciting, the better, the next year! And here I find myself lost. I am clinging on to some numbers on a series of paper that we call the calendar. I want to close my eyes, make the world stop spinning, make the minutes freeze and hold on to this year. For it was in this year that I still had you. No matter how short or long those moments were, in this year there was still US. And, as I step a foot tomorrow morning into a new year, I step into a place you have never been. It is as if I am losing you all over again. My heart aches as I am tossed between the positive side of me that wishes nothing but happiness and health for our friends and family as they venture on in life, and wanting to stay here in this timeline for eternity. I am scared!

I am scared of letting you go. I am scared of what life will be like for me alone~ as the world is very big. I am scared to dream without you. I am scared of changing ~ but I know it is necessary. I am scared the world will forget about how for 40 years it was lucky enough to be touched by a spirit as amazing as you!

So as many of our friends and family desperately push towards midnight, as they openly embrace anew as a way to put the pain of loss behind them, I stand-alone. I stand in the darkness of widowhood, blanketed by the light of the love we shared. And in this time, this minute, these hours I so greatly want to cling to, in this period I grow. I will step forward as painful as it might me. I cannot stop the clock. I cannot bring you back. I cannot stay asleep tomorrow. I cannot be who I once was. But I CAN try my best to face my fears. I can try to step softly into a new year and a new life I so did not ask for. I can begin to understand that life does continue even if I desperately want it not to. I can try to find (as scared as I might be) a new purpose a new path. But for now as I still have a few hours left in our last year together I close my eyes, I let the hot tears roll down my face and I think of you! Happy US year my love!
Around the world and back again~

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Holiday Note

Dear Friends and Family~

I have started to write this “Year in the life” New Years note a thousand and one times. I guess that the closing was what caused me not to be able to start. Knowing that this would be the first holiday note in what seems like forever being signed by just me, not the DeVeny Duo, not Pat and Ali, just me ~ it seemed all too overwhelming. But what a year it has been. It has earned time for reflection. And so here goes:

2011 started off with HOPE! Patrick and I were knee deep, no more like up to our necks in fertility treatments in HOPE that we would be able to start a family. Our very loved money pit we called our condo was on market in HOPES that it would find a new couple to grace its old awesome wood floors. We dreamed of acting on the stage (Pat) and writing books (me) and together fueled the furnace of HOPE in one another.  And even as we seemed to have more month then money~ there was HOPE that next month would be better.  When fertility treatment after treatment did not work we had HOPE that we would be able to adopt our child~ we knew he/she was out there. When we sold our home and a job offer was given to Pat we decided to pack up and leave our beloved Chicago with HOPE that this move would provide us new adventures .We laughed in the face of hardship, we danced in the joy of the simple things, and we loved each and every moment for the first 4 months of 2011.

Then on April 29th WE became just ME!  During those hours in the hospital I was given the LUXUARY of being able to be just Pat’s wife. Our amazing friends and family made it so I did not have to pick up a phone, answer a message, respond to a text… somehow magically these wonderful people made sure information was shared, people got on planes, reservations we made, friends/family were picked up, and all I had to do was be by Patrick’s side and make medical decisions. I will never find the words to thank those of you who spent endless hours on the 28th and 29th with me! And at 2:16 in the afternoon as the sun flooded Pat’s room I laid with my head on his chest singing our wedding song as he peacefully slipped away.

The memorials, celebrations, funeral… from Chicago to Denver… from Greely to the top of Brenner mountain… it all has touched my soul. Every event was 100% Patrick. I thank each of you for being a part of that celebration of life.  We roasted him, cried over the loss, and celebrated the laughter he shared. And then it all hit me, and then the loss of my soul mate became clear. I love to say that these past 8 months have been easy, but they have been the hardest of my life.  And then there is YOU. Maybe you sent a card. Maybe you answered a phone at 1am when sleep was far from my life. Maybe you shared a meal with me, or a memory. Maybe you showed support on my blog or a simple note on Facebook. Maybe you sent a random gift. Maybe you made me smile on a dark day. Maybe you said a prayer at night that somehow found its way into my day. Maybe you have shared a story about Pat with a stranger. Maybe you have walked back into my life after many years to help hold me up. Maybe you  did not reached out at all~ teaching me to learn to stand on my own two feet. Maybe you have planted a tree; made a donation, spread some kindness to another in his honor. Maybe you have picked me up from an airport, put me up, or shared your space with me. Maybe you have left me a message that is yet to be returned. Maybe you laughed really hard when you thought of a time you spent with Trick. Maybe you told the ones you love in your life how you feel because the DeVeny Duo always did that. Maybe you listened more. Maybe you gave selflessly. Maybe you spent more time with your loved ones. Maybe you gave me hug~ even from far away. Maybe you cried with me. Maybe you laughed and reminded me of what I had. Maybe you let me scream. Maybe you accepted me for who I am and how I feel ~ the good and the bad moments. Maybe you encouraged me. Maybe you inspired me. Maybe you helped me find my voice. Maybe you sent well wishes and peaceful thoughts from a distance.

But with all the maybes the one thing YOU did… the one thing each and every person in my life did for me ~ you instilled HOPE back into my heart! So as we enter a new year, one that Pat has not been part of, I HOPE that each of you has the love, adventure, joy and peace that you have brought to me.

Around the world and back again~

Sunday, December 25, 2011

All I Want For Xmas is YOU!

Dearest Trick~
“I don’t want a lot for Christmas there is just one thing I need…” Funny how the word need has changed so much for me this year. I listen to that old holiday song over and over again and think about all I want this Christmas is YOU. I want you to be here to make silly homemade gifts for. I want you to be here to get totally frustrated when asked to put together some electronic gift we got dad that is SO over your ability level. I want you to be here to over stuff your belly with food until it hurts and then catch you go downstairs to dad’s fridge at 2am to have some more. I want you here to say the same thing you say every Xmas before we go to sleep, “Honey you are the best present I could ever ask for, glad they didn’t wrap you up~ that would kill a lot of trees”. I miss laughing over that.  I received so many lovely presents this year, many were to try to fill a void that cannot be filled. I am so grateful for it all from my art supplies to my new toothbrush. But somehow all the beautiful gifts so wonderfully wrapped lacked to contain the one thing I so wished for~ YOU.

I listened to that song again a few minutes ago. I thought about how it says that there is just one thing I need. I guess it is time for me to think about what I really NEED. I need to breathe~ somehow when I feel suffocated with heartache you find a way to pop in my head a funny memory and bam I am full of oxygen once again. I need to eat~ my heart can be FILLED for a lifetime over the wonderful adventures we took together.  I need water~ thoughts of you quench my funny bone and my soul with endless smiles. I need love ~ you gave me a ton of that and even now from so far away you have made sure that I am surrounded with love from friends and family.

So maybe as I unwrapped my presents none of them were you, or maybe just maybe they all were. Maybe my Ipad is you sharing a little reminder of you crazy love affair with technology. Maybe my new slippers are you softening my steps as I walk alone on this earth. Maybe my new jewelry is you reminding me that I am pretty. Maybe my new art supplies are you prompting me to express myself, not hold back, share what is deep within me. Maybe my new toothbrush is you shouting at me to stop and take care of myself~ even the little things are important! Maybe you are always here, maybe you still get to be the best present I ever got, and I am glad you are not wrapped, that would have wasted a lot of trees. For how does one wrap up the spirit of love?  Merry Xmas to the best gift ever!
Around the world and back again~

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Super Hero

Dearest Trick~
It is amazing how super heroes come in all shapes and sizes. I think that for a long time I thought that they would be like the ones in the comics that filled your desk, boxes, crates and closets at our house. A Super hero totally has a cape, wares tight spandex and usually can fly or have some other power that seems so unreal, so awesome, so superb. I know a Super Hero when I see one. They have glasses and slicked back hair or they are in school and madly in love with the girl that they can’t have. They go into a phone booth or get bit by a spider or have some chemical seep into their skin and BAM they have powers, they are special, they are a SUPER Hero. There are logos and special ways to talk; there are books (of the comic kind) and movies made about these types of heroes. You were one. Maybe there was no movie made or comic written but you saved the damsel in distress, you helped the old lady cross the street, you fed the hungry, helped the homeless and loved humanity. I used to think I was in on a big secret. I knew, hell I married a real life SUPER Hero. I knew the costume was hidden somewhere in the back of our closet ~ it had to be. You didn’t have a bat mobile but you did have your bicycle and on that I saw you fight injustice and make the world a better place, well at least my world. I loved being your ‘Mary Jane’ of the real world. In April when you passed away I felt like a little of the magic, of the power, of the super~ness that made you my hero died. Peter Parker doesn’t die. Batman does not fall ill. The Hulk is not taken down by mistakes doctors make. Wolverine does not get hooked up to life support. So why was it that Trick (the ultimate hero in my eyes) was having this happen.

Spiderman became hard to look at. Your comics stayed neatly tucked in their cases as you put them. All of your collectables remained wrapped and boxed. And that girl who stood by her hero, who believed in the good of humanity, who believed that the underdog can win~ that girl faded. I unpacked your clothes and checked and checked but never found your cape. I never found your secret costume that I knew had to be hidden. I never found your lair. And for many months I thought that this thing that was so you, this comic we called life was all a made up story.

But three days ago I was faced with a milestone. It was your birthday. Your very first birthday in heaven. How unbearable of a thought it was. How could I, or any of your friends or family ever see that date on the calendar the same? How does one take in air when the pain of loss is suffocating them? And I found myself making a simple but grand request~ for everyone to be a Super Hero. I asked anyone who knew you for that one day to go out and give to another, share, be kind, change the world. I NEVER thought in my wildest dreams that our friends would instill in me a belief that the Super Hero still lives, that the comic book of life is still being written, that the good guy wins!

All day long I got reports of random acts of kindness being done. Small moments like helping someone reach something off a high shelf to paying for the coffee for the person behind him or her on line. Reports were made of paying off lay away for holiday gifts to meals being given to the homeless. Children dressed in their Halloween costumes donated coats and toys. Closets were emptied in hopes that someone in need could use items that laid collecting dust. Dog food was donated to the shelter that Norm was adopted from and tea was made for a sick neighbor. The list went on and on through out the day. There were super heroes all over country; there were pieces of YOU all over the country. There was no time to be sad. There were no moments to cry. I was too busy being the command center of information about the outpour of greatness. It spread far and wide. Friends of friends were out in the holiday spirit giving of themselves, of their time, of their funds and most of all of their hearts.

And so on your birthday, a day I dreaded, I had my thoughts redirected. You see on April 29th the phone booths did not close. The spiders did not stop biting. The ooze did not stop seeping in to the skin of extraordinary people. It all kept happening, I just lacked to see it! The Super Hero lives in ALL of us if we choice to pull back the clothes of reality and put on the costumes of giving.  I love you my Spidey. I will always be your Mary Jane. Forever grateful to our friends for reminding me of the Hero that I married!
Around the world and back again~

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dance So Good

Dearest Trick~
There are moments in life (when we take the time to observe them) that change our perception of the world, more importantly the world we live in. I use to be great at this. How many times did I run in the front door telling you about a quote I heard or an experience I observed that changed or inspired me?? I dread to say that due to the pain I have allowed to encompass who I am as a young widow, I have stopped looking, stopped listening, and stopped having the opportunities that surround all of us all the time. Then… the simplest of moments became one of “those experiences” that restructured my view on life.

Yesterday morning a dear friend of mine began dancing around in the studio he was staying at. As you can guess it was in the area between the kitchen and the living space. His arms shook like a blender. His feet slid like a gold medalist on ice. His hips rocked like waves crashing on sand. But what astounded me was the smile that rose to his face, the joy that was released from every pore on his body. How lucky am I to be able to have viewed such a spectacle, such a moment of true delight. There was no inhabitations, no questions of how to be, there was no thought… just movement, just love, just moments of enchantment. I had this brief chance to be blown away by the joy another was expressing and experiencing in such a raw way.

So here I found myself once again opening my eyes, my heart and my soul to these “moments”, these chances to learn about ourselves and our views through observation. I couldn’t help but laugh and smile when I saw him dance. His movements were silly and floppy, and I found this thing start grow inside of me. I was not sure what it was to tell you the truth. But that all became very clear this morning. While taking a shower (a mundane routine we all do) I began to think about that moment yesterday. I felt the corners of my mouth rise up. I looked down and in the silence I found my toes splashing in the water. They were moving to the beat of the earth, of my heart, of my world. Songs rushed into my mind. Sounds of music filled every cell in my body and as I stood there with my hair filled with shampoo I began to dance… and I mean REALLY dance. Soap got in my eyes, water got everywhere and I couldn’t care less. Then this thing, this thing I felt yesterday started to grow. It was kind of like in the Grinch when his heart “grew three sizes that day”. It took me a moment and then I realized so clearly what it was~ happiness!!!! I had forgotten what true happiness in the moment felt like. I have spent so much time remembering the happiness I once had I have forgotten to embrace that feeling in the here and now.

So I dance, I hug the happiness that surrounds me all the time. I am open to allowing it to two-step into my heart. I will let it rave through my being.  I will twirl into new instants of joy. If only we all stopped and looked at the simple things around us that can restructure our concepts, our views, our happiness. I let memories of you and our happiness dance through my mind, but I let life today be the music that inspires me.
Around the world and back again~

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

For Today

Dearest Trick~
I fear I have spent much of the time since you transitioned to a new world living in the past of my world here. It is so easy to spend endless hours, who are we kidding, endless days reminiscing and holding on to the beauty that is YOU!! I could spend a lifetime talking about your kindness ~ like the time you drove around Los Angeles on Thanksgiving trying to find the homeless man you KNEW needed the meal we packed up. I could spend a decade playing the times we danced in the kitchen over and over in my head. I could spend an eternity smiling over the way you laughed and laughed and laughed sometimes at the silliest of things. I could spend a century telling anyone and everyone who would listen about what it is liked to be truly loved, to be seen from the inside out by a man as beautiful as you. I could spend a millennium learning from all the lessons you being just YOU has taught me. I could spend an era sharing the childlike love and wonder you showed daily.

But, (and this is a big but) now is the time for today. Now has come the time for the healing to take hold, for the new road in front of me to be walked on. For today I take a step, not run or leap, but a step in the direction that is my new life, my new world that lacks to physically have you in it. For today I carry you in my heart. For today I enjoy the people around me. For today I am grateful for the food that fills my belly and the memories that fill my mind. For today I dance solo and embrace the joy that comes from the movement of my feet to the music of life. For today I allow myself to move on with knowledge of where I have been, but not having the past hold me there. For today I slip your picture into my pocket, tie the shoes of life on my feet and walk oh so carefully into the unknown. For today I taste the wind and clasp the delight it brings to my lungs.  For today I see the support that surrounds me even from a distance, it empowers me to move. For today I feel the smallest but still an ember of HOPE! For today I have learned what you have always wanted for me… to keep living. Tomorrow might be different. I am not sure what it holds. I am unclear of how I will feel, of who will be there, but for today I dance into the sun that you shine down on me.

Around the world and back again~

Saturday, December 10, 2011

All I Need To Know I Learned From A 7 Year Old

Dearest Trick~
I love that we have made such wonderful friends that they have become family to us. I LOVE that there are children all over country that see us as “Auntie and Uncle”. With that said all I really need to know I think I learned from our 7-year-old “niece” the other day. While visiting one of your best friends I found myself in the morning hours, still in pj’s, sitting with this wise young child coloring. It was such fun. I fear I forgot what fun was since you floated away from me. Colored crayons filled my hands and lines became blurred as we painted the pictures, the pages in ways that lacked to follow or conform to society. Hot pick hair and blue legs, green suns, and orange water. It didn’t matter because for a time anything was possible. What you dreamed, you colored. There are no rules or logic, it was playing, it was laughing, it fun, it was living!

The crayons of life are amazing. Often we forget to open the box handed to us at birth and color our worlds. There are days when the blues and greys are all that is found in my hands. And it is okay to draw a world that lacks brightness as the gloomy days make the bright ones even brighter. Then there are the days that all the pinks, yellows, greens, oranges and purples come out… where beauty is found all around me. I open the box, I color, I get to paint the world I live in. Maybe like many of us I have let the black and white lines of life take over, maybe I have lacked to play, to enjoy, to embrace the hues this world has to offer me. But I learned form this 7 year old that you MUST color. “If you don’t color all the time how will you become the best color~er?” Good point that niece of ours had. If you want the world to be more beautiful, more peaceful, more fun, we have the power to do that, just open the box of crayons of life and color in the line, out of the lines, there are no rules.

This intelligent 7 year old informed me that I should not be a grown up. They watch football and don’t play. She reminded me about how “my Uncle Pat was the best kid”. I told her you were like a big kid. She told me no, you were a little kid in a big persons body. You got the concept of holding on to laughter, on to joy. You always had your “box of crayons out” and never saw lines to stay in but the world as a blank canvas to create exquisiteness on.  All I really need to know, all I so needed to be taught right now, I learned from a 7 year old, a 7 year old that learned a ton from the little kid stuck in a big persons body. I have my crayons out, wish you were here to color with me.
Around the world and back again~

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fast As The Slowest Part

Dearest Trick~
A friend recently bestowed a great bit of wisdom on me. I was informed that I can only go or move “as fast as the slowest part of me”! In those words I found relief from the unending pressure I seem to be putting on myself. I know that if you were here you would be telling me to be soft with myself, to be easy with my journey, to be kind with my need for grief. But some how I have internalized everyone’s need for me to be super strong all the time. I have internalized the lack of people being there when I so need them. I have internalized the loneliness that consumes you at 3am when sleep is the furthest thing your body is willing to give you. Being a widow is so isolating and for it not to be, one must shove all the feelings and the pain and suffering so deep down in order to make it OK for the rest of the world to see you.

So I have sat and thought about this concept of only going as fast as the slowest part of you. It is so true. I can only heal as fast as I can. I have the moments when tears run down my face for no apparent reason, there is no trigger. On the other hand it seems like EVERYTHING is a trigger these days. I have emotions that were never really part of me prior to your passing. And, in all this ‘suckage’ I am left to cope in a way that seems tolerable to others when deal with the masses that know me. Thus, I have given myself permission!
Permission to:
~cry until I run out of tears
~not judge myself when I am in a dark place
~feel hurt when others lack to follow through or be there because it is uncomfortable for “them”, screw it ~ it hurts me
~be jealous of the old couples that get to hold hands or the young parents holding a baby
~need others to care for me
~celebrate YOU all the time
~accept that my world stopped and that it sucks that everyone else seems to have their world spinning
~feel the pain that just going outside brings
~ be negative every once in a while
~ be scared of being alone forever
~ move slowly
~ take time to talk about you as much as I want to
~ to ask for what I NEED and put my needs 1st
~ cancel on plans and not feel bad about it
~ not be perfect
~ not call others but wait for them to call me
~ take as long as I need to in order to heal, timelines are OUT the window!
~ ignore others advice as often it just makes me mad
~tell stories of you over and over and over again
~ be okay with the fact that I think it is UNFAIR you were taken from me

I can only move as fast as this my slowest part! So no I am not always going to sound chipper on the phone, most of the time I will be the complete opposite. You get that Trick, but others don’t. I mean I am actually asked, “Well what is wrong”. REALLY?! I am going to heal the best I can, however long that takes. Those that have been there through the journey will be forever etched in my heart, those that haven’t … I need to be okay with not being this “person” everyone expects from me. Most of all I need to be okay with you knowing that although I want to honor you and make you proud, although I want to remember all the joy we had and be thankful, although I want to be the positive woman you married, that somehow you will forgive me if I let myself FEEL this pain and be sad for a bit.
Around the world and back again~

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Slow Down

Dearest Trick~
In this crazed weird world we live in, everyone seems to be in a rush. They are hurrying to a job that they wish gave them more money. They are heating up some frozen meal that they wish was homemade. They are driving on autopilot unaware of how they got to their destination. They are repeating the same conversation over and over again wishing there was more to say. They are waiting for the next vacation, promotion, experience. And in this rushed world THEY are missing everything. You see the greatest things in life are found in the slow moments, in the simple smiles, in the random small acts of kindness. I fear it takes loss in order for most of us to slow down. Hell, when I lost you life did not slow down; it came to a screeching halt! That is what loss does. It gives us a forced reason to stop and remember. It gives us a second to reflect on memories that become moments that change us. It provides us time to stop the urgency of everyday monotony.

I would love to say that you and I always slowed ourselves down. That we always took the time to notice the wonder that is provided just past the tip of our nose. It is true that most of time we did. That as a duo, you and I noticed the kind man giving his leftover meal when leaving a restaurant to the homeless mother on the street. I guess because that was usually us. I would love to say that we took each moment to learn and change as it came, not waiting for it to be a memory that rocked our core due to loss. Often we did. But, just like the rest of is busy world, we flew from time to time on auto, on routine, on waiting for more and missing all that is! So now that my world is so slow I wish it would spin again, I get the luxury to view the greatness in the smallest of experiences. I get the opportunity to feel the sun truly warm the air and be amazed at this feat of greatness. I get the chance to see the man at the store smile as he passes the old woman in the walker dressed to the T because the adventure to the grocery is the highlight of her week. I get the indulgence to hear the children outside laugh with all the cells in their little bodies. I get the treat of letting someone go in front of me in line; I am not in a rush. I get to be completely aware of all my ventures and lack to ever be on cruise control.

There was a lot that you and I slowed down to enjoy in life. Many of the moments that flood my mind late at night are just walks down memory lane, not lessons that I did not get the first time. How blessed I am. How awesome it is that WE took the time to watch the leaves change when we went for our 5am walks together. How incredible it is that we tasted winter on our tongues each year as the cold raged in. How splendid it is that we often stopped paying bills, answering phones, replying to emails just to dance in the kitchen. How tremendous it is that at night when we both were reading in bed, we held hands and felt each other’s skin and pulse. How breathtaking it is that we had endless conversations without saying a word. I wish I had done that every minute. I wish I had slowed down even more.

In this whirlwind of a world there are times (too few but some) that a person will ask ME what they can do, what I need or how they can help ease some of this hell I find myself living in. I always say the same thing “ since you can’t bring him back, I guess there is nothing you can do.”  You know what, from this point on when I am asked what I need, how can I help, what can I do… I am going to ask that person to do one very simple yet extremely complex thing… I will ask them to SLOW DOWN! Thanks for slowing down with me for so many years.
Around the world and back again~

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dear Santa

Dearest Trick~
As a child growing up in a mixed marriage of religions I had the best of both worlds. I got to light the menorah and come Christmas morning I found a pile of presents a man named Santa had left me while I was asleep. I thought all children should grow up this way ~ being exposed to all sorts of customs and holidays. Like mother, like daughter I guess they say. So it was not a shock when I also fell for someone who came from a different background then me. You, my read headed Irish love, oh how you opened my eyes to new and wondrous traditions. But, as child I found myself right around this time of the year taking out paper and pencil. I wrote to this jolly man, asking him like a genie to grant wishes I had. I have never been the “normal” type of child (or adult for that matter) we know that. So my letters were always for something so unrealistic, so much bigger then a toy. Never did I ask for a bike or a doll. It was more like a plea for hearing in my left ear. Or one year I asked to wake up thin and popular. I am sure as you can guess that Santa man is not powerful enough to fund those types of wishes.  But each year I wrote. Each year unknown to my family, I placed the little slip of paper under my pillow and slept on it. Like the movies that flood the T.V. at this time of year, I thought that maybe ‘this is the year’ that my wish will be fulfilled.

This year as the holidays consume all of us, my heart brakes. With each Christmas song that plays I lose a little of the sunshine that it use to bring to my heart. But since I have LOST everything else in my life, what do I have to lose???? I guess this year I will write one last hopeless letter to the man in red and sleep with it under my pillow. Maybe just maybe he can make a miracle happen. Here goes nothing and everything…

Dear Santa~
I have been a VERY good girl this year. I have held myself together when others would have retreated into the darkness. I kissed my husband as his last breath left his body never screaming or yelling, as I wanted it calm for his release. I have forgiven all the doctors and staff that made mistakes that cost me EVERYTHING. I have worked hard not to be selfish and continued to know what is going on in my friend’s lives. I have celebrated their happiness in life even when I lack to have any in mine. So this year all I want for Christmas is one more dance with Patrick in the kitchen. One more moment to get lost in his arms. One more chance to hear his heart beat and feel mine match it. One more kiss of his soft lips. One more inhale of his mixture of body wash and deodorant. One more opportunity to hear his voice soft and low singing along to what ever song we are dancing to. One more slow dance in the kitchen! I am not asking for a you to bring him back for a lifetime, I know that cannot be. I am not asking for a child, as I will most likely always be childless. I am not asking you to bring me some wonderful love that will sweep me off my feet, as I dread that I might be alone forever. I am not asking for you to take away the pain I feel, as I know you can’t. But if I could just have one song worth of a dance ~ doesn’t even need to be a long one, just one song, one last embrace, oh I would be so grateful!

Once again I ask for something that cannot fit under a tree. This wish cannot be wrapped. There is no red bow big enough for this magnitude of a present. But for now I will sleep with this small paper in hopes that maybe that jolly man in his tacky suit can find a way to bring you back to me for one last dance, one last moment, one last second of US.
Around the world and back again~

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Baby Steps

Dearest Trick~
When a child is born they need to be held. They need to be rocked and soothed into the comfort of this new world they have been thrust into.  In time they roll over. Everyone “oohs and ahhs” over this growth, this new act of development in life. As time continues a tot starts to scoot, the first act of independent mobility.  And somehow like magic that scoot becomes a crawl. Knees get raw, bruises are found for the first time. But the crawl is the start of adventure, of journey. When confidence or maybe it is just time happens ~ that toddler begins to walk. Taking baby steps, holding on to items like walls and furniture for dear life. The steps combine to the act of walking, wobbly and unstable but walking nonetheless. And that starts the process of a child creating its own way in the big world.

Maybe I am a baby in the world of widowhood. I long to still be held and rocked but I am past that. There lacks to be anyone here to hold me or rock away the pain of loss.  I am scooting and crawling to this new life I am destined to live. I am bruised from all the time I spend on my knees crying. My elbows are scrapped from dragging myself in a new direction, in a new route in life. Like the small child I am scared. I fear falling. I fear moving forward without you. But I crawl. I drag my heart and myself onward in hopes that this path I am on will lead to a stronger ME. Trick, I want to stand, I want to hold onto the sofa of life and take my first steps. But it seems unbearable to take even one step into this scary world without you. I crawl onward. Rug burns of life etched on my soul as I try to rally my inner self to stand, to hold myself up even when my knees are buckling.

I guess it is that I fear that once I start walking, once I take the baby steps ~ that I will be leaving a piece of you behind, a piece of me. I do not have parents “oohing and ahhing” over the growth I have made. My act of being strong enough to roll over and face life each day is not cheered or documented. There is no baby book to be filled with milestones in widowhood. But somehow, I think you are up there cheering me on. You are proud of my ability to roll over and scoot my butt out of bed each day. I am pretty sure you look down delighted as I crawl from day to day. I would guess that you are pleased when you hear me find something to laugh about in life ~ taking those baby steps towards healing. I crawl because I know that one day I will not just walk again, but run. And in the end after I have made my way in this world I get to crawl, scoot, run, walk, dance back into your arms. I think I am going to grab onto the wall of life and try to take step. Will you catch me if I fall? I guess it is time for me to catch myself. Shoes are on, laces are tied… I will walk again one day. I will take the steps needed to heal. I will find my way in this big world. I am ready to take the baby steps, ready to learn how to stand on my own  ~ two feet. But know I still need you holding up my spirit as I walk towards this new land that lacks my favorite playmate.
Around the world and back again~

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shut Up And Listen Up!

Dearest Trick~
Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to an old friend. Haven’t really talked to him in 11 years, not since I first met you. And as I had in college and in my early 20’s I once again learned something from this friend. He reminded me that it is okay to be soft with myself, that expectations I place on who I am ~ need not be. But posed a question ~ not one to be answered but one to think about. “What do you think your purpose would be if it was not to be Pat’s voice and spread him? As it seems that this is what you have been doing.” I was blown away as I did not think this was my purpose or path, but with closer examination maybe that is what I have been doing these past 7 months. Maybe I have been working so hard to beg others to hold on to what they have, to appreciate what I saw them so easily taking for granted, to dance in the moments life has given them~ that maybe, just maybe I forgot what MY purpose, MY path might be.

The more I pondered this, the more I knew deep in the quiet depths of my soul that YOU would hate anyone spending their lives, their energy, their dreams in pursuit of who you were and what you gave. You never wanted to leave footprints for others to follow, no not you. You wanted everyone to be authentic, to follow their own path~ map out their own journeys~ learn from their own adventures. So now I take a step back and realize that our love story might inspire others. Your endless love of toys and playing might encourage others see the child within themselves. Our simple view of happiness might motivate others to enjoy the modest intricacies of life. But, my purpose is mine to find out. I do not know what it is yet. This dear friend reminded me that it is okay not to know. The more I let myself contemplate what it is I am to learn, I am to do, I am to be~ the more I KNOW that it is MY journey I should be on. As hard as it is to think of venturing on in a world without you, I know you are ready for me to do just that. I fear I am not sure if I am ready, but who is ever really prepared for the greatest opportunities of growth in life? I said to this dear friend that my role is to be a giver and that I get that. His voice softened (just as yours always did when you wanted to tell me something important and hard to hear) and he reminded me that it is all right to be a receiver.

So receive I am ready to do. I am ready to shut up, open up, listen up! I am ready to learn from others, these great teachers found in friendship. I am ready to be lost and be okay with having a lack of control or direction. I am ready to shut up the voice that wants to TELL everyone to be thankful for what they have. I am ready to open up my EYES to new experiences that might be hard but needed for me to be authentically me. I am ready to listen up with my one working EAR to advice, questions, and stories from others who luckly cross my path. I am going to work towards opening my heart to others and not building this brick wall of holding on to just the past. I am going to work towards listening to the voice inside myself and not the voice of what I think is expected of me. I am going to work towards shutting up and learning from the silence ~ as silence is a wonderful teacher.

In order to honor you, I guess you would want me to honor myself. I am not saying this expedition will be easy. I am sure it will require some agony. But I am ready to venture into the unknown, ready to listen, ready to be listened to when it is from a true place of self, and ready to find my purpose ~ my purpose without you. You already filled yours. Each of us lucky enough to walk for but a moment on your road of life has been touched, I need not share it, it has already been shared. Thank you for sending this old friend back into my life. Thank you for giving me the strength to be OK with who I am. Thank you for demanding in the hush of the wind, that I find my own purpose in the new life I am leading.
Around the world and back again~

Monday, November 21, 2011

Norm the Wonder Dog

Dearest Trick~
In June of 2009 we became parents not of a baby, but our fur baby (who was not a puppy but an older doggie) and the DeVeny Duo became a trio! Norm the wonder dog wagged into lives and hearts. The dream you had since childhood to have a dog became a reality and I got to view it all. I got to watch you teach our new family member how to sit, cross the street, follow directions… but I think what I really saw was Norm teaching you. He taught you that you were needed by more than just me. He taught you that even a dog can be a Cubs fan. He taught you that snow was much more fun to play in then rain. You two were instantly two peas in a pod. They say a dog is a man’s best friend and Norm was 100% yours. From the moment he put his paw up on the glass door “adopting us” it was hard to ever see Patrick without Norm right behind. What joy having a pet, having a fur child, having Norm has been to us as a couple.

Since you have gone to heaven Norm has suffered, I will not lie. Every night he does “his rounds” looking and waiting for you to walk through the door. He waits in breathless anticipation for his daddy to come home and rub his belly. I try to tell him that you can’t come home, sometimes I think he understands ~ sometimes I think he has hope that this is all a bad dream and daddy will sit and listen to a Cubs game on the back deck once again.

I thought how horrible it is that we were not lucky enough to have a baby together. After all the fertility treatments and trying that we were left wishing and dreaming that next month would be better. I found myself jealous of the other young widows that have children and get to see their husbands daily through their kid’s eyes. They get to hold on to a piece of a man that is now gone. I do not have that. And today I realized I do. When I cry at night it is Norm that comes quietly and lies on the floor next to my bed. When loneliness encapsulates all that I am, Norm simply comes over and lies at my feet putting one paw on my knee ~ as if he is reminding me that all is okay. He requires me to get out of bed and outside into the fresh air daily, even if I only want to hide, I can’t because I have him. It is as if you left me purpose by making sure when you left Norm was there for me. Sometimes when he looks at me with his big brown eyes, when he holds a stare as if he is looking into my soul, I feel like it is YOU looking at me once again. And so I sit, I pet Norm and I miss you. I hope that this holiday season people walk down our path and adopt a DOG (not a puppy) from a shelter. Sending wagging tails and love from here to you.
Around the world and back again~