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~