Sunday, April 29, 2012


Driving home tonight a Sugarland song came on the radio. All of a sudden I am thrown back into a memory with Brad. Driving home from Destin to Panama City. 
We would go to Destin for a date or with the family every once in a while.  I love that little stretch of road between. 30-A is probably my favorite highway ever. It meanders through darling little beach towns and it's a perfect way to waste a day. We would talk and laugh on the drive. Stopping at whatever caught our eye.  Rosemary Beach saturday market, Seaside, Destin Commons, little beach boutiques, Panera Bread, Cold Stone and Dippin dots. (yes, two ice cream places. And usually Brad would say, ya, I want some ice cream when I would say we should stop and then he would tell me to order first and say that was just what he wanted and that he'd just have a bite of mine. (he wasn't a big treat guy, and I was (am) a sugar addict, so he would pretend to want a treat so I wouldn't feel like I shouldn't get one.) He was a bit of an enabler to my addiction :)

So driving home tonight, hearing that song, All of a sudden I'm driving on 30-A. Singing at the top of my lungs to the Sugarland cd. Him laughing at me and shaking his head. Saying  "you're  really happy aren't you". More a statement than a question - and repeating a line from one of the songs, 
"so when you count all your blessings do you get a smile on your face?"
And I grinned from ear to ear. 
He made me so happy. 
And I LOVE that he always knew he did. 
 It's not that I'm not happy now. I think that for the most part I am. It's just not the same and I don't think it ever will be. I won't ever know that same happiness until I am in his arms again.  Because THAT happiness , that complete and utter joy, in all the little things- my perfect joy with everything about my life was so completely entwined with Brad. It is not something I can separate from him.  It is the US that made me so happy. Not just the HIM, the US. I still have him. I know that like I know the sun rose today.
I still know there is still an US, just like before- but it's harder to find US than it is to find HIM. I know just exactly where he is. Us is harder because  we were both changed by being together . We were both better and happier and everything good about each of us was multiplied by a million when we were US . And i'm just stuck here being the me by myself. I sometimes have a hard time finding the me I was when I was with him. He made me so much better. 
Never have I been so comfortable and content and happy with another human being in my life. The only way I can describe it is saying it's like coming home. Everyone should know that feeling. It's like you are empowered beyond anything you could ever be on your own. You create something new when you come together. And because of it everything you wanted to do, together, or on your own, is easier and safer and you can be brave and just fly - because you are invincible together.  We both gave that to each other.  And I know that gift of being US is not gone, but it has to be different now; and I miss that us feeling every minute.
I just finished reading the book Sunset by  S. Michael Wilcox. In it he talks about feeling like he was just so inadequate and diminished without his wife. That 2/3 of him was missing. There was she, and him and them together. 2/3 of that was gone now.  When we are left with just ourselves it takes so much away from the full self we were before with our other half.
I am so grateful to have these moments that I feel just as I did before the accident. Where I feel like I did when we were US. The song moment was one. They usually make me cry but not out of sadness. I love having that welcome feeling of US. Brad made me feel like I could do anything in the world when we were US.  I guess now that familiar feeling can help give me strength to do the hardest thing I have ever had to do;
which is to be here without him.

Monday, April 16, 2012

North Shore

I can not see the ocean without thinking of Brad.  He proposed to me on the beach. We got married and moved a few days later to our home in Florida. Not right on the beach, but close enough that when I needed to see the ocean I wasn't further than about 15 miles away. We spent our first two years of marriage loving being near the ocean.  Our honeymoon was on the beach. We made a million happy memories being on the beach and looking out into that vast ocean.

Our  family trip to Hawaii this winter was very bittersweet - for lots of reasons.  Heading off to a beautiful beach with my precious girls and without their daddy was one of those reasons. Knowing we were going somewhere Brad had loved visiting, and had so badly wanted to take us someday was difficult.  We ended up having a great trip. And I know Brad was with us the whole time. But being near the ocean always makes miss him terribly.

I remember during this trip looking out on those beautiful waves and thinking that they reminded me a little of how grieving the loss of my sweet husband feels sometimes.

 A huge swell came in while we were there and we went out to the North Shore to watch the wonder of the waves. It was amazing to watch them. A photo just does not do them justice. They were the biggest waves I had ever seen. The red flags were placed right up by the sidewalk. The guards didn't even want you to touch the sand, let alone the water.  I watched those waves roll up a few crazy surfers who did not heed the signs. One was trying to get out of the water. He was only a few feet from the shore - maybe 5-10 feet at the most. He was trying to swim out, swimming with all his might and was literally not moving at all. Those waves were so big they broke a few times on the way in. They broke again right where water met sand and were just pounding this poor surfer right into the ground.  The water swirled around ferociously after the break and by the time he got his footing another wave was crashing on his head.

I remember thinking that I know what that feels like.

My grief is somewhat like the waves. There are times went I get rolled up by one of those huge waves and smashed right into the sand. There are also times when it's calmer. When it's just a gentle rolling and while I'm still feeling it, it's not forcing me under and sucking the life out of me.

Everyone always says that time heals. I don't know that I agree with that completely.  Time has definitely helped. I don't know that I would say that it heals. With the passage of time those huge waves seem less frequent. But they still come.  The smaller waves are more common now.  And that is a good thing.  My grief seems to ebb and flow like the tides do.  And it's constant. It changes in intensity. And I'm learning to be a better swimmer; but it is constant. It's always there, swirling underneath even on the calm days.

When I do get hit by a North Shore wave, I know that I'm not swimming out of it alone. There are so many tender mercies I have been blessed with. They are kindof like life jackets that help me keep my head above water.  The nearness of my sweet husband is the strongest of those.  Sometimes he is so close that I look around, sure I will see.  Although seeing would be good; I'll take being lifted up out of those huge waves and being placed in softer seas. That's what he does for me. Still.