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Posts from the ‘grieving’ Category

Risking

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Taking a risk….

We have been taught that one of two things can occur from such an action:

Something bad, with  an unfavorable outcome..

Or….

Something magnificent, soul empowering and life-affirming.

So what happens when you take a risk and both occur?

Would it be a mutant? An “X-Men” of risks?

A grey area that few talk about or like to admit to?

Or is risking something of ourself….of our life, always going to have both outcomes?

You know what. That’s what I believe. Because at the end of the day, when we take a risk and our dreams come true, we forget to admit that even the magnificent is finite.

And when the “bad” occurs, we forget to see and honor the great wisdom that comes from the hardships.

And maybe, just maybe, by embracing that risk will not have one of the outcomes….but both….maybe that allows us to cherish, and be grateful, and honor the roses and thorns that occur from such a noble and courageous act.

Marrying Michael at 19 was one risky move….I can admit to that. Not only because of age but because he was Infantry in the Army in the middle of a war.

But you know what…. I refuse to look at that risk as one I shouldn’t have taken because he died and I was left a widow a 21 years old.

He was one of the greatest risks of my life.

And yes, a “non-favorable” outcome occurred that temporarily shattered me.

But if he had come back and lived another 70 years by my side, one of us would have eventually passed-on….and that wouldn’t be favorable either.

But the risk is always worth it.

I can’t decide the timing or the turmoil or the triumphs that happen as a result of such an action….but I want to keep risking.

I want to keep milking every ounce of beauty in the risks that turned out the way I planned, and keep honoring the teachings from the risks that didn’t (seem to at the time) end as hoped for.

And what is life if not one short or long and beautiful stretch of hoping, trying and loving and living…..but only if you risk to feel/experience it.

Risk on.

Clearing

 

Life’s pretty darn comical.

I get all I could ever dream of…then that gets taken from me.

Next, I get used to the grief and pain and in a way have it take the backseat to the life still before me…but then I’m slammed with something else that clouds the clearing my heart and mind had worked so hard on clearing.

A recycling of the good and bad…a recycling that fogged over the beauty still present in the midst of the uninvited madness that made its presence pretty darn known.

I was never good at juggling…or surprises.

Everyone’s been telling me to take me time, in hopes that a clearing can be made once more.

But it could be clouded over again…or it couldn’t….or maybe I was too preoccupied by the clouds that crept in to not look a bit further to see the clearing was still there….just a bit harder to see.

I think I’m going to have to go with the last theory.

It’s slowly getting brighter and brighter. I’m finally kind of enjoying the whole recycling thing, too…keeps me on my toes.

And I’d rather be on them than my knees…

Recap

The past week has been a roller coaster.

Charlie was laid to rest and it was one of the hardest moments of my life. It was also during that time that I was moved by my friends kindness. I was lucky and blessed to have some of my dearest and best friends there…friends that weren’t like the friends that were around when Michael died….these are friends that aren’t going anywhere and laugh and cry and grieve without questions or answers. TT told me she wasn’t used to being so open with her feelings, as we all shared our love and memories with Charlie…the secret is…it’s because they were there that I was able to. I love you all so very much. Thank you for helping me, loving me, and allowing me to be called your friend…I’ll never feel deserving of such kindness.

The flip side of this major loss is a major gain! My organization, as of today, has it’s first official office! I hold the key and smile…it’s more than an office…it’s a brighter and more beautiful future for myself and the fellow widows of the AWP. I’m so excited and know that this means nothing but good. It’s in my dream area. My dream 360 square feet. And will be a place where even more dreams come true for all we serve.

I’m spending this month to absorb all that May has consisted of. A month of growth, pain, survival, and the further assurance that Michael’s love is always present.

That’s it.

The end .

Last Walk


Charlie…

Charlie is more than a dog.

Though my family had him since he was a puppy, in 2004 he came to live with me full-time. He became king.

Always having been an outside dog, he was thrown into a world where he didn’t have to fight to get to the dog bowl and got to sleep among pillows and soft comforters. An escape artist, he’d flee and be back within the hour, waiting on the front porch. The same porch he’d eagerly await my arrival after class each day. He was my best friend.

Michael and Charlie had a special bond. Something I was admittedly jealous of. Charlie would do special tricks and give extra kisses to Michael. He was a daddy’s boy.

When Michael got deployed to Iraq, Charlie was his wingman. Michael had a talk with him to watch over me and take care of me….Charlie never faltered from that agreement they silently made looking into each others eyes before Michael kissed him goodbye for the last time.

When I was sad, Charlie would quietly walk up to me and give me a kiss. He always let me know everything was going to be alright.

On May 21st, 2007, Charlie would have to step up to the plate even more. Michael had been killed and I was shattered. I refused to eat or drink, and Charlie, who never left my bedside, refused to do the same. He was the only reason I would get up….to ensure he’d eat to live another day.

I never thought I’d live longer than Charlie or Maximus. I even have in my will who each are to go to.

In the months following Michael’s death, I stayed inside, planning my escape route from Earth. And yet, Charlie, with his deep brown eyes, always found a way to ensure I face a new day.

He’s a quiet soul who reminds me of Michael. He rarely barked but was known for being a fighter….literally and hypothetically. He had sent a couple of dogs to the vets whenever they got to close.
(I remember one day, napping, when I heard a barking scuffle outside. Pillow in hand, I ran to find Charlie and a boxer going at it. Pillow’s swinging left to right, I feared for Charlie’s life, only to find that the giant boxer was the one harmed.)

As I ventured into a world I decided to fight for, Charlie rooted me on. I talk to him, you see. He’s the child of Michael and I, and I feel he understands what I’m saying…never doubts or challenges.

The next 3 year’s I would travel so much in hopes to bring the AWP to life, but no matter what, he’d be there at the front door to greet me and give me a kiss hello.

In October of 2010 things changed. One night while on the carpet with Papas (one of his 20 million nick-names), I noticed his eye looked weird. Right away I knew something was wrong and asked my parents to take him into the vet (I was afraid to face any bad news).

My dad called me. “Taryn…Charlie has cancer. He has a tumor growing on the top of his head. He doesn’t have much longer….”

No.No.NO. Our baby couldn’t go. I frantically started making calls within minutes of finding out and set up a meeting with a veterinary oncologist.

Many tests were taken, biopsies done, needles poked.

In November they called to let me know that Charlie had squamous cell carcinoma. I went in to see what the options were.

The doctors told me that I could put him through radiation and chemo. Once done with the treatments it could possibly add no more than a year to his life.

I agreed, and so began our new life of waking up each morning for months. Traveling over 2 hours each day. Things would look good and other times I’d bring him in crying, afraid that I had made the wrong decision. But Charlie fought, pulled through, and one night, even ran up to me and gave me a kiss. It was one of the best moments.

The radiation took a toll though, and the skin burned away and then his vision deteriorated.

I cried myself to sleep many nights, but even blind, Charlie would find his way to our bedroom and sleep next to me.

It’s been around 5 months since all of his treatments. 5 months I’ve been able to give him extra belly rubs. 5 months to whisper into his bushy ears how much Michael and I love him.

5 months to have something I wasn’t able to have with Michael….the ability to say goodbye.

I returned home two nights ago and Charlie’s health had deteriorated within hours. Although he had been eating and drinking while at my parent’s house, it became very obvious that he was just waiting to be back with me.

You see, I’ve wondered often if my actions to keep him here, to do everything in my power to keep him with me, were selfish. I asked Michael during the rough times to just let Charlie go in his sleep. But on Tuesday night, I asked Charlie to let me know when he was ready, and at one moment, he looked up at me…blind, but as though he could see, and I knew.

I knew that it was time to do for him something unselfish, and take him out of his pain. I think he breathes for me, suffers for me, feels indebted to his loving father to stay with me….I want him to know it is okay.

I’ve had him for 15 years. He’s been through every life-changing event of my life, but tonight, at 6pm, on his favorite spot in the house (the cold tile of the fireplace), Michael will have his 2nd love join him.

My dearest friends and family by my side, we will wrap him in Michael’s uniform (the one he slept underneath in the closet after Michael died.) Fill the pockets with letters to him and our loved ones he’ll be joining and spread his ashes with his father’s.

I’m in pain…but Charlie is in more. And tonight we will celebrate his furry life. Remember random memories, like how when I took him running he always ran faster than me, making me look even slower, so I had to buy a really short leash. Or the moments when a spurt of energy would hit him and he’d run around like a banshee. Or the time he sat up on Michael’s knees and kissed him farewell. Or how much you simply adore window surfing.

I love you so much, papas. I know you’re outside sleeping with the wind on your face, and maybe by the time you wake up, it will seem as if we were not parted for long.

You have fulfilled you daddy’s wish and taken care of me better than anyone or anything. I know I am strong enough now…and so much of that is because of the loyalty and love you have forever shown me. You are the epitome of unconditional love and I hope to embody your strength.

I love you. We love you.

There’s a stone I had made for Luke at the top of the hill road, where the pasture opens wide and the setting sun highlights the words carved into its face. “That’ll do, Luke, that’ll do.” The words are said to working dogs all over the world when the chores are done and the flock is settled: “That’ll do dog, come home now, your work is done.” Luke’s work is done too. He took my heart and ran with it, and he’s running still, fast and strong, a piece of my heart bound up with his, forever.

-Patricia McConnell

The Wall

“But mostly, I cried because my life had been going full speed for so long and now it had just stopped, like running right into a big brick wall, knocking the wind and the fight right out of me. And I didn’t know if I’d ever even wanted to get up and start breathing again.”

– Sarah Dessen



This quote embodies the day I was notified and the months and years to follow (and even random moments in my day-to-day life).

I never thought I’d be here.

Alive.

Living….thriving…without my love by my side.

At first I held back from a smile or a good time, in fear that it would be dishonoring him. But with time and introspection, I realized that by doing so…holding back..I was dishonoring him.

Our loves don’t die for us to shrivel up into a ball, to live in a cave, and become Gallum-like. But in the beginning I couldn’t grasp that.

But the winds of time and his love blew away those mis-conceptions, and with that came the realization that I was going to get up…I was going to start breathing once again.

Man, do I love him, with every ounce of my being.

I still have those choke-up moments in realizing how far I’ve come…how much I’ve lived…

Those moments where I’m shocked at my soul’s capacity to survive…

My face’s ability to smile…

My arm’s ability to embrace…

But even in that astonishment,

I am never,

never,

astonished by my heart’s capacity to pump our love through my veins.

And with that knowledge, nearly four years later, I am able to live.

I am living.

I hit the wall…

But I stood up.

I’m standing.

3

Three…

Three whopping years since it happened.

Since my soul mate went to the other side and I ventured out in the unfamiliar world called widowhood.

The Angel-versary is always a time where I look back on the time that has passed, things that have been conquered, feelings that have been realized, and growth that has taken place. As I drove in my car one evening, thinking of these things, thinking of THREE, one thing took precedent.

In the rehashing of all that has transpired, what came to mind the most were the three words that have got me through it all. Three words that he said to me for the last time on May 21st, 2007. Three words that have not only carried through my grief but helped me soar above it’s grasps into a life where smiles are more prevalent then frowns, and memories are recalled while making new ones.

Three words that on this three year anniversary will be heard in my heart and felt in my veins. Three words that have defined my being.

Three….

I LOVE YOU.