Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Moving Ahead - Tiny Blind Steps at a Time

This is a photo of Vinnie with a large family gathering in 1994.

Life after death - I don't care how much thought goes into it or how much time there to think on it either, there is no way one can be prepared for the experience of losing the life of a person who'd been part of life for over 25 years! All the things that were planned before Vinnie died, all seemed illogical after he was gone. Our family started unraveling at the seams when he died too. It's like watching the back of a long button down wedding dress get pulled from ends and watching buttons fly off one at at time. Our lives were falling apart.

There are more details to the disasters going on all around me that just can't be shared because they are very private and I need to protect each one's privacy, but let me just say, the next two weeks I wasn't sure I was going to live. My heart was not beating regularly. In fact, some nights, my heart was beating so hard and irregular, it woke me up and kept me awake for the rest of the night! I had never, ever in whole life felt so horrible, both physically, mentally, or emotionally. It was a nightmare. There was no time to grieve except at night when the doors to the world were finally closed and there was time to cry. I cried a river those two weeks.

I wanted to get away so badly. Vinnie and I never made it to the beach in the summer like we did every year. I wanted to go to the beach, just one weekend, before I had to return to work. Two weeks after Vinnie died, I was hardly getting any sleep, but I was being pressured to come back to work! Ugh. I surely didn't want to. I wanted to be left alone for about a month! I was drained and exhausted and stretched to the absolute maximum but I compromised. I agreed to come back to work right away if it could have to part time, I felt I better get my weekend at the beach in while I could. It was a nice weekend away. (This was a moon rising photo taken that weekend!) Then I went to work on Monday! The first morning there, when the first phone call came in, I cried. I wanted that call to be Vinnie. He used to call me almost every morning and said, "I'm just calling to say hello to my beautiful, gorgeous, sexy wife!" (If you saw the size of me you'd know how sweet it was of him to say that everyday!) He really meant it too. He really saw me that way to him. No one has ever loved me as much as Vinnie. Maybe no one else ever will, but I am blessed to have been married such a long time to one who did. I am very blessed.

I got an email around the second week after Vinnie was gone telling me about a new GriefShare group starting up at a church down town. I couldn't go that week but I decided to go the following week. The session started out with a video. Oh my...I thought I'd never get through the session. I may have gone through a half a box of tissues! I felt like no one else was crying in the room. Was this not for grieving people? Well, some people there have been grieving for a long time. I had just lost Vinnie two or three weeks before that. I was still in pieces. I still am in pieces.

But I liked the discussion group. The stories from some of these women my sorry little life at least shine with a silver lining on it somewhere. I had no idea that it's normal for families to fall apart when a central person in that family dies! It doesn't take much for all the witches and goblins to come out of the woodwork when there's an opportunity - and they can come right out from people you never knew could be like that before. They prey on people who are too weak at the time of ultimate grief and attempt to gobble them up. It's sickening - but it's the result of living in a dark world. It's just life on earth as it is now. (We're ready for your return any time now, Jesus!)

GriefShare has helped me understand the grieving process, what's normal even though we all grieve differently. It is one of the best things I've done since Vinnie died. It's helped me remember him well and though sad, I am okay with it. I don't want to forget Vinnie. I love him very much. He was a good man, a good husband, and I will probably never have another. GriefShare helps me see I am not abnormal. It's nice to be given permission to go on, to find joy, to be okay with sadness, in fact, to accept that I'll have it - even for a very long time. I am not getting used to my grief, I am getting more comfortable with it. There is a difference.

I am beginning to move on. It's strange and it even feels disloyal sometimes, but then I remember that Vinnie's new life is not disloyal to me. God has us living on other ends of His world right now. Vinnie is living a new life and I must live one too. I wish so much that Vinnie could live this one with me - that hurts like crazy sometimes. I think he'd be so very proud of me for some of the things I've done since he's been gone. But he's not here and he's not going to be. He is experiencing more joy than I'll ever know here. I am here. I must give myself permission to know as much joy as this world can allow us while here on earth, and keep praying that God will reveal what He wants from my life while I am here. I am taking tiny steps that were once in the dark but they are beginning, two months later, to be steps taken with some glimmer of light ahead. It's surreal but it is happening - the journey is continuing.


Melissa M S said...

You should write a book about you and Mr. S.
I mean it. You have talent.

Gailie said...

Thank you, Melissa. I had a running joke in high school with my best friend that I'd write a book one day. I have always wanted to, I just never did. With such a full life, blogging is a perfect answer to the desire. Thanks for continuing to visit!

Mountain Woman said...

I found your blog through A Second Cup. I am also a widow. My heart goes out to you as you cope with your so recent loss. Tiny steps forward and large steps back and then forward again. It's not an easy path but God is with us all the way.
If you are interested I have written about my loss on my blog in some of my earlier entries.
I'm glad I found your blog and my prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gail.

I just found out about Vinnie just a short while ago and I am so sorry. I was so incredibly moved by your writing. You are so real. The entry titled 'Love is Patient," was wonderfully honest. You know I can't relate to what you have gone thru but reading about your journey sure does make me appreciate my husband more.

Thank you, Gail. Thank you for putting it all out there!

I will be praying for your journey.
Cindy Ragonese

gsanseverino said...

Thank you, Cindy. I am finding that being 'real' helps people better know how to interact with me. I have been finding that sometimes people don't really know what to say to someone like me in this situation. I want people to know that they can talk to me about Vinnie. I love talking about him and it helps me to be able to weep while I talk about him. I want permission from others to cry without making them feel like they should try to make me feel better. There's little anyone can say to make that happen! My friend Melissa who raised her son all by herself, told me that she lived every single day with God's help. I know it's the only way I'll get through this too. Miss you!

Gailie said...

Thank you, Mountain Woman, for your sweet note. I recently moved and did not have much access to the Internet so my I apologize for the delay in response. I will visit your blog soon. I can hardly wait to get my next post up. I will be writing about two amazing ways that God comforted me right after Vinnie died. It's inspiring!