A widows first Christmas

imageOn Monday November 25th at 5:35am the love of my life breathed his last breath. He could no longer fight the cancer that was growing inside him. He was only 46 years old and we had married 2 months and six days prior.

Within a time frame of less than three months, we had a wedding, went on our honeymoon and then I had to plan his funeral. There is nothing to be merry about this Christmas.

George’s favorite thing to do around the holidays is dress as Santa. He would put his Santa suit on and deliver presents to his family. He would also surprise his neighbors kids as well. All day I was looking at pictures of George in his Santa costume whether he was at Santa Con in NYC or in Ohio or CT. It was a tradition that he showed me and I looked forward to it.

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We always would stay up late on Christmas Eve watching the old time movies like Miracle on 34th street or its a wonderful life. We both loved George Bailey and how the town came to his aide. It’s more than a Christmas movie, it’s the first movie, as George would point out, that you became emotionally attached to the protagonist to succeed. As George coined it, the first oblivious protagonist.

Without his hand to hold, shoulder to rest on, and his comforting voice, Christmas meant nothing to me. It was just another Wednesday where I had to choke back the tears and excuse myself when I couldn’t handle the grief that would overcome me. I spent the day outside on my brother’s patio in LA watching Netflix on my iPad. My entire family was around, caring for me and showing me love, but there’s only one person I wanted love from today. And all I can do is look at pictures from a better and happier time. And when the happiness from the pictures evaporates with the realization ill never have that again, I distract my sorrow with some meaningless show that I can stream instantly.

This was supposed to be my first Christmas as a married woman. Cancer took my husband, stole my Christmas, and obliterated my heart. image

Staring at memories

Today was the first real snowfall of the season, and the smell of snow coming stirred up overwhelming emotions. When the sky finally broke, and the flakes drifted down, all I could think about is how much fun George and I had walking Bodie in the snow. Kicking snow in Bodie’s face and how excited he was to catch it in his mouth. Coming back to the apartment is becoming more and more difficult. I look at a pen, and it reminds me of George using it to address our wedding invitations. I look at the body wash and remember when we took at trip out to BJ’s and he remembered to grab it because we were running low. All these mundane things are arousing such strong memories. So tremendously powerful memories that I double over crying. I do not know how I can go on without him. He was my stability, my happiness, my hobby, my life.  I never knew someone could affect my life like this, and now I wish I told him every hour of the day how much I loved him. The limited time we had together, I would do anything to get it back, and all I can do is reflect on pictures and items of all the wonderful times we had together.

Yesterday was an extremely difficult day. It was George’s memorial service and the amount of love that was in the room was very special. Friend’s from all different points in his life show up; high school, college, graduate school, work, friends from when he lived in Columbus, Chicago, Atlanta, and of course NYC. We had several slide shows going on during it, and I tried to make it as interactive as possible. He wouldn’t want everyone in a room just crying, he would have preferred everyone enjoying the time they had together with him. So that’s what I tried to do. Anyone could go up and tell a story they had about George, and it was phenomenal. Hearing how much joy he brought to people’s lives through his generosity, goofiness, humor, and whimsical take on life. He is and will forever be a special person in everyone’s lives. Dealing with his loss is going to be the hardest thing to cope with for a lot of people, and I know that this will be hardest thing I’ll ever encounter in my life. I hope the pictures will provide me with the strength he gave me when he was alive. I miss him dearly

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Lights on

Whenever I come home from work, I’m always hoping that the lights in my apartment will be on. For the past two days, I’ve been extremely hopeful that they would be on and George will be home waiting for me. His death is still somewhat surreal. Tomorrow is his memorial/funeral and it’s like the period at the end of the sentence. It hasn’t been two weeks yet, and I don’t know if his actual death has fully sunk in. Sometimes I’m a complete mess and other times I’m just floating through time. My dad asked me tonight at dinner what the weather was like in my area yesterday. I couldn’t remember. I’m just drifting through days, trying to get to the end of each one and just dreading the next.

Last night, right before bed, Bodie wedged himself between the open door and the wall and started whimpering. My heart imploded in my chest. The moment I heard his high squeaks, I knew right then and there that he’s feeling George’s absence in the apartment. Bodie has been such a great support for me and I guess he needed some alone time too to mourn. Of course the moment I heard him, I quickly picked him up and brought him on the bed for an emergency pet and cuddle session. Dogs are amazing. They’re so intuitive and smart. Even at work, I had my first meeting with my team since returning and of course it was extremely emotional. I explained what has been going on over the past year, and what to expect in the future. The grieving process will be long and there’s just somethings that many of them have never encountered so I explained that there will be times I will just cry because I’m sad and other times I’ll get angry for no apparent reason. But they should never take it personally and just understand that I’m dealing with a severe loss and that’s the way I will be coping with it at that time. Some of the girls started crying, and Bodie immediately went up to them. He is just a wonderful companion to have right now. Not just for me but for everyone around me.

I’m afraid that I’m going to get into a routine of going to work and then just shrivel away at night in my apartment. George was my hobby. We did everything together and without him, I’m lost. I need to find a hobby and shed some light on this darkness that continues to engulf me. But at the same time, I don’t want to do anything without him. Tomorrow is going to be rough. I don’t think I’m fully ready to deal with saying goodbye. I want to hold on to the hope, but I know it’s inevitable. And that’s terrifying.

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