I realize, sadly, that I have been lax in writing much on this blog. I am okay; busy and keeping active, doing things in honor of my husband and serving the community where I live, was born, raised, educated, and built our home and a well-connected life.
Here is an update on what’s going on…
Losing a spouse is hard. Just damn hard. It’s like half of your body has been torn away. The grief is real and indescribable to anyone who has not experienced the same. While it is hard to lose a parent, sibling, or close friend, there really is nothing like losing someone who completed you and made you the man you’ve become.
However, I am not sitting at home numb and frozen. My husband wouldn’t accept that, and neither will my family and life-long friends.
I am truly blessed to have a large and loving family. They have done a lot and continue to help me in many ways. We have a regular family Zoom gabfest once a week in place of what was our once-a-week Friday family dinners. At least for a while longer, though all of my siblings (and I) are fully vaccinated. Restrictions on large gatherings — and with my family, any time we get together, it’s large — continue, so we Zoom often instead.
I renewed my credentials to become a fully-licensed and full-fledged paramedic. That took a lot of work, including study, training, practicum, and a scary-long test. I did that so I can continue to serve as a vaccinator as a volunteer. It’s been going well — I’ve administered over 3,500 vaccinations and have more to do for months to come.
Being bilingual (Spanish), I serve in community-based clinics where the majority of our clients only speak Spanish. To me, this is a great way to combine my skills as a medic and with skill in language. Speaking the native tongue of people who are nervous, scared, and afraid, really helps comfort those I serve and makes me feel better too!
When not vaccinating people, I have on occasion served as a paramedic on a regular rig (some call an ambulance) which is operated by our county EMS system. My FD/EMS is a public entity, not private.
Hanging with the staff at the fire house or at clinics lets me “live again.” I enjoy listening to stories of the lives of my colleagues and friends. Gets my mind off the grief for a while and gets me out of the house!
Meanwhile, when not doing that, I am having my 900sf deck rebuilt. I built the original two-level deck 22 years ago with help of friends. Now, being older, I don’t have the physical strength to do that level of work again. I hired a crew who happen to build decks for their “day job” while their evening / weekend “job” are volunteer firefighters. Demolition of the old deck has been completed. Construction begins this coming week.
I am also having major renovation work being done inside my house starting next week. Again, I hired a crew with the right skills, energy, drive, and expertise.
I have pretty much completed the activities required to manage my husband’s estate and transfer assets, benefits, and a lot of other things to me. Lots and lots of detail, phone calls, emails, regular mail, express mail, etc., keeps me busy in my home office most mornings 7 days/week.
Yeah — me and mornings. I still rise at 0400 every.single.day.
I take a break at dawn, which is about 0645 now, and sit by a garden I built in my back yard and where I have scattered half of my husband’s ashes. I meditate, think, and talk to my husband every day. He sends me signs; I know he is listening and comforting me in his own special way.
I have friends who instead of saying “if there is anything I can do…” (the most empty statement given after a death)… say, “how can I lighten your load today?” They run errands, get groceries for some of my senior pals, listen, help me buy a new motorcycle, and take me for a walk. I need the exercise, and just walking in a park with a friend is comforting.
Oh — the new Harley — still on hold waiting on back-ordered parts! Arrrrggghhh! So frustrating. But trust me, whenever I get it, photos will be posted here.
A quote one of my sisters sent to me from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross sums up how it is for me:
The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not “get over” the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.
Yes, I am rebuilding myself again, but I am not the same man I was when my husband was my confidant, lover, knower-of-true-me, and all else.
As I said, it’s hard. Damn hard. But I will not wallow in despair and grief. I will live again, serve, and love those who have been there for me through this very difficult time.
I will also begin to write posts about boots and gear. I did get a new pair of boots with my uniform when I serve as a paramedic. Jury is out about them. I will write more in the future.
Life is short: take it one boot step at a time.