Goodbye Georgie – this one is for you

George came back into my life, loved me with no limits, taught me about real expansive love and then 3 years ago this afternoon was gone – in body. We lived together for three years and I have lived alone for three years. I am better without George than I was before George. I was the one who really needed saving. Funny…we both thought so.

The past three years have been three years that I never would have chosen. But I had no choice. I have finally come to a place of deep gratitude and mostly peace and surrender.

When George actually died his energy, his soul entered my body – literally in a whosh – and I will carry him forward always.

I think it’s time for this blog – this way of telling this story – to come to an end. I think I will miss it terribly sometimes. I may do something with it…or maybe not. So far I have never gone back and read any of it.

I am so incredibly grateful to have had this medium and for all who have kept me company along the way. I have always known that I am not really alone, which was one of the big reasons I have written. But I still do miss that other world guy I went to sleep with and woke up with  for too short a time. It’s not the same – but it never really is…

George stood behind me and held me while we sang Moment of Surrender together in Moncton in 2011…the U2 song he handed off to me when he died – before he died really. I remember the electricity we felt in this moment – and I do believe it was part of the path – a foreshadowing.

Time for the full moment of surrender…I love you Georgie forever and always…and yes I do now really understand it all in such a deep profound way…

I’ve been in every black hole
At the alter of a Dark star
My body’s now a begging bowl
That’s begging to get back
Begging to get back
To my heart
To the rhythm of my soul
To the rhythm of my consciousness
To the rhythm of yes
To be released from control

I love you so so much. And yes I can believe it. Thank you.

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Simple and clear

I know where I was three years ago tonight too. With George’s son and his family, we got the best of the nursing team. And when everyone else went to get some rest, I watched George slipping farther away. Before dawn I knew it was time to say goodbye, an act of love like no other. I waited for George’s family and the day ICU team, knowing with the most devastating clarity where we were headed. I knew we would all agree. This decision was easy. No fight. No flight. No idea of the aftermath.

Unnerving

Saturday night 3/11:

It’s unnerving to know exactly where I was and what I was doing exactly three years ago (George always knew exactly where he was and what he was doing on 9/11/01). I don’t remember what I was doing a year or two years ago but three years ago I was sitting in the waiting room of the ICU at Tufts New England Medical Center while George was slipping away. I was alone – by choice. I had run out of the ability to speak or respond to simple conversation or do anything but try to stay present with what was going on with George. I created a small bubble in which I could try to breathe and exist. I was in survival mode, trying to stay on top of what was an unfathomable situation and one that I could feel tearing me apart. The love of my life was dying…there was no diagnosis and very little hope…and this made no sense at all.

I remember the waiting room. The hardness of the orange chairs. The location of the phone. The appearance of the ICU Fellow in his parka called in from home…I knew that this was not a good sign. And it was not.

I lived between that waiting room and George’s ICU space for another 40 hours, none of them good. Most of them now etched in my brain by the branding iron of trauma. I have mostly made peace with those memories and my feelings about them. Tonight they are being fueled by a simple date…

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NOTE:

By way of explanation and for those who worry…

I no longer “need” to write as I did when I started this blog. It has been a three year battle of an interesting sort…and I am so grateful that my mind and heart and soul have mended…with a few scars…and in so many ways I am much stronger for the battle to recover and live fully.

So while I used to write because I could not contain the waves of feelings and pain, I now write deliberately. To illustrate that grief does not simply disappear. That triggers and anniversaries and memories and love are all forever, though the pain has lessened and the light is brighter than ever. To share my experience which is not uncommon. To connect. To acknowledge that George is in no way forgotten.

And to add that the next love of my life will have a relationship with an even better me than the me who was George’s incredibly grateful partner.

Grief Shorts

Last night I came home from a whirlwind week in Florida with my mother and in NY with so many wonderful friends and amazing work. I got in late and for a fleeting moment as I unpacked I thought I was getting ready for George to come home.

A week from tonight will be three years since George spent his last night at home.

Three years is a long time to still think even for a split second that anyone is doing anything…

Dematerializing…

I am aware that being 2 weeks away from the third anniversary of losing George is nudging, provoking, awakening, disturbing, disrupting all kinds of thoughts and feelings. I get that. I am ok with that. I am even ok with not writing about losing George and all of the fallout any more. I have learned to navigate the fallout – with grace and equanimity – and most of the time with ease. What I am not ok with is all of the suppressed pain that people I love feel around loss – with all of the shame and quiet and fear. So I am continuing to share my feelings to honor so many wonderful people who feel speechless around their trauma and loss.

Here is my thought for tonight – shared at dinner with my fabulous friend MRK. I wonder how George could be so big and strong and loving and present – and here with me every day and night for so long – with me, next to me, around me, and so on – and then just gone. Dematerialized.

I am practicing letting go of that kind of love – the big, physical, real kind – falling in love and letting go…But the practice is still not easy – and I still wonder…how can something that matters so much just disappear into the air and stars…into my memory and the invisible matter that makes me who I am…navigating the universe…

August is the hard part…

August is hard George said in August – the year we first reconnected. It’s the lead up to 9/11 that’s hard – harder than the actual day he explained. George’s brother John was killed on 9/11 – in what George also thought might have been the final blow of his own life. Losing John so suddenly, horrifically and traumatically brought George to his knees – and then some. He was not sure he would really survive…he tried to explain that early on too – but there were not the right words…

It’s the lead up to the anniversary of 9/11 George said.

I listened carefully – caringly. I did not fully understand, but I was learning…The next August I understood…

In the past few days I have suddenly been blindsided with vivid memories of George…

Usually, now, when I think of George, the accompanying feeling is positive – happy, amused, grateful. This past week, I am fighting back tears as I think of George. Feeling his presence – and feeling the loss – again…

It took me a bit to realize it’s the lead up…the lead up to the third anniversary of George’s death…

I am trying to accept that this countdown is inevitable – and to experience it with grace…though I have been more grateful to have stopped counting…stopped counting the months at least…

In two weeks it will be three years since George and I last went to Nantucket. In 17 days it will be three years since George was diagnosed with the flu and spent his last night at home. In 18 days it will be three years since George ended up on artificial life support…and in 20 days it will be three years since we disconnected George from this artificial life support…This sequence is burned into my memory…

I hope that my experience mirrors George’s…that it’s the lead up that’s harder…

With love on Valentine’s Day

I have not used this format often…maybe once or twice…fitting for today…

Dear Georgie,

On this Valentine’s Day, thank you for being an incredible teacher for me about love.

My time with you was transformative (you knew that) and I am increasingly grateful – beyond words – every single day. Three years ago we spent Valentine’s Day together – just a few weeks before you died – and your gift to me was Eddie Izzard tickets…As Karen Fox says you loved anything with tickets! We shared that…falling in love that second time around at Spiderman…You came back into my life like magic…a magic in which I have finally, finally come to believe again…

I don’t have much to say that I did not say to you when you were alive (I am forever grateful for that).

You are still such an integral part of my life – as I was of yours – though for far too short a time. I have, finally learned though to not be so sad about losing you (despite my tears as I write tonight) – and to mainly feel so unbelievably fortunate for what we had – which is still hard to describe in words. But I feel it every day now – in everything that I do and in all the ways that I love and continue to grow.

The love that we shared endures far beyond me. My kids…they miss you so much…it’s been so gripping for me to go through their loss of you…And our friends and their friends…You are alive and with us all…because the kind of love you practiced had no bounds (and sometimes no boundaries – and yes I am laughing about that!) – and does truly transcend time.

With you I got to practice showing up and letting go of expectations. I continue to work on both – inspired…a determined work in progress. For a while after you died, I had a hard time showing up conscious, but I am back to that place…and I think often of our growing together days…and of our adventures near and far…routine and grand…intimate and shared…

Thank you for loving me so much that you always wanted to be with me and love me for better or worse – in sickness and in health (though you hated it when I was sick!) – and for the depth and breadth of the love we shared – emotional, physical, intellectual, serious, humorous…And for expanding my world in so many ways – helping me to realize how important deep connection and expansion are to me – and especially how important sharing expansion is to me…

I carry you with me in so many ways…you are a part of my heart and soul – and of how I think about the world…I feel your presence often…and sometimes we dance above the earth together…

Thank you, with love…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebirth – Part Two

Birth…unpredictable…on its own time table…its own menu of challenges…varying degrees of pain…of joy…

I left Siem Reap three days after I arrived from home, delighted, uplifted, lightened, enlightened, trusting – sad and challenged, leaving the support and love of new friends…really my guides…magical…they appeared…on cue…

So sad…why I reflected…why so sad…Then the recognition that I need to practice good bye and separation and transition. To practice trusting and loving and letting go…Practice…even when it’s hard…even when it’s sad…Trusting that more love and other guides will appear…

I arrived at the Siem Reap airport to leave Siem Reap – struggling, teary, overwhelmed…a brief window of pain…stuck between remembering and forgetting…panic…

Then with determined focus – slow recovery…

I boarded the plane to Phnom Penh – continuing on the journey of rebirth…knowing that every journey has transitions and loss…beginnings and endings…and, if you are open, guides and love…

Several hours later I landed in Phnom Penh…the pain of the culture dwarfing my own pain…an experience I have had before…

Rebirth – Part One

20170115_102007I was bound for Southeast Asia, compelled to travel here. Why they asked? I’m not sure I replied. I will find out while I am there. It will be part of the journey.

I flew for about 36 hours – effortless ease.

I arrived in Siem Reap and immediately found guides…friends…I think it was no accident he said when we parted. No accident that when it started to rain at happy hour on your first night that I bumped into you trying to get out of the rain. You weren’t really meant to spend this first leg of your trip alone he said.

He literally showed me how to cross the street. The way you would show a small child. And the streets are chaotic. With another friend they took me for foot massages and cheap drinks and hot pot and dancing. Protected. Nurtured. Guided with compassion.

I agreed with him. I was not meant to be alone on the first leg of my journey – and I was not.

I visited temples lost and then found. Damaged and repaired. Defaced and still standing. Reborn.

I took in the children – so many children – selling goods on the streets – at the tourist attractions – late at night in the town. My like minded friends bought toys from children and gave them away to others. Brothers of the heart.

Separately and together we visited artisan workshops for the poor and disabled and explored the amazing recycling entrepreneurs. We asked questions – we learned. Brothers of the mind.

I watched the struggles and began to hear the stories of centuries of plundering and uncertainty – and the recent genocide. I saw landmine victims everywhere.

My paid guide – a smart compassionate single dad taught me so much – he talked about the juxtaposition of good and bad – good and evil in Cambodian culture. I saw that.

Destruction and rebuilding. Death and procreation. Pain and joy. An occasional  image of the Phoenix…rising from the ashes.

Rebirth. I get that. That’s why I’m here. I have spent almost three years in pain and healing. Gradually finding my way thanks to so many. Now it’s time to be reborn.

Trust

I am off on a big adventure. Half way around the world. With so much beauty and so much kindness and so much pain in the culture.

You would love this trip and in this moment of transition in a Cambodian airport I am missing you as much as ever. These flashes of pain catch me off guard. I wonder if the intensity of these flashes will ever lessen. The pain takes my breath away, stabs me in the  gut – and puts a strangle hold on my heart. I can’t think. Really can’t think.

This happens when the loss is familiar – evocative – even simple. Looking back…A connection charged with so much potential that cannot be realized. I understood…There was no potential. Just charge. It was just two days. Less really. And in the ending that I understood so well from the start would be swift and clean (until the door was left open a tiny crack – that made it much less clean), I was hoping that this was meant to serve me.

I thought about it…

Maybe it was this. He is with you she said. She was talking about my George – a month or so ago. He will watch out for you. He will intervene if they are not good to you and he will send love your way. Hmmm…accept that I told myself…this trip is the exercise on accepting that…trusting that…

And then I opened a piece of daily email wisdom I receive and it read: You cannot control circumstances. You never intended to control circumstances. You intended to discover unconditional love. You intended to discover a way to feel good, no matter what, because you have the facility: you have the power: you have the ability to focus.

Hmmm…eerily spot on…

Maybe this journey is about trusting that. Not so much trusting that Georgie is looking out for me (though I believe he is – he taught me so well) but that I’ve come to live in a way that is open to love and kindness more every day. And the love flows in. And it’s always good. And the letting go is part of it I guess. Learning…learning to trust…learning to trust that…still learning about letting go…