The Days Between

Originally posted on Socci.com November 11th, 2015

Between the day Charley died and the day he was cremated I took off work.  I am so very lucky to have a job and manager that supports me during this time.  I spent most of that week in shock.  I can look back at it now and realize that is what it was.  Along with having to pass the news to people, plan the funeral/cremation/memorial.

Charley had been attending meetings and was gone most evenings. So around 9-10 PM every evening I would think he was going to walk in the door.  Then when I reminded myself he was not, I would go to bed.

The hardest things that week was watching Lucy grieve.  I think at this point she knows he’s not coming back.  But for awhile she sat by the front door, or in the yard looking down at the HAM radio antennas.  Like Charley was going to emerge from the lower part of the yard and hang out with her.

Lucy Waiting

My neighbors are incredible.  My KIA decided to not start the moment I was suppose to head to the funeral home.  So I jumped into Charley’s Volvo and went to the funeral home.  My neighbor, who is good with cars, jumped it, took it to the auto parts store, and put a new battery in it.

My other neighbors brought me food, every night for awhile until I told them to stop.  I had forgotten to cancel my Blue Apron delivery so I had a box of food fit to prep 3 meals for 2…with 0 motivation to cook.  I also received 2 huge fruit baskets.  I finally juiced the oranges and grapefruit for a delicious drink, and cut up the apples and pears and made a “crisp” dessert out of them.

Grieving is such a process…like an ocean…sometimes calm and other times the waves just hit you and knock you to the ground…and it’s OK.

Attending the Cremation

Originally posted November 11th, 2015

I started to watch a YouTube channel called “Ask the Mortician” This was before Charley died.

She had started out as a crematory worker, and I am finding out this is how most people start their funeral director life.

So, I knew I could be there when Charley’s body was cremated.

I thought I would either be scarred for life or it would help with closure.

When a body is cremated in the State of CT you don’t have to embalm the body if there will be no showing. I was glad because I knew Charley didn’t want to be embalmed. I don’t either. The body has to be in a container. In this case its a wood base and cardboard box. They use cardboard tubes under the container to help roll the container into the oven. I hate calling it the oven. Anyway, Alex joined me to watch the container being placed inside. I had a rose placed on top and that was the only   smell that came over me The crematory itself is a small building with a reception area that has a desk and a few comfy chairs. There is a large glass window and behind the window where the bodies are cremated. So they have the container in place and raise the curtain so you can see it being placed inside.

Then they close the door to the oven and close the curtain. I was told that I could stay so I did. The gals were so nice to me. We talked about how the gals choose this for a profession. About other losses. Then she told me she was going to “move his body” and did I want to see. I said yes. I braced myself as she opened the curtain again and then opened the door. I looked inside as she very gently moved his skeleton forward. The flames were hot white and orange. The most prominent thing I could still see was his spine and ribs. His spine looked so strong. The bones pure white. Peace came over me in the most comforting wave. She closed the door and I was ok. I decided to open up YouTube and played one of Charley’s videos and cried. She opened the door 2 more times and each time there was less to see and at the end it was just glowing embers. It looked like a field of stars. It was peaceful and beautiful. They rake the cremains into a container and then process them. The cremains go into a bag that has the medallion the body was cremated with attached to it. Then they go into the urn. The urn was warm when they gave it to me. I placed him on the passenger seat and took the scenic way home. I felt much better once I had his remains back home.

The Day my life changed forever

Originally posted on Socci.com November 10th, 2015

it was Sunday morning. Charley and I had been sleeping in separate rooms for over a year at this point. This habit started out of conflict and then became habit as I found I slept better alone. Well, thank goodness that is not a transition I had to make after becoming a widow.

but I digress….

it was Sunday. I woke up and decided I should let Lucy out first, many times I would let Lucy “sleep in” with Charley.

Then, I saw what no spouse should have to go through. At first it didn’t register with me, the dogs were on the bed and Charley looked strange. He didn’t stir like he usually would when I went to get the dogs. I noticed he wasn’t breathing, then I noticed he was cold, ice cold.

I can’t tell you how many thoughts ran through my head. I had found Charley OD’ed on psych meds in 2008 but was able to bring him round that time.

I called 911.

I knew he was all ready gone.

They still tried to revive him.

Then more police and firefighters came…the poor young volunteers that had probably never seen a dead body before.

It took 4 hours before they finally took his body to the ME office.

And then I was alone, and I had to start making phone calls.

It’s one thing when it is your own pain, your own despair,

but when you have to tell someone that their friend, father, son-in-law, died. you change their life forever too.

And it sucks.

Song of a Life

Originally posted on Socci.com December 19th, 2009

After I met my 1st husband I gave him a copy of this poem. For those of you that know our story you’ll understand. I don’t remember where I originally found it…maybe in a book I read. But, wouldn’t it be nice if we could always be in tune with our own song and when we falter we would have those surround us with love instead of judgment. I am so thankful for those of you I have history with and sing my song to me in your own ways.

——————————-

When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she
goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray
and meditate until they hear the song of the child.

They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses
its unique flavor and purpose.

When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they
return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else.

When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child’s
song to him or her. Later, when the child enters education, the village
gathers and chants the child’s song.

When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the
people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person
hears his or her song.

Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family
and friends gather at the person’s bed, just as they did at their birth,
and they sing the person to the next life.

In the African tribe, there is one other occasion upon which the
villagers sing to the child.

If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or
aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the
village and the people in the community form a circle around them.
Then they sing their song to them.

The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not
punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you
recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that
would hurt another.

A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when
you have forgotten it.

Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or
dark images you hold about yourself.

They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness
when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your
purpose when you are confused.

You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song
to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when
you are in tune with yourself and when you are not.

When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and
when you feel awful, it doesn’t.

– Author Unknown