Sunday, March 14, 2010

One Week

It’s been a week since…

It’s so hard to finish that sentence.

Last Sunday night there was a sort of relief and peace that I assume comes after a long battle like that. The weeks leading up to that day were full of visitors, and Michael was becoming more and more physically dependent on me. It was exhausting. So when he slipped away, I was able to release some of the tension I’d been holding. I cried. I took an Ambien. I went to sleep.

The last time he’d been coherent was Friday. During a visit from his mother’s priest, Michael had referred to me as “my good wife”. His last words to me were “I love you”. He was so sweet and loving all along.

I have been surrounded by friends and family all week. My dear friend Teresa came down from San Francisco on Monday, and she will be here with me for several more days. She and my family have been hard at work cleaning and organizing. They cleaned out the patio room and redecorated it for me. It’s no longer an overflow for the garage, but a second living and dining space. I absolutely love it.

Monday night I was either overcome with grief or food poisoning. After being at the funeral home for a couple of hours my stomach was in knots. The rest of the night was just awful, and I had to call my doctor for help. I told her I thought I must be sick with grief, and I asked her if that’s normal. She said it was, and she prescribed some things for my upset stomach and my nerves. It was an awful night.

Friday Michael’s family had a funeral mass for him. I was not involved in the planning of that at all. It was nicely done and I know it meant a lot to Michael’s mother. However, when I arrived it was obvious that Michael’s ex-girlfriend had been more involved in the preparations than I, and I was angry and hurt about that. She sat with his family, while I was directed to sit with my mine on the other side of the aisle. That made me cry, but one of Michael’s sisters, whom I have a good relationship with, came over and sat with me. There are a lot of things I could write here to express my hurt and anger about that situation, but I’m trying not to let bitterness get a hold in my heart.

Teresa and I have been busy preparing for the memorial service on Wednesday. We have filled up frames with favorite pictures and made a collage on a poster board. My sister made a lovely program for the service. It’s going to be a beautiful celebration of Michael’s life and the legacy of love, friendship, and music he’s left.

Tomorrow his ashes will be interred. I chose to have his urn placed in a glass-front niche. I’m putting a favorite photograph and a model guitar in the niche with the urn. I like that I can personalize it like that.

Emotionally, I’m finding that grief is like waves in that it ebbs and flows, and some waves are bigger and more powerful than others. I’ve never felt anything like this before. It’s a void. For the last sixteen years or so, Michael was always just a phone call away. Once I moved up here in 1997, he lived just two miles away. He was always so close and that was comforting to me even when we weren’t seeing each other.

It’s going to take some time to adjust to his absence in my daily life, but I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever get used to really. He was such a big part of me. Such a big, big part of me.


  1. Dear Joannah,
    I can truly understand how you feel. My heart goes out to you.
    Love and (hugs)),

  2. I heart breaks for what you are going through..I said it on your other blog and I will say it here..You are a amazing women. Hugs

  3. Wow, I am sorry for the situation at the mass. I like to think it was not as personal as it looked (and felt) maybe they were overcome by grief and simply let the ex railroad them.

    It is clearly not what Michael would have wanted, but I am sure he is very proud that you were Christian enough not to make a scene and you are vowing not to be bitter.

    You have been through a lifetime of changes in two short years. I hope you will post openly and honestly and let your bloggy friends try and support you as you learn to live without Michael.

  4. This must have been a difficult day on so many levels. I couldn't imagine seeing the ex girlfriend there sitting with his family. Again, you rose above it and handled it with Grace (even if you cried, I still find that graceful).

    The last words he said were "I love You". How absolutely beautiful and amazing. What string and powerful last words to latch onto. I don't there's a better way to say goodbye, in terms of words.

    I hope you are finding bits and pieces of peace in between the grief.



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