When we first got home from hospice, the girls and I could hardly wait to rid the house of anything that reminded us that cancer ever lived here.... We put things back as close to normal as we could -- though I keep finding things that are reminders of cancer. I don't actually like looking at photos of his last days because he doesn't look like Harv to me. And, the last couple of weeks his mind was befuddled and he didn't even sound so much like himself... but I know he was still there inside.
I think Raney notices that something or many somebodies are missing... She loves me a lot, but last night she heard a sound that I think she thought was the key in the front door. She jumped up and grabbed her toy and wagged her tail in the hopes that one of the missing somebodies would walk through that door. I believe the sound she heard was the ice maker in the fridge...
Sarah and Hannah are immersed in school and are, thankfully, loving it. They are enjoying their classes and both have good roommates. Hannah is becoming very excited about computer science and the possibility of being in the graphic design program. Sarah is enjoying her classes as well. Both girls have found a few people to run with and they've been able to show their new runner friends some of the great trails that Bellingham has to offer. They have received lots of love to support them in their grief.
Celeste and Anthony seem to be enjoying the fun new parts of marriage and settin' up housekeepin'... Though being in the midst of learning about grief and in the midst of learning about marriage is somewhat challenging. They, too, --- like S, H and I --- are surrounded by good friends and are finding life and social events to be helpfully distracting at times.
As for me, I've taken some good walks with friends, eaten dinner with friends, and tried to take care of some of the businessy parts of dealing with a spouse's death. The businessy parts are my least favorite, but I'm trying to be responsible and trying to do what I think Harv would do. I've also had to have a few household things taken care of and that's been a good feeling of accomplishment -- even if I had to hire someone to take care of it.
The moment that Harvey died -- perhaps a few moments before -- I cried... but I haven't had the kind of cry that I wish I could... I don't know why that is, but my theory is that (1) I've experienced a fair bit of loss over the past seven years and (2) I have been grieving for/with/about Harvey for almost four years and (3) there's a feeling of relief that Harvey's not sick -- relief for him and relief that I'm not taking care of a sick person and (4) all of that grieving and loss has kinda formed a protective shell around my heart, I think. Not on purpose. I don't even mind crying. I know it's healing, but I think there's something outside of my control that is being protective.
My lack of tears does not diminish the loss I feel. The house is too empty. No one is stomping up the stairs or hurriedly trying to time all his breakfast items so that they're ready at the same time. There are no work phone calls happening right now. KBoards is quietly continuing without its leader at the helm. No one is playing his guitar or other music too loud for my taste. There's no one gettin' excited about Christmas lights and new workshop projects. Harv's not sittin' at the kitchen counter these days while I prepare dinner or make my coffee. He's not joining me in the living room in the mornings by the fire. Harv's not hearing me fuss that he should probably change his t-shirt or that he's too wiggly in the bed... I'm not preparing for a trip with him somewhere warm and sunny in the winter. He's not sittin' at the dining room table tellin' stories with the girls. We're all not sittin' in the front of the tv watchin' Harv excel at Wheel of Fortune and then Jeopardy before we watch "The West Wing" reruns or "Frasier" or "Friends" or any number of movies. I'm wearing his cashmere sweater instead of him wearin' it. The peanut butter jar still has lots of peanut butter in it. And the butter that had been used quite frequently for toast isn't being used very fast either. Harv is not here.
Yes. This house is lacking...this HOME is lacking... I feel it. Raney feels it.
And, at the very same time... people are continuing to reach out and fill the void. The truth is, as much as I enjoy being with other people for meals or walks or social times, the void is still there... This void won't be filled. That doesn't mean I don't want people to still reach out, but sometimes a girl needs to just sit with her void unfilled and be.
Thank you to all of you who have been so good to us. Who reach out. Who call or text or send messages. Please keep doing it. Sometimes I will say yes...'cause it feels right. And, sometimes I will say "Thanks so much. I need to be at home or by myself."
Please pray for all of the people who are feeling the loss of Harv -- his growin' up family in particular.
It's not right that he's not physically here, but I keep holdin' onto the idea that he's still hangin' around one way or another. So, every day I light a candle and pretend he's sittin' by the fire with me.
He was a good, good man. And, I am a lucky, lucky lady that we met and that we spent 20 years loving each other. For that, I am very thankful.