A Year of Byes (Not All Good)

A year ago today, we had the memorial service to say good bye to Phil. It wasn’t the first time for good bye. We had said good bye over and over again in his hospice room. We had said good bye in the mortuary and we would continue to say good bye all year. Each good bye seemed to pull a thread from the fabric of my heart which has been left frayed around the edges. I dealt with this loss the way I deal with everything: get busy and get stuff done. I crocheted numerous afghans. I patched tile. I gardened. I cleaned and cleaned again.

Then the pandemic hit. I would get angry every time I would hear the pitiful slogan, “alone together.” I was alone alone. Poor Jennie. So, I made more afghans. I baked. I got a cat (I DO love my cat). I did what little I could to help my friend Mela within the COVID constraints, before a very sad and painful good bye. Sometimes a quiet voice would whisper in my ear, “Listen,” but the constant chattering in my mind and busy work muffled the message. Drat, I bet it was a good one. Sometimes the images in my mind of the present were sepia tinged, just like those accompanying my memories of the past.

My constant companion, GUILT, has hung with me. I feel guilty when I finish a task happily unencumbered by a, “Why did you do it that way?” comment from Phil, or when I start a project that Phil had previously vetoed. Where am I going? Sadly, Phil’s not here to ask or answer that question either. Sometimes when Phil was angry with me he would say, “Nothing makes you happy.” He’s probably still saying that. I’ve had a year to realize, no thing makes me happy. I have to make myself happy. I am truly blessed with family and friends who help me to do so. Memories can make me happy and sad. Life is good, but it is complicated. A year ago today, we were memorializing Phil. A year later, I’m STILL memorializing Phil. The following is from a year ago:

FAREWELL

Phillip Wayne Taylor passed away November 2, 2019 at the age of 72. So began Phil’s obituary. On October 29th, Phil decided that he had had enough of potentially successful treatment at the expense of his life (you know the ol’ story – the doctor tells the patient’s family, “the treatment was a success, but I’m afraid the patient died”) and he chose to enter hospice. He had two days of comfort, and positive interaction with friends and family, before slipping into unconsciousness, and passing away on the morning of November 2nd. I, along with our children, and his best friend were with him.

He had been ill for more than half of our 42 years of marriage. Death had hunted him and he had eluded it, time and time again. He, and we, thought that he was invincible. Of course, he wasn’t, and neither are any of us.

Family and friends gathered to say goodbye. The love of my friends and family sustains me. The love we had for Phil (faults and all), sustains his memory. And so, life is good, but death isn’t all bad. When we’ve been suffering, it provides relief. When we’re tired, it provides rest. When we’re apart, it brings us together. It provides an opportunity to remember good times and the best of people who’ve passed. It casts a shadow that softens difficult memories, while encouraging forgiveness. It reminds us to tell the people we love, that we love them, while they can hear us. The gift of death, is the same as the gift of life: love.

“In my life, I’ve loved them all.”

7 thoughts on “A Year of Byes (Not All Good)”

  1. Jennie-
    I saw a political sign in my neck of the woods for a Jennie Taylor. Don’t know what she was running for and don’t believe she was on my ballot, but was curious about her.
    I’ve been wondering how you have been doing with this milestone. I know, it’s complicated.
    Your pal
    Andrea

    Sent from my iPhone

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    1. I hope that Jennie Taylor is nice! To be honest, I’m conflicted. It was difficult with Phil at the best of times, and times were rarely at their best, but I still loved him, and I can get lonely. I’m sure things will be better once we get past Coronavirus. Thank you dear friend!

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  2. Oh, Jennie! What a year. You are a gifted writer, and I’m glad your words have allowed you to, “ Get stuff done.” I know they are healing and help calm a busy mind. Grief is fodder for writers. I sometimes wish happiness was just as inspiring. Alas, I feel most writes have a moody disposition and thrive under adversity. Keep writing and I hope you continue to heal. I sometimes find myself running errands on Saturday and remind myself to look for you blog. Thank you, for sharing your story and your musings.

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  3. My heart hurts and my eyes are teary. You have moved me with your writing, because I often feel guilty while waiting for death to relieve my mother of her constant pain and inability to have the life she wants. I think we both live in that place now, which makes the time we’re spending together at the end of her life bittersweet.

    Thanks for providing me with an emotional touchstone. Your blog has very real value.

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    1. Thank you Jennifer. I share my experience in hopes of helping others. If I can make people laugh, too, I’ve hit the jackpot. I’m looking forward to a time when we can get together!

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