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my favorite hubby photo

My favorite photo of my husband, 2005.

My husband of 12 1/2 years died on September 29, 2008 after 5 1/2 months in the hospital. We had known each other for 16 years. It has now been just over three months since he permanently left his body. I miss him so much! And I’m often taken by surprise by the things that trigger my tears, and those that don’t. I haven’t actually screamed myself voiceless since the week of his death, but I’ve certainly cried, a lot.

After three months I’m just beginning to to get flickers of feeling like I may be able to find myself again after this awful past year. Actually, I’m discovering that “finding myself” is a much bigger project that I ever imagined it would be in the face of my husband’s absence. It isn’t just about the mundane challenge we all face of figuring out who I am, the search that so many of us are engaged in. I’m finding that every point of discovery is layered with the additional question of “How much/what part of this is really me and how much of it is my husband and/or compromises and accomodations that I made for him out of deep love?” I wonder how long it will take before I stop asking this question? I wonder how long it will be before I stop feeling married? How long will it be before it doesn’t feel wrong to have my wedding off for more than an hour or so?

In the midst of the trauma of his illness and his death I have also found some very good friends, and deep strengths within myself that I didn’t really know I had. I’ve learned a lot and had some very interesting spiritual experiences. I’d like to be able to share them. Before he went into the hospital on April 10 I had been a regular blogger. I really enjoyed not only writing about my own thoughts and experiences but also participating in the community that forms around other blogs. One of the things I want to do for myself in 2009 is begin again with this blog and the blogfriends I left hanging. Thank you all for your prayers, support, positive thoughts, and emails!

Here’s to a better, brighter 2009!

Sarah

1.  waking up to my dog licking my face

2.  cuddling with my cat in the morning after I’ve let the dog out

3.  the rich aroma and wonderful jolt of that first cup of coffee

4.  bright blue West Texas sky with puffy white clouds

5.  going to karaoke for the first time ever and being present when my baby brother asked his girlfriend to marry him after dragging her up on stage to sing a duet (I got video!) :)

6.  having someone else clean my house (thank god!!!)

7.  chocolate

8.  a great massage from my good friend Penny

9.  did I mention chocolate?

10.  my husband’s smile and an “I love you”

What makes you happy?

:)

I keep coming to my blog and looking at the home page as if eventually a pithy, charming new post will somehow magically appear. I guess the only way that would work is if I had an alternate personality who posts when I’m not looking. I wish! :) I suppose that what it really comes down to is that I’m lonely and want some fellowship but I haven’t got the brain cells to write anything to inspire online conversation.

Husband is still in the hospital. We’re moving into week 14 with many more ahead…more dialysis, more physical therapy, more respiratory therapy, more heart monitoring. He was moved out of the ICU to a long-term acute care (LTAC) hospital about a month ago. We like the nursing staff and the environment here is less sterile than a normal hospital. It has warm colors, nice lighting, wood-look vinyl flooring, and a nice sofa/bed in the room. I’ve also been able to hang in his room some of his favorite artwork from home along with family photos and get well cards. But its still not home.

I started a summer school course last week. Even though I’m at the hospital both before and after class each weekday, its so nice to be doing something social that makes me think about something other than hospital stuff. I’m taking “Techniques in Counseling.” Since much of the class will be taken up with actually practicing techniques on each other its a real joy to be in class with many gals who I know from other classes. Anyone got any suggestions of scenarios I can use on my classmates? :)

I’ve actually got several new posts half written. Eventually I’ll get them done and hopefully inspire some conversation. In the meantime, have a great week!

I’ve been aware for many years that hospitals are not the most positive places to be energetically. People are there because they’re sick, hurt, or dying. Emotions like worry, fear, despair, and anger are thick in the air. Even joyful events like the birth of a child, are often rife with anxiety. The dead often remain for quite some time and negative entities attracted to the confused and distressed energies are plentiful.

When Husband entered the hospital I had this reality somewhere in my mind. I know that as I was walking the halls and riding the elevator I was thinking vaguely in some part of my mind that I needed to maintain good boundaries to keep the negative energies from affecting me. But it wasn’t until into the second week of his stay that I actually walked through a cloud of despair that clung to me like a sticky fog and I had my “Duh!” moment.

Maintaining energetic boundaries in a place as challenging as a hospital isn’t something that you can do adequately from the back of your mind. It has to be a mindful, active process. Especially for an empath! Duh!

So, ever since then I’ve been trying to maintain an active awareness of keeping energetically clear. Here are a few of the things I do to help:

  • I take a few moments in my car to prepare myself. Simply sitting quietly for a few minutes and taking a few deep breaths can help to center me, to clear my head of other demands of the day, and focus my intent on my energetic integrity.
  • As I walk to the building I allow the sunlight to energize me and help burn away any negativity I may be carrying with me.
  • As I walk though the lobby to the elevators my “shields” go up. This isn’t as clever as imagining a set of armor going on. Its more something I just feel happening; an energy shift in my aura.
  • Going up to the sixth floor is another opportunity to take a few deep breaths.

My process in dealing with Husband, the doctors and nurses, and keeping the hospital room clear are post-worth by themselves.

When I get home I play with my dog and my cat. :) They pull me out of my fear and stress and help me focus on simple joys like a walk around the block and the fun of feathered toys. Laughter is a wonderful clearing!

——————
This is the end of Husband’s eighth week in the cardiac intensive care unit of the local medical center. I’m terrified of what the future may hold, but I remain a believer in miracles!

I have been absent for quite awhile now. On April 10, just three days after my last post my husband and I went to the doctor to talk with her about his allergies and what we believed to be asthma. After listening to him describe his symptoms she said she thought the problem may be heart-related. She did an EKG in the office, checked for edema and declared that he needed to go into the hospital “right now!” for more heart tests.

Since then he has been through two angiograms, open heart surgery, abdominal surgery, acute kidney failure, infections, multiple intubations for respiratory support, general weakness, pain, and phenomenal frustration.

As of today he is still in the cardiac intensive care unit. He will eventually be moved to a long-term care hospital where he will continue to recover and receive physical therapy.

Through all of this I have missed only one day at the hospital. Often I am there twice a day for 6-10 hours total. My house needs cleaning. My laundry needs washing. My dog needs walking. But each day I get up and go no matter how frustrated, depressed, or exhausted I am. Most days I’m actually able to be pretty cheerful and upbeat. I’ve made friends with the nursing staff and plastered Husband’s room with cards, photos, and healing crystals. I quiz the doctors hard when they come in, but I also remember their names, ask about their kids, keep a positive outlook and make them do the same.

I’ve come completely unglued and cried like a baby several times.

I’ve also learned some deeply important spiritual lessons, which I will eventually share.

I read an article several days ago about the psychological benefits of blogging. It shares some of the same benefits that keeping a journal has in the sense that it is a good way to get your thoughts out. It can be both a release and a way to clarify, to understand. But, blogging has the added benefit of connecting people with a community through comments and discussions. Before all this I was just beginning to establish myself as part of a blogging community. I’ve missed it. And right now I need all the friends I can get. So, I’ll be back soon…

“Never discourage anyone…who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”
~Plato (427 BC – 347 BC)

For years I believed that manifestation, the metaphysical process of bringing into reality the desires of your heart, was something that was supposed to happen quickly once you had set your intention and let go of your limitations. What I have come to appreciate more recently is the process part of manifestation. As part of this an appreciation for the element of time has also evolved.

Let me give you an example:

For years my husband has hated his job. He works in a university library and for a long time he enjoyed helping faculty and students with research, analysis of materials usage, and ordering new materials. Then a new dean of libraries came in with a new vision, one that included using librarian as sales reps to hawk the library’s programs to faculty rather than continuing to focus on the “old fashioned” skills of research and collection management. Husband bitched and moaned. We talked for hours. And over time we slowly built a picture of what his ideal job in the “new” library would look like—continuing to be the “go to guy” for research questions, being not only valued for but specifically given the job of doing complex analysis of materials usage to aid in purchasing decisions, helping with troubleshooting projects for the online catalog. The picture we painted together of this “perfect job” was wonderful, but we could never see a way for it to happen.

Finally out of depression and desperation Husband started talking about early retirement. About the same time a new department manager was hired, a woman who had worked in the library before and who Husband has always gotten along well with. He was able to talk with her about his frustrations, about his inability to be a sales person due to anxiety issues, and his desire to be valued for his unique skills. A few weeks later, New Manager tells Husband that she has created a new position just for him! He is now the go to person for all research questions, asked to do detailed analyses of use records and help his colleagues make purchasing decisions, and helps with troubleshooting. He had just been handed his perfect job on a silver platter! :)

From the time we started imagining the perfect job and the time it was given to him, Husband and I had spent almost five years manifesting this change.

I have learned several important lessons from this experience:

#1 Manifestation works! Yay! But not always on the time schedule you think you want, or you think is best; the universe has its own time schedule. It would be easy to insert a “DUH!” here :) , but the truth is that as spiritual beings in human form we tend to forget that time is limitless. We get, at best, only 80-100 years in each body, so we tend to want everything good right now. We forget that we are often unable to fully appreciate “good” things received at a “bad” time.

#3 Non-attachment creates flow! I don’t think that Husband would have been able to fully appreciate this opportunity even a year ago. Until recently he was still too tied up in knots about judging the new dean’s abandonment of services he feels are central to “good librarianship” to be able to relax and let the universe do its work. The new job came within just a few weeks of his finally letting go of this, and other, job-related attachments.

#2 Being nice to yourself is a source of great power! My belief that manifestation “done correctly” should happen quickly was a limitation on the universe that constricted the flow of energy both around the issue and within and through me. It became a source of self-judgment, and ultimately of self-doubt, both of which limit our powers of creation. People who are confident, self-loving, and open to possibility will find manifestation easier because they are likely to be more centered, better grounded, and more open to the flow of universal energy.

I’ve probably learned lots more good things from this experience, but these are the ones that are sticking with me most strongly. We are both very grateful for Husband’s new opportunity and these lessons. Hopefully we can put them to good use on manifesting more good things! :)

Tobeme wrote a post today asking “How Does Your Light Shine?” inspired by the lyrics of a Three Dog Night song, Shambala, followed by the questions: “Are we lighting the way? Are we radiant with love? Are we kind to all or just the ones we feel deserving our kindness? Do we look for the light in our brothers and sisters even when the ones who seem to be void of light?” In thinking about the post and the comments that followed I was most struck by the idea of radiating, rather than what we might be radiating. So, I commented:

I do think that I radiate light, even when I’m in a bad mood. No matter what emotional state I’m in or how loving (or not) I may be feeling at the moment I, and everyone else, always radiate the light of Divinity. Afterall, we are all God. What I try to do in my daily life is to keep this awareness fully conscious. The more mindfully conscious I am about my own and everyone and everything else’s Divinity the more likely I am to be patient, kind, loving, etc. with others as well as myself.

Two things came together to lead me to this answer. First was the most recent Energy Alert (March 24, 2008) in which Karen talks about our having reached an energetic milestone, long anticipated, which, in part, releases the many lightworkers who have been engaged in guiding others into expanded awareness from continuing with that responsibility. In addition to the universal implications of this release I took a more personal message that in this new energy I must finally, for sure and certain, let go of my habits of taking personal responsibility for other people’s growth and happiness. Second, was tobeme’s first question, “Are we lighting the way?”. When I first read that question I interpreted “lighting the way” as a directive to be actively engaged in drawing other people along the path (of enlightenment, awareness, growth, etc.). This annoyed me. I don’t want to be responsible for lighting anyone else’s path! I’m tired of holding up this damn light! But that irritation was good because it led me to what I think the deeper meaning of the question actually is, for me at least. Lighting the way can be, and is perhaps ultimately more powerful as a state of being rather than an action—each of us glowing from with in with the lovingkindness of our true nature, our Divinity, in such a way that our simple presence will positively influence (i.e. light the way) those around us.

May we all be fully conscious of our Divinity and in that awareness allow our light to illuminate the joy in our own lives and the lives of others so that we may all together experience the joy of being God!

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