Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Place of Peace

On March 21, 2012, almost seven months to the day since her passing, Lindsey’s headstone was delivered and set at the graveside. I got to spend time with Josh there and it was so good to see him. We cleaned off the headstone, added fresh flowers to the vase, and gazed at her beautiful picture set in pink granite. It seemed like old times when we would work together taking care of Lindsey. With tears in our eyes, I thanked him for handling all the hard and painful things he did in Lindsey’s behalf. He truly was amazing with her through their married life and all of her illness. He was an amazing caretaker and he loved her so much.
Two weeks after she passed in August, he moved back to their town home in Saratoga Springs. And from that point forward it has been really different.
After Lindsey passed away I could go in and out of the room where they had lived. What was interesting was when Josh was still living there I didn’t have any problems going in and out of the room. Having him there made it seem like Lindsey was still here. The day he moved out I could not go back into the room where Lindsey died. I couldn’t bear seeing the emptiness and the barrenness. I avoided that space completely. Emotionally, I couldn’t bear the thought of Lindsey being gone, let alone realize we had lost Josh as well. It was interesting to watch myself and see how different things affected me in my grieving process.
Because of this, as well as many other triggers for me and the kids, Todd and I realized we couldn’t really stay in that home; so we moved Jan. 2, 2012. On the day we moved I went in and said goodbye to that empty room and sacred space where Lindsey had struggled to live and where she had peacefully passed on. I said goodbye to the space where Josh had so tenderly and lovingly cared for his sweetheart.
Grieving, to me, is letting go and facing every day without your loved one. It feels weird that they are not present, celebrating all the new things that are happening, and being a part of your life like they were before. Today is April 9th, 2012. It's Josh’s birthday - he is 28 years old. I think about his life and what he has already gone through during his short years. He stepped into our family and made such a huge difference in Lindsey’s life - and in ours.
I know that last year for Josh’s birthday, while Lindsey lay in bed, I helped her create and gather together fun ideas to use in celebrating. We had a lot of fun together thinking of different ways to honor him on his day.
I know that this year if she were here, she would sing a crazy Happy Birthday song to him and leave it on his voice mail. She would plan a special dinner and write him a tender note inside a sweet birthday card. She would express her love with her funny, sloppy handwriting that came about because of all the brain surgeries. She would find a funny t-shirt and make him wear it, like a superman shirt or something, and most of all she would hold his hand and gaze into his eyes and thank him for loving her even in this condition. She would thank him for feeding her and helping her with personal care She would thank him for talking to her in the middle of the night when she couldn't sleep and for rubbing her feet when she was uncomfortable or in pain.
And on the nights when she could sleep she would thank him for waking up over and over again to see if she was still breathing. She would thank him for standing by her to the end and listening as she took her last breath.
She would say "I love you Joshua Adam Karr. I shall never forget you and I will be by your side, even from the other side of the veil." She would say "we had our time together and its okay to move on, be happy, and when it comes time for you to have children I will be sending them from my tender arms to yours. I will be forever your friend, and your wife." For this year’s birthday present she would set Josh free of the pain of grief and loss so that he could move forward in this life the way he needs to.
Today we are also celebrating Josh’s engagement to his girl friend who is becoming his future wife. We know that he will always carry a tender place in his heart for Lindsey and our family. But we also know that he deserves to be with someone who is here and present and who can love him and take care of him. He deserves to have a family and have joy in his life again.
Healing the grief feels like we can celebrate life itself and the beautiful moments that come for loved ones in this world. I am starting to come out of some very painful learning. I feel at peace with Josh and our relationship and I am coming to a place of acceptance about Lindsey while understanding on a deep level that she is happy and free and living in a place of peace.