Archive | December 2012

Another New Year’s Eve

So, it is New Year’s Eve again. I face another year alone. I faced 2010, 2011, and 2012, I guess I have not redeemed my sin because now I am now facing my fourth year alone. It sucks, it really sucks. I keep dreaming of the 20 years that we spent nights ushering in the new year while in each other’s arms. Showering kisses on each other’s lips like magical dust. I will never feel those perfect lips upon my own again. As I end my third year alone, the thoughts that prevail in my mind—I will never feel those perfect lips upon my own again. I will never feel those strong arms around me again. I will never know love again.


I remember the last New Year’s Eve. I spent the entire night crying my eyes out after two friends told me that my grief dishonored my husband’s memory. Cut like a knife. I never feel that my love for him dishonors his memory. I miss him. Perhaps my grief holds him back, but my grief holds me back too. When you love someone so deeply, you will grieve just as deeply. Every step I take and every little thing I do—I remember him. And just when I catch myself smiling, I remember that he is gone. He is gone and he is not coming back.

I do not have to imagine what 2013 holds for me, I already know. The new year will be the same empty existence I found during the last three years. My year will consist of trying to pretend that my loneliness somehow proves my independence. I will spend my nights clutching a red scrunchie so tightly while I beg my dead husband to talk to me. I will spend my days doing what I have to do in order to endure my punishment so that I can feel those lips and strong arms around me once again. I will spend the year waiting…again. I miss you, my love.

©2012 Relinda R.


Broken Vases and Broken Hearts

Sometimes, in life, there are shattered pieces scattered across the earth that are destined to remain broken. That is as true for vases as it is for hearts. Regardless of how much glue one uses to try to put all the pieces back together, it just will not hold. Duct tape is useless when there are a million pieces scattering in the breeze. Whether the glue is in the form of dead horses that once breathed the power and beauty of life or Libby Louise’s tips on overcoming grief, it is impossible. At least one piece, probably more, will catch in the breeze and drift aimlessly, never to be found again.

ImageOf course, one can use glue or duct tape to hold the remaining shards together, but that is only a patch. The scars are there forever. The fractures will always be visible. Once broken, it will remain broken. And there will always be that missing piece visible for all the world to see. People will inquire what happened to the beautiful vase that once was home for freshly cut orange, pink, and blue flowers and you may reply that fate knocked it from its perch and broke it into a million pieces. It leaped from the table to its sudden death, but it lives on scarred and missing that one important piece. I could not save the thing, as hard as I tried. And now it continues to live on, a wretched hull of something that once exuded warmth and love, while transcending eternity. Without that piece, it is ugly, empty, broken… and worthless.

ImageThat is how it is for vases, as well as hearts. Contrary to popular belief, there are separations so strong that Elmer, duct tape, or Libby Louise is powerless in efforts of renovation. One may pick the scattered pieces up and try to make it whole again, but sometimes, it is pointless. Sometimes that missing piece is the key to being complete. Sometimes that one missing piece was the part that exhibited the warmth and love that made the whole thing simply beautiful. Sometimes that missing piece is everything and without it, there is only a desolate hull remaining. Sometimes…

©2012 Relinda R.

Killing Optimism

“Totally without hope one cannot live. To live without hope is to cease to live. Hell is hopelessness. It is no accident that above the entrance to Dante’s hell is the inscription: “Leave behind all hope, you who enter here.”
Jürgen Moltmann


It seems that optimism surrounds me. As much as I try to avoid it—it just keeps calling to me. I despise this time of the year. I despise welcoming some new year that offers so little to me. I despise it almost as much as Christmas commercialism at its finest. I expect one thing from this new year—to be one year closer to fulfilling a promise I made years ago and one year closer to reuniting with my heart. Grief killed Hope long ago. Hope is no longer pulling at the drawstrings of my mind. I wished upon all the falling stars I could find and I pretended all that one can, prior to completely breaking with reality.  Oh, it was a mighty battle when Hope and Grief tangled. Hope had resorted to hiding among the corners of my mind, just prolonging the inevitable. When Grief found him cowering, he struck a mighty blow, but Hope stood strong and fought to the end. I watched as the two battled like worthy knights battling for the love of a woman. I watched as Grief dealt the deathblow that would silence Hope forever. I cried. Hope was the only chance at renewal. Hope is dead.

A resounding “NO” meets every wish I have made during the last few years. The sound reverberates within my mind…No, No, No. How solemn it is to live without Hope. I think knowing him for 44 years makes his absence more devastating. I was an optimist. I always had Hope, even when Hope wanted to go away.

I see the way people look at me now, or rather do not notice me. I suppose that when I had Hope it just did not matter. I was once loved. I was once adored. When you are loved, you perceive a reflection of the person your lover sees. When love goes away and Grief murders Hope, you see an accurate reflection of yourself. When I gaze into a mirror, I see an image so haggard it makes me gasp in disbelief. When Hope is dead, you see only reality. There are no rose-tinted glasses or dreams blocking the accurate view. There is only reality. Reality is lonely.


I found Optimism hiding with all the Others and I asked what it is they are so frightened of and Optimism said they did not want to live in hell anymore.

©2012 Relinda R.


The Promise

“Many of you know that I lost my husband Doyle last December. It has been a very difficult road, and I KNOW that I would not be standing here today if it weren’t for my husband, this fine faculty, my family, and my friends. It was during semester finals time that my husband fell ill and my instructors were so kind and worked with me to ensure that I did not drop out. Before he died, Doyle wanted me to tell those instructors what wonderful people they are—I am doing that now. He made me promise that I would finish college. LOOK AT WHAT YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED DOYLE.”~Relinda “Student Commencement Speech Graduation 2010”


After navigating heartbreak, storms, and misery, we did it. We achieved a pivotal point of a goal that was set in 2008. We graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in English. I did not establish the goal alone; my husband and I decided that it would be a logical step for me to pursue an Associate of Arts degree, knowing that a Master of Arts would signify the completion of a dream. I began taking college courses during the summer of 2008 with my devoted husband by my side. He helped me study. He rubbed my back and neck when I ached from studying. He encouraged me. He loved me.

We were only one semester shy of earning an Associate of Arts degree when he succumbed to cancer. I hate that word; I hate that it continues to destroy lives. At the conclusion of our third semester of college, I buried my husband. During January 2010, I began a concluding chapter in our goal, but I began alone. I was no longer his “college girl,” I was merely a widow no longer caring whether I woke in the morning or not. But I made a promise to him. As he was dying, he asked me to promise that I would finish college and teach. It was a promise I made and it remains a promise that I will keep.

In May 2010, I stood at a podium to represent a group of college graduates as we celebrated our accomplishment. I spoke about the fact that none of us accomplishes anything alone. There is always someone helping as we each follow our own journey. I have been fortunate to have the help of many others: family, friends, professors, and most of all, my wonderful husband.

There are days that I honestly do not know how I endure the grief. I know the grief will never lessen as I learn to accept the fact that my love is gone (the grief only grows), but I also know that I must fulfill the promise I made three years ago. He never had the chance to see me accept my first degree and he was not there for the second degree either, at least not physically. But it helps my heart to believe that he was there in spirit, smiling and whispering “That’s my college girl” and I have to believe that he will be there the next time too. I must believe.

©2012 Relinda R.