this guy is the love of our lives
//all photos my own//
for the few weeks after my husband’s father died, there was this overwhelming feeling of numbness.
all these emotions were just under the surface, but I couldn’t access them, or maybe I didn’t want to.
when I admit it, Rudi has been dying for three years; his body first fighting cancer of the bowel (defeated!), then lung cancer (holding like in a stasis, not obliterated but not advancing forward) then finally after swelling & subsiding & swelling again, 11 months after the cancer invades the kidneys, he is overrun and can no longer fight back.
when the doctors said that his kidneys were shutting down, we flew, me a few days after my husband who was there with his sisters on a hospital bedside vigil. when I arrived 3 days before he passed, I don’t know if he knew it was me. his eyesight was very depreciated and the toxins that were building up in his body were causing hallucinations. everyone was packed into the small hospital room; Rudi’s two daughters, his niece, his two sisters who arrived from NZ, comings and goings of 6 grandkids, a son-in-law, me the daughter-in-law and his son, my husband. when we all arrived his wife ceased coming to the hospital. it caused tension but was not addressed but in the weeks after he’s passed, Jay and his sisters are no longer speaking to their mum. they are angry and don’t understand how she could stop visiting her husband in hospital. i don’t understand either, but i can imagine it would be a combination of things; acceptance of the inevitable, complete exhaustion for being the primary caregiver for years, withdrawal from being overwhelmed by so many people when she’s so used to being alone in that remote location. or maybe she’s just a terrible person. I don’t think so. I don’t know. no-one else knows the intimate details of a marriage that lasted 49 years. I don’t want to judge.
sometimes I forget that he’s gone. I see something and go to tell Jay that we should tell his dad about it. I remember just before I say something or sometimes halfway through the sentence.
these emotions are accessible through the numb surface now. it’s like a cloud of feelings. there all at once but slightly indiscernible, like you grasp onto one emotion and before you can fully feel it, it bleeds into another. a jumble of sadness, loss, anger, regret, denial, acceptance, relief. it’s almost too much to put into words.
my friend Grace has always spoken about ‘love languages’; how each of us naturally express and receive love. my love language is action. I show my love through doing things for those I love. at the farm, while my husband and sisters spent every moment, awake and asleep, next to their father, I became the General of the household. I organised people into teams for Duty; food, washing, bedding, runs to the hospital with provisions, airport run to collect family members, gardening, etc. I felt useful and in control. everything around me could fall apart but I could control something. if I could have gone into his body and cut out the cancer I would have. I still didn’t believe he would actually die. neither did Jay.
Rudi came home to die. his grandkids built a bonfire outside of his room, which he saw momentarily before his eyesight was gone completely. the night he came home, he slipped into a coma before taking his last breath two hours later. Jay was holding Rudi’s hand when his fight ended. that’s what it was; a fight that he didn’t want to give into to. three years of subpar health, but three additional years.
my husband is broken. he can’t deal with this noxious cloud of emotions. last week he was at breaking point. he’s agreed to see a councillor to discuss his feelings. he signed up to do it the 21st century way; counselling via phone & email. hey, I’m just proud and relieved that he’s seeking help. everyone deals with things differently. It breaks my heart to see him hurting so much. It breaks my heart that I can’t take care of this; that I can’t take his pain away. he’s a man of few words which especially doesn’t bode well during times of emotional turmoil. I do know that he won’t feel this raw forever. I don’t think that time heals all wounds but it definitely makes them easier to live with.
bonfire for Rudi
earth how often havethedoting fingers ofpurient philosophers pinchedandpokedthee,has the naughty thumbof science proddedthy beauty .howoftn have religions takenthee upon their scraggy kneessqueezing andbuffeting thee that thou mightest conceivegods (buttrueto the incomparablecouch of death thyrhythmiclover thou answerestthem only with spring)e.e. cummings
I think a lasting friendship is one of life’s greatest joys.
There are people who surpass the friend status and become family.
Their political opinions, religious beliefs and social ideology don’t always have to mirror your own, but as long as your respect and love for each other is at the forefront, then friendship will last.
I am lucky to have a handful of such people in my life. They are etched to my soul.
//my weekly bunch of beautiful blooms//
“Why I Wake Early
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.”
People (friends, family, work colleagues) are always telling me that I fall in love too easily. Yes, even my husband says it quite often!
I fall in love with places, books, bands, foods, friends, movies, animals, quotes,
celebrities and historical figures, products, brands and companies.
I fall in love with them and hold on to that love for weeks, months, even years and sometimes, I simply fall out of love in moments.
I don’t think I’m overusing the feeling; it simply is what it is and I am who I am. I feel things all encompassing and I am passionate about stuff.
To quote a line from Gwyneth Paltrow’s character in Country Strong “Fall in love with as many things as possible“; this sounds to me like a life motto that everyone should follow.
While I’ve been fortunate to find my soul mate early on in high school, I’ve also been an adult child of divorce and been smack bang in amongst the horrendous agony of heartbreak. I’ve comforted many a friend through breakups and loss of loved ones. I myself, am still dealing with the total and utter heart-pulverizing of my father’s walk-out from our family. I’ve lost a few beloved friends & family too. Often someone’s response is to close their heart in an attempt to plug the hurt or halt any future possibility from taking seed.
While love comes in many forms (affection, fondness, personal attachment, to take pleasure in, sexual passion & desire) it enriches our lives in many ways. We often find incomparable bonds with complete strangers due to love; think of the cheery rowdy times you’ve had watching your football team at the pub with a bunch of strangers, the camaraderie you have as a nation when watching the Olympics or the relief and acceptance you feel when someone else at the party likes reruns of the dorky original Beverly Hills 90210!
Poets have written about love for centuries, empires have been built and destroyed, revolutionary theories have been invented and artworks that transcend time created. We as humans need to feel love; the soaring highs, the soft blanketing moments and tragic lows. It’s part of our humanity.
Love makes us whole.
Now, who or what are you going to fall in love with today?