Friday, March 20, 2015

Measuring the days

As we've been creeping closer to the anniversary of Kevin's death I've been rereading the caringbridge posts from last year. I was so exhausted and so focused on him that I wasn't keeping a journal. Caringbridge and this blog are as close to a journal as I have for that time in my life.

A year ago today Kevin was home. We had come home the day before. It was very difficult. He was very weak and couldn't really walk. Our house is old and not designed for a wheelchair. Caring for him at home required multiple people. I was fortunate that so many rallied around us. I'm writing this now from our dining room, the room that became his bedroom. It's so quiet and empty. This time last year we were struggling to care for him and still respect his privacy. It was a tricky dance, but one I wish I could have danced longer.

At the time I knew he was dying though we still thought he could rally enough to fight. I didn't know it would be so soon. I thought we had time. We all did. Kevin held onto the faith that he could beat it until he was told it was over. I thought we could at least buy him some more comfort, a chance to feel like himself for a little while.

I remember last year commenting to him that it was the Spring Equinox, that the days would be getting longer now and maybe things would be a little lighter. We spent part of the day on the back porch, it was warm enough to do so. His nephews and son sat outside with him. I was in and out, trying to get a handle on a house overrun by people and illness. He finally asked me to just sit with him. I can still feel his hand in mine. I can still feel the warm sunlight. I can still hear his breathing and the hum of the hospital bed. I wish I had spent more time out there with him.

I didn't know we were down to single digits, that there were only 7 days left when I could feel his hand and hear his breathing. I didn't know.

I don't know if I would have done anything differently had I known. It's trite and oversaid, but none of us know how much time we have. We must live as if we are about to die, yet we must also live in this world with its needs and demands. It's a hard balance to strike.

There are so many things I want to say here. I want to talk about how my whole life has felt out of balance since Kevin died. I want to observe that, in spite of this pain and grief, I am still here. I want to marvel at the power of love. I want to say so many things.

And I want to say none of them. Nothing feels like it has any power in this moment.

So I will say this. Loving Kevin and being loved by him was the best part of my life. It was an enormous gift from the universe. I was so very lucky. I know that someday I will feel better, I will feel balanced, I will eventually forget to count the weeks.

But not today. Grief has its own rhythms and I am finding these days leading up to the anniversary of his death have their own demands. Today I will remember the love and the sorrow.  I will let myself feel the waves and troughs. I will measure the days we had together and those I have had alone. I will sit in the warm sunlight and imagine his hand in mine. I will remember.

(51 weeks. To write that is too much. I love you.)

(c)2015 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
Related Posts with Thumbnails