Closing the Promise

How do you close a promise when it has already been spoken? Heartbreaking as it may seem, one must let go of the promises made with the other because of their passing. During the last few days my husband and I were together, we had this interesting conversation. He suddenly uttered, “…when the time comes you probably have another man in your life”. I couldn’t recall what exactly we were talking about but what he said stuck in my mind. I remember answering in an innocent reply saying that he is my husband and he will be the one and only man in my life and quickly adding why he say such words. Well, the answer became obvious  since four years ago.

He simply replied with his usual soft voice, “thank you”, to end the conversation. Revisiting this scene still gives me shiver.

You continue to love the person despite them being away for quite sometime without expecting their return. Without physical presence the love keeps going on. That is the mystery of love. Surprisingly, there is no pain when they leave. There is even no tear for a time. There is just the air of overwhelming, for the lack of better word, sadness and solidarity.

Promises made, promises broken. Do you betray the man you made a promise with? A question that I believe widow’s like me encounter. The feeling of guilt. While you carry the feeling of being left in the air — it is such a horrible feeling. You cannot be angry, you cannot blame them for leaving.

Do you really betray the man you made a promise with when you decided to join the world of the living? The life we had with our spouses as well as the future we planned with them will always be there. It will forever shape our paths, it affects the way we see the world. Their death is now part of our life. Choosing to live a new life with a new partner or threading a completely opposite life from the one heard by our beloved is incomparable to the promises we made with them. It is not betrayal.

Choosing to live a happier life does not mean that we will forget them. On the other hand, we are giving them a favor by not living in the past and not letting another soul be buried with sorrow and pain on earth while they continue their journey to the after life. Letting go means moving forward while keeping all the memories of the past in our hearts.

There is no betrayal as we continue to honor them for being part of our past. There is no betrayal as the promises made will still be fulfilled only on a different form, in a different situation. There may be a lot of letting go but we can never close a promise once made, they will always be kept in the most sacred room in our hearts, where the love for our spouses live on.

There is no betrayal of the promise, there is only the changing of the chapter.

The First of Every Occasions

After the passing of my husband, I knew that grief and longing will not be over soon. Each day left me more clueless than the day before. And it would seem that even the simplest chore in the house is a burden. There was a time I was walking from our house to the office, the usual walk we do every week day to get to the office. The distance got shorter as my body got used to the routine, the first walk without my husband seemed like the longest walk I did. From watching my step, I looked straight forward and wondered why does the street seemed longer than before. The street seemed to be quiet than usual — no cars nor people passing by. It seemed like I owned the street for once. Time seemed to slow down as I take every step alone. I realized that this is just the start of the many firsts in my life without the company of my husband.

His Birthday. It was ten days after his death that I needed to celebrate his birthday. I remember one night, we are talking about his upcoming birthday. We were planning to do something special, a simple yet memorable activity for his special day. I asked him what does he want for his birthday and he replied in his usual soft voice — “all I wanted to have for my birthday is already beside me” and me joking, “okay then, I will just wrap myself up so you can open me on your birthday” but I already plan on buying a coffee maker since his is already broken. He’s such a sweet and deep guy, that is one of the many reasons why I fell in love with him. We never run out of topics since we have the whole world to talk about, imagine both cultures collide together. We never had a dull moment in our spare time.

I will always miss those deep and smart yet totally humble conversations with him every night. I learn and I love. That is all I need by my side.

My Birthday. Only three days before our anniversary and same as the other normal days after my husband’s death, my birthday is not as special as when he was still alive. Friends are reluctant to ask me to celebrate as they know I am still grieving. It’s fine, though, as I also do not feel like celebrating this year. I simply hid to the world and treasured my safe haven. Solidarity is my greatest wish.

Friends are God-sent. They come in different forms (some are bubbly, some are sympathetic, some are simply hanging there). They have a mission to cheer you up when you are down, to take care of you when you feel your worst. They are your support system when the family is busy earning a living. Though they do it to complete a mission, they are not saints, so make sure to always be there for them as they were with you.

I can count my friends on my fingers — those true and cruel ones. I love them. I prefer no labels. I prefer to call them friends. They are already special.

Our Wedding Anniversary. What couldn’t even be worse than celebrating your first wedding anniversary alone. Reminiscing our wedding day and looking to the future of what our life might have been if he were still alive. I visited his grave and said my prayers. I whispered to myself, I am getting tired of all these celebrations considering that birthday’s and anniversaries are happening on the same month plus I am not yet in the celebration stage, I need to choose which ones are the most important so I can only honor those.

Our anniversary is a lot better if my husband is here to celebrate it with me.

Christmas Day. Looking back at how I celebrated this happy and cozy season last year, my husband and I went to my mother’s house for a small family gathering to welcome Christmas as we normally do. The picture I keep on my box. Though it’s different this time, I have my hubby with me. It multiplied the happiness I feel because the most important person in my life is now here to celebrate with me.

I will always miss the air of Christmas when he still belong to me and the feeling will never be replaced.

New Year’s Day. New Year’s Eve was I think the most sentimental occasion for me. As I reminisce the last time I spent it with my husband on the balcony of our apartment, it was the most perfect moment. The ones you see in movies were a couple sits contentedly on their balcony to watch the fireworks and peak a kiss when the clock strikes 12. It also happens in reality.

New Year was the only occasion where I felt complete.

Valentine’s Day. The air of love is everywhere. While roses and chocolates are everywhere, I feel as if the world is incomplete without him. I hide myself to my haven and wish for the day to end.

Valentines always makes my heart skip a bit.

The Sunset

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Silver Lakes Helendale, Ca 8/14/2015 | Photo: queenie

I watched the sun set today by the lake,
the water was calm, the wind was kissing my cheek.
A perfect view to end the day.
Instead of feeling happy, my heart became sad.

As I adore the scenery, my heart realizes there will always be someone missing in the picture
who might also wish to join me on this great escape
However, our world is as far as heaven and earth.

My Wedding Ring and the Stories Along with It

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Quezon City, Philippines 11/06/2010 |            Photo: queenie

It has been four years and three months since my husband passed away. Four years ago, a woman on her twenties would struggle accepting this fact. Sometimes you feel like you are floating — left with no emotions and nowhere to go. Sometimes you lose your grip to the world and in a split second your mind cheats you by saying, “you are only dreaming”.

As if everything is not enough to remind you of your husband’s death, you have not settled your emotions yet but you need to attend to the things he left behind. What will I do with our wedding ring now that I have two? Logic and sanity aside, I kept it on my ring finger and wore my husbands’ a pendant on my necklace. His death did not end my love for him neither did his love for me, and the wedding ring is the material symbol of it.

Being the clueless me, I searched in the web how young women like me face this kind of tragedy in their life. How do they continue living, what did they do with their husbands things and what have they done to their pair of rings? Some explained that the very next day after their husband’s funeral, they removed it, placed the rings to its case and kept it inside their closet. Visiting it every time they miss their husbands. When the brave me tried it, removed mine and placed it beside his and kept it in our closet, the whole day without my ring was a total trash. Can I bear to remove the only reminder of him? Then I told myself that this is not the right move for me.  There are others who went to a jeweler and turned them into either a necklace or a set of jewelry.

I got a lot of answers to my questions, thanks to mr. Google, but I did none. A friend even adviced me once to remove my ring so guys will not be in doubt of my relationship status, well, if guys are serious about me, then they will approach me and get to know me first.

What I learned from all these is to keep it. The simple things that may not seem much to others meant the whole world to me. It doesn’t matter if you want to wear it, melt it or just keep it in your closet what matters is what’s in your heart. What do you want to do with them? You’ve been through a lot of emotional setbacks and you don’t want to torture yourself more into doing what you don’t want to do. Trust your intuition.

For the years I’m wearing it, I felt at peace. I remember, I forgot to wear it one day and it was an awful feeling considering that it was also the day of our anniversary. Having an empty finger somehow reminds me of the sad truth that I am alone. So from then on, I decided on still wearing it.

Come to think of it today, it somehow saved me answers from guys who want to ask me out and am not interested. Having to wear “our” ring sends a message to the world that I am still his one and only Mrs. Having the ring with me, also gives me the chance to connect to others who also experienced this kind of loss. The ring was the ice breaker. It is not that I feel happy for them, it is the kind of feeling that makes me realize that I am not the only person suffering this kind of feeling. I once met a friend who told me his story about dealing with the loneliness of losing his wife for 56 years. Though it would seem that my grief might not count to the short years I’ve been with my husband compared to him with his wife, it is with him that I learned that there is no level of pain when it comes to loss. There is simply PAIN. He talks without judgment.

I’m glad I meet people like him who understands, although friends are enough to comfort me sometimes, having someone who experienced loss first hand is quite comforting to the heart. Somehow reminds me that I am not the only lonely widow in the world.

There were times when there’s an urge to remove my ring and go to the jeweler to finally melt it down. These are the times when I thought I found love again. The times when I met someone and connected. “I will not be wrong with my gut-feel this time since I already fell in love once — heck! I even married the guy.” Then again I was wrong. The positive feel I felt yesterday was gone the next day. My emotions are the ones that confuse me sometimes. So I take extra care of it. Just as the special things my husband and I shared, I keep it like my treasure — as he would if things happened differently.

The time might come when I need to remove my ring but as of today, I will just cherish the remaining moments that it forms part of my life. Then again, his death did not end my love for him neither did his love for me, and the wedding ring is the material symbol of it.

I Remember You

I remember you

when I wash the dishes, I see you beside me waiting for me to hand you the clean plates,

when I sleep at night and notice the empty space on my bed, I try to fill my body in the middle to somehow try to fill the emptiness,

when I watch a movie that we once watched together, I cry as I remember hugging you when i start to get so attached to the story,

when I walk past a familiar street I try my best to carry my trembling feet. Nostalgic of all the walks we did and the sweet and quirky conversations we had,

I remember you on these occasions (and more) as I do it a thousand times each day. Safe to say I remember you every second of every day. Sigh, as I realize all I have are memories of you.

Sometimes I simply miss you a lot. When I start to feel like crying, i think of you and how you will live this life if you were in my shoes. You haven’t taught me enough, you left so sudden — without goodbyes.

On losing you, I know it is not easy and it will never get easier each day. as I try to pick up the broken pieces of my heart hoping that somehow these pieces are part of yours so I can get the courage to get up and live another day.

you will always be my one and only, hubby.

When Life Happens

She said, “one day I will be a wife, a mother”.

She would usually dream that when that day comes she would know it instantly. Nothing magical nor legendary, nothing like a fairy tale of that sort. Her husband may not be one of the most handsome as long as she wakes up feeling happy, untiringly looking at his face every morning. With the kids around, she would always have a fully booked schedule. A predictable life of simplicity and peace.

One day, life happens.

She met someone. She refused but with a single splash of fate, they dated and got along pretty well. Every second with him was magic and every day was a legend of love’s mysteries. He described vividly the details of their first meeting, he confessed, “the first time I saw you, I literally knew I finally found my wife” – it was her. Looking amazed of how great knowledge this man has that he immediately deciphered the signs and solved the puzzle, she was left in awe.

She realized that sometimes love is so confusing. The other knew exactly the meaning of the signs while she was left in ignorance of what the signs meant. When they looked at their lives backwards, they can only see the spaces they left blank. The times she was not sure of her feelings, the time they both wasted – HIM not fighting harder for her to realize their fate sooner and HER fighting harder to be far away from him.

For others, it was the story of a love that brings inspiration on their own life. A reflection of hope in finding TRUE LOVE. Sometimes I feel that this love story was created to be short-lived as it was perfectly written by the hands of God and that ones the two souls separate, the magic will continue to shower to the whole of the earth.

For them, the power of love that runs through their veins signifies the union of two souls, who, after years of search and delays have finally come into terms. The same power that have brought overflowing joy, abundant blessings and a significant amount of selflessness in their lives. They knew that they were each others happiness and never imagined a life without the other from then on. They have so much love to give to each other it can fill their lifetime.

Then one day, life happens again.

He had to leave unexpectedly. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine a life without him. They form part of each others happiness. She was lost. Dreadfully lost. That second he left was the same moment her future was taken. Time was running so fast that she cannot catch up. Once again, she was left in awe. The same man who brought her so much happiness is now giving her unbearable sadness.

A part of her died the same time her husband left. As she tries to hold all the memories she could in her mind, she is crushed. She was so afraid that one day all these memories will become vague and that the only connection she has with her husband will soon fade.

She felt pain every heartbeat. A pain that creates an invisible hole in her heart that grows bigger every time she breathes. It was unfair. They, who have given out so much love to the world, were destined to be punished by separation. She often wondered why each day the pain becomes bearable even though the void continues to grow. She was sad because she thought she is moving on. She was afraid that along with moving on, the memories will be gone forever.

Years have passed but she still thinks  of him often, the memories left was clearer than ever as if it happened just yesterday. Even though she worries everyday that the memories will someday fade, she tries her very best to cherish every memory left. The way he looks at her, the way he kisses her, the way he sits on his chair on their old place

For her, this is life re-imagined. A new one. Without her husband.

Later on she realized that the memories will stay though she is not sure until when. It was after all part of her as much as a part of him. Each day is more bearable because the pain and longing have already become part of her. Her mind and body have finally let them in. Tears washes the longing from the heart.

Sometimes losing the one you love, the person you never imagined leaving you, will force you to restructure the life you imagined, the comfortable life you planned.

As their story ends, she didn’t get to create the family she so long wanted and there will be no chance for them to make it. She continue to live her life no matter how empty she feels her heart is. She chose the path where she would fight harder every single day for life to give her the love she deserves, she will never give up. She gets the strength from the love left by her soulmate that will fill her until she finds the NEW LOVE she so long deserve.

Every Moment Matters

Life is still full of happiness and love despite the loss of the people we so long to be with. They were the many reasons why the journey was worth it. They bring beautiful colors in our once gray life and that is how we move forward. Unfortunately, in the middle of our grief, we continually turned down as we realize that nothing will make them go back despite our efforts, despite our tears, despite our desperate attempts.

It is after all a temporary ride so be patient.

Things happen as they should. Never think that the year that passed was wasted. That situation was meant to be there. That year was meant for us to stop and think about our life. It may mean you have to resign from your current job or you may have to change your place.

It was meant to happen as it is. Never regret. There was no time wasted. It happened as it should be.

Would you think that if you stayed in your job ’til the end, you will be happy? You would not have traveled the world at your twenties if you didn’t take that risk. Rarely are people who get the chance to travel the world on their twenties. You have choices when it seem you don’t. A lot better than others.

So never regret a day a month or a year you thought you have wasted, by just simply curling in bed and wishing this day would go by as fast as your husband left. Sadly, there will always be times like that. Mind you, there will be thousands of moments you will experience loneliness in your lifetime. But be strong enough to fight it.

“Death is not a single occasion. not like birthday or Christmas celebrated once a year. death of a loved one is more of daily event in your life.”