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.