Saturday, May 12, 2007

Remembering Byron Black 6-25-67 - 3-25-2007

Clean is the autumn wind,
Splendid the autumn moon,
The blown leaves are heaped and scattered,
The ice-cold raven starts from its roost.
Dreaming of you - when shall I see you again?
On this night sorrow fills my
~Li Po (701-762)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

It's been six weeks today that I have been a widow. What a word...widow. I looked up the word in the dictionary because I still have such difficulty comprehending the fact that I am alone.

I have to say that this part of the definition is the one that describes me the most. Yes, I have lost my husband by death and have not remarried, but the words of this part really ring true..."to deprive of anything cherished or needed." I feel physically ill sometimes just thinking of how much I miss him and how much I need him. I can't even really find the words to express how much emptiness and sadness I feel most of the time.

I am coping, so don't think I'm falling off the deep end or anything. I just am so alone and sad. I am working with my doctor and we have my depression and sleeplessness under control (somewhat) and I am going to a grief support group twice a month...those have really helped me and they have helped the boys. I keep waiting and hoping for some magical day to arrive where I really feel "better." I don't think it's going to happen, though. I will keep hoping for it though...hope is something I never want to give up. I've given up so much that if I let hope go, all will be lost.

Monday, April 30, 2007

I received what I believe to be a "message" over the weekend, though not from Byron. My grandmother, whom I lost in 1995, wanted me to know she was watching over me and helping me through this time of grief, and I believe she truly is. If you're up to reading, I'll tell you about it (I'll try to make it short as possible).

When I was 10 years old, my grandmother gave me her St. Christopher's medal which she had worn since she was about 10 or so. I treasured it and wore it every day. When I was 13, our house burned down and we lost everything we owned...except through some miracle, a little ceramic jewelry box survived, and inside was my St. Christopher's medal, which also survived largely intact (albeit with some charred edges). I still carried the medal around with me in my wallet, through college and dating Byron, and up until I had my first child. Sometime after André was born in 1994, the medal disappeared. I had no idea where it was or where I might have lost it. I can't count the time I have spent looking for it. When Nanny died in 1995, I was so devistated since I couldn't find the medal, the only thing I had of hers.

Fast forward to this past weekend. André was out of town, so the two little ones decided to play in the yard with his metal detector, which is a toy one from Target and cost all of $15 bucks. It's not a good one. ;) Anyway, at some point Saturday morning, Clay comes running in the house yelling, "I found a pirate coin!" He handed me this muddy chunk and I wiped it off, and nearly passed out. IT WAS MY ST. CHRISTOPHER MEDAL, charred edges and all. I got chill bumps, I cried, I screamed. I had been having a particularly bad day, and really feeling down, and I think this was a message from Nanny that she was watching us, protecting us all the time and that she knew I was hurting and wanted me to feel better. Yep, I believe in signs. Do you?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

It's been four weeks some ways I can't believe it's been that long, and in others it seems like an eternity. Time is so fluid and intangible...right now it's as if we are in a vacuum and everything is suspended in some strange continuum. The boys seem to be adjusting well; they play with their friends and do normal kid things without much thought. We went to the Jubilee (a fair/carnival thing) yesterday and had a good time, and the kids rode rides and played games and got to be "normal" for a while. The younger two ask questions occasionally, or mention things like, "I wish Daddy was here to do this," or "I miss Daddy." André talks to me a little bit about how he feels, which is good. He also talks to his friends, his uncle Jason, and his counselor. We all will go back to Journey of Hope (the grief support group) on Thursday, and I look forward to that. We went to church this morning, and I saw some friends of ours who miss Byron as much as we do. It's good to be around people who care.

I had a dream the other night that Byron called me on my cell phone. He used to call me about a dozen times a day, so that made sense to me. In the dream, he called and was talking to me about how he missed me and the boys, and how he is OK and loves us very much. He wanted to make sure we were all right and for us to know he was sorry he wasn't here. It was very comforting. I told my sister about the dream, and she had dreamed nearly the same thing. Isn't that neat? I think he was telling us that he is OK. Of course, I know he's OK because I know he is in heaven. He was right with God and had been for a long while. I think he's looking on us now, trying to help us through this as much as he can. I know we need him.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The weather today is beautiful...Byron would say "Perfect!" I only wish he was here. I feel like I'm treading water, with no shoreline in sight. It's a very dense fog, and I'm just lost in it. If I had only known that night would be the last time I could hear him say "I love you," I would have lingered in the hug a little longer...kissed him a little longer. I have slept with one of his shirts every night since he passed, simply because it smells like him and seems to comfort me in some tiny way. I had no idea I could miss someone so much and hurt so badly. I am trying to be strong for the boys, because they need me to be sane and calm and in control...but it's so very, very hard to do. The days are long, and the nights are miserable and practically endless. I want to cry so much, but it's as if my body is drained of tears and can't make any more. I'm mostly numb, just wishing for some kind of feeling other than the infinite loneliness I experience every day. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. I keep hearing that this will get better, so I have faith...I'm just waiting.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The boys and I have slowly returned to school and work, hoping to glean a bit of normalcy out of life as we know it now. Normal...what a foreign word to me. Nothing seems normal at all anymore. Even in the simple and mundane things, like going to the grocery store or helping one of the kids with his homework...there is no more normal. I don't find myself sobbing or weeping all day long anymore; those feelings have been replaced with a mind-altering numbness and an overwhelming sense of emptiness that nothing seems to fill.

I've signed us up for a grief support group that meets every other week. We begin on Thursday. The boys are also seeing their counselors at school on a regular basis, which is a blessing since I know each of these women very well and would trust my children with any of them and know they will truly listen to them.

I did break down and visit my physician's office last Friday to get some help with's still very difficult to fall asleep, and even more difficult to stay asleep longer than about 45 minutes at a time. Hopefully with her help I can get my sleep cycle more regulated and be worth a little more to my family and my employer.

Thanks to each of you for your kind regards, your private messages, and your prayers.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

No matter where I turn in this house, I can't escape the torrent of 17 years of memories that flood my mind. I see him everywhere. I suppose that should be comforting, but I find that all I feel is a raw, overwhelming emptiness. I found myself at one point today trying to hide out in the bathroom just for a few moments of sanity - but realized his toothbrush was still in the holder by the sink and fell apart yet again.

I really need your help right now...

I have tried to think of ways to help sort this whole surreal event out in my mind, and it was suggested to me by my pastor to reach out for strength. I am asking for your prayers, if you are a person of faith, or your positive energy, if you have alternate beliefs.

On Sunday morning, March 25, at 7:23 am, I found the love of my life unresponsive, blue, and cold in our bed. He had passed during the night sometime, while we were sleeping. I found myself in some strange fog, calling 911 and performing CPR until paramedics and a physician arrived. The doctor, who had left his shift at the hospital and was on his way home when he heard the call, came to me while the paramedics were working and told me that "this was not going to be a successful resuscitation." Those words didn't register in my mind. I begged him to try everything he could, so they took him to the hospital and tried for over an hour to save him. There was no hope...and the doctor came out to explain to me and my three children that he was gone.

I cannot in a million years imagine how I am going to spend the rest of my life without him. He has been there for me for so long that I don't remember life before he was there. This has been an unimaginably hard week, and every minute I think it might get the slightest bit easier, something happens and I see him...I hear a song, or smell something's just so hard to even breathe sometimes. I have cried until I think I can't make any more tears. There are just no words that can explain why a 39 year old man's heart would stop in the night. I am so angry...and lost...and forever broken.

I keep trying to be as strong as possible for the boys, but it is so hard. They're handling this better than I expected, but that's the beauty of the resiliency of children. Our oldest is much more acutely aware of the depth of this loss, as he and his dad have truly been best friends.

We have a wonderful network of extended family, friends, and church members who have come out en masse to comfort and assist in every way possible...but nothing is filling this gaping hole in my soul. At this point, I cannot ever imagine it being filled again. After days of constant activity, and people coming and going from my house, I find myself alone with my thoughts this evening. Please help me understand why this has happened...and how I can get through the rest of my life without him.