I approach every summer with something tucked in the back of my mind, my sub conscious, which reminds me of the summer 9 years ago when Kevin became ill and eventually died. It was the toughest summer I had ever experienced. Although I have learned to love summer again, and to cherish the warmth of the sun, playing in the dirt, exploring trails on land and water, and the ample hours of light, there is always a bit of bittersweet mixed into that.
Two years ago, the week after July 4th, I miscarried my first and only birth child. It was an unexpected and frankly tragic time. The process of your body miscarrying is far worse than anyone tells you or admits to. The doctors leave you unprepared for the contractions, the blood loss, the pain both physically and emotionally. I think about the weeks leading up to that moment and the general uncertainty of being pregnant and how surprising it was and to be honest, difficult to wrap my brain around. But we got on board, and to get on board and then experience such loss was devastating.
So this weekend, as head into July 4th, a weekend I do still love, I reflect on my losses. I think about Canada Day, especially the 150th anniversary this year, and how Kevin would have celebrated his home country. I think about how Dave and I had planned to go to my family’s cabin this weekend, but my own mother and his father’s surgery are keeping us close to home this year. I think about how out of control life can be from what we had “planned.” Planned. It makes me smile and laugh.
As I rode my motorcycle on the winding roads along the Susquehanna River this past week, I nearly cried as I rode past the beauty of this area; the rolling hills, the surprising cool breezes of a summer yet to be ruined by humidity, the Amish holding onto the reigns of the mules and the past, kids playing in their front laws with undisturbed joy, the beauty of our polluted river as it still manages to shine through the muck. I feel so connected to this place, to these people, to this land. It grounds me even when my heart and soul are taking me on a whirlwind of a ride.
Dave was away all this week in Japan and whenever he is away I think of being alone and it’s such a weird mix of the loneliness of having been widowed, and the loneliness of missing my husband who is still very much alive and present in my life. It’s yet another complication of being remarried after widowhood. The mingling of the past and the present become so confusing. Am I sad because it’s approaching summer and Kevin is dead? Am I sad because I miss my husband Dave and I worry when he travels? Is it both? It’s nearly indistinguishable and I feel guilty for not being able to separate the two sometimes.
As this depression wafts over me, I am grounded in the life around me. The two pups who depend on me for their food and function while their Dad is away. For my multitude of parents who are aging and struggling with all that means. For my friends and siblings who keep in touch and reach out and want to spend time with me no matter what my mental state is. For my widowed community who gets the confusion of living in the past and the present. For my friendly neighbors who have my back when I’m home alone. For the beautiful nature around me that manages to calm me when I feel this deep confusion. For this place I call home which gives me comfort in the lonely nights.