The Unattended Concert

“Complete strangers can stand silent next to each other in an elevator and not even look each other in the eye. But at a concert, those same strangers could find themselves dancing and singing together like best friends. That’s the power of music.” LZ Granderson


Music was always something that my loved one and I had in common. Even though the genre we enjoyed was different, we loved listening to music at home, in the car, and especially at live venues. Some of my fondest memories continue to be our evenings out at a favorite restaurant followed by a concert. Attending these concerts was a fantastic shared experience and one of the many joys of our marriage.

Attending these concerts were one of the many joys of our marriage. Click To Tweet

Knowing how much he loved concerts and how tenuous his health was the last ten years of his life, we made a concerted effort to buy tickets several months in advance so we could have something to look forward to. However, as his illness progressed, we found that accommodations had to be made, including a place to rest, oxygen, and wheelchair access so we could continue to enjoy going out. There were times that these accommodations made things difficult and, on occasion, so much so that we were unable to attend. But we continued to try, and most of the time, we were able to enjoy the evening out.

My loved one was dead set on attending a rock concert. We both loved the bands playing, and the show was in this beautiful outside theater. The amphitheater seats were in the middle of a field of pine and oak trees. So, I bought two wheelchair-accessible tickets, and the countdown began for our next adventure. However, two weeks before the concert, he had pneumonia, and he never got better.

Today is the anniversary of what would have been the last rock concert that we would have attended. I hold these unused tickets in my hand, and feelings of loss immediately surface. I recognize that he is not only gone from my life, but so is the music that had once filled it. It’s funny how it took today to notice that this was missing from my life.

I hold these unused tickets in my hand and feelings of loss immediately surface. Click To Tweet

I summoned the courage to do something different and getting on my computer I found a concert I wanted to attend. As I clicked on the purchase button, I found myself smiling even though it was two months away. What occurs to me is that, like before, I now have something to look forward to.

The Anger

“Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”   Aristotle

An emotion had found me that I did not know what to do with – Anger.  I was angry all the time.  It was justified I would tell myself.  I had a right to be angry.  Illness had taken my loved one and I was without my partner.  All was definitely not right with the world as my life had changed and I was pissed off.

I would try to keep myself together but all I had to do was get in car and the first mistake by the ass driving next to me would bring up anger not fitting for the situation.  I was walking through my life as if it was ok to take my rathe out on: the inconsiderate driver, the slow attendant at the store or the person on the other end of the line.  The problem was that it was never the right person.  So, who was the right person?

It took me a while to realize that I was angry at him and at me. Click To Tweet

It took me a while to realize that I was angry at him and at me.  I was angry that he did not take care of himself through the years, that we did not do more while he was well, that we did not have more time together.  But I was really angry that he lived through that horrible surgery just to die fourteen days later.  I was angry that he fucking died and left me alone.

I found that I was feeling like I had no purpose, no direction and no clue as to what to do next.  Something had to change because even in my grief I knew that it was not ok to live life this way.  The anger I was expressing was leaving a path of destruction from which I would not be able to get through in one piece.

So, I picked up the telephone and spoke with friend.  She suggested that I write a letter to him about my anger and disappointments.  Once I had written this letter, I made my way to the cemetery.  I was filled with apprehension but once I reached his grave, I read the letter.  With tears flowing and some sobbing I was able to say the things that I had kept hidden but felt in my heart.  Leaving I felt a little lighter not really knowing if it was due to the letter or the tears and emotions that I had shed at his gravesite.

It is fifty-six days since my loved one passed and yes, I still get angry but I find that I am making my way back to a better place as I recognize that the anger most certainly is a part of the grief process and one that I am in the middle of.

The Snow Day

“I live about 60 miles northwest of New York City, and whenever there’s news of a big snowstorm coming, everyone runs for the store. The perishable items are usually the first things to go, which doesn’t make sense because they perish.” Susan Beth Pfeffer

I had been watching the weather report for several days as the news had been predicting a major snowstorm to hit my area.  I went to the store and got essentials for every storm: batteries for flashlights, gas for the generator, salt for the driveway, bottled water and canned foods, I dragged a ¼ cord of wood into my garage and got something sweet to eat.

In the past the anticipation of a snowstorm would only cause me anxiety because of what that really meant for us.  Due to my loved one’s illness the preparations were extensive as they included making sure that we had plenty of oxygen tanks, all prescriptions had to be filled and no matter how much snow fell the driveway had to be cleared as soon as possible just in case we had to call for an ambulance.

This was the first major snowstorm that I would be going through without him. Click To Tweet

But today was different as this was the first major snowstorm that I would be going through without him.  I found myself enjoying the thought of a real snow day.  We had lived in the northeast for twelve years and this snow day would be the first with no worries.  It reminded me of the kind of snow day that the kids look forward to – only fun, relaxing, book reading, game playing and eating comfort food.

I put together a pot of soup and it was simmering on the stove; the living room was warm from the fireplace and I sat on the bench in front of my picture window enjoying the view as the snow started to fall.  The flakes were big and beautiful and the woods were covered with a blanket of snow within a short period of time.

I was filled with gratitude and appreciation for the beautiful woods that surround my home even though there would be three feet of snow in the morning.  I was enjoying the quiet that came from this snowstorm and as I sat on my couch, I realized that the peace I was feeling was actually calming my soul.  This was the perfect snow day.