Tuesday, April 19, 2016

#SOL16: Grieving, Loving

Am I Blue? (Self portrait)


Yesterday afternoon a massage therapist gave me Neem oil. "Use it right after a shower. Rub it into your skin." And so I did.

Several hours later I was itchy. By 5 a.m. I was awake and back in the shower getting any trace of the oil off of my skin. By noon I was taking Benadryl as I was having a significant skin reaction to wherever the oil had touched. By 4 p.m. I was home, had taken another shower, changed the sheets on the bed, and taken another dose of Benadryl. Nothing seemed to work.

I I.

But this isn't just a story about a mishap with oil. This is a story about loss. You see it is the first time I have been sick and somewhat scared about my own health since Rob was diagnosed with lung cancer last September and since his death in early March. And though I can and do take care of myself, I haven't had to do so alone for decades. I have always had Rob. And I know that if Rob were here he would have made me tea. He might have sternly ordered me to go see our doctor. I realize now that I felt safer with him around even though I don't think I actually acknowledged that feeling prior. Perhaps that is the essence of love. It is mostly tacit.


And this story I am telling is incomplete. Well, what stories are ever complete? But after a good cry that coincided with remembering that six weeks ago at the very moment I was feeling so paralyzed, Rob died, my son appeared at the bedroom door and asked, "Why don't you go to the doctor. I can drive you."

And so after a moment of hesitation, I nodded yes and phoned. We went and our doctor prescribed a cure, along with a shot and now I am healing.

Tonight I am a bit of a mess. It was not lost to me how my son channelled his dad and how vulnerable I felt at that moment. And this too was bittersweet, though more sweet than bitter.

Each turn of the day reveals both loss and love, over and over again.


  1. Evening Mary Ann,
    I tried leaving a comment a few days ago and it looks like it didn't take but I'm back again, reading and writing to you. You might know that I lost my husband, almost 8 months ago now... I've been writing letters to him most days and it's been very therapeutic for me to write and get responses on my blog. As I read your posts I'm remembering how I felt in the earlier months of my mourning and how much it mattered to me when I got responses from women that actually went through what I was going through. So, I'm responding with no advice but to say it's powerful to read your posts and I'm feeling for you because for me, the last 8 months have been the hardest 8 months of my life and I am starting to get back to myself now but I'm very fragmented- on leg is moving forward, the other is resistant, hesitant... I can recommend one wonderful book to you if you would like to read something very powerfully written about a mother with two boys who has to deal with the untimely death of her husband... The Light of The World, by Elizabeth Alexander. I will keep reading your posts and commenting when I can... I'm walking along side you.

    1. Dear Bonnie,

      Thank you. It is women and men who know this very fractured existence that help me the most. I bought Elizabeth Alexander's books. Thank you so much for the recommendation. Opened it and read: "Perhaps tragedies are only tragedies in the presence of love, which confers meaning to loss. Loss is not felt in the absence of love" (p. 3).

      I can't wait to read more.
      Thank you for walking with me.