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Some days are easier than others.

Let me rephrase that. Some parts of each day are easier than others.

Mornings are usually the best for me which is strange because I am not a morning person - I love seeing the sun rise but I don't wake up in a good mood normally. Lately however, I wake up ready to take on the day. I enjoy the quiet I have with the dogs after the mad rush of letting them out, feeding them, waking the birds up, starting the fire, and making coffee.

My head feels clearer before it's filled with a days worth of thoughts and emotions, and work. It's easier to be strong. Easier to feel like I have everything under control.

And essentially everything is under control - considering how much control do we really ever have over life anyway? I think of people living life in all kinds of situations and realize control over our lives is basically an illusion. I talked to a woman yesterday who told me she understood where I was coming from. That she was a single mother of three kids and she got that life happens and we need to move forward in whatever way possible and that there are always options, no matter what. We just need to push forward to find them.

That's something Kevin would have said. That there are always options. In everything. You just need to ask. To be honest. You never know who or what life will put in your way.

And I've always, always felt that way too... it's the exact way I felt when I met Kevin. I know it's still true, but I"m not open. It's amazing how quickly you feel your old walls coming right back up when you feel vulnerable. No matter how long they have been down.

There are times during the day when my mind is not my friend. It's my friend when I"m writing, or making phone calls, working on business. But at other times it's my worst enemy. And during those times - it has to be silenced.

One of the only ways for me to silence my mind is to walk. But this morning I was tired and I didn't feel great. My health has improved dramatically pain wise on my medications. I am 3 weeks away from being off of prednisone (steroid) for the first time in 7 months. But I still cannot eat without pain. And by eat, I mean anything. Obviously I have to eat, so I try my safest foods but one small mess up and I pay with a lot of pain, fatigue.

But I got up, got dressed, and walked anyway. And it was the first good decision I made of the day. It was calm outside, beautiful. Every single morning for the past couple of weeks has been beautiful. I can't remember such a string of such beautiful weather. I've always loved November for her frosty mornings and we've been experiencing them but they are short lived since it is so warm outside.

This morning there was a sparkling layer of frost covering everything while the dogs and I were out.

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The ticks are horrific still, and by horrific I mean, like the worst horror movie you've ever seen.

But I sat in one of my favorite places, watched a couple of deer walk by. Watched the sun come up over the pond.

Then as we were walking through the forest, the sun started to heat up the frost covering the trees and plants, and I watched the frost turn into thousands of tiny of raindrops hanging off the branches and brush.

Like... magic.

Then as I stood there in the complete silence, listening to my own breath, reminding myself this is what really matters in life, this is it...

All those tiny raindrops started raining down off of the trees, and it rained in the forest all around me... tiny drops in the morning sunlight. All you could hear were those drops of water hitting the ground, and the sun was momentarily blinding.

I held my breath for a few seconds as I just listened.

For a time, I was somewhere else.

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This forest has always taken me places that only exist in fairy tales. In some ways I've been living in one. That is not to say such horrible, difficult, things have not happened and been happening. But its a lot easier to get through each one of those things when you live in an enchanted forest.

In one of Kevin's last Facebook posts he posted some pictures he took while we went for a short walk together, one of the few we got to enjoy recently since I was just getting better. And in his post he said:

I love to see her out there again in the forest where she is happiest. 

He knew me best and it is where I am happiest. And it will help me survive this.

But I miss him in ways I"ll never miss anyone else in my entire life. And every day, every single day that realization takes my breath away. It hits me like a ton of bricks. I cannot get him back, I cannot change it. I can miss him every single day for the rest of my life and I will. But it will never change.

And every day I remind myself, keep breathing. Keep moving.

And now it's all... me. And a whole lot of time to spend with myself getting through this.

I have been doing a lot of writing, and a lot of reading when I'm strong enough to do so... I wrote this on May 8th of 2005 and thought it was fitting for this morning.

"I know I am going to learn a lot from this place and it's spirits. I can feel it's energy now, when I am still and quiet and mindful. I am learning a little about what is really important to me in this life. I have been learning and this is one of the most important lessons I know I'll ever learn. And this is just the beginning. Just the start. I feel alive here. Like a butterfly waiting to wake up and fly. My spirit is content and happy.

Don't ever forget this moment - this magic is yours to keep forever, just don't ever let it go or give it away no matter who tries to take it away from you. You've found it for once and for all. You now really understand. You've found your magic.  I know that when I leave this place, I will take it with me wherever I go. I said I know this place was going to change me., and it already has."

Grief is like living in a terrible version of ground hog day. I know this but it's been a long time since I've had such fresh grief and I have never had this grief. Loosing a spouse is...breath taking. Your whole life, every single tiny thing is changed and affected. You cannot escape it. I look around my house and everything either comforts me or bothers me.

The wood stove he just put in and lit for the very first time the night he died. He was happy. He was really happy that evening, and I"m so grateful for that.

And then as I stood looking out the front window towards the pond, a set of eyes locked with mine.

Since before I was here Kevin fed the deer in the winter. For 10 1/2 years I have done so too. If you've read my blog, you know of our deer, of Torn Ear, Deer Norman... last year we had the least amount of deer ever, as our deer population here has taken a huge hit from over hunting (in the area) and the harsh winters, coyotes.

I wasn't going to feed this year. We have no deer, feed costs money, everything has changed.

She starred at me in the yard. She had no reason to be there but she had been every morning for the last week and now this evening.

I knew the doe. I knew why she was here. This is her home.

I walked away from the window and tried to ignore her. But she was still there, I knew.

I was in my pajamas and I put on my rubber boots. It was almost dark, raining outside. I walked down stairs, out the basement door and got a small scoop of feed.

As I came around the tractor and into the yard, the doe was still there. She stood there, starring at me. Keeping her safe distance but close. She knows me. It's hunting season and yet this doe walks right up to me. Some people have always told me that deer get used to all people, not certain people and thus will get tamed, or become easy targets.

I know that's not been true here. When for 10 years we had the same bucks returning year after year, despite being hunted, when Torn Ear our big trophy buck, would stand up out of the marsh when I spoke to him because of my voice. Not just a female voice. But my voice. How they wouldn't come out of the forest if a stranger was here... They are not stupid. They are not all the same. Kevin, my retired hunter taught me a lot about deer, tracking, living with them.

But they have taught me much as well.

After putting out the feed, I walked away. When I got back to the house, to the tractor, I turned back to look at her, the pond.... the yard. My home.

I pride myself on being strong. And I know that allowing yourself to feel emotions does not make a person weak. It's necessary. But I resist it anyway.

This doe here in the yard, the drizzly November rain. Here is life taking place as it always has. Like nothing has changed, and yet everything has.

I cried for so many reasons as I leaned against that tractor in my pajama's in the rain. So very many reasons.

But I knew this. I will get through this winter. I will take care of this farm during it. The deer.

And I will try my best to take care of that patched together blue tractor that has kept our lane open in the winter, that has tilled our garden, cut our hay, moved manure, hauled in logs, and, buried so very many of my animals over the years.

That tractor that was a symbol of some of the happiest times in Kevin's life. He was proud of it, of the work he did with it. I can see him both smiling at me on his way out the lane on it, and cussing at it when he was trying to change an implement on it and it was fighting him. I can see him asking me to ride on his lap up to the barn on it and laughing.

I cannot wrap my head around how I got here. To this place in time. But I have, and I am here. And that's what counts.

I'm still here.


Dee said…
I don't even know what to say to help you through some of your pain. I am so sorry for the loss of your wonderful friend and husband.
jaz@octoberfarm said…
grief..what is there to say? i have lived with it for my entire life and it is different each time. i don't know why some of us have to go through it more than others but i do know it makes us change and makes us stronger. it's just so tough when it is new grief. hang in there!
Bobbi D. said…
I am just awed at your writing skill. You are one of the best writers I have read. Seriously consider writing a novel. Your words take me to your piece of land; I see what you see and feel what you feel. I am glad you are writing. It is good therapy and a great outlet. My sister lost her husband too & she also writes. :) Hugs.

One day, when the time is right, I could see a mystery or love story coming out of those woods.....
Jan B said…
I'm no expert, but I think you are doing just fine. You need to grieve, to be sad, to cry... AND to remember,smile,be grateful find joy where ever you can and soon, laugh again (even if it is at your fur babies). When the memories flood back, embrace them as a sign he is still with you. You are doing just fine!
Mary Ann said…
I knew you would start to live again.

Feed the deer.

Well done!
Terra said…
Your post is very eloquent; you write about experiencing loss AND hope. Take sweet care of yourself and your animal family.
NKP said…
I needed to read this, right this very moment. Thank you.
It's perfect.
O'Quilts said…
Wow...thank you for writing. I could not find your blog on my blogpost list...I thought that was odd. So, I had to google it. Must have been what I needed because I have not thought of you in awhile. Now, the first anniversary of my love's death of ALS is one week after Easter. The intense pain is coming back. I am alone making decisions. I am still raising my three young grandchildren at 68. My motto is to take the hand I have been dealt and do the very best I can with it. Sending love to you, strong woman!
O'Quilts said…
Wow...thank you for writing. I could not find your blog on my blogpost list...I thought that was odd. So, I had to google it. Must have been what I needed because I have not thought of you in awhile. Now, the first anniversary of my love's death of ALS is one week after Easter. The intense pain is coming back. I am alone making decisions. I am still raising my three young grandchildren at 68. My motto is to take the hand I have been dealt and do the very best I can with it. Sending love to you, strong woman!

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