Turn the Page


As time rolls (extremely slowly) along, I feel as if I’m living in the pages of a book. …the kind of book that leaves you without a conclusion at the end with a pretty little bow wrapped around it. The kind of book that is the most powerful – a mix of emotions, tragedy, triumph, love, loss, unbelievable sadness, and indescribable happiness and joy. …the kind of book written in series – each book tells a stand alone story, yet you need to read them all to see the big picture.

My life has changed forever. …and it continues to change daily. …but despite some of my most intense and early fears, not all of that change is negative. Not all of it is bad. The pain of losing Michele, of knowing that, at least in this life, we’ll never be able to be together again, is still incredibly sharp. …and at moments, it is still overwhelming.

When this all first started months ago when Michele was in the hospital and unable to communicate with me, I already started to make changes then. I wasn’t always doing it consciously, but was simply making changes to parts of OUR life so that when I got her home, our lives would be easier, and she’d be able to focus on getting better, on the long road to recovery. …but some of those things, habits, ways of doing things apply now, and have absolutely made part of MY life better.

Since her death, I have made more conscious and intentional changes, and some have simply happened to me and have been outside of my control. I find life beginning to become normal. Lest this sound fast, while Michele hasn’t been gone that long, she was in the hospital this final time for 6 weeks and unable to communicate with me most of that time. …and the entire month of August and most of July was the hospital and doctor’s offices. I haven’t had ”normal” since Father’s day. …and I can’t describe to anyone who hasn’t gone through this the altering of the perception of time enough. Gabe once described it as 1 month feels like 6. …and I absolutely agree.

…and then other things that help me move another ”millimeter”. Simple things, but things that help ME identify to the rest of the world, and indeed myself, who I am now. Changing Facebook profile picture to one without her. Changing my relationship status to ”widowed”. Changing the linens on our bed after sleeping in the ones we shared for years for weeks after her death. Rearranging a few things in our home that suit me better in a different place, but that I never worried about before because it was how she did something and it didn’t matter.

To people on the outside looking in, this may seem callus or as if I’m trying to put her out of my mind, but nothing can be further from the truth. You’ll still find her pictures all over my Facebook account. That will NEVER change. I haven’t hidden our pictures in the house. Her face and that beautiful smile is still all over our home. She is a part of me. She is my past. Until now, she’s been my entire life. …but no matter how much I want it to be different, she isn’t a part of my future. Today, I can’t do anything about the past. We can analyze, pick apart, play what if games until we’re blue in the face, but in the end, we have NO CONTROL over what has already come. Rather, we live in the present, and we DO have SOME ability to shape our futures, and while I will continue to grieve for a long time, and while I know I still have many ”first’s” that may not be pleasant ahead of me (a fact I was reminded of by someone who I hope will guide me through them), I believe I can face them, work THROUGH (NEVER around) them and come out the other side stronger, and with amazing memories of Michele and my life with her that won’t always remind me that I face a life ahead without her.

What she is, what she was, what she gave me i will carry forward – but when I look out off the bow of the ship, and see the fog starting to clear more and more, I can’t see perfectly clearly, but I CAN see that Michele isn’t out on the horizon. That’s a difficult reality, but its one I can and do accept. It is all about, not getting back to, but rather establishing new normal. …and this time doing so understanding that nothing is set in stone and that I must not be fearful of changing normal as I need to… as I WANT to moving forward.

I have so many people to thank for this normalcy. My kids for needing me, which forces me to focus and for loving me unconditionally as I do them. Joel for being there constantly, and for being a true brother to me AND Michele through our lives and through her death. Chris for being the friend who isn’t afraid to be around and talk about Michele. My parents for their strength and help. Michele’s family for their warmth and continued including me as part of their family. Jaime and Homer for being my ”other home”. My dear Jeanenne and her hubby Andy for being such good friends and my lifeline. My staff for keeping the wheels on our business while I flail around trying to figure out who I am again. Casey for stepping in selflessly to help me in so many ways. Gabe for being so open and sharing about what he’s been through to give me a head’s up on what I can expect to face. …and my Guardian Angel, Laura, who was sent to me by God and Michele, I have no doubt, who has been a constant source of strength and comfort. As someone who has suffered the loss of her husband, she ”GETS IT”. Her openness and willingness to allow me to be open – to be myself, is a gift I needed beyond measure.

The value in these relationships and these connections and these bonds, some old, some new, some ever-changing and evolving, can not be under-stated. No one person can walk this journey alone. You can’t isolate yourself from the people who love and care for you, and you have to find ways to start developing new, fun, happy memories, even in the shadow of loss, grief and despair. These people have all had a hand in allowing me to do that.

When you turn the page in the book, you’re not forgetting what you’ve already read. It’s a key part of the story. It can’t be erased. It can’t be ignored or set aside. …it has to be integrated into the story to come. We ”Turn the Page”.

Nothing can survive in a vacuum
No one can exists all alone
We pretend things only happen to strangers
We’ve all got problems of our own
It’s enough to learn to share our pleasures
We can’t soothe pain with sympathy
All that we can do is be reminded
We shake our heads at the tragedy

Every day we’re standing in a time capsule
Racing down a river from the past
Every day we’re standing in a wind tunnel
Facing down the future coming fast

Looking at the long range forecast
Catching all the names in the news
Checking out the state of the nation
Learning the environmental blues
Truth is after all a moving target
Hairs to split, and pieces that don’t fit
How can anybody be enlightened?
Truth is after all so poorly lit

It’s just the age
It’s just a stage
We disengage
We turn the page
Every day we’re standing in a time capsule
(It’s just a stage)
We disengage, we turn the page
Racing down the river running fast
Every day we’re standing in a wind tunnel
(It’s just a stage)
We disengage, we turn the page
Facing down the future coming fast


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