A year ago today, about four hours ago, I walked into the bedroom to find that Jim Nelson, my husband and partner of 41 years and a few months, was dead. I gave the Kos community the news in a diary after the police left and before the people from the mortuary arrived. I was in a state of shock when I wrote that diary, and it took me a couple of months to return to a state that resembled me, as a number of diaries I wrote about how I was testify.
I'll be in one of my faculty offices when this publishes, and then I'll have to teach a class at 11:10 and another at 2 PM (that one is a four hour class) so I'll be distracted and I won't be able to do much commenting or replying to comments. I just thought this was important for me to do.
It has been quite a year. I wasn't sure I'd link to what I've already written about my bereavement, but it's so easy to do that, so I will. I really didn't want to burden you with my sorrows, but I figured that every couple of weeks you'd want to know how I was talking, so after two weeks I wrote about picking up the urn and after four I wrote about the end of the first month and what I understood to be depression and I learned a LOT from so many of you about simple coping skills like how to avoid ironing. That, about ironing, was a really big deal. The recs diminished, so I stopped, figuring interest had lagged outside Top Comments and New Day, except that, toward the end of the second month, I wrote what amounted to a book report with grace notes for the Grieving Room.
Rereading that diary last night, I hadn't realized that the events that shocked me out of my numbness had begun so quickly after. In it, I quoted from an already published Top Comments diary about my wondrous month of January (thank you yet again, gizmo59 and Steveningen; you'll never know how much you contributed to my well being the second month) during which I was cared for by my Top Comments family, and there it was. A paragraph I cited in the diary for The Grieving Room and again in a discussing bereavement diary I wrote to support a dear friend here who had become a fellow widower. Yes, if you have been following closely, you know that I was confronted with the bereavement of another Kossack who was already my good friend here, after about six weeks of mourning, and yes, commonmass, you have a brother in me now whether you want another brother or not. I've made some reference to being the public face of bereavement at Daily Kos and I know that isn't exactly true, so what I think it is is that I've had a lot less reticence about sharing what I've learned about death and mourning than most of -- maybe all of -- you. I have wondered if I was being obtrusive but I know that if I had been someone would have told me.
But I said something else in that diary I wrote for Top Comments toward the end of January.
In my case, the cosmos took away, and then it gave me a self I didn't even know was within me. That's what is really helping me adjust to life by myself. I know I'm still grieving (and now I can worry about my diary for the Grieving Room Monday because it's still about me and not really about Jim yet). Meta tonight. A personal story. A tribute to what Markos has built. I'm not sure Markos realizes it, but whether he does or not doesn't matter.I don't think I can put it better ten months later. This process has taught me things about myself that all of you who have come to know me knew I had but that I didn't realize about myself. I haven't written much about my own bereavement since the end of January because I had classes to teach that distracted me (that was true in the spring when I had time to do other writing and it's been even more true this fall when I HAVEN'T).
Net? I'm fine, and I appreciate exactly how much this wonderful community had done to get me to this point. Yes, I get lonesome on occasion. I don't mind being alone after not really being alone for four decades but it's the HAVING to be alone, although when I think about it some of the Los Angeles Kossacks, especially SanFernandoValleyMom and 714day who aren't that far away keep me from having to be alone if I don't want to be alone. Then, there are all the wonderful things I've been able to do because I don't have to explain them to anyone, like the magical eight days in June around NN 13. Yes, magical, and the comments section in that diary is fascinating. I really AM fine because life goes on, and apparently I'm good at making lemonade from the lemons my life has thrown at me.
So today we remember. Thank you for most of a lifetime, Jim. I've lit a purple candle for you. And I have a wonderful quilt to help me remember too.