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Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Sea of Determination and Hope

Some nights even in these last smoldering weeks of summer I sleep in Clint’s red sweater.  Worn and washed dozens of times, its softness is almost painful.  I still feel his warmth in it and every now and then I sprinkle a few drops of Old Spice on it so I won’t forget how he smelled.  Even after he was sick and dying my husband smelled of Old Spice and not death.

I survived.  I thought I would perish in my grief, drown in the sea of sadness that rose around me when Clint died.  But I lived.  In spite of myself, I lived.  It took three and a half years for the toughness that is at my core to beat down my grief and come to the surface.

Clint never doubted my strength.  I never thought about being strong or not being strong.  I faced life and did what I had to do to make it work.  I thought everybody did that.  

On the afternoon he was dying and I was lying next to him in our bed whispering into his ear that I would be okay, that I was as strong as he always said I was, I thought I was lying.  I thought I was telling him what he needed to know in order to feel okay about leaving me alone.  

I was wrong.  Challenged first by the void in my life that Clint left behind and then by my inability to function as a nurse because my grief was so complicated, I was then faced with a series of stress driven autoimmune syndromes that paralyzed my life for a year.

I didn’t want to deal with Parrish.  I resisted letting him back into my life but he wouldn’t go away.  As I watched him deteriorate into what should have been a terminal psychosis triggered by alcohol abuse, a sense of the raw need for survival welled up inside me.

Less than three months ago, when Parrish nearly died of an overdose of Seroquel, something happened in my soul, in my spirit.  Even with all the craziness around me and in me, I began to think of a future for myself, a meaningful and creative life without Clint.  I dug in.

I knew with complete certainty that I had to come home to Saint Simons.   On June 6, I decided to sell the house on Canyon Road and on August 22, I moved into this flat.  Four days later we closed the deal on the house in Macon and here I am, swimming in a sea of determination and hope, surrounded by the comfort and cover of sprawling oaks and the force that is the ocean. 

© 2013 cjschlottman 

1 comment:

Sue said...

Reading this feels like reading a very good novel, where all the right things are beginning to happen. And I can't wait to hear the rest of the story...