Riding Bitch

The daily musings of a writer.

The Sweet Gift of Grief


Recently, I have felt a growing distance from my grief, and it’s been bumming me out. It’s as if I’m losing the sense of being Kaz’s widow. Even more disconcerting, of being his wife. The healing seems to have replaced something intangible in addition to the grief. Or perhaps it has become a thing in itself, like a scar that replaces a wound and then becomes a permanent fixture of the body.

I’ve actually found myself yearning for the earlier days of grief. The days when it felt like my heart was splitting in two, every waking moment an excruciating reminder of his permanent absence. Yet I could still feel and remember him vividly, and we were still together, still part of a union. So there was sweetness mixed in with the pain. Now the pain has subsided taking the sweetness with it, and I’m left feeling empty, longing for one or the other, or both.

Then three triggers happened this weekend.

The first – a dear friend got upset with me about something on Friday night (details irrelevant to this post). When I finally left work at 7:45pm, I drove home knowing this friend was disappointed in me and basically feeling like shit. I remembered similar times before when I had come home upset and Kaz had put things in perspective.

“Don’t beat yourself up,” he would have told me Friday night. “You apologized. There’s nothing more you can do.” He would have diverted my attention to the positive. “Hey, at least today was pay-day, and tomorrow Angelina is coming over, and Sunday is football, and you’re going to cook us dinner.” At that point, I would have nudged him and laughed.

Angelina is the new cleaning lady I’ve hired to come every other week. She is reasonably priced and sorely needed, but still a splurge. The last time I had a cleaning lady was when Kaz was sick. One of my former bosses had very generously donated several months of cleaning service. Kaz immediately dubbed these nice ladies “the help” (a year before the film came out), and mumbled about them moving his stuff around. But we both appreciated them very much. 

This new lady, Angelina, did a wonderful job. She also emanated a certain energy that I haven’t felt in a long time. It’s comforting to know she’ll be back every two weeks, and not just because of the cleanliness she leaves behind.

The second trigger was a dream on Saturday night, in which I visited Kaz in a hospital. I hate to see him sick in my dreams, but it was still good to see him in general.  We spent the time lying on the grass in the shade of a large tree outside his hospital room, just listening to the wind rustling through the leaves. 

Sunday I slept in and captured this classic moment:

Ruby in the morning

Then it was off to Agility class with Ruby, where she got to do the course off-leash for the first time, and see her pal Louie, the grey poodle I wrote about here. They’re both in Obedience and Agility together and quite an item now, play-wrestling before and after class to everyone’s amusement. Louie shows his affection by chewing on Ruby’s ears, and she shows hers by nibbling on his ankles. “He has a thing for female pitbulls,” Louie’s dad told me with a smile.

The third trigger happened when we stopped to look at motorcycles at a Honda dealership on the way home. “My late husband owned an RC51,” I told the rep as he showed me around. I could almost feel Kaz walking around with us.

Not surprisingly, I cried harder this weekend than I have in the past several months. But it was a good cry, familiar and somewhat comforting. I had been missing my man, and this weekend he came back briefly. His sweet presence in turn triggered the painful grief. But despite – or perhaps because of – the tears, I felt grateful.

Author: nivaladiva

Freelance writer and independent filmmaker.

13 thoughts on “The Sweet Gift of Grief

  1. I am thinking these ‘times’ will pop up again. It’s Kaz stopping by and saying hello;)

  2. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of ‘alone’ to lay you flat. For whatever reasons, it’s those times that you find yourself looking around asking ‘Where the hell is everybody?’ and naturally the biggest space will be that left vacant by those you love or have loved the most.

    The thing is, they don’t necessarily have any idea what you’re going through. You feel it acutely of course and that brings a very valid need to vent or have a cry or whatever. I think it’s pretty amazing that it’s not unusual after a spell like this to suddenly be contacted by the very people you felt didn’t care. This time, in your case, some vivid memories and ‘traces’ of your late husband presented themselves and reminded you that the connection is still strong.

    We are constant movement. We ebb and flow. We suffer from blind spots and lapses in concentration. There is no way we can be fully present and tuned into the universe at all times. One of the best things you can do is not forget to keep breathing. You will breathe yourself back to a better place. Always.

    Lovely post, thanks.

  3. I think that when we have lost someone so close and so much a part of our lives, at some point our memories or sense of that person becomes an integrated part of the whole that we are. Okay, that’s confusing (it’s 7am). What I mean is that Kaz is such an integral part of who you are now that it’s not possible to separate out who he is from who you are. You are losing the grief, but in doing so you aren’t losing him; he’s in you and with you and a part of who you are now and the person you will always be. You carry him with you every place you go.

    • Thanks for reminding me. I don’t know why ‘losing the grief’ is so uncomfortable. It’s like letting go of something, realigning myself to his memory in a different way after having related to it in a very specific way for all this time.

      • I completely get what you mean. Early on I joined an online widow support group, and there were people on that site who had lost their spouse’s 2 – 4 years earlier who seemed stuck feeling the way I was after a few weeks. I think you can turn being a widow into a kind of blanket that protects you from having to move forward and change; and change, as we all know, is kind of scary. I doubt it’s a pleasant life to stay in the same place, but moving forward and healing can be very frightening and can almost feel like a betrayal. It’s all so damn hard…

  4. Oh, and that’s a damn cute picture of Ruby

  5. You know, Niva, I read this yesterday and didn’t reply, knowing that I’d want to come back today and revisit. I can not relate to the loss of Kaz, having not experienced that kind of grief. I can tell you that the result of any loss comes in waves – some days / weeks / month rougher than others. I’m glad you felt his presence so strongly … and your wrote about it beautifully.

  6. What can I say. Nothing. Please accept a big hug from me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s