Archive | July 2013

Alone & Lost

We all come into the world alone & we leave it alone too. Being alone can be very awkward, especially when you’ve been with someone for over 20 years and the past two years for 24 hours a day. Caregiving is like this and it is absolutely necessary. A lot of people can’t handle the stress and they divorce and/or leave their loved one because they cannot cope with what lies ahead. I felt that people judged me when I made the decision to leave my job to care for Ken 100% but I know now that what I did was the most meaningful gift that I could give and receive from Ken. I don’t regret a single moment of any of that time and I’m so eternally grateful that I had that time to spend with him. Others are not granted that gift so I know how special an opportunity it was for both of us.

I try so hard not to sound too sad, ungrateful, etc. but I’m also trying hard to be transparent and honest in my posts after Ken’s passing.

I arrived home on Sunday to an empty house, except for my two loving companions Mila & Pickles. I gleaned the mail to find a UPS letter which contained Ken’s official death certificate. It seemed to put more finality to the situation. I also receive lovely cards and letters that help me to cope somehow.

I feel very lost & confused about what comes next. I thought that the trip to Hawaii would give me some closure and it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I was able to do something lovely with some of Ken’s ashes, but the pain hasn’t gone away but has intensified. I can’t explain it, but it is always there, gnawing at me beating me down about what I’m to do next or do at all.

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I just miss my Ken so much, his touch, smell, voice, presence, laugh, smile and motorcycle purr. It’s absolutely so quiet here and I’m not inclined to go outside because I need to be alone, I’m not sure why. People keep telling me “to be kind to myself” and I’m still unsure of what that means. I know that life is hard and I am selfish for feeling the way that I do but I can’t help myself, I MISS KEN. He is never coming back and I don’t know what my life will be like without him. People say it takes time, but I’m also unsure what that means. Time will not return my husband to me, the love of my life and eternal soulmate that he was. I’m not interested in starting over or getting on with things. I guess I’m in a stalemate of sorts. Stuck in between different realms of possibilities. I feel lost and keep looking for Ken to guide me in my dreams.

I think that I felt the most sad on vacation when the monk seals swam away. Very happy sad but it reminded me of losing Ken. I was so strong that day, I don’t know where it came from, but now I feel that the stress is settling into my body and I’m trying to cope.

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All that I can say and hope for with anyone reading this post is that you grab on to life, hug the people dearest to you and tell them how much you love them every opportunity you have, and to appreciate what you have now. Forgive and don’t hold on to hate or anger because it only affects you in this life now. Seep in every sunset, sunrise, day, night, watching the glorious moon and the opportunity you have to love and help someone else. If everyone followed this the world would certainly be a better place in which to live.

 

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The Next Journey

While packing I found money in my dolphin purse which we use to travel. I felt it was a gift from Ken and that he was taking care of me on my next journey. It was a nice way to start the trip.

On the flight to LA, the stewardess asked me about Ken’s necklace I was wearing and what it was. She said it was scary because it looked like a skull (note that the necklace resembles the scandinavian porter I bought in Ken’s honor later in Hana).
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To tell the truth I’m not sure what it is, maybe an animal skull or something from Mexican culture that he bought on our trip to Ixtapa, Mexico. On later passing she asked if she offended me and of course I told her she had not but it made me think about what offends people and what doesn’t. I’m simply wearing a necklace that means a great deal to me because Ken wore it, it makes me feel closer to him. This is how Ken was, rarely offended & he didn’t care what others thought about him which resonated in the stories told at Ken’s celebration. Several of the shirts from past heavy metal shows that I gave to the guys to wear carrying Ken’s ashes into the meeting space had offensive language or scary pictures on them. I remember when he used to wear them that he would get lots of stares and dirty looks. It makes me think how shallow we are for judging people by what they wear or what they may think because we will never know and why do we really care? Ken was struggling with dealing with “people” and he increasingly wanted to separate himself and be closer to nature.

 

1st day in Maui. Got 4 hours sleep after 17 hours of travel and drove in the dark up the windy & steep road to the Haleakala Crater which is 10,000 feet above sea level with Ken – this was important to me repeating the visit we made 10 years ago to see the most beautiful sunrise in the world.

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Kebo & me

Running on adrenaline, the trek felt both special and extremely sad. I don’t want this post to be too negative but in some respects I don’t think there is any way to get around it. Yes, I’m in Hawaii so I should be extremely happy, etc., etc. but I am surrounded by honeymooners, old couples still in love & happy families on vacation. I did force myself to take this excursion in the hopes that it would give me a sense of closure and to do something special with Ken’s ashes.

I snorkeled for 2 hours at Makena Landing (left water-safe bag & snorkel map at house and fin strap broke at snorkel site). Instead of getting frustrated with so many things going wrong I didn’t give up & found a dive shop where they fixed me up with a new strap & some ziploc bags to store my keys. When I finally got in the water I saw a baby octopus & turtle. This gave me extreme peace as I feel most at home in the water. When I got home to the Star Lookout, I watched my first sunset without Ken & saw a pack of 20 apex deer (I felt the wind envelop me & brush past my left side which gave me comfort, it was Ken telling me he was here & to not be sad). Afterwards I went for a long walk with a full moon & passed Oprah’s property, simply beautiful. She had a rock wall constructed along the path which reminded me of England. While this may seem like a lot to pack into one day, and it was, I had to keep moving because when I stopped the sadness seared through me revisiting the spots we went to 10 years ago. Shopping for groceries alone, cooking & eating alone. It doesn’t get any easier being in paradise. But in a way I hope that it’s healing. Being in the water was the most healing part floating. Hearing a gecko squeak in the house, cows mooing in the distance. I feel so close to heaven, the sky, to Ken.

On Sunday I ended up going the wrong way to Hana thanks to GPS, taking the treacherous route and having to navigate passing tourist buses, backing up on one-way roads and bridges, whew! Made it safely to beautiful Hamoa Bay House where Ken and I stayed 10 years ago.

I got up early to avoid the tour buses and hiked the 4 mile hike up 650 feet to the 400 foot Waimoku Falls on the Pipiwai Trail. I stumbled upon the most beautiful 80-year old banyan tree & decided to place some of Ken’s ashes there in the roots at the base, it felt right. I also scattered some ashes along the walkway in the enchanted Bamboo Forest. Mind you this was quite difficult as it was raining trying to navigate doing all of this while not getting caught by other people or park rangers.

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Yesterday I snorkeled Hana Bay swimming under the pier to an isolated calmer area. The swim was difficult but necessary. I saw a red eel and other interesting fish native to Hawaii. I went to a yoga class at the local community center where we did some pranayama breathing & meditation after the class during sunset, very lovely. Then I stopped by Koki beach, something drew me there, and two Hawaiian Monk Seals were on the shore! I spoke with some locals for an hour who told me that one was a female who had just given birth on Molokai and the other was a male suitor who she was definitely disinterested in. I couldn’t help myself and I returned to see if they were still there at 6 a.m. and they were there. I watched them for another 1.5 hours in the rain and then pushed on to the seven sacred pools in the park. I was able to be sneaky again and put some of Ken’s ashes in one of the pools. I returned again to check on the seals and this time they were almost back in the water. I stood in the glaring sun to watch them for 2 hours return to the sea. This was very sad for me.
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An Affair to Remember

I don’t even know how or where to start about Ken’s celebration. What I can say is it was everything that I think that Ken would have wanted. We had a beautiful evening, the weather cooperated, we didn’t create any fire hazards and nobody was hurt.

We started the event with Ken’s closest friends & family carrying Ken’s ashes into the main room with background heavy metal music playing of course (“See you in Hell my Friend” by Grim Reaper). Next people shared stories about their experiences with Ken, what they thought of him & how much they will miss and love him. There was a consistent theme of Ken being his own man not caring what others thought & being a unique individual with everyone being a better person for having known him.

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After the ceremony everyone gathered in front of our house for a neighborhood block party. I was stunned, well not really, at how everything came together. Tables were out, neighbors and family were putting on tablecloths and food and guests were bringing food and drinks. Lane & Matt’s red beans & rice dish was a hit along with John’s chicken fajita mix, Lynne’s fried croppy & Roger’s guacamole. As soon as it was dark, we lit Chinese paper lanterns in Ken’s honor that rose up to the sky even with the wind evading the trees to soar to the glory that was Ken.

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Guests stayed up until 5:00 a.m. celebrating Kebo continuing the experience of sharing stories and love.

All my love to everyone who participated in the event, what a beautiful time it was. Ken would certainly have been proud.

**sorry it took so long to send this out. I was waiting on more photos and some video from my cousin in Laos which I will add to next post.

A Walk in Our Woods

It’s been a little over a week since Ken passed, and I’m not going to lie to anyone, it’s awful. I thought the hardest thing was Ken’s diagnosis and watching him suffer. Being alone and losing your soul mate, the one who understands, loves and knows you the most is simply gut wrenching. You feel empty, like you can’t breathe and there is no escape.

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I’ve started to walk around our neighborhood block and I feel like a character in Dante’s inferno walking in a circle of suffering. I’m trying to add routine to my life to help alleviate some of the pain. On a walk one morning I spotted a cottontail bunny and looked at the expansive sky to feel my breath again and try to garner a glimpse of happiness.

I finally walked alone for the first time into the woods where Ken and I walked daily, Deepdyne Woods. It was hard to see the places we were before, the benches we took a rest on and shared so much together. While it was difficult it was a necessity to both feel Ken again and to continue on.

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The bench we sat on

 

Heart Opening

Yoga was a very important part of our lives, in fact we used to practice daily. Ken was doing handstands and the wheel a few days before his first seizure. Today, I ventured back into our studio and when the teacher saw me, we hugged and I cried. I asked to sit in the back corner in case I needed a speedy exit. I made it through the class okay and the most beautiful part was trying to reconnect with my breath. We did pranayama breathing or alternate nostril breath, which is wonderful for anyone especially going through a stressful time. This increases parasympathetic activity and lowers systolic blood pressure as well as respiratory rate. We so often forget to breathe and be mindful and compassionate. I felt my heart opening doing fish pose laying with a bolster supporting my back. I’m glad that I’ve returned to what we both loved and will try to be grounded and stay true to my practice. At the beginning of the class they ask you to set an intention which mine was always for Ken to heal and for the tumor to go away. Now my intention is for Ken to be with me on my return journey to yoga and to be with me in our practice. I think this will be a very healing aspect on the journey to recovery.

LOVE

Ken’s party is coming together and will be a celebration to honor his life and love…

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