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Reaching For The Phone


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Keith left me Nove. 14th. and yet sometimes I would give my life to be able to pick up my phone and hear his voice. I wish I had the foresite to of recorded him talking.. It's funny how you can miss a voice so much. The way he would say I love you. Or when he was applauding my work on building themes.

Keith and I met on the internet. He was homebound by the time we met - so I was the one who traveled to him. I also had a daughter at home who is now 19 but she is very mature for her age. So at first I would drive the 370 miles and spend 4-5 days there.. Then as my daughter got older I would spend up to a week. By the time Iris got 18 I was able to stay 2 or more weeks. By the time she was 19 Keith couldn't stay home alone.. so I was there 3 weeks then home one week. The week I was home Keith had to go in a nursing home.

Sometimes I think, if I had only stayed there all the time he perhaps would still be alive now. You know how your mind plays tricks on you - and the guilt trips start. I know he was going downhill fast, I just didn't realize how fast it would be.

Anywho - I was doing fine today.. Until a dear friend of mine e-mailed me some remembrance sigs she had made for me. I looked at it and it was like a slap across my face - a reminder as plain as day that he is no longer here.

I think one reason I really have a problem with this is that Keiths family didn't want any kind of service, no memorial, nothing. He was just creamated and his brother took the ashes and that was it. I was just a girlfriend so I didn't have a say in any of that other than to try and tell them what Keith had told me.

SO I didn't have closure.. and I am not sure if I have even come close to grieving yet. The week after Keith died I had to go to Arkansas for a family reunion. Then a week after getting home I had to start looking for a new place to live, since we were no longer eligible for the housing unit I was in *longer story* And had to prepare for Christmas as well. And after New Years I had to go to mayo for my own health issues. Then my daughter and I hd to move.. and still aren't completely unpacked. It's as if I stay busy I won't know he is gone. I think I am running away from it, or internalizing it. Etc. I can write poetry about how I feel.. and sometimes I sit here at the puter and cry. But - I know I am h olding so much inside. Anger at his family especially.. How does one merge all those feelings and come up with an OK one.

Am so sorry for the long post - have a lot on my mind tonight and in my heart.


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I'm not sure that there is such a thing as merging all of our feelings into one OK one during this kind of thing. You seem so eloquent in your thoughts and feelings and pretty well in touch with the hodge-podge that they are for you right now.

I lost my dad to another cancer about 12 months ago (Apr 18th will be that anniversary) and, much like you, have been so busy that I really haven't had time to grieve his loss yet...and all those pent-up unresolved feelings of grief are building in me too (I can feel them and they are gonna' have to be addressed somehow). We had a memorial service for my dad and that really didn't provide any closure for me -- just a thought that maybe our minds search for places to tag those feelings that we have. It's OK to just feel them, but they need to be released somehow, including forgiving his family for not giving you closure.

Here's what I am gonna' do as I can to release my own inner turmoil -- because you are able to be so descriptive of what you are feeling, perhaps it will help you too:

I am going to set-aside quiet time for just me and my grief. I am going to treat that time and what I will do as sacred, if you will, a time of release, forgiveness, and healing for me...no phone calls, no interruptions of any sort for as long as I need. I am going to take my feelings and put them to paper, with an intent focus on each particular feeling (loss, anger, whatever I need to label them as) -- as many pages as I need with as much detailed description as I can give them (I may even draw pictures to capture their essence if I am moved to do so at the time); I'll cry, I'll pace, I'll allow everything to come up inside of me as I write until I am aware that I have captured everything on those papers (until I am calm inside). Then I am gonna' burn up those pages (not necessarily on the same days of my writing them) and send those feelings back from whence they came as a gesture to myself to release the burden of my own grief. I'll do that as many times as I need to as time passes.

In the future, after I feel lighter, I will spend more "sacred time" writing about all the cherished memories I have of my dad as a celebration of him (those I'll keep and intend to get a special box or something that I might actually make and decorate to store them in).

I have no actual basis for why I plan to deal with it this way, it's just what my insides are saying to do about now for myself. If I thought I had any real close friends or relatives that I wanted around during that process to help me, I would include them, but I personally am not moved to do that for myself.

I've tried talking to people and it just isn't working for me near enough to deal with what's building inside because everyone else starts in with their own stories and feelings (gee, note that I just did that to you too!) and, well, even though we all go through those feelings and can empathize with each other, it's somehow still about each of us and our own unique grief for our loved one.



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Boy I can't imagine being able to put that kind of grief and anger into one palpatible ok feeling. It just needs to work itself out naturally, and that take A LOT of time.

I know what you mean about the value of the simple things that you miss. I've been obsessing about things like that for a while and honestly don't know where to draw the line. For the past few months, I've refused to delete any e-mail sent to me from Keith regardless of how mundane, or any voicemail, or throw away any note. I have no little room left in my mailbox and am getting size warnings all the time and istead of deleting a single one of Keith's messages I delete work ones. I've been saving everything for over a year so I've become quite a pack rat and the only reason my voicemail and e-mail isn't worse is that I changed jobs in Aug and couldn't transfer my saved messages from then.

I just don't want to miss his voice, or the beautiful things he always says to me, or the way he makes me feel.

So many nights I've stayed away trying to memorize his face, or the way he smells as he lies sleeping. But when I close my eyes and start to drift off I awake with a panic to realize I can't see him perfectly in my mind so I need to stare at him for a little longer.

What I'm trying to say it I understand how it is the little things about the person who held your heart that you cherish/miss the most like the sound of their voice, the smell of their warmth, the feel of their skin on your cheek.

Do you have anything of his to bring you comfort, a favorite old shirt, or his pillow, anything? I've thought about having a quilt made from some of Keith's old clothes he doesn't wear anymore since he's lost so much weight. That way when I feel overwhelmed and don't want to smother him I can wrap it around me and it will be like having him wrapped around me. Would his family give you some of his things to have around you and bring you some closeness to him?

I also really agree with Ginny, hold your own Memorial Service. You and your daugther and some close friends can hold your own special day to devote and pay homage to Keith. If his family doesn't approve, well then they don't have to come. But I honestly think that maybe one or two of them might actually be struggling for closure themselves too. With spring coming, maybe you can gather in a park and release some balloons with messages written to Keith tied to them. Or another idea [Keith and I did this at our wedding] is to release live butterflies. I read a myth/superstition that butterflies used to be thought to carry prayers and wishes on their wings up to heaven. I found a place on the internet that sold butterfly cyclids and we hatch 100 of the at my home and wrote a little message on the boxes asking for prayers for a blessed marriage, we then released them after the service. The same can be done to send your love to Keith on the wings of butterflies. (if you want the website I still have it).

Just a couple of ideas.

Sorry this got so long, but even though I haven't lost my Keith, I really get touched by those who have lost their soulmates. It is my greatest fear in life, and it is a possibility even though I hope never happens I partly feel I am already grieving.

I pray for you Melanie, and hope you find some peace and comfort through your grief.

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What a beautiful idea. You know the Christmas before Keith passed away he game me a journal.. because I had stopped writing poetry and things. He wanted me to find my "muse" saying I still had so many words left to share with the world. That journal still lies empty. Perhaps once I let the other feelings go I can find the peace I need to use the journal he gave me.

Right now the co-host of Keiths support group is going through the last days with his wife, Patty. She has prety much lost her will to fight anymore.. And I struggle so hard to find the right words to comfort him. Sometimes I don't know if there are any right words left within me.

Thank you so much for listening to what I needed to say - and understanding where I am at.

I am so sorry for your loss. And so sorry that anyone has the need to be here in this forum. Keith always said that he h oped the day would come when there was no need for his forum. I share those feelings.



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I live in MN, Keith lived in Nebraska and his brother lives in California. While I was in Arkansas hayes was at Keiths giving everything away.. and I mean everything. I had left Keiths pillow and some blankets I had given Keith there for hayes to use.. and asked him to please at least mail those to me. Instead he threw them all away when he was ready to leave.

The deal was supposed to be that when I was driving home from Arkansas I would stop by and put the things I wanted in storage. (I had left him 60 dollars so he could rent me a storage unit) and then when I went to mayo my dad and I could stop by with a rented trailer and pick up the items I had wanted.

When I stopped by on my way home, he had given everything away. And I mean everything. The clothes, the piano, the guitar, the futon, etc. I did get Keiths stereo. And half of his plants. (The other half I gave away to the people in town whom he held dear). On a previous occasion Keith had given me his CD collection since he had everything stored on his computer. Oh and I got his computer. (I grabbed it before Hayes threw it away) Keiths son did send me a CD with pictures of Keith on it. But thats about the extent of contact I have had with his family. They do occasionally stop by Keiths forum - but thats maybe once every few months. And thats OK with me.

If you have a way to save your e-mails on a CD, that would be a great way to keep them all - and yet free up the space on your computer.

Treasure each day you have with your Keith. I aws just telling another person in one of the forums I visit at Delphi - that she shouldn't spend so much time worrying about the what if's and spend more time loving and living in today. :)

I hope you and Keith are having a wonderful day today. Give each other hugs from me.


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melanie, i am sorry for your loss. loss is never easy. and there is no right way or wrong way to grieve. they say time heals all wounds. this isn't true. the fact is, as time goes on, it just gets easier. it gets easier to laugh, to cry, to begin a new normal. please, take it easy on yourself. we all are here for you when you want to vent. i am thinking of you. it is going to be hard. but it won't always be this hard. mirrell

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Thank you so much Mirril. There are days that seem easier. I have been doing alot of writing poetry.. it helps to voice the emotions etc.

I see you are in Seoul, Korea. I was an army brat, and spent a few years there back in 69-71. Now I am just a brat ;)

Someone told me yesterday that there would be a day when I would no longer grieve. I told him he was nuts. That things might get easier but I don't think one ever gets over the grief. It makes me nuts when people say such insensitive things.

Another friend asked me if I thought I would get back together with an old boyfriend. This boyfriend and I broke up many many years ago but have remained dear friends. How is it that people think I want another relationship right now? *sigh* I just have to shrug my shoulders and walk away.



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Oh boy does your post ever hit home with me!

Our circumstances were different but in many ways much alike. I too had no say in the arrangements made for my Johnny. We were not married so his sons took charge of everything. I had been the one there to take care of him. I had the right to love and care for him and to be the one there holding his hand and watching him die but when he died my rights all ended. He too was creamated and his remains are with his son. We had talked about a place together but had not made any arragnements because we couldn't face the possibility of his death. Our wishes were ignored.

I was very angry with his children for a very long time. I also love them because they are a part of him. There is no way to reconcile those feelings. You just learn to live with them. You take them seperately and try to let the rest go.

I watched just a few short weeks ago the arrangements being made for the funeral of my ex husband. Those arrangements were made by my children. I had no part in them because I had given up those rights when we divorced. My children did seek and take my advice on the cover for his mosoleum. Still I felt left out because we had been together for so long. I have learned that you can not go back. Some feelings can not be reconciled. You just have to accept them as they are. If you don't you will never find any peace.

Grief does not end. It just changes. I am fortunate to have so many things that belonged to Johnny. He had very little when we got together so most were things that we shared. His kids did not question my ownership or try to take more than I was willing to give to them. Having some of his things is a real comfort to me. I'm so sorry that you don't have that.

Please feel free to PM me if there is anything I can help you with. I too write poety and I also have kept a journal sense a few weeks after Johnny's death. Putting our feelings into words does help.

I hope that you can somehow find peace. You will always grieve because you will always love. As for his family you have something that they don't. You have all of those speical memories that no one else is a part of. Hold on to those. They are more precious than gold or diamonds.

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Melanie...I can really "feel" your pain from reading your posts. The combination between your post and Carleens really brought tears to my eyes. A few months after Dennis died, I found a tape recording that I had completely forgotten about. The tape was running while he was on a couple of phone conversations, making plans for us to get together with friends. He sounded so happy on the tape. That day seems like a lifetime ago. I also have a few video tapes of him, which I will always cherish.

Like Carleen, I spent so many nights just memorizing every detail about his face, hoping I could somehow etch those memories in my mind forever. So mnay times, I just wanted to freeze time.

My heart is with you. I know the pain you are feeling. I think you should plan your own memorial - with or without his family. This should offer you a bit of closure. I pray things get better for you.

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