But the flashbacks are still coming and most nights I seem to have cried myself to sleep. All the memories of these hard two weeks leading up to Jim's death are bubbling to the surface and freezing in single frames. It was two weeks of terror and resignation, deep sadness and grace, amazing love and ultimately letting go.
We were in the hospital for five days before the decision to go to Hospice was made. During this hospital stay my family brought in old Linda Ronstadt cd's that Jim delighted in singing along to (Jim's tumors inhibited his speech but oddly he could sing anything perfectly). He would reach out his good arm to me from his bed so I would grasp his hand and begin to dance with him; he would make the motion to twirl so I would dip under his arm and allow him to twirl me in and out and he and I would dance in this way.
Jim was having absence seizures at this point - where he would just stop and stare into space with vacant eyes for several moments. When those happened I would drop everything in order to be at his side when he came out of them, looking into his eyes I would whisper, "welcome back" and he would smile and mouth the words, "I love you". During one of these seizures I was across the room talking with friends but my sister, Karmo, and my niece, Jennywren, were sitting on the bed with Jim. We all looked up as we heard them singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to Jim as he came out of his seizure. The hospital room was filled with people but you could have heard a pin drop as Jim picked up the chorus and sang along with them. I can never hear that song without crying anymore.
So for me this first anniversary isn't really about one day; there's a full two-weeks leading up to that final hour when he passed with the sound of "tinkling of bells" according to the night nurse at Hospice. But the day certainly is an important and difficult bench-mark. I have no idea what I may do. My best friend has already set the day aside in order to be with me. I am so blessed with such good friends.
And thank you all who have been sending me private messages and reaching out to me as "the day" draws near. That incredible love continues to flow from all of you to me ... and from Jim too.
Loving you all back,