Bloodsucking gratitude

20130814-073205.jpgMan, the bloodsuckers were out tonight…Midwest mosquitoes. Because our spring was so drab, the bugs were delayed in their arrival, but now they are here with a vengeance, making up for lost time. Which is what I am trying to do with my neglected garden as well, spreading mulch after work whilst swatting the bloodsuckers. My garden is out of control this year. I can’t keep up with it because, really, it’s a two-man project, and I’m down one man. But I’m doing the best I can, and some dear friends had extra mulch that they shared with me.

Death, and losing someone, will do the same thing if you allow it, suck the “blood” right out of your life. There’s a strange apathy that hits, coating everything in gray. I won’t deny that there have been times when I have wondered what the purpose is? What am I living for? I could get cancer tomorrow, and I wouldn’t even have a mate to take care of me. So they tell you to try and appreciate the small things. Look closely, there are little breaks in the clouds. Try to be grateful for the things you do have, the things you still enjoy, and eventually the color will come back. I know this to be true. But my gratitude is a work in progress, and it often feels as unruly as my garden. A “thank you” here, a quiet moment there…

…like spreading mulch on this hot summer night. I know my husband would have given anything to be here doing this with me. Despite his hatred of mosquitoes, he loved powering through a gardening project. If he could have made a deal with death, or with the fierce she-leader of the mosquito kingdom, trading his blood for his life (along with some itchy bites), he would have done it. If only that were the choice. Cancer is a much deadlier adversary, the oft victor of life-and-death negotiations, one bad-ass parasite.

I realize my blog tends to focus on the hard parts of loss. It’s a healthy way to work through the tough, honest emotions. A person can’t just go from grieving widow to happy clown in a day. I lost two people, and my life is less without them. I miss them both tremendously. But I’m trying to shift my focus, my attitude, my gratitude.

And I realized tonight that I have turned a corner. I am not out of the woods yet, but on this beautiful summer evening, I can smell the mint and the lavender my husband planted, I am sweating and swatting, and I am grateful. Not for the mosquitoes…(I mean come on, I ain’t the Buddha!), but I am grateful for the life-blood that continues to run though my veins. Some lucky skeeters actually got to enjoy my husband’s sweet blood; I got to enjoy his sweet and funny nature, taste his salty skin. I am still relishing it, here, now, as I tend to our lush garden, full of bugs and blooms, thinking of him, on this night.

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5 thoughts on “Bloodsucking gratitude

  1. A- you’re a great writer. B-I think you are keeping it so “real” and I am delighted with your honesty. I get that Tuesday sucked but here you are on Friday feeling grateful and “turning a corner.” I wish every dear person in my “newly bereaved group” at hospice could read your blog. I know many of them would feel understood by you as well as cheered by the rays of hope you’re feeling. I don’t think your blog focuses on the “hard parts of loss” – loss is hard man. Just is. You are letting us in on a deep, private process and sharing graciously and gracefully. Truly courageous and I bow to you. You have a fan in California. XO

  2. I could really relate to this post…I don’t have a garden yet I know the bloodsucking feeling and living in a gray existance….I can not seem to shake it.
    This is the beginning of 2 years for me….it is not getting easier..it is harder…..and I know the cancer thing too….my husband died from complications of a bone marrow transplant….I would not have a caregiver.
    And others have moved on…the phone calls have stopped…the going out to eat…the many comments on things I put on facebook are now down to zero…..I am left by myself trying to figure out “Now what?”

  3. Another great entry. Finding gratitude isn’t always easy but it’s always a goal worth seeking…especially after we’ve been at the lowest points of our lives and are struggling to find a new path to walk.

  4. there is a subtle, cool herb-scented breeze running through – a gentle relief in your words from the buggy heat. Grateful for your bloodsucking share 🙂

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