Wednesday, October 29, 2008

guilt and acceptance

I have worried since Jeff's death that he didn't know how much I loved him. The stupid things I did and the things I took for granted have weighed so heavily on my mind. I have felt terribly and guilty for the things that I complained about and the issues I thought were important.
Since Jeff's death I have realized that these 'things' were nothing. Not important. Not worth the words or the breath I used to express them.
I have always known Jeff loved me. I have always felt his comforting presence and his teddy bear gentleness when it came to 'us'. I have never doubted that he loved me and I was his 'Snuggles'.
A friend recently expressed her worry that when she dies, it will be after she has lost her patience, yelled or been in a generally foul mood. She worried that this would be the last thing her kids or husband remembered about her. I assured her that it wouldn't. That they'd remember all of her and those times of stress and anger would be forgiven and almost forgotten.
I told her of the last few minutes I had with Jeff before he died. He had been an ASS. He had told the doctor that he thought I was hoping he was having a heart attack so I could 'be right'. I had replied, "No, Jeff. I am concerned about you. I am worried and I want to find out what is wrong."
Jeff didn't like going to doctors. He didn't like to admit that anything was wrong. He could be combative and angry trying to dissuade me from taking him to a doctor. Years ago, he once told me that he would leave me if I took him to the hospital again after he had passed out on the floor and was turning blue. It became the source of laughter just days later. But it didn't mean he didn't love me. It meant he didn't like going to the doctor. He didn't like being 'told what to do'. As simple as that.
Since telling my friend about these incidents, I have been thinking about it. I am realizing that even though I have had my complete 'ass' moments, Jeff most likely had the same feelings about me. That I am human. I obsess about ridiculousness much to my detriment just as he did. Even though he was angry with me for dragging him to the doctor, I was there. I was trying to save his life. I loved him enough to go up against his defiance and fury to find out what was wrong. Even after he used these angry words, I tried to save him. I would have no matter what he ever said, did or was. I knew he loved me. And I loved him. He died in my arms as I tried to save him. And, now, I am sure he knew I loved him. And it is a relief. I can let go of my guilt. I can realize I am human and like everyone else, I am imperfect. He loved me despite of it all. And I loved him despite any of his faults. And he knew.


Marissa said...

perhaps writing this post was very therapeutic. your tone changed as it went on and i'm glad by the end you realized Jeff adored you & knew how very much you loved and cared for him. if he had to die, i'm positive he did it in the only place he'd want to be, in your arms.

*big warm hugs to you today, keep breathing*

leigh in the sav said...

i agree with marissa - your tone did change - and i am not sure if you realized it while writing, but you (thankfully) came to an accurate conclusion. he knew. what you feel for him was SHARED.

you had a love that many are not lucky enough to find. he loved you and you him - warts and all. : )

it is lovely to hear you feel more secure (but you can still break down as often as needed!) - you are doing an amazing job.

Kathryn said...

What a comfort it must have been to him to die in your arms. He must have been scared and by that time knew something was terribly wrong. We should all be so lucky to die in the arms of someone who loves us, but I bet very few of us will have this.

Your writing is still so poignant. You have a lot of talent in being creative.

darcie said...

I'd have to agree with the others in saying that as awful as it must of been for both of you - Being together, Jeff in your arms, there is a sense of peace in that (somewhere.)
I am so very sorry that you are going through all of this Jackie - Wishing I could make it all better - even for a moment.
xoxo - creepy darcie

Anonymous said...

Hi Jackie,

I'm so glad you've had this insight. I hope it can give you some comfort in the months to come.


Anonymous said...

No gift is greater than unconditional love. You gave/received that to/from Jeff and now you are giving this amazing gift to your children. And in accepting and appreciating this you are learning to love yourself by letting go of all the 'minutia'. I see you finding in yourself what we see almost daily. Strength, honor, kindness, capability and a very intense desire to be a survivor and not a victim.

You are such an inspiration, Jackie!


Roads said...

That's wonderful. More than anything, you need to cut yourself a little slack sometimes. You have enough to deal with, without facing guilt as well.

Letting go helps you to make these 'little' realisations along the way, but actually they're neither little not trivial, either.

They're huge. Mostly we make tiny steps along the way, but finding some kind of answer to thoughts like these is a giant leap.

Anonymous said...

Of course he knew. I'm glad you're in a place now to realize it and find comfort in it.

Anonymous said...

you are an amazing woman! the hair!
You are beautiful!

TheSingingBird said...

jackie, just as he knew then that you loved him,
i believe he knows now even more

Anonymous said...

You make me realize now how much Liv looks *just* like you! :0)

Desha said...

Thanks for this post. I have thought about that often, whenever I lose my temper or say hurtful things. You remind me to count my blessings and think before I speak. My heart aches for you that you have to go through this. You and those beautiful kids are in my prayers often.