I was talking to a talented artist friend who has painted, sculpted and taught art all her life. Now at 86 she is working on a huge triptych and said as she showed it to me. "It might take me three years or the rest of my life to do. I don't think about that. Working on it is just delicious."

I was truly happy for her but I also felt a surge of pain knowing I have not yet found something that feels delicious since Bill died. I said to her after looking at her work, "Bill was my delicious. Now I wrestle with the hole left in my heart and life. Bill and I enjoyed hiking, biking, road trips, cooking....and so much more together...even cleaning the garage had its delicious moments. But none of those feel delicious without him. I have experienced good moments, even hints of delicious but so far that incredible feeling of total and joyous absorption into something; art, music or another person, is not yet mine. "
She knew that. We have talked a lot these four years and she knows spousal loss up close and personal. We talked for a while about life and death, passion, art and more. Florence is a dear friend who offered to do a portrait of Bill after he died. She knew him and captured his essence in the painting telling me it just came through her. It takes people's breath away... especially those who know Bill's kind and gentle spirit.

As I walked home,with Bentley stopping to smell anything and everything, my mind kept wandering back to Florence's words: "working on it is just delicious" and remembering how she lit up.
I have learned in these four years since Bill died, how difficult it is to experience delicious again. Hobbies, interests, people....nothing fills the giant hole left in my heart or life. I took several watercolor workshops and even belong to a wonderful circle of women....all outstanding watercolorists. We call ourselves "Local Color" and have done a couple of shows. I am the newbie to watercolor and they are my friends as well as my patient and encouraging teachers. Early on, painting felt delicious and then like many artists have experienced, I started competing with myself and painting became work and delicious slipped away. Nothing seems to have earned that word yet but I have not given up hope that in time, I will get completely absorbed in clay or paint or something...anything. I know the feeling she was expressing having done a series of sculptures many years ago and gotten totally lost in time as I worked on them. It was truly delicious.
Written by Bill-Nov 22, 1999 after I joined him at the creek behind our mountain home in Ouray, CO - following my meditation time.
I also know the feeling from the thousands of joyous and deep moments Bill and I shared for so many years. Simple things like gardening together or making a pot of chili together were delicious. We were lost in time or love or being silly together. Reading his poems written to me on the 22nd of each month in honor of our wedding day or poems written as the spirit moved him were delicious moments. Hiking with him in the San Juan Mountains surrounding our village of Ouray, CO was delicious. Sitting on the deck watching deer and birds and sunsets was delicious. Making love, laughing together, listening to Mahler... all delicious. And those moments with him made it so easy to experiencing delicious elsewhere including seeing a client break through pain or enjoying lunches with friends. The list was long.

It all takes time to find our places again following a significant loss. A hole larger than the Grand Canyon forms in and around us leaving us paralyzed for a long while...longer than I ever dreamed it would. Getting our footing again challenges us each day as we attempt to deal with the tsunamis of grief that keep coming in, knocking us off our feet and carrying us to dark places. Figuring out how to live each day or even why to live each day drains our energy. So does breathing. Delicious moments that were once an everyday occurrence disappeared into that hole. Like me, they got lost.
Now, four years later, those tsunamis do not come thundering in ten times a day. It is far less often. Once in a while one will surprise me and strike the shores of my life. Very often, however, out of the blue when memories are tripped off, smaller waves of grief wash past me or threaten to knock me over. Those leave me with tearful eyes, sad moments or that awful feeling of emptiness and a lack of direction or purpose. It takes energy to walk into them but walking into them heals. It takes even more energy and courage to walk out of them. But I can do that now....many times with great ease.
I envied Florence that day. As she showed me what she had done so far with this huge triptych, her face lit with joy, as she explained what she wanted to do. It was a delicious moment for her...sharing her work.
On my walk home I wondered how long it would be before I woke up most days having found my footing or purpose but mostly because delicious moments or days were mine...again.
What delicious moments are embedded in your memory?
Are you finding your footing following a huge loss? How?
Resources
About Transition After Loss  by Marty Tousley at Grief Healing

Finding Joy After Loss 
by Eric Maisel PhD

How to Find Your Passion by Martha Beck


Florence Bird at Mississippi River Sculpture Park



Related to: transitions, loss

 


Comments

05/11/2014 3:19pm

Mary, that is simply delicious writing. Even if not flowing deliciousness, I imagine you get some wonderful feelings from your work and the creativity of your soulful writing. Beautiful piece. Thank you.
Life is going to bring us new deliciousness, but it will not be the same as the deliciousness we had before. In talking with others who have lost their Beloved ten or more years ago, I see their vitality, love of life, and new directions and dreams as they greet each day. We just aren't there yet. It may take another month, or it may take another ten years, but as long as we keep moving toward deliciousness, I think we will be fine.
Thank you for that beautiful piece of writing.
ilo

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05/12/2014 7:51am

Thank you. I do get good feelings from my work and I do agree....the journey is far from short for most and it takes as long as it takes. Thank you for your lovely comment. Mary

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A blog narrating the memories which she considers "delicious". It mentions very true fact that some memories can be recalled but never remade. They are actually lost by the individuals which is the main theme of the blog. A blog revelaing the true aspects of memories in offcourse a "delicious" way.

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