A Half Year Without Her
Tomorrow, Oct 2nd, marks six months since Kim passed away. Most days, I still find myself asking, How did this happen? Of course, I know how it happened in time, we lived every day of it together, but how did life turn out this way? I still have a difficult time believing that Kim is gone.
I think a big part of this, and something I am thankful for, is that the memories I have of Kim are primarily of the good times we had. I don’t know if it is due to trauma, or shock, or just the way our brain and memory works, but the difficult memories, the memories of Kim’s final weeks and months, or all the time we spent in the chemo-clinic or recovering from surgery, are not memories that often come to mind. They are there when I think about them, but the good memories come to mind most naturally. Of lazy nights sitting and watching TV together. Of Kim sitting cross-legged on the couch, puzzle board on her lap, while I read in my chair. Camping at Christina Lake or sitting on the beach in Hawaii. Of making dinner and doing the dishes together, Kim still in her work-sweater and dress pants having just come home from work. These are the memories that come most naturally. But it is these memories that make me wonder over and over, how did this happen? How could that vibrant, beautiful, amazing woman be gone? And yet, she is.
This past month has been significant. On the farm, we started and finished corn harvest for another year. We held Kim’s memorial service. And I announced my book project. There have been sparks of joy and excitement, of accomplishment and pride, but the prevailing emotion I find myself experiencing is one of numbness or indifference.
In his book, Lament for a Son, Nicholas Wolterstorff writes, “The passion is cooled, the striving quieted, the longing stilled. My attachment is loosened ... Instead of rowing, I float. The joy that comes my way I savor. But the seeking, the clutching, the aiming, is gone.”
Now this doesn’t mean I don’t laugh, have fun, or get carried away in a good conversation. But once the wake of those moments settle, there is again a sense of emptiness and aimlessness, of "floating."
I am getting by. I have a small circle of close friends who keep tabs on me, as well as my amazing family. COVID does make it worse as I really can’t get out much, but I am not alone in that, and I’ve been able to reconnect with the online CF community.
If you want to do something to mark this six-month anniversary of Kim's passing, then all I ask is you take a moment to reflect on Kim and what she meant to you. Raise a glass of your favorite beverage to the unforgettable person she is.
As was clear from her memorial, Kim touched so many lives and lived such an authentic life. I am so proud to have been her husband.
I miss you, Kim.
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George Keulen's Blog
Welcome to my blog, where you will find general ponderings about my life: Of living with cystic fibrosis and a double lung transplant, being an advocate for person-centered care, being a widower, and of course, reflections and news about my book, Big Breath In.