Thursday, May 14, 2009

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Two days ago my Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow bushes were in full bloom covered with a multitude of blossoms in lavender shades joined by white flowers. Their airy fragrance was light and delightful. Two of the three plants I had rooted from the original bush. They have since grown considerably taller than my over mid-five feet height.

I went outside this morning to take the flowers pictures only to discover they had reached the end of their blooming season this year. The pictures that follow are among the few remaining lavender blooms though the white blossoms remain as the last flowers. Perhaps the flowers condition is appropriate for this particular piece.

You may note the flower bushes name is the theme of this blog – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. At the end is a poem by an unknown author with the same title as the bushes. I’ve enjoyed reading the poem through the years – Along The Way.

Yesterday …..

Hard to believe the time that has passed since my husband of almost 43 years died. That unexpected occurrence sometimes seems to have happened yesterday, which it actually did three years ago. Other times that day seems to have been long ago, enveloped in an unreal world. I’ve intentionally wanted to avoid giving undo reference to the day in the following years, but the date unconsciously resonates in my mind. Unbidden memories of our life together have trickled forth into my consciousness. I recall now the busyness of my activities after his death beginning that morning and continuing well into the evening hours.

I must have set the pattern then, since for the next year or so I kept myself so occupied variously I often became over-involved and driven. I could sometimes feel a burden of guilt if I did not perform certain aspects of my self-imposed new activities that I thought I should. In retrospect I was rather like the squirrel I recall from my childhood. He was a neighbor’s pet allowed to exercise periodically in a caged large wheel he turned at an increasing rate as he ran in place faster and faster. I wonder if that handsome red squirrel with the elegantly fluffy tail was aware he wasn’t going anywhere? Or, maybe he knew, and he was going somewhere -- in his mind.

In my case, after long hours, days, weeks of absorbing perpetual CD music at home, I had periods of time when I immersed myself in reading. I spent exorbitant amounts of time with the computer, much of it in the blogosphere and some with some of you.

I thought I was coping quite well and very much in control of my situation – except I wasn’t taking care of much day to day business. I could always do those things another day, I thought. Inadvertently I allowed some personal business to slide past which had not occurred before. Somehow such matters seemed so insignificant and unimportant any more, yet I knew they were. This was the time to cater to my whims I had concluded. I did, maybe, over-indulge myself. Considering some of the alternatives I considered, dabbled with and could have adopted, perhaps everything I was choosing to do despite how imperfect an answer was the better choice.

My plans had for so many years been influenced by necessary considerations for my life companion and suddenly, in an instant, that was no longer true. I took classes. I was mentally and emotionally prime to attach myself to a project that was fresh and held promise for the future as I became immersed in computer related activities.

So much of what I did had a sense of urgency component for me to accomplish whatever it was, now. Yet I often spoke of patience. Still I recognized changes I desired even for myself were probably long term evolutions. I had such contradictory thoughts that occasionally were at war within myself. Words I used describing my state of being were often what I wanted to be the case, but the words did not make it so. This was likely a reflection of my strong belief in the power of words within me -- the messages I gave myself and others – an honest effort to convince myself all was well.

I functioned as though new friendships needed to be cemented now, since time had come to have a very limiting finite quality for me. By contrast I talked of living to one hundred years of age. On some level I recognized what I was doing. On the day to day level all I did seemed quite rational and logical to me.

For months I was restless in my own home. I would reach a point where I just had to leave the house. In fact, I often left the premises for many hours of the day into the night. Had I lived near a lake some sunset hours or moonlit nights I would likely have sought a boat to embrace me while rocking ever so gently on a calm water’s surface.

I was tempted at times to drive in the car and just keep going to some unknown destination, but quelled that impulse with the belief I must return home for the beginning of each new day. I wished I knew a private pilot with whom I could fly away just for awhile. I thought about trying to make one’s acquaintance by visiting one of the two nearby small local airports hoping I’d be offered a flight. Years past my husband and I sometimes ate at one of their restaurants, watched the touch and goes, the air traffic, and remembered our mid-west flying years.

I wanted to be alone with my thoughts, but there were erratic inconsistent limits to my tolerance of the uncommonly quiet of my own home. I could be loading the dishwasher, making the bed, reading the newspaper or performing a multitude of other ordinary tasks. An indefinable feeling would subtly spread through my body much like during early spring after a winter’s freeze when a maple tree’s life-giving juices, having been confined, gradually begin to flow from the trunk toward the barren branches.

I became uneasy not knowing how or why the restlessness started since my mind would be engaged with matters unrelated to my loss. The escalating feeling resulted in my sensing I needed to leave the house. Ironically, on other occasions when I was away from home, often driving purposefully in the car, I had an overwhelming sense I no longer wanted to finish my planned schedule and I must go home.

Sometimes I would spend excessive time in a book store’s big leather cushioned chair. Strangely, I could enjoy being alone in the semi-quiet of the crowd there. Ultimately I did not mind my quiet periodically interrupted when one of the friendly young clerks became casually attentive. I was surprised to eventually learn he was a musician about to embark on a short tour with a successful newly re-formed Indie/Pop/Rock Band. More memories of my husband’s music life were stimulated.

I sought out live jazz performances here and elsewhere,sometimes alone, sometimes with friends. Finally, I discovered I had a saturation point listening to numerous jazz groups performing in those various locations. I settled into attending less frequent performances focusing on one particular talented group with an equally gifted female vocalist. I added other music genres from folk to classical with much in between at concerts I shared with friends, old and new.

Today …..

Those erratic days became weeks that turned into months, then years. Along The Way – I have become content. My solitude is not only comfortable but welcome.

Tomorrow …..

I don’t know what tomorrow holds for me, but I look forward with great anticipation to that future day by day.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
There are two days in every week that we should not worry about, two days that should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed, forever beyond our control.

All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. Nor can we erase a single word we've said - yesterday is gone!

The other day we shouldn't worry about is tomorrow, with its impossible adversaries, its burden, its hopeful promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is beyond our control.

Tomorrow's sun will rise either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds - but it will rise. And until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.

This leaves only one day - today. Any person can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when we add the burdens of yesterday and tomorrow that we break down.

It is not the experience of today that drives people mad - it is the remorse of bitterness for something which happened yesterday, and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.

Let us, therefore, live one day at a time!

Author Unknown


  1. Joared, I can imagine this was tough to write, lots of deep soul searching. Your pain and loss are palpable, but I am smiling to read your final upbeat words.

    May the days ahead just get brighter and brighter.

  2. We each have different ways of coping after an abrupt change in our lives. I think your ambivalent feelings of alternatively feeling restless while wanting to be home is part of the healing process. Nothing is the same; yet we run around like your squirrel trying to find a substitute. You have described it well.

    It sometimes takes years to adjust to our new life of living alone, but it is wonderful when it happens.

  3. Good for you for writing this, Joared, and I know it wasn't easy. In your shoes, I might have moved to another home/apt., in order not to have memories constantly invading my thoughts. But I realize that the memories will intrude no matter where you are physically, and that the memories or not unwelcome, at least at times.

  4. Your writing your experience may prove to help others going through something like that, where nobody can be prepared by sometimes knowing how it has been for others can help. It sounds like you went through it with awareness-- at least now-- and growth. We can't ask for much more than that

  5. What a beautiful post Joared...and one I think you greatly needed to express. This definitely must have been difficult...kind of like a metamorphosis. I am so touched by the depth of your writing. It will be four years in November since my husband died. I spend a lot of time in this big old house there are times I understand EXACTLY what you're talking about. I love the poem at the end... ~Joy

  6. CP: Seems like I spent a lot of time soul searching. I really did have to get away from trying to write about that in the beginning as my thoughts became convoluted, complicated and turning inward on themselves.

    Darlene: I can sure identify with the "trying to find a substitute" aspect.

    Kenju: I might have moved if I hadn't had so much "stuff" I didn't want to have to sort through. There are still materials related to my husband I have yet to delve into that my children may someday want.

    Rain: Yes, I guess you could say I had some awareness but that did not deter me from some actions/reactions, some quite impulsive - better left undone, quite counter to my true nature. That in itself was quite upsetting to me, usually in hindsight, which gave me added frustration.

    Joy: I finally recalled why that poem was familiar to me. Years ago I had attended some ACA meetings with a friend and I think this poem is one of the serenity type writings used in the various groups associated with addiction recovery. I like their serenity prayer, too. We don't have to have ever been in recovery programs such as theirs to be calmed and gain solace from this poem or their serenity prayer.

  7. Each person's grief is unique; yet, we many of us have similar paths in enduring the time following our loved one's death.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and philosophies with us, Joared!
    Cop Car

  8. This was so wonderful. And I like it that you don't suggest "solutions" but simply describe what things were like for you after your husband died. And that you eventually came to appreciate your solitude.
    I had a yesterday, today, and tomorrow plant in my yard once but never knew it was called.

  9. Oh Joared - just being with you across the miles. I love this reflection of your journey - your writing is so wonderful - sending golden thoughts your way - take care of yourself.

  10. Cop Car: "Unique" is truly the word to describe each of our experiences in so many situations.

    Hattie: I do agree that allowing others to garner from our experience what they will may well be best.

    I didn't know the name of the bush either for a long time. I was equally surprised the flowers had such a strong but delightful fragrance. My bush had been hidden in the back yard invisible at one end of the house. I'm glad these flowers are in visible locations now. I've since learned there are several varieties in shrub form, a larger bush, and a tree. The name was originally intended to be the primary title of my blog.

    Suzann: I think of you and the heartfelt words you've used to express your thoughts and feelings describing your own journey through grief.

  11. This is powerful writing, joared. Thank you.