Empty Vessels

Dear Larry:

When I woke up this morning and even before I opened my eyes, I remembered that tonight marks 18 months that you are gone.  It really does not matter if it is milestone day or not.  I relive that day every day with flashbacks of you that find me doubled over in grief.  I hated to see you in pain and the humiliation that illness served up for you.  “If I ever get to the point where I cannot wipe my own butt, shoot me up with morphine and let me go.”  You told me this so many times over our 35 years.  You never wanted to have to sacrifice your dignity.  In this process, you were almost compelled to surrender it and that did not suit you.  You made me promise that you got to make the final decision.  Keeping that promise was my final gift to you, but it was never the gift I ever wanted to give to you.

As I woke up, still with my eyes closed, I thought of you.  A vision flashed before me of dozens of stone vessels.  I could see vapors rising from some.  Some were filled with fluids and some seemed empty.  Each was far too heavy to ever be moved and I knew instinctively that these vessels were permanent.  I also knew that they were mine.

In my semi dream state, I was drawn to two of the vessels.  They were brown with Aztec type engravings on the sides.  One was brimming over and the other was empty.   All of the other vessels that I saw before were there, but appeared to be in a cloud.  Clearly, these were the two which I was to pay attention to and in here, someplace, was the lesson that I was intended to learn.

I knew right away that the full vessel was the one that represented my love for you and your love for me.  It was bubbling and steaming and running over the sides with excitement and energy.  It seemed huge to me and the experience of seeing it made me relive a moment of how it felt to be loved by you.  For a brief moment, I forgot that you were gone and just lived in the warmth and security of you.

Then I was draw to the empty vessel.  It, I realized, represented acceptance.  My message was that I would have to find a way, no matter how long it would take, to transfer what was in our first vessel and, drop by drop, find a way to put it into the empty vessel until it was full and bubbling and overflowing.  My challenge was to take the memories and the commitments that we shared and attach ethereal meanings to them.   Take them from earth to heaven. Find peace and comfort in how it was then and not struggle with how it is now.   

The cloud still surrounded the other vessels, but I knew what they were.  They are hope and dreams and the future, but they are still shrouded in the clouds and not yet available for me.  You told me in a dream after you died, as I searched for my purpose to go on, that I have work to do.  This is apparently part of the work that I need to do. I have to design a way in my life to fill the empty vessel of acceptance before I can do anything else.

It is a slow and painful road.  It is a journey only I can do, and I have to do it alone.  I pray that you are now my angel standing next to me and guiding me through all of the decisions that I have to make.  Keep me safe and send me the strength and dignity to walk this unwanted path.

I miss you and will always be

Your wife