At first there were no words, and now, like the afternoon thunderstorms we are having nearly every day when rain comes out of the blue and pours sheets of water over everything, words come tumbling out of my head, some making sense, others leaving me wondering if there is a pocket of poison somewhere inside me me that won't let me heal. The words are coming, but I keep getting in the way of my own healing, doing things like hurting my back by moving furniture and not taking proper care of my knee. Am I creating more pain in some sick attempt to punish myself? It's like picking my wounds instead of finding my way in a world without Clint. There are good things and good people in this mix, unexpected calls from loving people who care what I'm living with, who don't mind if I cry, sit silently while I do and don't say I should get a grip on myself. Judy Vaughn has called me about every two weeks just to check in, give me a forum for all my emotions, the good and the toxic. Joy Hamby called me yesterday, not to talk but to listen without judgement, give me permission to own my grief and take as long as I need to deal with it. There are others, my close friends, who do the same thing. These people are light for me in this dark place. They don't try to talk me into being happy when I'm not or try to cheer me up or tell me to be strong for everyone else. They radiate acceptance even when they don't understand. They don't try to understand or offer tips on how to get over it. They are comfort in the midst of this confusion and anguish. Gretchen calls often, and yesterday she told me about some of her dreams about Poppy. In one, he is dressed for golf, a beautiful woman on each arm, sporting sunglasses and a smile. She asks him why he was wearing sunglasses, and he tells her that it's not dark where he is. In another, he is dressed for tennis, a game he never played. She made me laugh, reminding me of what a chick magnet Clint always was, of the times I had to fend off advances from total strangers who were attracted to him. She said, "The women are still after your man," and it made me smile inside. I even laughed. I so envy her those dreams, that she can remember them and wake in a happy frame of mind because of them. I want those dreams. I do dream about him but can never remember the details. I wake up talking to him, only to find that the warm body next to me in my bed is Belle. The dreams are not disturbing, they just are, and I am living for the morning when I wake and can remember them. Yesterday was one of those days from hell. I dealt with the pain by throwing myself full tilt into cleaning my bathroom. And no, it wasn't smart to take on a cleaning job when my back was already hurting but, I have the cleanest goddamned bathroom in Bibb County, every corner scrubbed, countertops gleaming, not a dust bunny to be found. And it did help. I listened to a book as I worked, and I came away exhausted, sweating like a pig but somehow feeling okay, not necessarily better, but with a sense of accomplishment. Maybe losing Mini Maid just after Clint died was a good thing. (I think she was uncomfortable changing the bed where he died). Now I have something to take care of, to take up some of the hours in my day when I was caring for Clint. I brush Honey every day, sometimes twice. I take time to give Belle extra attention. She misses Poppy so much. Do I see myself spending the rest of my life spending quality time with my Swiffer products? No, but for now they are my best friends, and they may be for a while. The other day, I polished brass and now Barkeeper's friend is on my list of new best friends. I have to do this my way, but I need to stop causing myself physical pain. That may take some work.