Tetelestai

In the Scriptures, “Tetelestai” was the last utterance of Christ on the cross. Loosely translated from the Greek “τετέλεσται”, it means “It is finished”, complete, done.

I’m going to let theologians debate the scriptural significance of Tetelestai – I’m using it here as a metaphor.

On this day after Good Friday (and on the same day as that darned giraffe finally gave birth to her calf), there is an awful lot that seems “finished”. I’m going into this Easter holiday looking around our little house at all of the projects my late husband finished. He painted every wall in our home, every cabinet in the kitchen, laid the concrete block pathway to the driveway, constructed the shed in the backyard, crafted all of the hanging light fixtures and the track lighting in my office, built my computer and the desk that I sit at, and built the fence that surrounds our yard, protecting both the dogs and me.

Tetelestai. It is finished.

It’s almost a time-line, really, of the worsening of his plethora of illnesses – the grandiose projects that he completed when we first moved in – so full of energy, so many dreams. The projects got smaller and simpler as his health waned, and then stopped completely when simply breathing and moving became project enough for him. At first, we’d joke about it. “It’s a two hour project” he’d say, and I’d respond “See you next Thursday then, right?” because simple projects took longer, but they still got done. As the years passed, many of the smaller projects became my domain – with him “supervising” of course. But the unspoken truth was that he’d never again do “the guy things” around the house.

Tetelestai. It is finished.

I have been looking through albums of our fly-fishing trip to the San Juan river – one of our last escapades before his condition rendered us tethered to places that were in easy access of a cell phone signal at first, then later to a hospital.

So much finished – a testament to him as much as to us… Tetelestai. It is finished.

The hard drive in computer he built for me crashed the day before he went into the hospital for what would be his last procedure. He’d replaced it and the power supply countless times before, with an ease that still amazes me when I dare contemplate the mess of wires and parts – but this time, he and I both knew he wouldn’t be able to repair it. “Get a new computer” he said. I agreed. There would be no more repairs, no more tinkering, no more projects. We both knew, but it was somehow a dramatic punctuation mark to his decline.

Tetelestai. It is finished.

And, in many ways – the disease process that sapped him of his strength, ate away at his heart, his eyesight, his kidneys, his liver – is now finished too. He told me candidly about six months before we raced him to the emergency room for the last time, that for the last three years he’d been in nearly excruciating pain every single day.

So, the fear, the anger, the kitchen table that looked like a pharmacy with the dozens of prescriptions he had to take each and every day, and yes – the pain – Tetelestai. It is finished.

And yet, the bathroom is still three-quarters of the way done… (His massive tiling project was halted by his illness before it could be completed), the long hoped for trips to Branson, Missouri and Tombstone, Arizona never happened.

The remainder of my life is still unfinished (possibly three-quarters of the way done at this point, but, unfinished). My plans have been irretrievably altered of course – and the old dreams, I’m sure, will be supplanted by new ones. But, incontrovertibly – my old life….

Tetelestai. It is finished.

The Need For Screed

As I was sipping another cup of coffee in quiet silence, I was doing some serious thinking this morning. You know, all in all, life in JudiLand is pretty good right now. Well, with the exception of the whole “being a widow at too young of an age” sucky part – things are going smoothly.

I’ve been blessed with enough (and at times more than enough) work to keep me occupied, keep the lights on and allow me to continue to whittle down what seemed to be a never-ending stream of final medical bills from hubby’s death almost six months ago. The book is selling well and I’m honored that so many have responded to my BOGO offer (buy one, and I’ll donate one to a women’s shelter). These days, I’m working on a cookbook and one other lengthy tome hopefully for later this year.

The smiles are starting to outweigh the tears, save the increasingly rarer occasions when something shows up out of the blue and catches me off guard. The weather, as is common in Colorado, is getting warmer – the grass is starting to grow and I’m noticing leaves emerging on the trees.

With all of the “Happy-Ness” going on, I’ve also found myself spending less and less time on Twitter.

I started out tweeting as a primarily political response back in 2009. Immodestly, I’d like to say that I was pretty ding dang darn good at it, too. If I wasn’t the Queen of Snark, I was most certainly her heir apparent.

Looking back, I think I hit my apex of peak snarkiness during the height of the primary season. And that period of time coincided precisely with my husband’s worsening health. I’m certain that any psychoanalyst would have a field day matching up my most venom laden tweets with momentous dates in hubby’s illness. In fact, some of my cruelest barbs are directly relatable to my time spent sitting in hospital waiting rooms or the receipt of yet another panic inducing diagnosis. My Internet rage was my outlet for feeling helpless and my way of dealing with the all too certain realization of my fear that the love of my life was not going to grow old with me, but was instead going to abandon me in the most permanent way possible.

So, I retreated to the quasi-anonymity of Twitter, lashing out and dishing out succinct venom filled spitefulness at any poor soul who ran afoul of my political leanings at the moment. Worse, I found myself joining in on “piling on” of whomever became the “target du jour” of roving bands of Twitter-meanies. I took several breaks from tweetdom once I realized that I was getting meaner just to clear my head.

To be sure, I became acquainted with some of my dearest new social media buddies on Twitter. I’m honored to have crossed the paths with some brilliant folks who write stellar political commentary (on both sides of the aisle, I might add). That they’ve continued to hone their passions and their skills, and are no-holds-barred takers on of political discourse is something I greatly admire about each of them.

In the two months prior to his passing, I’d already found myself the beneficiary of the good that social media has to offer – people from far and wide reached out to help, offered prayers, emailed me with advice – and innumerable wonderful people contributed to funds that helped me to spend every moment of the final nearly three months of Sid’s life caring for him full time without having to worry about the work I was losing.

And, on October 21st of 2015, the previously unthinkable happened. That was the night that my husband died. Strangely, in the days and weeks that followed, my rage and my anger died as well.

Some of it was resurrected in January over the shabby treatment of a beloved family member – but because that was a situation that was “fixable”, the fierce intensity of vexation that I held before was gone.

Please don’t get me wrong here. If the current (or future) political climate is your thing, if it is your all consuming raison d’etre – more power to you – and blessings upon you. My passions just happen to lay elsewhere now.

As a result, I’ve retreated to my original social media home – FaceBook – where I long ago decreed that there would be no politics on my page. None. In my FaceBook universe, I’m blessed with close, wonderful longtime buddies on both sides of the aisle – and I refuse to be “put in the position” of having to choose loyalties. No longer “having a dog in the hunt”, I’m more than happy to leave discussions of whatever the current knicker knotting political crisis of the day is to folks who are far more eloquent than I. Plus, I’m relatively certain that my blood pressure is lower now that I no longer have the Need For Screed.

So, in the ultimate “It’s Not You – It’s Me” fashion – my time on Twitter is limited (never fear – the once in a while mild snarkiness will probably still happen). I’ll still check in from time to time, but now that life is calmer and happier – I don’t feel the “pull” to go there, with the notable exception of sharing my blog (like this one) or the latest information on my book. If you want to join me for happy, occasionally uplifting, sometimes funny posts, (and yes – that includes recipes and animal videos), feel free to send me a friend request on FaceBook or just keep following my blog.

See you ‘round the InterWebs!