Katie Strumpf
"Helping kids with cancer.......a cancer survivor's story"  

The World Spins Madly On

Of all the dates I have feared, this date invoked the most fear. I dreaded it more than any of the other landmark days.

Yesterday was the one-year mark of Adam's passing. I can't believe that 365 days have gone by without Adam. But gone by they have, and yet somehow, I am still here standing.

Adam and I's song was the Weepies, Gotta Have You. Whenever I hear the Weepies, I am transported back to that summer that we fell in love. Their song, The World Spins Madly On is very fitting right now.

I thought of you, and where you'd gone. And the world spins madly on.

So I approached this day with fear and trepidation. But, I reminded myself that Adam wasn't alive yesterday, and the day before that, and last month, and somehow I made it through that. I tried not to let myself be psyched out by the significance of the day.

But it is hard not to remember what I was doing last year at this time, what happened. That I was living my life in standstill, literally waiting and watching this incredible man that picked me, among all the other women who would have loved to be his, leave this world. I looked back at my journal entry for that day and I wrote:

I feel like I have just been through a war, and another war is starting.

That is quite accurate, I felt like I had been through a war trying to get Adam better, watching him fight so hard to get rid of this damn disease. Then just like that, the war was over, and we surrendered. After he passed away, a new war started, albeit quiet, and less chaotic.

The war was surviving the grief, and fighting my way through it.

But survive I have, and I have tried to navigate this uncertain and isolating experience the best I can. I am so lucky to have so many friends and family supporting me, offering words of encouragement and love. All around, friends and family were doing things to honor Adam, to remember him.

My sister donated her hair to Locks of Love, and did it right around this time of year to honor Adam. She told me she plans to do it at least every other year in his honor. I loved that. I got an email from his oldest friend telling me how he had an very Adam-esque night, and I laughed, because Adam would have loved what he did. A good friend of Adam's that has in turn become a good friend of mine told me her plans to help the homeless on that day, and drink Pinot Noir. Another good friend sent me Georgetown Cupcakes, and when I saw the familiar pink and black box outside my door, I smiled. I cried when I read her note, and then I shoved a chocolate cupcake in my mouth. Grief therapy at its finest.

I received countless emails, texts, phone calls, cards of support from those who knew Adam, and from those who never actually knew Adam, but have gotten to know me, and in turn, have gotten to know Adam. Because although Adam is no longer physically here, I take him, and the life we had together with me. I use it to help guide me, to heal, and rebuild.

But at the end of the day, I am responsible for getting myself through, I am the only one who is in the position of Adam's widow. The person I most want to talk to about how hard it is that Adam is gone is Adam. I have not only lost this loving, sweet, kind man, but also lost my confidante, the one I turned to, the one I confided in. It is a sad irony indeed.

I had originally planned to spend the day at the beach with friends, and paddle-board. Adam rowed in college, and paddle-boarding is something I have recently started doing and really enjoy.

But the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to do that. So I listened to my instincts, and told my friends I needed to be alone that day. Because they are good friends, they understood.

I knew on this day, that I needed to be alone with my thoughts. So I did.

I had a great yoga class in which I popped up smoothly into a headstand, which hasn't happened quite so easily before. I felt myself smiling at this yoga triumph. I got an iced coffee from an independent coffee shop (very Adam-eque, he loved being in coffee shops and supporting local businesses before it was trendy to do so.) and filled it with Splenda (not so Adam-esque, seeing as I used to hide the bag of Splenda from him in our pantry).

I spent the day on the beach, reading, swimming, laying out, watching kids play in the surf. I thought of Adam, but I think of Adam a lot every day.

At one point I swam out and cried, but I figured my tears would just blend in with the ocean.

Once I was cried out, I rode a wave in, and swam back to the life I am building in Charleston.

 

adam.jpg

Posted by Katie Strumpf at 2:37 PM on August 22, 2011 | Comments (0)



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