Monday, January 22, 2018

Final Serenade for Krista Lynn Sandstrom

I want to thank you all for your care and support for my children and me these past 7 months or so since Krista’s death. I know that many of my posts and announcements since probably have been received as sudden and sometimes shocking. I trust however that from reflection on the experience of your own lives that you realize my announcements are made only to fill others in on what have been long term long and well thought out and discussed deliberations. My announcements are simply there to fill others in. When it comes to any items which impact my family, I never announce a decision until after Soren, Birgitta and I have discussed it. 

There is no one on this planet / universe who cares for and is acutely aware of my kids emotional, mental, and physical well being more than I. Remember I have been their primary care-giver since their birth. Before they each entered school, I was with them and cultivating their young experiences 24/7. One of the things I have always done with my children is respect them as human beings and I have never underestimated their capacity to understand, think and feel for themselves. If I were to prejudice my attitude about children with “they are too young to really know what’s going on” that would severely stand in the way of their ability to engage maturely and truthfully with the world, and I would miss a lot of really important things they need for their own emotional, intellectual, and social developments. 

They are now 8th grade and 6th grade. and we do communicate about our needs, cares, life etc. fairly well. Not to sound crass or dark (but with good humor), having had the experience of waking my kids to tell them that their mother isn't coming home because she was killed by a drunk driver, certainly has made every subsequent conversation really easy. 

We talk every day, sometimes just a brief recap, other times fairly long and emotionally cathartic. They are however always the first people I talk to with everything, I want to know their thoughts and feelings Just as I give friends the opportunity to share with me what they are feeling, I do that every day with Soren and Birgitta. They know that there are a great deal of things in life which they will never be able to control. Krista and I shared a parenting and living belief that is encapsulated in a quote from Bruce Lee, “Don’t Pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” And similarly this quote from Rocky Balboa “It's a very mean and nasty place, and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward;” 

It is important to acknowledge that everyone has a unique experience and time frame with regard to grief. We have all been making strides each day. I find that I am now in an excellent position and have reached full acknowledgement with my heart, mind, body, and soul: that my life partner of 26 years will never be physically present ever again. As I turn 48 in February, there is also the realization if all goes well and I keep healthy, I might be able to life another 40 maybe even 50 years. So I am finding myself in a position where I can now experience joy without guilt, that while I will always remain Krista’s Champion, I can no longer hold her as the focus of my life. 

I still dearly love and miss my bride – and I will always long for her presence. There are still some things too emotionally raw for me to experience again. We performed together with the Minnesota Chorale and I am finding it really difficult to think about even coming back to that. I am however finding myself a little more inclined for a return to New Prescriptions, though I am still in a wait and see mode. There are nevertheless some songs, I don’t think I will ever be able to perform again. “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and of course “A Case of You” which I cannot even bear any recording without bursting into tears. 

Along those lines, I did perform one last serenade for Krista. Another piece we intended on learning for upcoming New Rx gigs, was a bit of unfinished emotional business in my own grief and acceptance process. I have many guitars (7) and basses (10), but my old beat up Classical guitar, which is my go-to instrument, I had not touched since May 2017. With a recent visit to my friend Jill in Iowa City, I decided to bring it along. It was cathartic just lying on her couch and playing uninterrupted – meditative stream of consciousness for a few hours, So.... 

Farewell maybe too strong of a word, but before I can continue living the rest of my life, I needed to perform this final serenade for Krista. In May of 2017 we were discussing songs that we would like to perform together. This song, my favorite by Cat Stevens, has always resonated with my feelings about her. After her death, the meaning transformed. I have yet been able to hear it without crying. Today, I recorded 9 takes of this song. None of which I was able to finish without bursting into tears, unable to sing. This is the only take (#5) where I was almost able to get completely through. In recent months I have been growing, living, and expanding my heart, and letting Krista go. We shared 26 years side by side every day and night. While she is no longer physically present . She is always with me. Today, It is time for me to move forward - Live and Love in Joy. I Love You my Bride, my Love, my Krista. 

with much love,
Xenia Sandstrom-McGuire (she/her/hers)

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