Friday, April 29, 2011

You've Got Mail

I just scrapped my entire blog entry.  Three paragraphs deleted in an instant.  I was bitching and moaning about the legal issues I've been dealing with.  I received three new letters today with people demanding more money.  One of which was the IRS.  They're taking my return, too.  Even though I filed as an innocent spouse.  It's all just so frustrating.  But it would be so much worse without Barrett and my Dad.  They are my hero's.  They are doing everything they can for me to help get through this process.  I can't thank them enough.  Not only for their knowledge and their time, but for their love and support.

Every time I get a letter with his name on it, my heart is heavy.  I'm afraid to open it.  I'm afraid of who is asking what of me.  Asking for what I don't have to give.  I gave up my husband.  What more is there?

We never really had money.  We've been struggling since we got married.  It caused us so much stress and anxiety.  And yet, when money problems tend to lead to arguments and even divorce for some couples, our money problems only brought us closer.  It made what we did have even more important.  We had each other to lean on.  One to reassure the other that things would be alright.  When I would have a melt down about having to pay something late because I just couldn't pay all the bills with my paycheck, he would nod, listen, and wrap his arms around me.  He would remind me that it wasn't the end of the world.  We still had a little bit of food in the refrigerator.  We still had a bed to sleep in.  We still had each other.  You know that cliche you hear in movies?  The one where the rich girl says to the poor boy that she'd live in a cardboard box as long as she was with him.  Her soulmate.  Well, that was me.  I would have been poorest of the poor and still been able to find joy as long as I had TJ by my side.

This is something else I have to do alone now.  I have to do this legal/debt stuff for the both of us.  But now it is doubled.  I have my father and my Barrett to reassure me.  But I don't have those loving arms that could make me feel safe.  That soothing voice to make me feel calm.  There were times I had $1 in my bank account, no food in our cupboards, and no gas in my car, but when TJ told me it was going to be alright, I believed him.  When he told me everything would work out, I let it go.  Because I had him those other things didn't matter.  If he wasn't going to worry, then I wasn't going to worry.  Because if TJ said everything would be ok, it always was.  Because I had his love.  I had his support.  I had him. 

I feel like I was plugging away; always trying to look for the positive.  I know the last two entries haven't been positive.  However, I still find time in my day to smile.  To laugh.  To think of him and not feel empty, but full of love.  I have my moments.  My moments of despair.  But that is all they are.  Just moments.  That pass in time.  I'm ready for this moment to pass.  This is why I deleted my first version of this post.  It wasn't worth my energy.

I want to focus on moving forward.  Rising above.  And I'm going to continue to strive for that all the days of my life.  If I don't, it'll be the death of me.  I'm not ready for death.  I've got a lot of work left to do.  And I'm going to make it count.  I'm going to make TJ proud of his wife.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A New Sensation

A new sensation has arisen.  I can't begin to describe the many layers of needs that present themselves each day.  Today, and even more tonight, I need physical closeness.  I can't seem to get the kind that I need.  I have hugged a few people today.  I even cuddled with my sister on the sofa.  But I still feel so unfulfilled.  It's been 8 weeks since TJ last held me.  8 weeks since I last felt his lips on mine.  Sure, I miss him every day.  But tonight, I miss his touch more than ever before.

I come from a very affectionate family.  We hug, we kiss, we cuddle.  I was constantly touching TJ in some way.  Rest my hand on his back while he fell asleep.  Come up behind him and wrap my arms around his waist.  Reach up and cup his face with my hands.  To touch him was to connect in a way deeper than words.  I'm not talking dirty.  I'm talking sincere physical connection.  A gesture that says "hey, I'm here right now with you and this is exactly where I want to be".  TJ was a busy body.  He was always working on a new project; studying some new program or instrument.  Sometimes I'd corner him so he'd have to kiss me or hug me to pass.  A toll.  He would usually roll his eyes and give in to me.  Sometimes when we would kiss in passing, he'd break away first.  I'd always say "Oh, but I wasn't done!" and he'd reply "You'll never be done".  And he was right.  I was never, ever finished.  I don't know how to be finished.  But I am.  I will never have that opportunity again.

Every girl dreams of a big strong man that will hold her and make her feel safe.  I wanted that so badly long before TJ came along.  And when I had him...  When I had him, just the simplest touch or lightest kiss would make me melt.  Like my cares and worries would slip away, even if only for that instant.  In that moment, it was just us.  I can't even begin to describe the sensation I have now as I'm writing this.  It is a black hole.  It grows inside my guts.  Starting in the pit of my stomach and working its way outwards to my torso and then my limbs.  It is paralyzing.  I can hardly keep it together enough to move my fingers.  I keep having to take breaks to wipe my eyes so I can see this screen.

I'm not finished.  I'm just not.  I really don't know how to be.  I don't know how to Be.  I don't know how to accept this.  I don't know how to be alone.  I consider myself a sort of feminist.  And yet, I long for the comfort the male sex can bring me.  I know if I were to have the chance to cuddle with a male friend it wouldn't be the same by any means.  But I feel that it could still bring me comfort.  To have someone taller than me to lean in to.  A reminder of what I would have had.  Only different.  I'm not sure if I'm making sense.  No one can replace TJ.  But I feel like I could jog my muscle memory in some way.  When I think of the ways TJ and I used to hold one another I can't remember it.  I can't remember what it felt like.  I just want a reminder.  So I have something to think about at night when I'm alone.  To try and pretend that he is holding me.  That he is with me.  That he is protecting me.

I'm desperate for comfort.  To be cared for.  To be protected.  I feel like this black hole is going to envelope me.  Make me disappear.  I am terrified.  I think it's time for a Xanax.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why So Serious?

Last night was hard.  Sleep didn't help me the way I thought that it would.  Today was just a continuation of last nights frustration.  But frustration mixed with self consciousness and over analyzation.  I shouldn't be surprised at the level of vulnerability I feel considering my current state of discovery, and yet I am.  Throughout my revolving assessment of self doubt, the thought that kept coming to the forefront was how TJ always had my back.  He loved me unconditionally.  He made me feel safe.  When I was unsure of myself, when I was worried about what others might be thinking, he was the one who reminded me that everything was ok.  That no matter what the circumstance which caused my insecurities, he would love me and be there for me.  He taught me to be confident.  He encouraged me to take the risk of confrontation; whether it be with another or with myself.  Most of the time these insecurities were projections I was making onto myself with hardly any knowledge of the inner workings of others minds.  I had a tendency to assume, and fear the worst.

He always knew exactly what to say to me to take the edge off.  Or he would take on the unpleasant task of telling me something I may not want to hear, but what he knew needed to be said.  No matter what came out of his mouth, he always had my best interest at heart.  When I have these feelings, I'm still having a hard time self soothing.  I didn't have to really count on myself for all of that support until now.  However, despite having someone to lean on, TJ taught me so much that I always would try to apply my knowledge before asking him for guidance.  I was always learning from him.  Each and every time I'd come to him with a problem I would learn something new.  Even if I was too proud to admit it to him then.  I was a perpetual student.  When he spoke, I listened.  In our time together we taught each other new things in the way we lived and loved.

TJ never had to say much to get his point across.  I am still in awe of his ability to convey such depth in such a matter-of-fact delivery.  In closing tonight, I am going to leave you with an email conversation between TJ and I from October 25, 2010.  Just this past fall.  We had tickets to see the group Underworld.  They were the soundtrack of our early college days.  When the show rolled around, it had been ages since I'd even listened to an album.  When he told me he'd bought tickets I was surprised.  Especially because the show was on a Monday night.  A 'school' night.  When you read the email from me in comparison to the email from him you will laugh.  If you knew TJ I am sure you can hear his voice saying this, just as I can right now.  I feel that all can appreciate his ability to bring joy, relief, lightheartedness, and calm to such a melancholy me.

From: Courtney Luck
To: TJ Luck
2:19pm

"I need you.  I need you so badly.  This day is 100% miserable.  All I can think of is you.  It's the only good thing about today; thinking of you.  I feel just awful.  I need to see you.  I know I have to wait, but every fiber of my being is longing for your voice, your touch, your scent.  I can't wait to feel your soft lips on mine.  To taste your breath when we kiss.  My heart aches for you.  Saying that I love you isn't enough.  Those words could never come close to how I feel about you.  But those are the words that I have, so they will have to do.

I love you, TJ."

From: TJ Luck
To: Courtney Luck
2:39pm

"I love you, too.

 You are going to feel better.  Underworld is going to put their foot up today's ass."


My God, I love that man.  He always knew exactly what to say to make me smile.  And what to say to pull me out of my own mind and back to him.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Frustration

I can't seem to get a grip.  I have been so extra sensitive.  I'm up, then I'm down.  It's driving me bonkers.  Clenching my teeth has become my new job.  It's gotten to the point that I almost feel relief to crush them into each other.  I try to relax; press my tongue on to the backs of my front teeth to force separation.  But it keeps happening none the less.

As I experience the flow of emotion I feel like they compete for space in my brain.  On one hand, I am overwhelmingly thankful for the life TJ and I had together.  On the other, I feel complete devastation at the loss of my love.  The loss of my future.  The loss of part of my self.  I put a space there on purpose.  My sense of self has been altered.  My path has changed.  Sometimes it is hard to face these drastic fluxuations in mood.  Espeically when they last so long.  Typically, I allow the emotions to come, feeling them with as much intensity and duration as they warrant, and then they settle.  They leave me feeling tired in every sense of the word.  Tonight, I just can't seem to shake it.

I put forth much effort into processing this loss in the ways which are right for me.  I listen to myself and try to let everything flow organically.  I want to feel whatever comes my way.  I don't want to avoid.  I don't want to deny.  I don't want to push it way down.  I don't want to forget.  I don't care how bad it feels.  I don't care if it cripples me.  I want to feel everything that comes with this experience.  Letting each sensation in reminds me that this is all real.  That TJ was real.  That our love was real in the purest form.  His death is a life changing explosion.  My husband is dead.  He's not coming back.  I feel like I clench my jaw to keep myself from screaming at the top of my lungs.  Not that screaming at the top of my lungs is a bad thing.  On occasion I do let a cry rip from my throat.  But if I didn't try to contain myself it could happen all day if I allowed it to break free.  Not in anger but out of pure, unadulterated frustration.

Whenever I felt impediment I could turn to TJ for relief.  He would crack a joke, or just talk me down from my heights.  But now, in these current moments of frustration, his absence is painfully obvious.  I haven't yet figured out this one on my own.  How to talk myself down.  How to regulate.  This is when I feel utterly alone.  I really haven't figured anything out on my own yet.  I know people tell me to give myself more credit for how I turned out.  And I do.  I agree that I am 'handling' this well.  Whatever that means.  I guess as well as can be expected when your entire world is turned upside down, shaken with vigor, and erased like an etch a sketch.  Ok, so that was a damn good analogy.  See, I am giving myself credit where credit is due.  And now I'm talking to myself.  Don't call the men with the white jackets.  White washes me out somethin fierce.

But really.  Where do I go from here?  How do I lift myself up?  How do I keep on keepin on?  TJ was always the reason I got out of bed every day.  TJ continues to be that very reason I get out of bed every day.  He was my life coach.  He was my biggest fan.  He wants me to be complete.  I keep getting up every day to make sense of it all.  To explore the depths of my mind.  To find my desires.  To carve out my new path to fulfillment.  He always used to tell me that there was only so much he could do for me to make me happy.  And that I had to do the rest myself.  Hey, Universe, this is one sick and twisted way of forcing me to do just that.  But, one thing I have learned through this experience thus far is that I am a lot tougher, a lot stronger, and a lot more positive than I'd ever given myself credit for in the past.  So, I'm going to take that and run with it.  Until the next accomplishment comes along.     

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm hot.

We all know the temperature is rising here in good old Maryland.  I'm sitting in my humble basement abode and thought to myself "I'm hot".  Almost immediately after the thought entered my mind, I remembered TJ's favorite song.  Ok, so it's not really his favorite song.  In fact, he would tell anyone else that he hated it, or that he had no idea what song I was talking about.  I know he'd kill me if he knew I was telling the world this, but he knew all the words to "Top That".

For those of you who aren't 'in the know', this is the epic rap featured in 1989's "Teen Witch".  If you're so inclined (and you should be...), you can check it out here

We used to reenact the scene in our kitchen.  I'd be filling our water glasses and pulling out ingredients for our evening meal.  He was usually in his boxers and a t-shirt, and I in some sort of nightgown.  While we worked away on dinner he would inevitably come up behind me and goose me.  I'd scream, and yell "stop that!" which would launch him into our rap battle royale.  He'd start with "I'm hot, and you're not".  I would wrinkle my nose at him and hit him with "Top That!  Stop That!  I don't really give a uh about tryin to top that."  Those were really the only words I knew to sing back to him, but man, he was good.  He even did some of the dance moves.  Those were fun times.  I mean, who else would even know that?  "Teen Witch" was my favorite movie ever as a kid.  And he knew that movie!  Not only did he know it, but he knew exactly how cool it was.  Now that's soul mate material right there.

But I digress...

Today was pretty basic.  Actually, I barely moved until around 6:45pm.  I woke up and showered (yay!) and spent the rest of the day in various positions on the couch.  I watched my kitties play, snoozed by the sliding glass doors in the sun room, started designing my new space on the Craftmaster website.  But mostly I zoned out.  No music, no TV.  Just stared out the window.  It's hard to tell you exactly what I was thinking about because I have about 9,327 thoughts per minute (I just pulled that number out of my butt).  I just miss him constantly.  I'm always in a state of emptiness, albeit different levels.  Even when I'm not thinking about him in any sort of specific way or context, my body knows he's gone.  I know I've mentioned this before, but I constantly have to remind myself to relax.  To unclench my muscles, my jaw, my fists.  I point my toes a lot, too.  I mean, ballerina feet till death, but so much more than I've ever pointed before.  Tense tense tense.  I wonder if I'll get lock jaw.  That wouldn't be cool, though I could probably lose a few pounds that way.

When I did finally peel myself off of my real estate in the sun room sofa, I went out to do a few errands for myself, my sister, and my dad.  When I turned left at our 4 way stop arriving home my heart stopped.  TJ's car was parked in front of our house.  It wasn't really TJ's car, but it was another Elantra, same color and everything.  For the most intense millisecond I thought he was here.  Stopping by for dinner or something.  It felt like it took an hour to drive right past it.  My mind slowed down.  As I drove past watching the car it was as if I was going the slowest speed possible; like that scene in the Matrix when Neo is dodging bullets.  I couldn't take my eyes off of that car.  I knew it wasn't his.  I knew he wasn't here for dinner.  But at the same time I wanted it to be so badly.  It didn't make me cry, which came as a surprise.  When I came in the door I mentioned it to the parents and they went to the window to look.  They stood there for some time.  Longer than I'd expected them to linger.  I watched them both standing side by side peering out.  They looked amazing.  They fit together so perfectly.

 That's how TJ and I were.  We just fit.  That should be us.  The couple graying together.  The couple experiencing life together.  All of the good and bad in it.  I always told him that as long as we were together, we could do anything.  As long as I had him I could do anything.  Handle anything.  Do you know what the good thing is in all of this mess?  I still will have his help.  I learned so much from him in the time that we had together on this earth.  I need to get a bracelet that says WWTJD.  I'm always thinking that way.  What would he say to me right now to make me feel better?  What would he encourage me to go out and do with my life?  What would he do to make me smile through my tears?  I don't always have the answer, but I know that the fact that I am trying, the fact that I am still including him in everything I do means something.  Yes, I am alone.  I feel it every second of every day.  But he really is only a thought away.  Sometimes that brings me comfort, sometimes it brings me the purest form of frustration.  I just have to roll with it, though.  There is no way around it.  I'm going to go through it.  And I know he'll help me get to the other side every step of the way.

 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday

Well, I've made it through the day.  I know I'm not ready for bed but today has been full.  Full of family.  And yet the biggest part of me was missing.  I cried in church.  Singing hymns of praise and resurrection.  Is it wrong that I wished for TJ to rise instead of Jesus?  Sorry, I guess I'm going to hell for that one.  This is the 3rd time I've been to church without TJ by my side.  Truth be told, we would always mess around for the most part.  Like we were more like 15 year olds.  We'd nudge each other if we saw a funny hair cut, giggle and cover our mouths quickly because of certain lyrics.  He'd point out a kid with some serious snot hanging out of their nose.  Or if there wasn't anything exciting to see, we'd just hold hands.  When it came time for the sign of peace I was always so glad to have another excuse to kiss his lips.  I had to.  It was our sign of peace.  I sat there during Easter mass today and thought of one Sunday the first summer we were dating.  I remember coming back from communion and seeing him with his family.  I didn't know they had planned on attending the same mass as mine.  He didn't take his eyes off of me for one second as I walked towards my seat.  I felt my entire body catch fire with blush.  I would look at him and smile shyly, then look down at my feet.  It was like I was the only one in the room for him.  After mass we caught up with each other and he said to me "Courtney, you can't wear that in church!  You look too hot.  You can't be lookin hot in church.  It makes me think bad things..."  And do you know what?  I still remember exactly what I was wearing that day.  I was wearing a boat neck raspberry colored tank top and a long skirt down to my ankles.  It was made of different silk scarves.  Patch work if you will.  It had a fabric lining behind the sheer panels.  But it wasn't sexy in the least.  Not that I could see.  But to him I was beautiful.

I went for a ride in the "country" after I left my in-laws.  I needed some time alone in the sun.  It was such a sunny day today.  I drove down past Sunday's Lane and pulled over into some grass by a creek.  The creek I discovered this time last year.  I was out riding with my camera and would pull over when I saw something pretty.  This time I did the same as last time, minus the camera.  I strolled lazily back to the creek, my long skirt flowing in the wind.  It's funny that today I was wearing a tank top and long skirt to my ankles.  I have to wonder if he would think I was beautiful today just as he had all those years ago.  I stood over the creek, watching it flow under the small bridge I was standing upon.  I thought about the flow of the water.  Looked at the stones on the creek bed.  There was a tree branch that had been pinned down under the water and the top of the branch worn white.  It was really beautiful.  I could feel the sun on my face and the cool breeze.  At that moment I'm not even sure what I was thinking.  I think at that moment I wasn't really thinking at all.  And for me, lately, that's hard to stop myself from doing.  I didn't stay long.  I thought about walking down and dipping my toes in.  But there was so much mud from all of the rain and I thought it wouldn't be wise in the white sandals I was wearing.  So I walked back to the car, sad to leave the sound of the rushing water.

There are so many beautiful things in the world.  Whenever I'd voice an observation of beauty in nature to TJ he'd turn to me and say "Oh, you like that, huh?  Well... I made that for you".  Every time he would say it I would have the same reaction; I'd gaze up at him, smile, and lean in for a kiss.  I feel so sad that I will never hear that again when I see something beautiful.  I am so sad that I will never gaze at him lovingly again.  I am so so sad that I will never feel the warmth of his soft lips again.  As much beauty as there is in the world, it doesn't seem to invoke the same amount of joy now that I don't have him to share it with.

I thought that when I'm ready to move out on my own that I would absolutely get a place downtown.  Preferably 3rd or 4th Street to be near the cemetery.  But driving back off of Sunday's Lane (and all other points beyond that I know but don't know the names of) made me wonder if I could settle in a quaint house back in the mountains.  With lots of green and yellow.  With hills and gorgeous views with so many trees.  I need light.  More than ever now.  Because TJ was my sunshine.  My only sunshine.  He made me happy when skies were gray.  But I think he knows, dear, how much I love him.  But my sunshine was taken away.  And I can't have him back, no matter how much I beg and plead now in my prayers.  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Just another day

I'm sitting on my sofa, legs propped.  Listening to the sounds of the house.  I am without direction.  I knew I wanted to be alone today with my kittens, but now I'm not so sure.  I'm glad to just be able to sit and think.  But at the same time I feel so strange.  I change my mind a million times a day.  I have such a hard time making the smallest decision.

My little motor boats have just crawled onto my chest.  Lando is curled up under my chin and Alice on my right arm.  I am typing with one hand; now that is determination.  These little moments make me smile, but not much else does.  I feel bad saying that, but it's true.  Don't get me wrong; I have moments of happiness.  But I don't feel happy.  TJ made me so happy.  So happy that the word 'happy' just isn't enough.  Doing things without him, without the promise of him, makes life so sad.

But, thinking of him and my precious memories can bring smiles to my face.  Today in the shower I started laughing to myself.  This time last year TJ and I were hanging out, watching movies (as usual).  He had his bottle of Wild Turkey and he'd gotten me some passion fruit vodka or something.  Well, it tasted pretty good.  So good that at one point I was drinking it on the rocks.  This wasn't smart.  Last Easter morning I woke up with the worst hangover.  I got showered and ready for church, grabbed a huge plastic cup of water, and we hit the road.  Riding in the car was awful.  All of that movement, the turns were the worst.  We arrived and pulled in to a parking space.  I ended up puking so much that I filled up the empty water glass I'd grabbed for the road.  TJ was so sweet.  He drove me to his parents house, started making breakfast for the family, and got me settled on the couch with a blanket.  He said to me later that he was thinking to himself that morning and wondered why I'd chosen the biggest cup in our cabinet, and then being thankful that I had so I didn't throw up all over his car.  Man, that was a horrible morning, but I remember as bad as I felt he still made me smile a million times.

No matter what, he always made me laugh and smile.  I feel sad now looking at pictures of the two of us.  I can't stop looking at my face in them.  I look so unbelieveably happy.  Blissful.  That feeling is so foreign to me now.  I can't remember how it felt.  I can see it.  I can recognize it.  But I can't remember what it felt like to be that happy.

I need to quit clenching.  My muscles are constantly tense and my jaw is tight.  I tell myself to relax when I notice, but it doesn't last long before I go back to my state of tension.   

I am going to try and focus my energy into relaxing today; letting the emotions flow through me.  I do that every day.  I am just hoping for a little peace.