Sunday, June 26, 2011

H2O

June is almost over.  Time seems to be flying by, yet I don't have much to show for it.  Life really is a blur.  It still seems like just yesterday that TJ died.  It'll be 4 months in just about a week.  It feels like I was just wearing a winter coat sitting at his burial site, and now I'm napping outdoors in the shade, wearing my new sundresses, and getting some sunkissed skin.

I have always loved summer.  It scares me that June is almost over.  I know I only have two months of summer left.  I just watched one of my favorite surfer movies and it makes me long for salty air, sand, and waves.  I think about how amazing it would be to live at the beach.  Not just any beach, but a place where it is warm year round.  To be able to get off of work and run into the water until sundown would be total heaven to me.  That's exactly how I spent the summer after college graduation.  At first I hated being away.  I missed TJ, I missed my friends.  He'd call me and he would be at a party.  It always sounded like he was having so much fun.  After the first two weeks I came in to my own.  Swimming in the morning and showering outside.  Making sure I got to work on time at my later shift.  Or working the early shift and spending the rest of the afternoon and evening in the sand.  It was heaven.  I never am so happy than I am oceanside.  The only reason I came back after that summer was TJ.  My life with him.  I needed it.  I wanted it.  I cherished it.  I went there that summer to get my head right.  And as much as I loved my life at that moment, the biggest part was missing.  If I couldn't have that life with TJ in it, I didn't want it at all.  I came home at the beginning of August.  The entire way home I had butterflies in my stomach.  After two months apart I was finally going to see him.  Not just talk on the phone.  I couldn't wait to feel his arms around me, his lips on my lips.  I told my parents I was going to a welcome home party overnight, but TJ and I really had rented a hotel room in Frederick so we could be totally alone.  When he came to pick me up that night it was like the first time I'd ever seen him.  He looked amazing.  And we were so happy to see each other.  He looked at me with such bashfulness.  Like if he stared at me too long he'd explode or something.  I felt the same way.  I would smile at him, and then look down.  I did it several times while he was making small talk with my family.  I couldn't wait to get him alone.  All to myself.  That night was just perfect.  And I knew, just like I always had, that where TJ was was where I belonged.  It didn't matter the location geographically.  It just had to be with him.  They same home is where the heart is.  And my heart is with TJ.

I'm not sure what to do without him now.  It almost feels strange to take advantage of my desires for the water and sunshine.  I don't want to rejoice in something that I can do now that I may not have been able to do before.  I'd kill to have TJ back.  But on the flip side of that, I know he'd want me to be happy, and sun and ocean make me happy.  It just seems so different from the life we had together.  I'm afraid to let go of what I have here for fear it will cause me to forget.  I don't want to ever forget.  I'm afraid to move on.  I know I don't have to do anything yet.  And that I am trying to slowly figure out my new life and what I really want out of it.  So right now it seems strange to follow those desires.  I think I will start with giving myself little tastes of that life.  I am fortunate enough to have a place to do that.  I was just telling my mother today how I want to be in NC as much as possible this summer, and that I'm surprised I've only been once so far.  That is going to change.  I am going to take advantage of that location more often.

I have never felt more peace anywhere else like I feel on the ocean.  I am drawn to it.  I always have been.  Water of any kind is magnificent.  It is such a pure element.  Clean and crisp.  Life giving.  I breathe easier there.  And to breathe easier is what I need during this horrific time.  Because it is horrific.  The pain is so great.  I don't know how to self soothe.  What I do find to help take the edge off is only temporary.  I'm not looking for a quick fix.  I am prepared to endure the time that this will take to heal.  I feel that during that time of reflection my soul could be boosted by allowing myself to be where I feel the most peace.  I feel clarity will come with a peaceful mind.  And clarity will help me reveal the new path I need to walk upon.  That new path will lead me to a good, full life.  The life TJ would want me to have.  I think it will make him proud. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

So, it's that time of year again when we celebrate the important men in our lives.  I was able to celebrate today with my Father in Law and my Dad.  It was a nice day.  Church and lunch with the in-laws.  Demolition in my parents sunroom with my family; followed by beer, steak, and crab legs.  Oh, and turtle cheesecake.  I can't forget that.  I was pretty ok.  I cried in church.  As ususal.  But a very sad feeling hit me just after we finished dinner.

I couldn't put my finger on it.  But I felt awful.  Was it because TJ wasn't at the table with us?  Probably.  But I just can't stop thinking about how happy he was to be working towards having a family.  He wanted to be a father so badly.  It's funny; for the longest time he was 'not ready'.  He had things to figure out, things to get in order.  But 9 months before he died, we started trying.  I'll tell you what, he was nuts.  He did all kinds of research online (because the man liked to be informed).  He'd ask me all sorts of funny questions.  And I thought I knew everything there was to know about pregnancy stuff.  "Does your sense of smell seem stronger?  Because you know that happens early on in the pregnancy".  "Your boobs may just be sore from the lack or hormones from the birth control pills, or you could be pregnant".  The very first time that I was late was pretty epic.  He was trying so hard to play it cool.  I was a week late and I told him I might take a test.  As calmly as possible he says "yeah, you should just do that".  You ladies know the drill; pee on the stick, make sure it is set on a flat surface, and wait.  I was determined not to watch the window change colors.  I was staring at the ceiling.  There is that control window to show you that the test is working properly, and then the result window.  When the 3 minutes had finally passed I looked down and exclaimed "what does that mean!"  Little did I know that TJ was pressed up against the bathroom door and I screamed when he yelled "WHAT DOES IT SAY!!  WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!"  So I opened the door and he's got this scared yet giddy look on his face.  "It didn't work".  "What do you mean it didn't work?"  So he scoops it up and reads the instructions.  That was our first false alarm in our journey to parenthood.

I think it's kinda bullshit that pre pregnancy symptoms are identical to PMS.  That is just not cool.  I could never tell.  I remember having a particularly emotional day and coming home.  He was on the couch and when he asked me how my day was I just burst into tears.  My glasses were foggy and I was just standing in the middle of the room crying and pushing on my boobs.  I told him they were sore, and by then he'd walked over to me to comfort me.  He was rubbing my arms up and down standing in front of me.  But the grin on his face.  Oh my god, the grin on his face.  I just started crying harder and said "Stop it!  I don't want to get my hopes up!"  I remember him trying SO hard to wipe the grin off of his face, but I saw it sneak back out later in the night.  Another time was on Christmas day.  I was two weeks late.  I'd taken two tests and both were negative.  But TJ was SURE I was pregnant.  He emailed me one day and all he said was "I really think we did it this time."  On Christmas day we did the usual.  But around noon I started feeling really sick to my stomach.  Totally nauseous.  I barely touched my Christmas dinner (and Christmas dinner is, like, my favorite thing ever.)  I was constantly catching TJ just staring at me.  Well, gazing was more like it.  I can not even describe the look he was giving me.  It was kinda like his eyes were saying "I'm so sorry that you feel ill, but this is fucking awesome that you're nauseous."  I have to be honest, that was the only time he'd ever looked at me like that.  It was such adoration.  Like he looked at me like I was fascinating.  Like he'd never experienced a feeling like that before; to be so sure that we were going to have a little us.

We talked often about what we thought they'd look like.  What traits we hoped they'd have from each one of us, and also the personalities that they would have.  I always hoped our kids would get his ass, because I have a pancake ass.  His was perfect.  And I hoped they'd have his nose.  And they would have such beautiful thick hair, unlike me.  He wanted them to have my chin, and my round cheeks.  He like my chin so much he would sometimes bite it.  He always said he just couldn't help himself.  TJ picked out our kids names.  First names anyway.  He typically shot down my suggestions, but I wasn't too upset.  He was just figuring out any kind of horrible nickname other children might use, and when he put it that way I was glad he'd thought that far ahead.  Our boy would have been Stiles Oliver Luck, and our girl Annabelle Rae Luck.  One night while we were on the couch, he had laid down across my lap so his head was resting on my thigh.  He looked up and said "Do you think we'll have twins?"  I asked him if he wanted twins, and his reply was so calm "yeah, that would be cool."  Twins run on both sides for us, so it could have definitely been possible for us to pop out two at a time.

I just can't believe that someone so amazing will never have that opportunity to be a father.  I always told him what an amazing dad he would be.  He'd be the cool one.  Definitely the 'good cop' to my 'bad cop'.  He would take them to shows and encourage them to follow their hearts.  Teach them the value of learning as much as possible, but also to take time to get to know themselves.  TJ would have been the best dad.  I would have observed with the highest adoration as he interacted with our children.

This is so unfair.  I'm balling my face off right now.  Not only do I feel robbed of that life with him that we both wanted so much, but this is just another event in life he won't get to experience.  He's the most amazing man I have ever met.  And he would have been one hell of a father.  I'm so sorry, baby.  This is such bullshit.  You should be here, and you should have everything you've always wanted.  And I would do anything to be sure that you had it.  You are perfect to me, and I'm so sorry for all of the things that you wanted to do and can't.  I love you.  I love you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Guh

Today was long.  I spent it with my youngest brother.  I'd decided about a month after TJ died that I wanted him to have TJ's car.  We finally had everything in order to sign it over today, so we made a trip to the MVA to get it all finished.  It was a nice day, sunny and breezy.

When we got back to my grandparents house where we were keeping the car, it got harder.  I started going through the car, gathering up trash etc.  I found his steroid pills that the doctor had prescribed him just days before his death.  Just the first days dose was gone and all the rest remained in the packaging.  That was hard to see.  His receipt, the CVS rx bag with instructions...  It's hard to think that he'd just been to the doctor and given what he needed to regulate.  And then BAM, he's gone.

Sean and I made a trip to the cemetery to visit TJ.  He'd stopped and bought TJ's favorite, Wild Turkey 101.  We each had a swig and poured the rest out for TJ.  I don't normally cry when I go to his grave.  For some reason I don't feel like that is where he is.  I don't feel that connection to him there.  I like to visit him, and I visit him often.  It's peaceful there.  Beautiful trees, nice stone wall.  But I cried today.  I couldn't stop thinking about what I'd found in his car.  Most reminders are painful, but to see his barely touched medicine that was supposed to help him, that was just awful.  I stood with Sean and cried.  I miss him so much.

TJ has a new neighbor.  A dear friends father passed away recently, and his is buried just about 10 steps away.  TJ's got some company besides the priests he's buried next to.  I went to see our family friend while I was visiting today.  Talked to him for a bit.  It's all just so awful to be having to talk to dirt.  It's unfair, for both TJ and for our family friend.  Both of them were too young with so much more to live for.  But knowing them both, they're getting along just fine together.  And in their lifetime, they did know each other.

I'd like to start visiting TJ's grave more often.  I always feel like I don't know what to do when I'm there.  I talk to him if I feel like it.  But most of the time I just lay down next to him on my plot.  If I lay on my right side, it's as if we were just in bed.  I always slept on the right side if you're facing the bed.  So, I lay on my right side, on top of my plot that my parents bought for me, and let my left hand run over the grass between us.  Before the grass had grown back, I would just run my hand over the dirt and pebbles.  I took a particularly nice rock not long after TJ had died and kept it.  I also have a nice set of twigs that were used as flower arrangement filler on his coffin.  And I have some of the dried flowers that I put into my locket.  Little pieces of that day of his funeral.  Pieces that otherwise would be gone.  Either buried under grass seeds or thrown away as the arrangements withered and died, too.  Soon, it will look like every other plot in the cemetery.  It will just blend like he's been there all along.  It will always feel fresh for me.  Always.  It still feels like it was just yesterday that I had to say goodbye.

TJ, I miss you.  I love you with every fiber of my being.  Sometimes it's hard to breathe when I think of you.  Like the wind gets knocked out of me.  I feel your absence.  I miss everything about you.  But, at the same time, I celebrate you.  All of your amazing qualities that you have passed on; not only to me, but to everyone you have ever encountered.  You still amaze me.  And I love you to the maxx.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Walk the Line

Today has been very interesting.  It's not unlike other days that I have had, but today I was finally able to recognize the root of my off-ness (yes, I just made up that word).

Today started off like every other day.  Waking in the early morning, before the sun rises.  I lay in bed for hours.  Either trying to fall back asleep, or just thinking about TJ; TJ and all of the things I have to do that day but don't want to.  Like I said last night, if I had my way I'd just cut the bullshit and take care of myself completely.  It's so hard to get motivated to take those first steps out of bed.  Every morning, it takes hours to make the move from the bedsheets to the shower.  I wish I could say that I am exaggerating, but I am not.  My day begins around 4am, and I make it to the shower by 9am, sometimes later.  It's not depression that keeps me from moving.  It's wanting to devote every thought to TJ and only TJ.  To my grief journey and only my grief journey.  I'm not lying there weeping.  But some times I am.  But what I am doing is right for me.  I do only as I feel I should.  I am compelled.  And I obey.

Everyday people in my path of life ask me how I am doing, or if I'm 'ok'.  Today, I can say that I was 'ok' during the work hours.  Especially compared to yesterday.  My work load was busy, but not too overwhelming.  I was plugging away on my task list and didn't shed a tear.  Sure, I thought about TJ all day, but I was cruising along.  Doin the do.  It wasn't until I was on my commute home that I felt crushingly sad.  But the only feeling that was more dominant than sadness was confusion.  I really thought I was having a 'good' day.  How could a good day change so quickly and with so much force?  I felt so off when that question formed inside my brain.  I mulled over and over again, trying to figure it out.  Was I just fooling myself thinking that today was 'good'?  Or was I projecting 'crushing' sadness just because I hadn't felt incredibly sad yet that day?

When I got home, I plopped down at the dinner table with my Mom.  I looked over at her and said "I feel like shit".  But I couldn't tell her why because I really didn't know.  I started talking about how I hate driving anywhere near the hospital now.  That I walked in with my love, and walked out alone.  And how every other time I had been there it was in celebration.  A birth.  Visiting friends with their new happy bundles.  And now my last memory of that hospital is the death of my husband.  But even talking that out with Mom wasn't helping.  I just couldn't figure out this feeling I was having.  We went and sat in the living room and she looked over at me; "How are you experiencing this grief?"  Wow.  Just wow.  I had absolutely no clue how to answer that question.  I had never thought of that before.  How am I dealing with this grief?  I know how I'm processing my feelings and emotions, but how was I really experiencing this?  I told her that I didn't know and that I was constantly confused.  How could I feel this immense loss, and still function?  It is shocking to me every day that I am able to function.  Shocking.  I have true moments in my day filled with genuine joy, genuine laughter, genuine lightness.  But I still don't understand how that is at all possible to have genuine pleasure amidst all of this intense pain.  But the more I thought about it, the more I thought of Dr. Miller's correction.  I realized that I could not feel intense pain without the life TJ and I had together.  And I could not feel joy without the life TJ and I had together.  Without TJ, neither of those emotions could exist.  I feel pain because I mourn the life we had, and the life we could have had together.  However, I couldn't know such joy in life if it weren't for TJ showing me, teaching me, and loving me.  One can not exist without the other.

Average life and deep grieving are parallel lines that I walk simultaneously.  And again, I realize that I can not have one without the other.  I live for him still.  I try hard to live how he showed me to live; to be jovial, mindful, reflective, and true to myself.  I live with the joy of my memories; I live with the pain of those same memories.  This is just the way that it is.  The way that it has to be.  This is my journey.  But having this revelation, this light bulb switched on to illuminate one of the many off-putting, uneasy feelings I've felt these past three months, does bring moments of clarity.  Being able to recognize it, and learn from it, begets peace in and of itself.   Even if that peace is short lived.  I know that I will follow the flow of this new life, and I hope along the way to have many many more revelations.  Because with revelations comes peace.  And peace is all I can hope for in the end.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Balance

So, my eyes sting right now.  I keep wanting to shut them, but I can't yet.  There are still bills to be paid and forms to be emailed.  This morning I woke up at 4am and couldn't fall back to sleep.  I laid there for three hours before I dozed off for about another hour.  When I got to work, I just felt horrible.  I couldn't put my finger on exactly why.  I wasn't my typically up beat self.  It has surprised me how I can just keep doing that; being up beat.  I giggle at work, I talk with the ladies, I joke with my bestest best Traci.  I fake it until I make it.  Only Traci knows what's really going on with me on any given day.  But today, I just couldn't get there.  I felt quiet.  Distant.  Removed.  After the first hour, the little bit of composure I had mustered collapsed.  I cried and cried.  Big fat tears rolled down my face.  Sometimes when I cry at work I try to keep quiet.  I feel choked up and my eyes well up, but not every time do tears flow so freely as they did today.  Traci tried to get me to go home, but I feel like such a slacker if I don't do as much work as I am able.  She's helping me immensely and I feel I owe it to her to try.  She'll probably slap me when she reads this, but it's true.  Stupid work ethic.  I focused on a semi mindless work activity to try and make it through.  I had to keep stopping to wipe my face, or cover it.  I prop my elbows on my desk and cover my face with both palms and weep.  On days like today, I don't care who hears me.

What really sucks is going to work, and then coming home to do more 'work'.  Filling out forms, filing the appropriate papers, notifying parties of TJ's death, etc etc.  Trying to ignore the collection calls.  TJ is gone.  And sometimes I feel like I can't give my grief the full attention I long to give it because of all of the logistical crap.  I have to go to work to make money to pay the bills.  I have to come home to file papers so I can keep that little bit of money that I am making.  I know I've said this before, but there isn't a day that goes by when I don't have something legal or financial to do.  On top of everything else surrounding the loss of my love, I'm just plain worn out.  I am thinking I will take an exotic vacation once all of these issues have been settled.  I'm going to try to start saving now, little by little.  It'll be a labor of love; saving for this trip.  But it will be worth it.

If I had my way, I'd sit and think all day.  I don't want to be distracted.  And sitting and thinking all day doesn't necessarily equal drowning in sorrow all day, either.  Thinking of TJ evokes every type of emotion in me.  I want to feel them all.  Love, happiness, safety, fear, loneliness, lust, wonder... and so many more.  I just want to give them my full attention.  I want to marinate in the memories of him.  I don't want to go through the old motions like a robot.  But that is exactly what I have to do.  There is no way around it.  So I will keep working.  I will keep defending myself with forms and papers.  Proving that TJ is dead.

I am so looking forward to the time when I can really and truly take care of me and just me.  No more papers, no more obligations from the past.  Only wide open future to embrace.  I know it will come.  All I really want is a balance.  Life has to happen, especially the fundamentals like work and other adult obligations, but balance is exactly what I seek.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Look Up

So, I'm not tired.  And I haven't written in a while.  I'm not sure why I haven't written in a while.  It's not that I haven't had thoughts  Hah, that's kinda funny.  I think too much these days.  The weekend has been busy.  Flitting all over a couple of states.  I spent quality family time today with both my family and my inlaws.  Ever since TJ died, I cry every single time I go to church.  Today, I just didn't feel it.  I couldn't feeling it coming.  Nothing struck me in such a way that would make me feel sad.  But something did hit my family.  I watched my father in law wrap his arm around my mother in law.  I felt jealous.  I want TJ back so he can do that for me.  Hold me up when I am down.  Comfort me in times of sorrow.  I also wanted to comfort her, too.  But I knew it was something he, and he alone, needed to do for her.  He is her rock.  And mine is gone.  I hate feeling sorry for myself, but damn.  I want that back.  I'm so focused on moving forward and not looking back.  But there are times that it can't be helped.  I don't let the old path linger with me, because I know it is impossible.  But it's only been three months.  I can't expect my entire future that I had planned to fade to nothing so soon.

I really am looking forward to finding my new place in the universe.  When I was at the beach and looking up at the stars it makes you feel so small.  There is so much out there that I don't know.  Looking up in to space and not knowing how far it goes.  This world is so full of possibility.  It's everywhere.  And sometimes we just don't see it.  We get consumed with our daily life and forget that there is such awesomeness around us.  An old professor of mine from college (and my favorite one at that, if you're reading this Dr. Miller) said one day in class "Look up!  No one ever looks up!  There's so much out there."  I will never forget that.  I never have since the moment he said it.  I look up every time I think of it.  We forget to notice.  I mean, telephone wires baffle me.  Just thinking about where they might lead, what's being said over them at that precise moment...

I feel a great sense of hope right now.  It literally just flooded over me.  Life is beautiful.  We all need to treasure it.  Care for it.  Embrace it.  As much sadness as I feel at any given moment, there is always optimism sharing that space.  I told that very same professor right after TJ died that I was so confused.  How could sadness and immense gratitude not have to compete for space in my mind?  How could I feel two totally opposite emotions with the same intensity at the same time and not feel conflicted?  His response "Well, Courtney, they're not as different as they seem.  It makes perfect sense for you to feel both at the same time.  They are mirror images of each other.  Once cannot exist without the other."  I allow myself to feel this pain.  But I have to remember to allow myself to feel joy.  To laugh more.  TJ had the best laugh.  And always knew how to get me going.  He'd always give me, at the worst times, a serious; I mean SERIOUS; case of the giggles.  Sadness and joy do not have to compete for space.  I can feel them both at the same time.  It doesn't have to be all or nothing.  The scales are balanced.  And eventually joy will overtake sadness in weight.  For now, I'm just going to let myself be.  Allow the sadness and joy to coexist in quiet equilibrium while I figure out my new place in this world.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dear Diary

I'm back from the beach.  I actually got back last night.  I was too tired, and too upset to write last night.  Being at the house was too familiar.  Being there without him was so normal.  Of all of the years we were together, last year was the one and only time he joined me in Duck.  Every other year was spent there, with my grandparents, or my entire family.  Sans TJ.  The first night I arrived was extremely hard.  The last time I sat on that deck TJ was with me.  Arms around each other and staring up at the stars.  The last time I slept in the blue room, he was next to me.  And yet, as the weekend went on things settled down.  I thought of him often, but found peace and joy in the ocean waves and water.  Floating weightless in the gentle sway of the current.  Feeling the sun on my skin and smelling the salty air.  I didn't have internet access while I was there, apart from my phone.  So I'd like to share some writing I did in my diary.  I've been writing in it since I was in second grade, and still have some more room.  It's corners are frayed, the lock is loose.  But it's holding some of the greatest, and worst moments of my life to date.  So, here is my last entry:

Sunday June 5, 2011
I am sitting under the beach house.  It's raining.  Slowly, now.  There is a lovely breeze.  The hammock is swaying empty.  I really could stay here alone forever.  I just need my kitties and I would be golden.  I never feel more at peace than when I am here alone.  It is welcomed.  The numbness is gone.  I miss our life.  In an earlier entry, just before TJ and I moved to Kingscrest, I wrote about how I would never have to sleep alone again.  Talk about a bummer.  Sleeping alone has been ok.  Sorta.  I have to sleep in the middle of the bed.  I can't sleep on 'my side'.  At this moment my thoughts surprise me.  I don't want a baby right now.  I really really need to take care of myself.  Old habits die hard.  I have fallen back into those self conscious ways.  Over analyzing things.  It sucks.  Maybe this trip will remind me how much less stressful life can be without constant worry.  I love this salty air.  The musky, salty, fresh smell that seeps into the fabrics around me.  It is a heavenly scent.  I think I may go shopping today.  Get some hemp stuff.  Embrace my 'dirty hippie'.  Now is the time to take care of myself.  I'm not sure how but I know I will figure it out.  I really wish I could stay here alone.  I would miss my friends, but they have their lives.  Right now I feel like an outsider.  I feel like I don't have anything in common with them.  I have no children.  I have no husband.  We are no longer on the same path.  I want what they have.  But that want has no place in my new existence.  I need to let it go.  I want to let it go.  When I lived here before... I didn't want to ever leave.  TJ was the only reason I left NC.  Now that he is gone, maybe it could be possible.  But it isn't.  This is not my house.  Gma and Gpa live here.  I could never be alone in this place.  So, I will go home tomorrow.  Back to my family.  Back to work.  I feel so conflicted.  I feel like I should use this opportunity to explore.  Move around.  Do something drastic.  And yet, I love my family and friends so much.  So deeply.  I don't think I could ever really leave them.  Be too far from them.  I want to be open to any possibility.  I need to be light, so I can see where the future winds will take me.  For now, I am going to sit here.  Feel the breeze, smell the air, and just Be.

Now, when I think about that part about my friends and not knowing my place... I really feel like I will find it.  My friends will always and forever be my friends.  We've all been through so much together already.  And will have so many more new experiences together.  Just because I am not on the same path doesn't mean that things will completely change.  Sure, a lot will definitely change.  But we are all working through life together.  Finding our way.  I love them like family.  Because friends are the family you choose.  I refer to all of my friends as my 'best friend' because that's what they are.  Each one to me is something special.

It's true that I have been knocked off of my path and that I have to find a new one.  It is true that the path I was on and the path my friends are on now used to be the same.  But I need to remember that we are all just people.  Making our way.  I know I need to cut myself some slack.  TJ only died 3 months ago last Friday.  I'm allowed to still be confused.  I really do not find myself looking back; clinging to any of my former plans.  But still they linger; of course they do.  That can't be helped.  I'd been on my old path for years and years.  Wanting to be settled.  Wanting the family life.  So it can't be fixed in just 3 months.

I could never leave my friends.  Or my family.  All of you are everything to me.  I need you.  More than you may ever know.  I couldn't possibly take off.  But, I'm not going to limit myself.  I will travel.  Check things out.  Explore.  But always know I will come back to you.  I always will.  My new desire is to enrich myself.  Grow as a new woman.  I can't make anyone else truly happy until I make myself happy first.  Being on my new path will be very different for me.  It will take a lot of hard work.  But I know that my new path will converge constantly with the path of those that I love.  I will have something more, a new perspective, to bring to our table of life.  More to offer.  More to share.  I love you.