Saturday, December 31, 2011

Uncharacteristically Odd Behavior

It's incredibly strange.  I reached down to pet both of my beautiful, sleepy kitties and couldn't stop looking at my hand.  It hit me like lightening.  I was ready to take off his ring.  I've been wearing in on my right pointer finger since the day that he died.  But I took it off, and with a steady hand put it into a box and into the safe.  I'm shocked at how sure I was.  Until that moment, it made me ill just to think about not having it on me somewhere.  But right now I feel so sure.  Now my ring, I feel very conflicted about taking off my own ring.  I almost want to take it off, too.  But I'm afraid at the same time.

I always thought it would be bad luck to take them off.  Like they protect me or something.  I wasn't even sure that I wanted his for myself when he died.  It wasn't until the medical examiner told me to take it that I did.  I remember that I could barely hold my hands still enough to tug at it.  And at first, I couldn't get it off of his hand; a combination of his stiff fingers and my shaking.  I had to stop myself, take a deep breath, and try again.  When it came off it was so odd to me.  I guess it's good that I have it.  But I hated seeing him without it on.  At the viewing, I traced his ring finger over and over where the band had left it's mark.  And now that same mark is on my pointer finger.  I don't know how long it will take to fade away, but I'm sure that when I take off my own ring, it will take a lot longer.

God, I'm superstitious.  And I don't even think that there is a specific superstition about taking off your wedding rings after losing your spouse.  I feel like I'll jinx myself if I take mine off.  But, come on.  Really?  I mean, what else could happen?  TJ's already gone, so it's not like taking my ring off will cause him harm.  I just can't quite describe what I'm feeling right now.  It's the strangest thing.  I can not believe I am so sure about putting his away for safe keeping, let alone that I'm entertaining the thought of taking mine off, too.

One thing at a time, Courtney.  Let's see how I do without his and go from there.

Friday, December 30, 2011

And here we go...

Tomorrow is New Years Eve.  And it scares me to death, which doesn't quite make sense.  I have had a completely horrible 2011.  I should be running at full speed towards the promise of a new year.  But I can't.  I just can't. 

I have been feeling intense sorrow throughout these past few months.  Thanksgiving, Christmas... Christmas was busy.  And sad.  And lonely.  Christmas day was numbing; my minds way of self preservation from madness.  But the days after, those have been the worst.  That limbo between one big holiday and the next.

New Years Eve was always wonderful for us.  Even though our plans varied from year to year, the highlight was always kissing him at midnight.  TJ was never one for public displays of affection, but at the stroke of twelve he never cared.  He kissed me as if he would never kiss me again.  His entire body was thrown into that kiss.  It didn't matter who was around.  It was as if they'd all faded away and left only the two of us; standing pressed up against one another, each pair of lips soothing the others, starting the new year off right.  Filled with love and passion and comfort.

I've decided that the only way to manage any damage control is to be alone.  I may not even stay awake until midnight.  The thought is just too painful.  The closer the 31st has gotten, the worse I feel.  I want to curl into a ball so small that I eventually disappear.

I am so incredibly lonely.  I could be surrounded by hundreds of people that I love and still feel the same way.  It's fucking horrible.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Horrifying Nightmares

I just can't shake it.  I don't understand how they're back.  I can get how I would have all of those abandonment dreams in the first few months, but last night they were back with a vengeance.

It was present day and I'd been mourning TJ for almost 10 months.  I was in the store and bumped into him, and was totally flustered.  He saw me, rolled his eyes, and approached.  He proceeded to tell me that he faked his death to get away from me because he hated me so much.  Then he told me how happy he was to be on his own and all about why he hated me.  I pleaded with him to come back to me.  Begging, crying, on my knees begging for him to change his mind.  But he wouldn't, and took my begging and twisted it even more to make me feel pain like I never have before.  He stood there staring blankly at me while I cried, but then seemed to let up in his harsh tones.  He invited me back to his new apartment so we could talk in private.  But it was all a trick.  He had no intentions of listening or even remotely entertaining the thought of coming back to me.  When we got back to his apartment, he told me he was living with a woman and he wanted me to meet her.   She had no idea who I was or that TJ had been married to me.  She came fluttering into the room and plopped down into his lap.  He scooped her up and kissed her deeply, calling her baby.  I sat there right next to them, tears pouring down my cheeks.  Then she left the room and he started to tell me all of the reasons why she's better than I ever was, and I defended myself as best as I could.  When I couldn't contain the pain any longer I stood up and he accused me of walking away because I was a coward.  Everything he said cut like a knife, over and over again.  But I couldn't leave his side.  I had to fight for him because living without him was another kind of pain that I just couldn't bear.  I had to convince him to stay.  But he wouldn't.

I couldn't get away from this dream.  I'd woken up 4 different times in the middle of it and tried to shake it off; tell myself it wasn't real.  And each time I finally drifted off to sleep again, it would pick right back up where it'd left off.  It was torture.  All day, I've been trying to remind myself that he loved me.  But the dream was so real, so so painful.  I just can't shake it.  In the dream, he hated me so much it oozed out of his every pore.  Very real, and very convincing.  The way his face twisted in disgust.  The way he spat the words at me.  It's horrifying.  I pray this isn't the beginning of another stretch of abandonment dreams.  I don't know if I can take it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"I knew that this was what I was meant to do"

I miss him so much.  Really, fuck Christmas.  Fuck New Years.  Fuck all of these experiences I have to suffer through without my love.  I've been trying so hard not to think about the holidays.  How I'm going to feel, how I will react.  I don't know how it's going to be.  But I know it will suck.  And before you tell me TJ would want me to be happy and thankful and to remember the good times, spare me.  The bottom line is my husband is dead.  No amount of thinking happy thoughts is going to distract me from this fact.  I appreciate people trying to help, I really do.  But right now, there's nothing that can be done to combat this misery.

Tonight, I refined my search in TJ's emails.  Gmail is so great.  I typed in my name and this is the first entry of his journals that came up; he's talking about our wedding day.

"For Courtney and I, today was the whole world, almost like the
culmination of everything that we knew.  This day held so much for us.
So much planning and joy and agony went into this shit.  Now, it was
about to happen.  It was just this entity that had been brought to
life, and now it was moving and breathing on its own.  There was no
longer any control of the events that were about to transpire.  The
planning was over; it was time to live the reality of what we had
I remember being astounded at the church, amazed by the people that
were coming through the doors.  I had forgotten some of the names that
were on the lists that we'd been working on for months.  But the
people just kept coming.  It was fucking surreal.  So many friends and
family members came out, and looked as happy as we looked.  I remember
being so filled with love and anxiety.
I was nervous during the ceremony.  I wanted to make sure I had the
words down right, and I almost fucked them up.  Lucky save toward the
end.  I wanted to adjust my tux.  When I sat down, it bunched up in
the front, reminding me that I should have unbuttoned the jacket for
when I sat down.  Now I felt like a complete dork and was a little
But honestly, the people were not too much of a distraction,
hindrance, or source of terror.  Eventually, I came to know that they
were all here to see  Courtney and I get married, and they were
supporting us.  It helped for me to feel the love for her and to concentrate
on that feeling.  I knew that this was what I was meant to do, and the
purpose of this whole thing was our love.  It put me at ease, let me
just experience the experience."

Reading this makes me unbelievably happy yet completely and totally fucks me up at the same time.  I can't believe I had that love, and now it's just fucking gone.  Gone gone gone.  I mean, God.  Just read that!  He wrote that to remember.  To remember the feelings, to put himself back into that moment.  That's why I write.  To record the moment.  I guess it may seem obvious that he would write about our wedding day.  But how he wrote about it blows me away.

That love, it kept me fully alive.  Now, I don't know what I am.  I want to feel it again.  It lifted me always and I need it now.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A little light reading (pffft)

So, for the past 4 hours I've been reading emails from TJ.  I logged in to his gmail account and started reading his journals.  There are over 500+, but the most recent date on the ones labeled "journals" is 2008.  I knew there were more, so I went through every email in his sent folder.  All 1240 of them.  I started only looking at the ones he sent himself and then moving them to the "journals" folder, but then I started reading the ones we sent back and forth.  Always love.  Always encouragement.  There was even a very fair share of dirty talk.  All on my end.  Big surprise.  There was even constructive criticism, or the "get your shit together" real gritty stuff.  But all of them signed off with an "I love you" from each of us.  No matter what.

Reading our conversations, the context, the banter; it makes me forget that he's gone.  I can hear his voice saying the words I am reading.  I can hear the pauses.  Hear the inflections.  Even imagine the facial expressions that go with the conversation.  I miss him so much.

I wonder if he would be proud of me now?  All of the things that I vented to him about, all of the things that made me so unhappy were because of my job.  I hate that I took out that frustration on him when I got home.  So much bullshit.  Overworked.  Stressed.  Pushed to the limit.  Emails I'd sent him from my work address at 9pm... I'm so glad that that is over.  Loyalty can sometimes be misguided.   TJ wanted so much for me.  He wanted me to find a job that made me happy.  He wanted me to live a fulfilled and satisfying life.  He always hoped for the best for me.  I have to learn how to do that for myself.  It seems so much harder without his loving encouragement and gentle prodding.  I found an email that he'd sent me in 2004 with 5 listings of job opportunities.  Just the links in bright blue followed by "You are wonderful, and you can do this.  You deserve to be happy." 

If I wasn't complaining about work, I was professing my undying love for him.  Poetically listing every detail of his body that I loved.  The way the smell of his skin made me high.  The way the weight of his arm across my belly put me at ease; helped me to feel grounded.  I told him all the time how much I loved him.  I'd always wondered if it was too over the top for him.  Overwhelming to him.  But now I'm sure I did the right thing.  Even though I told him all the time, it was never enough.  I'm so glad that I told him every chance that I got.

I didn't know then that I would only have 12 years.  12 years to cram a lifetime of love into.  I think I might melt into a puddle of tears right this second.  If I were standing in a bucket, it would be filled already.  Crying for him is a way of life.  Instead of showering him with love, I cry for his memory.  Who could have ever, ever imagine this?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Making Mixes

I'm sending something off in the mail for a friend.  I always include a mix of new songs to send.  Every time I burn a disc, I find myself trying to figure out what to write on it.  I thought to myself "I'll just write I love you".  And then I remembered...

Four Christmases ago, there was this god awful song that was on the radio by Heidi Klum.  TJ thought it was hysterical, and it just annoyed the living shit out of me.  He knew all he had to do to get a rise out of me was say (in at thick German accent) "wonderland wonderland shining star jingle bells".  I mean, really?  What kind of chorus is that?  Anyway, one morning I got in the car to go to work and low and behold that fucking song was on the radio.  Or was it?  When I stopped grumbling, I realized it was my CD player that was turned on.  Not the radio.  Coming to the realization that my car had been broken in to for a covert operation, I immediately started laughing.  I eagerly skipped to the next track, knowing how amazing TJ's mixes always were, and wondering what good stuff was on it after this train wreck of a song.  But every song, all 8 tracks, were this damn song.  I can't remember laughing that hard ever before or ever since.  I was in tears, thinking of how ridiculous the song was, thinking about how much time he put into this prank, thinking of how much he must love me to try to make me laugh so much.  I ejected the CD and it said "ha ha ha, I love you".  I think it's probably the best title for a mix that I've ever seen.

Fear, It Stunts Your Growth

Everything.  I'm afraid of anyone I love getting hurt.  Afraid of the thought that anyone I love could die an untimely death.  Could suffer any trauma.  I'm afraid of living alone.  I'm afraid of never having time alone.  I'm afraid of losing my cats.  I have the most insane thoughts.  The other day I was holding Lando and I had this horrible thought of someone killing him just to hurt me.  Someone tearing him apart, crushing his bones.  Tonight, my sister is upset.  All I can think is that she'll run away, like I did.  And if she did, would she be lucky like I was?  Lucky that nothing happened to me?  I can't bear the thought.  I'm afraid of car crashes, finding the ones I love passed out on the ground when I come home into the house.  I'm afraid of murders that will try to sneak into my house when I realize I forgot to lock the back door.  Just the other day I left the sun room to go to my room and ended up being in my room for an hour.  When I came back downstairs, I noticed Alice mewing at the basement door.  She only does it when someone has either just gone down there or just come out.  I thought it was strange, and then I noticed that the back door was unlocked and the new office door was practically shut when before it was pressed open against the basement door.  The only thing I could deduce was that there was someone in the basement waiting.  I tried to shake the feeling, and I didn't have the courage to go investigate.  So I sat on the couch and turned on the TV.  For an hour, every few minutes I'd look over my shoulder.  Waiting to hear any suspicious sounds, waiting to see the door crack open.  How am I supposed to function if that's what my mind does?  How am I supposed to live alone?  How am I supposed to be alone anywhere?  These thoughts cripple me; ruin me for any shot at truly going out on my own.

I keep thinking about the morning that TJ died.  I could have never imagined it.  I could never had anticipated it.  That scares me to death.  Knowing how things can change with no warning.  No time to prepare or react.  It can be gone in seconds.  What makes me think that it won't happen again?  I can't think it.  On the contrary, I almost expect it now.  Something awful to come.  I can't live like this.  As brave as I can be, fear still drives me most of the time.

If I'm presented with an opportunity, and it scares me,  I have to do it.  And since everything scares me, fear is my motivator.  I have to keep living, even though I live in fear.  I hope that by challenging my fears it will help me work through them, or learn to handle the panic.  The fight or flight.  But even when I carry out those actions that cause fear, I still feel it.  Acting in the face of fear doesn't take the fear away.  I just pray that the next time I am faced with it I will grow stronger from each experience.

I could have never imagined TJ's death.  What else is out there that I can't imagine?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Fire that Burns

My wedding ring looks so beautiful on my hand.  I admire it often.  The slim gold band against my ruddy skin makes it bright.  I sleep on the back of my hands at night; pressing my cheek to my skin each time I shift back and forth on my stomach.  Every time I move my body, I move my hands.   From my right hand to my left, I open my eyes and look at the gold.  Sometimes I can see my reflection in it.  I always look sad when I do.

I can't imagine it not being there.  And, at the same time, I can't imagine continuing to wear it.  I will know the right time to take it off and put it away, but I don't see that happening any time soon.  It's this war, when I think about it enough.  It reminds me of him, and also reminds me that he's no longer with me.  Am I still married?  Or course I am still married.  But, on paper?  No.  On paper I am a widow.  Legally, I am single.

When I look up from my computer screen, I see an 8x10 of our wedding day.  I'm sitting, hand in his, looking up into his eyes with the biggest smile.  I can't even believe it was possible to smile that big, and to smile with my entire body.  He's on one knee, gazing down, his hand wrapped around mine.  His face shows calm, serene adoration.  It almost looks like his eyes are closed, with the reverent droop of his lids and tilt of his head.  I've never smiled so much in my entire life as I did the day I married TJ.  I couldn't stop.  Even when I tried to be serious during the service, I just had a smile permanently etched in my lips and cheeks.  So much that my face hurt by the end of the day.  But it was the most lovely pain I've ever felt.

The kind of pain that I feel now is constant.  Even when I think I have it at bay, the beast claws its way to the surface, making my eyes prick with tears.  I can never hold them back.  They pour down my face; two, three tears at a time from each eye.  As if they're in a race to see which will make it to my jaw, my chin, first.  Just when I think I couldn't miss him any more than I already do...

I talk to him at night.  Ask him what I should do.  Ask him to help me keep breathing.  At night, I panic.  Each morning, I wake with dreams lingering.  Realizing they are not real, and realizing I am waking up alone is torture.  Last night, in the last dream that I remember, he made love to me.  He held me tight, he kissed my lips, he whispered to me.  I was at peace in his arms again.  I want that to be real.  But it can never be real.  It's excruciating.  I feel as if someone has set me on fire, but I have no ability to move, or to scream.  I miss him so much.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


How is it that when I have a really decent day, I feel like complete shit by the end of it?  I had a really good day today.  I went outside, walked through the woods, worked in my sketch book, took some photos...  And now this.  This horrible feeling inside my gut that I can't shake if my life depended on it.  A lot has gone on in the past few days that will change my near future, but that isn't why I feel so awful.

When I have a good day, when I feel lighter on my feet and in my heart, that's when it creeps in.  Knowing that I've had to try so hard to have a decent day because he's gone.  I have to work to feel better.  I can't just feel better.  I have to try.  It takes all of my energy.  And at the end of the day the simple fact is that he's still not here.  I'm still not happy.  It's a ruse.

I feel proud when I manage a day like today.  And then I realize that the only person I really want to share it all with is TJ.  And then I crash and want to curl up and cry (which I typically end up doing... the waterworks are turning on right now.)  It's like "who am I kidding?"  It's like all of this work I'm doing is for nothing if it can't be for him.  He has always been my only motivation.  I have to change that.  But old habits die hard.  I still live for him every day.  It's the only way I know how.  The way it always was.  But can't always be.  I can only find that peace when I learn to do things for myself and myself alone.  To have the desire to please myself and not everyone else.  I need to matter to me.  I've never mattered enough.  That has got to change.  But where to start?  I think this new blog will be a good first step.  It's early yet.  I don't feel proud of it like I do this one.  Does that make me hopeless?  That the only thing I can feel satisfaction and pride in is my body of work centered around pain?  I don't want to be here forever.  I try to throw myself forward, only to find that I'm tethered to him still.  Whipped backwards at odd intervals.  I never know when I'll run out of slack and be jerked back to these feelings of despair.

I'm so very tired.