Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ocean of Tears

I can't explain it.  The past week has been emotionally overwhelming.  This loss is so great.  I thought I may feel more respite from it by now; that the dives into the abyss may become less frequent.  I will not ever be rid of them, I'm sure of this now.  I'd wondered, I'd assumed, and now I am sure of it.  All the days of my life will hold this edge of darkness, never knowing when I might be called to revisit this nothingness...

I sat on the floor just now and read all of TJ's love letters from the years.  I noticed I stopped breathing pouring over each one.  I'd hold it up to my face and press the paper against my forehead, somehow trying to get closer to him that way.  It amazed me that the object I held against my face had once been held in his fingers.  It's funny how we humans clutch our hearts when we're feeling strong emotions.  As if they really will fall apart if our hand wasn't there...

I've selected a few notes that moved me so much more this night.  They are all lovely and sweet; these are the ones that gave me great pause.  They had me either looking upwards with a "thank you" falling from my lips, or rocking me with soundless cries, horrified by the thought of all that is lost.

He drew this for me for Valentine's Day one year in college.  The unending knot above us is a depiction of the earrings he gave me as a gift.
I miss the feeling of us together like he captured so beautifully in his drawing.  Entwined and touching and melding into one another.  How warm it felt to be wrapped up in him.  It's been ages since I could remember what that felt like...

In May of 2001 he wrote: "The promise of you is what raises me out of bed every morning.  Without the knowledge that improving my life will improve our life, continuing would seem almost impossible.  The memory of you both hurts and alleviates me.  Which part I choose to focus my attention on is what keeps me breathing.  I know that both our futures will be the same intimate, passionate story.  I love you. -T.J."

I still cannot believe that I have to go on without him.  I could have never imagined that my future would be any different than his. And then I find myself here... a year and almost ten months later.

In October of 2005 he wrote: "Hi, I hope you're having a good day so far.  I know that in the morning I usually don't want to be bothered, but once I'm at work I always wish that I would have held on to you a little longer.  TJ"

I've spent hours upon hours wondering if holding each other longer, kissing each other more often, making love over and over would have made a difference for me now.  We held each other daily.  We kissed each other over a million times, I'm sure of it.  We spent entire weekends under the covers together, only getting up to use the bathroom or gather food to bring back into bed.  Would any extra moments like this have made a difference now?  If we had held each other longer could I have the ability to remember what that felt like?

And lastly, I'll leave you with the note that wrought a prayerful "thank you" whispered through an emotionally choked throat.  I'm so glad he knew.  For me, nothing has changed.  If anything I love him more.
"Every day I become more aware of what a gift you are to me.  I love laughing with you.  I even like it when you laugh at me.  You have helped me to understand who I am.  Your love is the most genuine thing I've ever felt.  Thank you, T.J."  The other side of the page says "I love you."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cha cha cha changes

I still talk to TJ.  I stared at his photo last night and thanked him over and over for all of the gifts he has given me.  I told him that I learned so much from him during our time together and that I continue to learn from him even in death.  The tears were pouring down my face.  Huge, fat, hot tears.  And I had a smile on my face.  I told him about the sign we use in school to show "gift received".  Over and over I thumped my chest and then laid a flat palm over my heart.  As I cried and stared into his eyes I felt my heart pounding under my hand.  Through the entire exchange I kept having to remind my body to breathe.

The changes I have observed in myself over the past few months are astonishing.  I read my old blog entries from a year ago and the pain is palpable.  I am so thankful for that experience of pain.  I am so thankful that I allowed myself to sit with my grief.  I can't imagine where I'd be now, or the person I might be, if I had held on to that pain in an unhealthy way.  I cringe wondering what bitterness might live inside my heart if I had forced myself to carry on, business as usual, when my body needed to be in grief.  In school we hear often that the power to heal is already inside of us.  All of the knowledge of the universe we already know.  I am so proud that I trusted myself to do things my way, to take care of myself how I saw fit.  And I continue to do so.  My body knows that I must allow the grief to move through me.  My loss is still raw.  My grief is still very strong.  And allowing myself to feel all of those things and also joy and possibility is liberating.

I miss my husband intensely.  Not a day goes by that I don't say his name out loud.  His pictures are on every surface of my room and my kitchen.  I am living in grief and in possibility simultaneously.  I never knew it could be so seamless.  I am grateful to be able to experience both of those emotions.  It means that I am human.  It means that I can feel.  It means that I am alive.  To be alive and feeling is a precious gift.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Shift of Consciousness

I can feel it coming.  The changes have been subtle and because of my new awareness of my senses it has finally registered.  My experiences in school have changed my life.  And it's only been a little over a month!  I can only imagine the person I will be after three years of new beginnings.

I can feel TJ for the first time since his death.  I was not sure if I would ever feel him again.  I don't feel him in the sense that he is with me, or in the way it was when he was alive.  I believe that through my efforts to make my life more full he is present through me.  Since his death I have always felt the need to continue on to make him proud, to honor him.  It wasn't until now that I understood that to honor him I must honor myself.  I am him, he is me.  We are one in the same.

The definition of death in the ancient Chinese culture is not when someone ceases to breathe, not when their heart stops beating, but when the last person says the name for the last time.  Only then is there death.  As long as I live I will be speaking his name.  What a relief to know that I can live my life with him anew!  Though I am bereft of him in his previous form, and forever shall be, I find this new awakening to his presence a small comfort.  And I believe over time, with practice, I will develop this way of being more fully as I continue be open to nature.  I recognize that this is not a cure-all.  There is no changing the past.  Life is movement and opposites are fact.  An excess of one gives way to its partner and balance is restored.  I believe I have reached my tipping point of sorrow and it now gives way to joy.  And as the joy recedes, as all things do, I will use the knowledge that I have been given to create balance within myself.  I will practice this every day of my life.

As I progress in school I am overwhelmed by this sense of belonging.  Everyone around me and everything I hear speaks to me so deeply.  It is a blessing I will never take for granted.  I have been given a gift and I am in awe of that gift.  My spirit is awakened.  My body is alive.  This moment in recognition of my life is a culmination of all of the pain, of all the heart ache, of all of the anger and fear, and all of the joy in my experiences with TJ.  I will miss him always and I can have a full life with him in a different way.

In the presence of this gift of consciousness I am beginning to face my days with blessed anticipation.  I am still here.  I am important.  I am worthy.  My professor questions and we answer: "Who says?"  -"I say!"  "And who are you?"  -"I am me!"  When I say it matters, I feel him.  Tears are pouring down my face; to be alive is truly amazing.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Second Time

It’s our anniversary today.  This morning I didn’t know if I would be able to get out of bed.  It wasn’t until 10am that I was able to throw the covers off and put my feet onto the floor.  I checked my school email and completed one of my homework assignments.  Google helped me find some local public gardens so I could see where I might like to end up today.  Brookside Gardens in Wheaton won out.  TJ and I had been there before for a friend’s wedding but hadn’t had time to fully enjoy the area.  I spent over an hour just walking around when I first arrived.  The plants, the views… I couldn’t stop taking pictures.  Once I’d taken everything in I found a nice shady spot to set up my blanket.  I ate the snack I’d prepared and got out my school books.  Studying anatomy outside has been really productive.  I find I have no distractions if I’m out of the house.  It’s going to be a good way to continue this learning process...

All day long I kept waiting to feel crushed.  I felt strange emotions while I was out today.  A mixture of gratitude that I am alive and sadness that TJ isn’t.  I’m not sure if he’d ever have indulged me as I indulged myself today.  It was so hard for him to be outside with his allergies and asthma.  It’s not that he didn’t appreciate nature, but that it was more trouble for him that it was worth.  A friend in my classes said that he came to her.  He told her that he wanted to meet me in a garden.  That’s why I went out today.  I didn’t go because I thought I would see him or feel him.  I went because it’s my turn to tend to myself.  Maybe he needed me to appreciate the beauty of nature for him.  I miss him so much.  I was preoccupied today; in awe of everything around me as well as the intensity of my studies.  This moment is the first I have had today where I am able to process the feeling of loss.  It hovered at the surface all day long.  I couldn’t seem to let myself go there.  I’ve cried today.  Cried in the gardens.  Cried on my blanket while I studied.  Cried in the car on the way home.  Cried over dinner.  Crying now as I write.  Even still, the day has not felt like a total loss.  I am still amazed that I was able to study and actually comprehend what I was working on.  That I was able to appreciate life in the growth all around me.  There is no greater reminder that I should be here on this earth than spending the day in such a luscious garden.  Maybe that's what he meant when he spoke to my friend.  He wanted me to be reminded of how amazing life is.  To that I say "I hear you, baby".  I experienced life today in everything I saw, touched, smelled, tasted, and heard.  I am here for me.  I am here for you.  I carry you with me always in my heart.  Thank you for showing me the way.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Beginning

I haven't written in a while now.  This week marks the third week into my Master's program.  I've already decided to switch tracks; I can't seem to get enough, I want it all.  I'll be getting a Master's in Oriental Medicine.  This will allow me to be a licensed acupuncturist as well as a licensed Chinese herbalist.  It's a lot to take in.  This is a whole new way of being and I am practicing diligently.  The first two week intensive was like group therapy.  Learning to process and move through life as it is.  Life is movement, after all.  It doesn't stop.  Not for anyone or any thing.  I've been practicing being present, living in the moment.  Using my senses to observe my surroundings and to be more in touch with my body.  Practicing Qi Gong has been an amazing way to tap into that.  Noticing what's going on inside me, where I feel pain, how I can relax it.  I haven't skipped a day of practice since I first experienced it two and a half weeks ago.  Feeling the heat of the qi as it moves with my forms.  Allowing myself to touch all the parts of my body that make me me.  I am starting to reacquaint myself with my belly.  I never really touched my stomach.  I wanted to pretend that it wasn't there.  TJ always loved my body.  I remember he'd rest his hand right on my belly.  It was the only time I can remember really focusing on the sensation of touch in that area.  Now I find myself touching, appreciating the feel of it.  My professors say that we are all perfect exactly how we are.  Right in this moment I am perfect.  I am me.

I'm totally a beginner at practicing the concept of "upset is optional".  Our wedding anniversary is Monday.  I find it difficult to remain objective about this source of upset.  I am working at not expecting anything.  Whether it be good or bad, it merely is.  There is no changing it.  These new exercises are hard work.  And I crave peace.  Old habits bubble up and when they do, I hear my professor's voice murmur in my head "just kiss them and scoot them over".

My regularly scheduled classes start up on Thursday.  It almost feels like I'm starting over with the first day of school.  I got so used to the routine of the daily intensives and now it's changing again.  Our first class, though, is with the professors that taught during the first two weeks and that is comforting.  Starting with them is what I know.  It will be good.

My new life has begun.  I am living it right here and now.  I "peaced out" my room with positive notes, Buddhist prayer flags, and a chime that hangs from my ceiling.  I've had good dreams ever since I put a string of the prayer flags over my bed.  Dreams of self awareness, of feeling desirable and coveted.  It's a new experience for me to believe that I am perfect exactly as I am.  I know I'm working towards a healthier life in all ways.  I can not discount the progress I have made.  No more "if I had this, then I'd be that".  I hope this budding self awareness allows me to be unconcerned with small minded things.  To eventually be rid of the labels I have given myself and been given by others.  I am me, and you are you.  We are all living the best way we know how.  We are all beginners.  There is no right or wrong way to be.  I have felt separate for a long time.  I can feel that changing ever so slightly each day I practice in observance.  This knowledge is freeing.  I will continue to open myself up to new ways of being.  The process will be long and arduous, and progressing is key.  It doesn't matter how long it takes for me to learn.  What matters is that I keep it moving.  I know now that there is no arrival to any one point.  Life is constant movement.  Diane Connelly says "The object of the dance is not to get to the other side of the room.  It is to remain in the circle and continue to dance."  I can never stop moving.  This is something that I always knew.  Having context to practice this in creates new meaning to what I am doing.  For the sake of TJ, I will practice.  I will savor the awe of life for him.  And through him I will be nourished.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I find myself trying to empty my mind of all thought.  I'm afraid that I will get too carried away with fear and loss if I don’t.  Knowing school is starting in just two days from now, and starting the day after the year and a half mark for TJ… it’s too much.  I focused on TJ hard last night while lying in bed.  Just before I fell asleep I burst into tears.  Covering my face and moaning in pain.  I never thought I’d live this long.  That life would get this far after his death.  I am shocked by it.  Shocked that I have gotten out of bed for the last 546 days.  And to have not only gotten out of bed but experienced so much change, so much growth.  Yet I feel no where, still.
During this holiday weekend, I have envied people who are normal.  Who are thankful for the break from their 9-5, taking short trips to the beach for one last summer getaway.  Envious of those that are seeing these three days as nothing but relaxation and a break from the daily grind.  For me it is a countdown.  A dreadful explosion which is imminent, but I have no idea how to disarm.  I really don’t know if I can do this.  How will I live through this one?  I’m not excited in the least.  This is just another thing to get through.  Another chore to take care of.  It doesn’t matter if I find joy in it because there is no other choice.  This is something that I have to do, and I do so reluctantly.  All of the positive decisions bringing me to this point have lost their luster.    I am a robot following pre-programmed instructions.  There is no abort code to implement.  I do not wish to feel so lifeless at a time like this.  But that is exactly what I am.  I pray it doesn’t last.  I don’t want to be numb to the future ahead.  I don’t want to feel indifference in every thought.  I want passion to come into me.  I want to feel good again.  I want to be normal again.  I am “other” trying to blend in.  Why do I feel like this is the end?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Followed to Completion

I got my third tribute tattoo today.  It says “My Heart Sings”.  It’s the title of the song that I’m taking lyrics from to put on TJ’s headstone.  I bought that on Friday.  Driving over there was hell.  The hours leading up to it were hell.  I was going to go last Wednesday, but the pain was far too overwhelming.  I looked at my mother and told her that I'd reached my emotional limit and didn't think I could do it.  So Friday I made myself go right when I got up.  As I arrived I was uneasy and couldn’t wait to rush through everything.  Just when I thought I couldn't do it and debated on bolting, I spotted a “Big Gulp” sitting on the pristine desk of the gentleman helping me.  Amid samples upon samples of headstones there sat something so extremely ordinary.  As soon as I saw it sitting there, sweat dripping down onto the mahogany desk top, I was able to find calm.  I was able to sit still and take my time picking out the font, picking out the banner style for his epitaph.  I handed over the check for the deposit and shook hands when he walked me to the door.  I thought for sure I would break down as soon as I hit pavement, but it didn’t come.  It felt good knowing that he’d finally have a headstone by Christmas.  I went to the cemetery afterwards and talked to TJ.  I told him how much I missed him and that he would be all settled very soon.  It’s so final, buying his headstone.  The very last thing I had to take care of.  I wasn’t really ready, but knew that if I didn’t do it now it might take me another year.  When school starts everything will change and I didn’t want to delay any longer.  Well, I did, but I should say I couldn’t delay any longer.

When I went in to get the tattoo today I was nervous.  It was finality in a different form.  I thought back to when I went three weeks after his death to get the “Two Drops in the Ocean” tattooed on my left arm.  Remembering what it felt like to be in that same chair, with that same artist.  How raw I was and how three weeks seemed like an eternity of pain without him.  And now it’s only three weeks shy of exactly a year and a half since his death; and I thought three weeks was pain.  I like that the artist wasn’t chatty.  He’s very kind and gentle.  A great “bedside manner” if you will.  While he worked I could watch or zone out.  I mostly zoned out thinking about TJ and what this new tattoo means to me.  How I wish he could see them both.  He’d always wanted me to get big ones.  There are so many things he wanted to see me do that I’m only now getting around to now that he’s dead and gone.  That upsets me.  I finally have huge tattoos.  I’ve learned to like sushi.  I’m going back to school to pursue a career.   All of it too late for him to see.  If only I had gotten my shit together sooner.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Survival Instincts

I fear that I'm regressing.  The stereotypical "two steps forward, one step back" feels more like ten steps back right now.  One of the worst times since TJ died was my 5 month mark.  Which was this month last year, come to think of it.  I'm feeling the same way I was then.  I hate having to try so hard.  I want so badly to sit back and allow the world to unfold around me with absolutely no interaction on my part.  If only it were that simple.  I've attempted to let everything go but it just won't stick.  And that makes me bitter.  True to form, I'll keep getting out of bed.  I'll keep going to work.  I'll keep preparing for school.  I wish I were the negligent type.  I get so tired of the obligation to participate.  All I wish for is to be the lump under the bed sheets.  To be left alone with my thoughts.  I am a ghost but masquerade as someone corporeal.  I should have an Oscar for my performances every day.  Pretending to be functional.  Clinging wildly to the slightest hint of excitement I can find and exaggerating the shit out of it.  I feel hollow but I hide it well.  I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking there are so many good things in life to live for.  So many people who love me and want the best for me.  I say to you of course there are plenty of reasons to keep going.  The list reads like a reverent prayer and makes up my daily pep talk.  How do you suppose I made it this far, huh?  I am being honest about the feelings I'm having today.  And though I should be thankful (whereas days like today- it's regrettable) I am never fully able to stop caring about happiness.  About love.  Even as I just described all of my fantasies for a sedentary life, my survival instincts were kicking in.  It occurs to me that there is an innate response in all of us to fight to stay alive even when the odds are against us.  Nature can sometimes be cruel.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Fading Echo

I had a total melt down today.  I told my mother and father that in just a few weeks my whole world will change.  I’m afraid to start school because I’m not ready to let go of him.  Not that I have to forget him, but that I have to let go of the fantasy.  Going to school means that I am actively seeking a new life.  A life that he will never be part of.  I got a taste of it when I started working a new job, but this is so much bigger than that.  I can deny the changes that have come thus far, but this is an acceptance that I’m not ready to grant.  The memories I have almost feel like a movie.  Like I’m recalling something I’ve seen on the screen and not something that was actually my life.  I can’t remember what it felt like to be kissed.  I can’t remember what it felt like to sit together on the couch.  I can’t believe we used to fit in the same bed comfortably together now that I’ve been in it alone for 17 months.  The more time that passes, the farther I feel from him.  It’s a fear of mine that as soon as school starts I will be catapulted so far from him that I will no longer be able to orient myself.  At least with loss I've had that to cling to.  Studies will inevitably take priority, but grief is all I have known for what seems like forever.  How will I handle juggling my emotions and the responsibility and brain power school will require?  I won’t know until I try.  Waiting is the scariest part.  All of the “what if”s and the fear of saying goodbye to the old me.  I really am starting over, and it fucking sucks.  I don’t want this.  I don’t want to have to do any of this.  I just want him back.  And that will never happen.  On the contrary, I’ll be so far beyond where he was with me in life.  So far that I’ll feel more and more detached from what life used to be.  I hate that this is happening.  I hate feeling disconnected from him.  I hate feeling like my memories aren’t my own.  I genuinely can’t remember what it felt like to be with him; to be his wife and daily company.  I know what is in my mind, but I can’t feel it anymore.  And it’s only going to get worse, the unfeeling.  I do not want to be deadened to his presence, but it has come.  What I have now is a mere echo that will eventually fade into silence.  I can’t stand the thought of it.  I want to scramble backwards to him.  It seems so much easier to stay here with him than move forward alone.  But the memories just aren't enough to sustain me.  I go through the motions, I push myself towards my goals, but my insides are still in denial.  The axe of reality is coming down swiftly.  And with a stinging pain it will sever everything I have known of life until now.

I wait with bated breath for the end and for the beginning.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Grey Shirt

I went on a personal mission today.  I needed to find my old wedding scrap book for bridal shower ideas for my soon to be sister in law's party.  All of our things are stored in a small room in my parents basement.  I rarely go in there, but knew exactly where I would find what I needed.  After I'd collected my folder I saw the big white trash bags with blue painters tape.  They said "Laundry to be Done".  I remembered back to when I packed up our house.  I threw the dirty clothes that were on the laundry room floor into these bags, intending to wash them as soon as I transferred them.  Since I was already doing laundry today I hauled the five bags into the next room to get to work.  I pulled up a little stool and sat on it, turning each bag upside down one at a time.  TJ's underwear, his socks, some towels and his t-shirts all tumbled out in front of me.  Even though it was dirty laundry, I held up his shirts to see if I could catch his scent.  Each one I lifted to my face smelled like basement.  I tried to will my nose into smelling what I wanted it to smell, so sometimes I would think I caught a whiff, but when I settled back into the shirt it was gone.  I abandoned the sniffing and began sorting lights and darks.  I found myself holding on to a light grey shirt and debating which pile to put it in.  On a last ditch effort, I raised it to my face and was completely blown away.  Tears sprang to my eyes and I said aloud "Oh, there you are!  There you are..."  I stood leaning against the dryer clutching his shirt as tightly as I could.  I buried my face into it and inhaled over and over again.  Afraid to ruin the scent, I made sure to lift my face away from the shirt when I exhaled as not to get my own scent on it.  Right around the collar is the best place to catch him. 

I thought I would never get to smell him again.  Tears are pouring from my eyes with emotion over this delicious find.  I walked around the house with it draped over my shoulder so all I had to do was turn my head and smell him.  It's exactly how I remember it.  The smell.  It's beyond perfect.  A true miracle to have found this simple, unassuming grey shirt that holds so much importance to me.  How lucky I am to have been stumped by it's color.  To have impulsively raised it to my face.  It could have been like the others, already washed and folded in my basket.  What a precious gift, to be able to sense him again in some way.

If I close my eyes and only focus on the scent I can almost remember what it felt like to be in his arms.  I miss him so much.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Completely Random Thoughts Tonight...

I like not wearing deodorant.  Over time, I develop this sicky sweet smell mixed with the salty scent of perspiration.  It's the only thing that still reminds me of how he smelled.  I loved burying my face into his skin, under his arms as he rested over me.  He smelled salty and sweet all at the same time.  His breath tasted similarly when we'd kiss after he'd been drinking.  An overwhelmingly sweet taste came from him, mingling with his other natural flavor.  And I could smell it all.  It permeated my entire body when he would talk.  It's like I couldn't absorb enough of his breath.  We would laze away on the couch and he would get talking, all the while I was trying to be subtle about my long inhalations.  Like I was trying to brand myself with his scent.  I wanted it in my nose.

I find myself lifting my arms and turning my head to inhale my own scent.  I never knew it was so similar to his.  All of those years of wearing deodorant.  I still wear it on occasion, but when I can get away with skipping the application, I do.  I'd forgotten how nice it felt.  How nice it is to be able to smell him still.  It's the closest I'm going to get.

For the past few days I have immersed myself in my novels.  Living fantasy through them is drugging and satisfying.  When all you have to think about is the next chapter.  It's freeing.  I'm so overwhelmed thinking of what school will bring that I already mourn my beloved books.   I doubt I'll have much time for recreational reading in the next three years.  I feel desperate to cram in as much as I can before everything changes.

A future of my own creation looms in the distance.  And looming is the perfect word to describe it.  It's as if it's a faint shape I can see but is obscured in a dense fog.  I project onto what I see based on the outlines.  And though I try to identify it, I can't truly know it until I get a closer look.  Even though I feel this uneasiness I know this is what I want.  It's all there can be.  I have put all of my eggs into this basket and I will make damn sure not to go off and drop the thing.

Friday, July 13, 2012

For TJ

I received my class schedule in the mail yesterday.  I am still stunned that school is a reality now.  I obviously never thought I’d figure things out so quickly.  It’s really amazing that I am finding myself.  But then again, it’s not so surprising.  I have worked tirelessly to get to where I am right now.  I have poured an insane amount of energy into pushing myself forward no matter what my heart was screaming at me.  My mother and I had a long conversation a couple of days ago.  I told her that TJ prepared me for this life.  Not preparation for his death or the thereafter, but the planting of seeds.  Encouraging me to be the independent, self assured woman that he knew I could be.  When he would tell me what he saw in me, when he told me he knew I was capable of greatness, it was not always easy to hear.  At times, I felt insecure.  I would always listen and try to absorb his words, but I couldn’t help wondering if he found me lacking.  He was always learning something new; he worked so hard always to become a better man.  I realize now that he was trying to show me the way.  That when I was ready to make changes, I had all of the power within myself to make them happen.  

He never could have imagined he was preparing me for a life without him in it.  But I am so proud of him.  I am in awe of him.  He had such wisdom.  Such foresight.  When I am saddened by the fact that he won’t know this woman I have become, it gives me pause.  I still want to show him.  I still want to say “hey, baby!  See, I’m doing it!”  To see him smile knowingly at me, with that “I told you so” expression on his beautiful face.  But when I think he won’t know this woman, I realize that maybe he already did.  He saw her in me long before I made these strides.  It’s just that I didn’t know her yet.  I feel at home within myself.  I am confident and sure of this path I have chosen.  TJ lead by example.  I watched him learn and grow.  I saw him strive to be better and better.  I put him on a pedestal, not ever realizing that I could be on his level.  I feel that I am there now.  I just wish to God he was standing next to me, holding my hand.  I miss him so fucking much.  All of this self awareness just makes me want him more.  I feel like I am finally his equal.  I only wish he had lived to see me come into my own.  I yearn for his approval, for his support, for his unconditional love.  I imagine he’d even want to give me a boost so that my pedestal was higher.  

TJ, my love, thank you for always believing in me.  For loving me and wanting more for me even when I didn’t see it for myself.  All I do, I do for us.  I will live my life the way you taught me.  I will be forever grateful for your love and your infinite wisdom.

Monday, July 9, 2012


I’m not sure if it’s the mini baby boom my friends are in right now, or if its summer and living is easy.  Families and children are everywhere.  Vacation photos, pool adventures, baby showers, and births.  I’m feeling the starkness of solitary.  When I am so bombarded with these events and interactions, I see all that could have been.  I see all that I have lost.  The stuff that life is made of.  Husband and wife.  Father and child.  Mother and infant.  The more time that passes, the more families grow around me, the more I begin to suspect that I will not know this way of being.  I can’t help but think it’s all too late for me.  So young did we have such profound love for one another.  We could have never known our time would be so short.  We talked so much about our future children.  How we had plenty of time for all of that.  Later.  And now we have nothing.  TJ is dead and gone, and I am left behind.  The time for this life has passed us by.  I fear I will only be able to experience it through others.  And though I sense their joy, and share it as best as I can, I cannot truly know it.  Will I ever find contentment in just being included into these families around me?  To be the “aunt” to these beautiful babies; will it be enough?  I find my alternative path in acupuncture quite fitting for one who is so desperate to be a mother.  I yearn to nurture, to care.  This will have to be that outlet for me.

I’m looking at a photo of TJ and me.  It was taken my senior year of college at a bowling alley.  I’m sitting on his lap and leaning my forehead down to his temple.  His eyes are squinted.  His cheeks are round in a closed mouthed smile.  When I look into his eyes in the picture, it feels like he’s seeing me sitting here.  Writing.  Crying.  I wonder what he would think to see me this way?  It’s a very real possibility that I will never be a mother.  That my womb will never feel fullness with child.  That I may not ever have the means to adopt.  Seeing this shortcoming as a possible reality is sacrilegious to someone like me.  Someone who has hungered for motherhood for as long as I can remember.

I visited a friend today.  I went to meet her two week old brand new baby boy.  At one point, I was sitting on the floor holding the baby in my arm while playing a game with her two older children.  As I picked up a game piece to hand to the three year old, I spoke with the five year old then looked down at the baby sleeping.  It occurred to me at that moment that this was my natural state of being.  That I could not only handle that kind of life, but thrive in it.  And the very next thought was of their mother sitting next to me.  That this was not my life.  It was hers.  I imagined if TJ were to see me sitting there, surrounded by those sweet babies; if he could feel the peace I was feeling at that moment.  I imagine that he’d curse that he couldn’t give that life to me.  Later, my friend thanked me for playing with the two older children while I was there.  I don’t think she realized what a joy it was for me to be able to do that.  Hearing their little voices asking me to play with them.  Me.  They wanted me to play.  Call me silly, but it made me feel special.  I find myself aching to feel needed, and there is no one out there who really feels that way about me anymore.  TJ needed me.  His wife.  Now that he is gone, no one else really does.  Everyone has their own spouse, their own children.  Those babies have their mommies and daddies at the end of the day.  Those friends, those beautiful babies, they may want me around but no one truly needs me anymore.  The distinction between want and need is profound.  A distinction I feel each and every day now that TJ is gone.  I mourn my necessity.