Friday, January 27, 2012

Time Warp

I'm trying hard not to think of the year mark looming in just a matter of weeks.  I'm trying to focus more on the 11 month mark coming next Friday.  I just can't believe it's almost been a year without TJ.  Yesterday was a difficult day.  I cried often, tried hard to imagine being able to feel him again.  Hearing songs in the grocery store that screamed "TJ!" and not being able to help but wonder if it was some kind of sign.  I want to believe in that so badly, but I just can't.  I always end up chalking it up to coincidence.

A really amazing friend called last night out of the blue.  She and I were able to talk about all sorts of fun things, and then rounded on "the subject".  Talking my day out with her really helped me get a handle on the emotions I'd been feeling all day.  And how I feel about the year mark being just around the corner.

I realized that a lot can happen in a year.  Whether it's an average year, or one full of new things, a year sounds like a lot of time.  It doesn't feel like that to me.  I know I've made some progress, but I really feel like I've slept through this entire year.  That's the best way I can find to describe it.  It's like this year didn't even happen.  Like I fell asleep the day he died and woke up the day after.  But in reality, it's a year after.  How can so much time have passed and I not feel it?

It is a total mystery to me, this time warp.  How will it change?  I don't want to speed things up.  I want to stay right where I am because I know what it feels like.  The evolution of my grief is slow going.  And I'm at peace with that.  There is no rushing these things; they must run their course and you must allow them to change you.  I don't want to feel like this forever, yet I am so totally used to it now.  I'm more wary of what is coming.

Being here in Eugene, Oregon is beginning to give me what I was looking for.  A way to bide my time before the one year mark.  To be alone with my thoughts and at the same time allow me a change of scenery in which to adapt.  Nothing is really making more sense, but I have a greater opportunity to be more present of mind.  To challenge myself in ways I haven't before.  Prove to myself that I am stronger.  Encourage myself to be brave.  I believe I have succeeding in doing those things.  I'm interested in how I will feel when I get home, and what I will have learned here to take with me always.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Solo Dining

Being in Oregon has been challenging.  Day time is manageable, but night is not.  Today, I went out to the local flea market, and stopped for something to eat on my way back home.  While I was at the restaurant, I wrote in my journal that I keep in my purse.  Here is that entry:

1/22/12 Cornucopia Restaurant 2:55pm Pacific Time

Ask and you shall receive.  I left the flea market- feeling icky and upset about blowing money on junk- and started to feel hungry for something good.  Without directions, I drove around and VOILA!  I stumbled upon Cornucopia.  The same one J & E took me to.  This beer is really good.  Dechutes Porter.  Thank you, TJ, for teaching me to appreciate dark beer.

I miss home.  I'm totally dreading the house already.  I'd love to sit in here all day, but I have to get back before dark so I can walk the pooch.  I just want to feel better.  When I go out, it's almost worse.  I never want to go back to the house.  But when I've stayed put all day, night time is more manageable.

This is such a cute little place.  Small, tables low and high topped mixed together.  Sexual Healing just came on over the sound system.  Neon signs are pretty much the only illumination.  Coasters line the beams like wallpaper borders.  There is a life sized cut out of the Statue of David stuck on a door leading somewhere.  Probably the kitchen.  The wall to my right is beer cases.  Three of them lined up together, just like a little liquor store.  On top of those cases are row upon row of tap heads.  The brick columns and beams holding up the roof are plastered with photos of people laughing, smiling.  Groups of friends, families, even little babies.  There is a birth announcement from December just behind me.  This is a very cozy, friendly place.  So why do I still feel like shit?  Because I want to share this with someone.  Fuck me.

Piet just texted me.  She sent me a picture of the photo and notes of TJ.  They're still up at Guido's.
It's like she read my mind.  I want him here with me now.  I want to share a cool place like this with him.  It's vibe is so similar to Guido's back in the day.  He would love it.  Especially because they serve tempe.  And play reggae.

I can't imagine how pitiful I look as I sit there.  Not because I'm alone.  But because I am so incredibly sad, on the verge of tears.  I keep trying to breathe through it.  It's so hard being here, far from home.  I need to call Margot, introduce myself.  Meet her for coffee or something.

I guess I'll get my check now.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I woke up crying this morning.  I really hate those days.  It sets the tone, usually.  I try not to allow it, but it always wins out in the end.  Every dream I had last night, I was crying for him.  Crying because people had stopped caring, that they had ceased to think of him or talk about him.  These themes presented themselves in myriad ways through the dream sequence.  After each one, I'd wake crying and then lull back to sleep.  Then another dream, and waking in tears.  The final dream was short, but it was the hardest of all to wake from.  Someone had asked me a really insensitive question and I burst in to tears.  I just couldn't take it anymore.  And then, out of the faded edges of the dream, TJ came running.  He ran straight to me, and without any hesitation leaned down and kissed me on the lips.  I couldn't believe he was with me.  I couldn't believe his lips were finally on mine again.  He pulled back so slightly that his face was still close to mine.  His beauty took up my entire field of vision.  He looked at me curiously and asked the question "why"?

When I opened my eyes I could still see his image burned into my eyes.  I closed them immediately, trying to get it back.  His question echoed in my mind, but I wasn't able to hold on to his face for long before it slipped away into the blackness of my eyelids.  What did he mean when he asked me "why"?  I can't for the life of me figure it out.  I haven't been able to stop crying since.  I wept into my pillow when I lost him.  I still weep for him now.

I miss him so much.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Strange Days

Today has been very interesting.  It started with waking from a dream; a dream I can barely remember.  This is rare.  The last thing I remember is rescuing another girl from danger.  We were in a neighborhood of glass houses.  As we ran from the house, hand in hand, I pulled her behind me.  One by one the houses began to explode.  We screamed in terror and continued to run, but because I was screaming, glass shrapnel got into my mouth and I swallowed the little shards.  I remember feeling them scratch their way down my throat, pulling a hunk out of the roof of my mouth.  But there was still a piece lodged way back to the left.  I couldn't reach it.  Couldn't pull it out.  Couldn't cough it out.  And so I woke up, feeling a stab of pain in that very place.  The sensation of glass in my throat has been with me all day.

TJ is always on my mind.  That goes without saying.  Even if I am not conscious of it every second, he is there.  And reminders that he is always there come up constantly.  For some reason today, he was in the forefront.  A barrage of moments with him.  One minute, in the car, I lifted my hand to my face and for an instant I smelled his skin instead of mine.  I lifted my hand back to my face as soon as the recognition dawned, but as quickly as the scent had come, it had gone.  I smelled my hand a third time just to be sure, but it was only me.  Returning from my errands, I don't know how I made it home.  My mind was so far away.  It must be muscle memory; it's the only explanation I have for driving myself to my front door.  All I could think about was how sad it was that TJ had died.  How he had asked the EMT's not to let him die, and then, that he really did die.  How much faith I placed into those words that he'd uttered.  I thought surely, now that they were formed, that it would be so.  That because he expressed his will to live that he would.  I thought about how sad it was that I thought those things.  That he could survive by his will and my will alone.  It's so tragically sad to have thought that was possible; that the universe would keep him alive just because he had proclaimed his desires.  Deep, deep sadness is all I could feel while I was driving.  I wasn't angry, I wasn't hysterical... I didn't even cry.  I just felt astonishingly sad.

Later in the day, I thought about our intimacy.  How I can't recall the feeling of his skin, of his lips.  For what seemed like hours, I could only imagine one simple act.  The tipping of his head towards my breast.  It played in a loop over and over again in my mind.  Oh, how I loved holding him to my chest!  Such a pure act of love.  To be able to nurture him.  Feeling complete satisfaction when with one simple act I could make him feel safe, make him feel loved.  Physical love is such a remarkable thing.  What a gift to be able to bestow every powerful stirring you have inside of you with a perfectly effortless touch.  When you're so desperately in love that words become meaningless; causing you to want to absorb your partner absolutely.  When closeness is never close enough.  I always wanted to be as close to him as humanly possible.  It was never enough.  I wanted to melt into him and never leave the warmth of his spirit, his touch, his scent.  His breath always smelled so sweet to me.  Almost a sicky sweet, it was that intoxicating.  I could get lost in it instantly.  I'm sure that if I ever smell anything like it again, I will recognize it.  But I can't conjure it, no matter how much I want to.  I know the power of those sensations.  If I am ever lucky enough to experience them again some day in nature, I will be a slave to them.  I will stop, I will savor.  I was so upset when the scent of his skin that came to me so suddenly was gone.  I tried to reproduce it.  Make my mind think that I was smelling him again.  But I just couldn't do it.

The loneliness is overwhelming me.  And the fact that my experiences are evolving scares the living shit out of me.  I don't miss him any less.  I don't feel any less pain.  The pain is changing.  I can't believe that I am starting to see things in a way in which he is no longer a part of my daily life.  Sometimes now, when I go places we went together, I don't immediately think "TJ should be here".  Because he won't ever be there with me again.  It's starting to sink in.  But it's a whole other kind of trepidation.  I'm not ready.  The best way I can think to describe it is the family photo in Back to the Future.  When Marty starts to fade away the more the past changes.  Instead, for me, TJ fades the more my future changes.  Every day that I spend without him changes my perspective.  I am powerless against it.  I know this is what is supposed to happen to me.  I am supposed to evolve.  But what I didn't realize was how much that evolution was going to hurt.  I thought it would be a natural progression to new life.  I didn't expect to want to hang on, kicking and screaming, trying to keep the pain from altering its course.

The way that I grieve the death of my husband is changing.  A new, unknown path is beginning to emerge.  A path still wrought with sadness and pain, yet these emotions are transforming against my will into something totally alien.  I don't know how to approach such a thing.  All that I have to go on is what I've experienced up to this point.  It was my only comfort; the only thing I was completely sure about was the pain I was feeling.  The loss I was feeling.  Now the pain, the sadness, the loss... they're still there.  A different kind of emotional future has me digging my heals into the dirt.  I'm not ready to go there.  I am at a precipice, anxiously awaiting the moment that I will be yanked completely out of my element.  There is nothing else that I can do.  How does one prepare for the unknown?  I can only brace myself for what is sure to come.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

There is Comfort in Pain

I can not believe I have made it this far.  Only one day separates me from ten months.  I didn't think I would ever live past the first night.  Day after day is filled with mourning, sadness, memories...

I am terrified of my future; going blindly into the unknown.  I am out of my element, unable to plan the simplest of days.  But mostly, I am alone.  No one can do this for me or with me.  No one can help me find the light that I search for through the darkness and fog.

Before you tell me that I'm not alone, please choose your words carefully.  I am, in fact, completely alone in this.  It is not to say that I am the only one grieving, but to each of us our own.  I could have armies of love around me, lifting me, and it will do no good if I do not do this myself.  Fear consumes me.  Doubt is a constant companion.  But the drive; the drive never fails me.

I am astonished by my strength that emerges over and over again.  Even when I feel as though there is nothing left to draw from, it is there, bubbling up from the pits to save my sanity.  There is a force inside of me that knows no bounds.  I won't stop loving.  I won't stop rebuilding.  I will never stop trying to find happiness again.  I am determined to lead a life that I love.  The life he would be proud to see I have made for myself.  To find a happiness, the kind he would have done anything to give to me.

Despite this frenzy, despite this desperation to remain in motion, I know for certain that this pain will never leave me.  It will evolve; changing it's form throughout my lifetime.  I have accepted this ache that will accompany me forever.  Feeling it will solidify his presence in every moment, in everything I do, for the rest of my days.  I embrace this pain.  I will respect it, and I will use it.