Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Floating in and out

I can't focus.  I can't make myself care about anything.  It feels like he just died all over again.   My spirit feels removed from my body.  I can't even cry; there is only numbness.

I don't care about anything or anyone right now.  My thoughts are only for TJ.  Always for TJ.  No food tastes good.  As soon as I eat it I feel sick.  This constant pit in my stomach is never filled.  Not with food, not with anything.

I've never wanted to be dead.  I've never wished for it to have been me instead.  Not only would he want me to live, but I could never allow him to have to endure this much pain.  I wouldn't wish this pain on anyone.  Could never allow such tragedy to consume him like it does to me now.

If anything, I feel less able to handle my grief now more so than when he died.  The numbness was so strong.  It's creeping back, but not nearly enough to help me handle the days ahead.  Now I know what life feels like to live without him for a year.  And knowing I will have to endure the rest of my life without him... the thought sickens me.  Weakens me.  I hate this new life.  I want my love back.  I want my life back.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lower than Low

I woke up feeling completely in the dumps.  The dark, dank, lonely dumps.  Most of this weekend has been a reenactment of the last weekend TJ and I spent together.  The Friday before he died, we went to an academic tournament with his parents in New Market.  The Saturday before he died we went to our friend's birthday party- out to dinner and drinks.  The Sunday before he died we had a family dinner for my brother's birthday.  After he died, I was thinking how fortunate it was for everyone to have seen him so recently.  But now it's happening all over again.  Last night was my friends birthday dinner.  She lives in Frederick, but the location was New Market.  I had to drive right past the school TJ and I went to for the academic tournament the Friday before he died.  I joined the same faces that were at the birthday dinner last year.  I ended up excusing myself 3 times at the restaurant to cry and cuss in the bathroom stall.  Today is my brother's birthday.  The family is coming over at 4pm to gather and enjoy. 

Looking back to this time last year, it amazes me how blissfully unaware I was.  Going about my days the same as always.  Without the faintest idea of what was coming.  I feel like complete shit today.  Lower than low.  I feel like my heart is going to explode this very second.  I couldn't possibly feel worse, at least I hope I can't.  It might kill me if I get any worse.  I have never understood how someone could feel so much pain like this and not die from it.  It seems impossible to keep breathing when every cell in my body is screaming for him.  It's like I can actually feel the tearing apart of organs.  I can feel myself breaking and repairing, breaking and repairing.  And I have no idea what to do about it.  I sit in silence, feeling everything sink inside me.  Become heavy and unmovable.  Paralyzed by pain and sorrow.  I have to just sit and feel it.  Hopefully it will let up enough for me to function today.   

Saturday, February 25, 2012

7 Days

I had the most fucked up dream last night.  It's driving me mad, so I have to get it out.  It should have been a good one.  It should have.  He was with me for the longest he's ever been with me in a dream.  It seemed to stretch on for hours in my head.  But I felt doomed the entire time.

We were in a dark lounge of some kind.  I almost want to say it was a restaurant.  I knew while we were sitting together that he'd left me before.  He'd come back and I was just so glad.  We were having a long conversation about nothing important (I can't remember what we talked about in this part of the dream) and then I painfully asked him why he'd left me.  I had to know.  I was heartbroken that he'd done it three times now.  He said one of them I left him, but it wasn't true and he knew it.  He said he did it because he didn't think he could give me what I needed.  That he couldn't be sensitive enough to my needs.  I felt like he was hesitating.  That maybe that was part of the reason, but there was more he wasn't telling me.  If he loved like he said he did, why didn't he try harder?  Why would he keep giving up on me if he loved me like he claimed?  I thought to myself then that if he left me again I wouldn't be able to take him back.  And he would come back, eventually.  It was too painful to be left and then scooped back up again like nothing was wrong.  To have to pretend that I hadn't ached during his absence.  And then, he broke my reverie by asking me to dance.  My heart felt like it stopped, it was so full of love, despite my internal conflict.  We were the only people in the place besides the two cashier girls behind the counter.  We stood in the most space we could find amid the round empty tables.  He pulled me up into his arms and held me close.  Ignoring the girls that worked there, and the fact that this place wasn't for dancing.  I had one arm around his neck and my other hand on his arm just above his elbow.  I don't know why I didn't latch on with everything I had.  I was so happy to be in his arms again, that he was back.  It was overwhelming.  I sighed "oh, baby, Oh, baby" and pressed my face into the side of his neck, inhaling as much of him as I could.  I quickly wound my resting arm to his back and pulled him to me.  I held him so tight.  But as happy as I was at that moment, I just knew it wasn't real, that it wouldn't last.  I could sense his smile as he pressed his face to the side of my head.  I could hear it in his breathing.  It crushed me.  I started to cry, and I could feel his arms hold me tighter.  In comfort I assumed.  How could he know these were tears of sorrow when he obviously must think they were joyful tears for our reunion?  I knew, even though he seemed fine now, that he would leave me again.  It felt like this embrace was my way of savoring the good and also saying goodbye, though he could not know my intentions.  As much as I loved him, and always would, I had to start protecting myself from him.

I've never felt so torn in a dream in my entire life.  This was the bloodiest battle I have had to fight in a dream.  But instead of dragons, or zombies, or muggers, I fought myself.  It's the fucking worst.

Friday, February 24, 2012

8 Days

Eight days until TJ's death anniversary.  I didn't think things could feel worse, but they do.  I went to shop for his grave stone tonight.  They're more expensive than I'd expected.  The one that I want, with no flair and no flash, will wipe out all there is left of the life insurance that I have.  I have no job and I'm about to be flat broke.  And I want to go back to school full time?  Hah!  I'll be up to my eyeballs in debt all over again.  Not only that, but this time I won't have TJ to comfort me, trying to keep things positive.  And not just surviving without his moral support, but being single.  I'll be broke, sad, and alone.

I've always worried about money.  It was as if as soon as we were married neither of us had any at all.  And when TJ died, after all of our bills were paid off and I had a little to travel with, I still operated as if I had none.  I didn't shop til I dropped, I didn't party.  I used it as sparingly as I could.  I never wanted that money.  I wouldn't have traded TJ for all of the money in all of the world.  Having it was a reminder that he was gone forever.  "Oh, your husband died?  Here's $____.  That should do it!"  Fuck, man.  I remember the day that I got the check in the mail.  I opened the letter with shaky hands and I guess my mom saw the blood leave my face because she guided me to lower my head and I just sat there.  With my head between my knees, elbows resting on my thighs, I cried and cried.  I couldn't breathe.  All I could manage to choke out after a few minutes was "I don't want the money.  I don't want the money."  Over and over again I said it.

Now the worry and desperation have exploded back into my life.  When I got back from Oregon I applied for two jobs.  I just pray that one of them comes through, and soon.  Once I pay for the headstone, that's it.  I've got to have something coming in to pay the few bills that are due each month.  And so here I am.  Back right where I started, except I have less.  Less love, less support, less hope.  Could things get any worse?  I have no idea.  Anything is possible now that TJ has been taken from me.  All of the optimism I could muster over the last 11 months, 2 weeks, and 7 days has winked out.  It's all gone; my husband is gone, the future I wanted is gone, the little nest egg to cushion the blow is gone.  I have nothing left in me to give.

But having nothing left to give seems to be illuminating a very important point right this very second.  I realize that as much as being broke scares me, I wouldn't change a single thing that I've done since TJ died.  I have no regrets about quitting my job and traveling.  I did exactly what I needed to do.  I am overjoyed that I really and truly listened to myself; took care of myself.  I'm in a pile of shit now, yes, but I wouldn't change a single thing leading me up to this point.  I have had the luxury of having no regrets at all since TJ died.  I loved him the best that I could.  I made sure he knew it every second of every day.  I did everything I could for him.  And since he has died I have done everything I can for myself.  I owe it to TJ, and to what's left of my sanity, to try and remain calm about this money situation.  Freaking out won't put cash in my pockets.  I am actively seeking a way out of this hole having applied for those two jobs.  I have to be satisfied with that for now.  I know that's what TJ would say.  He always told me that as long as I was taking an active role in my life, there would always be that comfort.  He'd say you can't control anyone but yourself.  And as long as you were doing everything possible, it would be enough.  I'm trusting your wisdom, baby.  Let it be true.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Love Letter?

Baby, baby, baby, why did you have to die?  Why did you have to leave me here all alone to live with this?  I know you didn't want this for us.  Sometimes I imagine you watching me while I'm crying.  While I'm talking to you through tears of pain.  I imagine you telling me you're sorry.  That you never wanted this.  You never wanted to leave me.  But you did leave me.  I feel like I don't fit anywhere anymore.  Everyone at home has families of their own, sweet babies and loving spouses.  I temporarily forgot all of that while I was here in Eugene.  That was why I wanted to come out here.  Not necessarily to forget, but to try to learn to accept it all.  To accept that we are not meant to have those things that they have.  It all just came hammering down on me an hour ago.  I don't want to go home now.  I don't want to go back to that kind of pain.  What the fuck am I going to do?  I feel abandoned.  Important people have faded away from me.  I have no control.  I want them to stay but I can't make them.  I read something on the internet the other day by another person who's experienced loss.  He said in one of his support groups they started calling themselves "Aliens".  It's the perfect description for me.  I'm foreign to others.  They don't understand what this is.  Because of their lack of understanding, they pull away.  It hurts me so much.  Not only do I feel abandoned by you, my love, but from others that are still here.  Watching them go on, leaving me so confused, is heart breaking.  I feel like I am constantly in a state of confusion.  Nothing is clear anymore.  I have trouble making the smallest decisions.

It doesn't make sense, what's happened to us.  You had so much more to do in your life.  And I would have made you so happy.  You made me so happy, baby.  You were so excited to become a father.  I can't fucking believe that we both were robbed of that joy.  Other people don't know how good they've got it.  They are surely thankful, but I would do anything, anything, to have you back with me.  Maybe we wouldn't be able to have children.  I wouldn't care.  We could adopt.  I'd still have you.  You're the most precious thing I could ever hope for.

Our future changed with your last heartbeat.  Both of our lives ending, in literal and figurative ways.  I keep wishing you would come to me somehow.  In a dream, perhaps... I want you to tell me that everything is going to be fine.  I want you to tell me what my future looks like.  I want to know that it will get better.  It's so very bleak in my eyes.  I feel hopeless most of the time.  Occasionally, I'll have spurts of excitement towards the future, but they never last very long.  I can't possibly imagine what my life will be like in 5, 10, 20 years from now.  I can't possibly get excited about spending all of those years without you.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Quora- a welcomed link from Kali

A friend sent me a link for a website call Quora.  The question posted was "When should someone be finished grieving".  Oh, that poor soul who thinks it can end...  The responses were inspiring.  They cover all things I have thought of in response to my own loss.  These people give me hope that the stereotypical grief model can be splintered and cracked, broken down to never be contained again.


"In a group loss session I attended we all started referring to ourselves as the "aliens". We are no longer just like all of the other people going about our daily lives. We have been made different by our loss, for better or for worse. Mostly, I want to comment on what other people are saying to you. In my 4 years since my Holly died, I have experienced a huge spectrum of "help" from my friends and family. There are people who innately seem to know how to just listen to you and not try to fix the unfixable. You will naturally become closer to them and learn to lean on them. On the other hand, there are others who have no idea how to deal with the "uncomfortableness" of dealing with one of the "Aliens". They will naturally shy away from you. Let them. Finally there are others that will try to "Fix" you. They are the most destructive and the most anger inducing. You will naturally push them away. ‎To all of you non-Aliens out there my advice is that, as painful as it is to watch us in grief, don't try to fix us in the normal sense of the word. Listen to us and be there for us. Encourage us to seek help when it is justified but don't push it on us. We may say no and that is OK. Don't try to fit us into a mold of grief stages or timelines." -Rob Cameron




"I don't think grief ever goes away. Nor do I think it should. It fundamentally changes who you are and how you see life. The painful parts of it do fade over time but they never quite go away and they can come back quickly too at a familiar sight, sound or scent . I think death and all its consequences are an important part of life. They're major life events that make you question your foundations, make you question what you do each day and make you try harder in the short period of time you have while alive. That's something that is a very much a product of grief and I think it's a completely intentional and necessary part of life." -Jose Reyes




"One of the myths of our time is that there is something called "closure," and that with closure comes "healing." Closure is a literary device in storytelling and a cliche used in journalism. In the real world it doesn't exist. You grieve as long as you must. You get on with your life as best you can. And you still get blindsided from time to time with a wave of longing and pain you had no idea was still there." -Barry Hampe


I'm not ready...

I'm not ready for a lot of things.  I'm not ready to go home.  I'm not ready to find a job.  I'm not ready for TJ's anniversary.  I'm not ready to shop for headstones...

I'm not ready to move forward.  I'm quite content right where I am.  Doing whatever I want, whenever I want to do it, is addictive.  Today I will pay my bills for the month, and apply for a substitute position.  None of these things will be fun.  Right now, I just want to pretend that this can continue.  It's so much easier.  I know it's lazy, but I don't care.  Finding energy is just fucking hard.  I don't really care about much since TJ died.  And that hasn't really changed over the last 11 months.  I know I need to start making money.  I know I want to go to school.  I'd really love to snap my fingers and *POOF* be a successful acupuncturist with a fantastic income.  It's not that I'm not willing to work hard.  I always work hard when I need to get something done.  But being able to sit and think of him; being able to be still with my thoughts is such a blessing.  Something I simply must do.  I'm not ready for that to change, and it's going to very soon.

The thought of working is a humongous bummer.  I think it'd be different if I were at a place where I'd want to do it.  Like, out of boredom or something.  But because I don't want to work, but I can't ride this train any longer either, this is a major downer.  And I'm sure everyone reading this is thinking "boo-fucking-hoo, you have to get a job like the rest of us"... but it's different.  Trust me.  I know that I am incredibly fortunate to be able to take this time for myself.  But, if it's between this or having TJ back, working my ass off at BDL with no raise and no full time hours, wondering how on earth we're going to afford daycare for our baby, I'd take the latter in a heart beat.  So, please, keep that in mind.

This is different.  This is far from free-loading laziness.  This is the way I've chosen to grieve; to put myself first and take care of my soul.  I can't imagine doing it any other way.  I am confident in the choices I have made thus far (which is a hell of a lot better than a bunch of regrets and unnecessary stress).  I'm sure I'll be fine once I start work.  It's just that it feels too "normal" and inside I feel anything but.  Since TJ died, I haven't been able to fake it.  And by "it" I mean anything.  Oh, I've tried.  But my true feelings always prevail.  I don't know if I can fake "normal".  I guess I'm going to have to try if I'm going to make some money.  Man, I hate money.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Snails and Molasses and Everything Slow

I laid in bed staring at our photo.  It was new years eve in a club in Baltimore.  I started thinking about how he loved me.  How no one will ever love me like that.  Will I ever have someone write me the most passionate love letters?  He loved me so well.  So absolute.  It's been so long since I've seen him with my own eyes.  So long since I last touched him.  And yet, this is just the beginning of my life without TJ. 

I'm absolutely not ok.  Despite the steps I've taken life is still frozen for me in so many ways.  I'm broken.  And feeling so fucking alone.  Does anyone miss him like I do?  It has become disturbingly rare that I am allowed a glimpse of the grief I know we must share.  Rare that I am allowed to be the one to confide in.  Those with partners, they have someone they can lean on.  But what about me?  It seems as though life has sped along for everyone else and I've been left behind in the dust.  I've given up all hope of catching up to them.  But I keep opening myself up hoping that I'll be received.  Hoping that my honesty will spark honesty in return.  It's painful realizing that the people I wish would talk to me, would check in on me, don't.  I feel like screaming at them.  Flailing my arms and jumping up and down just to try to get their attention.  This is not one sided!  We're all not so different.  Loss is loss.  Are you really as fine as you look?  I know I'm not.  Not by a long shot.  I've never expected anyone to be strong for me.  I need to know that I'm not alone.  Do they think I'm healing?  Do they think enough time has passed that they don't have to ask anymore?  If the answer to these questions is yes, then I am so screwed.  Do I seem more stable?  Is that what it is?  The illusion of stability causing their relief that they can avoid the subject with me?  I still cry every day.  I still think about TJ every second.  The pain is there and it is very, very real. 

Everything has changed.  My life crawls at a snails pace.  I can't expect anyone to come back and stay with me here in this place; my life moving slower than molasses on a cold day.  But please, come back and see me from time to time.  Stay with me just a little while.  Then I will let you go back.  Let you fall back in with your pace, while I stay in mine.  Just please don't forget me.