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.