I do not know how to be a Dad.
I believe that most who know me would refer to me as “capable.” Since Ben died, I think I have adequately learned how to manage things I have never before needed to know how to do. I have learned how to bank online, get my vehicle repaired, hang a picture using a level and hammer instead of the heel of my shoe, use a drill, update the computer and now, as of tonight, I know how to re-hook up the Apple TV.
I did not have to do any of those things in my real life because, after 25 years together, Ben and I had come up with a division of labour that worked for us. Bills, banking, electronics and cars were Ben’s job. Appointments, sports scheduling, registrations, keeping an eye on the kids' social media, yard work … those were my jobs. We were good at our jobs, and that division of labour made us both happy. (Plus, I never had to worry about paying the bills after I spent the money.)
Since Ben died, I feel as though I slid as seamlessly as could reasonably be expected into those foreign roles that I never wanted, and I think I have done a fairly decent job for the most part. I haven’t yet lost all our money, I’ve managed to pay the bills on time, and currently everything in the house is in decent working condition, including this computer. I think Ben would be proud of me.
But here’s the thing ….Read more
Katherine's birth had a profound effect on me. The reality that Mike was gone forever, never to know his beautiful granddaughter, cast a shadow over what should have been simply a joyous event. I was devastated thinking of this little girl growing up without Mike’s playful presence in her life. I was not thinking clearly…but I was feeling deeply, and it was a dark, bleak and lonely place. So when the musician suggested another evening together that next week something jolted my psyche. I know, looking back, that I threw caution to the wind. As I'm typing this, Mike's voice is echoing in my head that line from Conan the Barbarian he used to love to quote, "(s)he did not care any longer..."
Quite frequently these days, as I begin my 3rd year without him, I find this particular quote sent to me, or posted on my timeline. Grief is a stage through which we pass and not a place to linger. Okay, I get that. I even agree with it. But it doesn't help me a damn bit to read it.
We are told that grief is an individual process with no timeline. But...it's a stage. Don't linger. How do we know when we're lingering, is my question. And even more so, when we're dealing with it in as many healthy ways as we can conceive, and the devastation remains present, how do we get from here to there? And anyways, aren't those two statements contradictory to each other?Read more
Twisting. Writhing. Hurting. Shrieking.
Vomit urge. Nerves on skin. Racing pulse. Butterfly stomach.
Dislocated. Disoriented. Discombobulated.
I have struggled with Mother's Day all my life. I lost my own mother when I was nine, many of you know. I don't really remember my father knowing what to do with that day anymore afterwards. We had no other family around to celebrate, and so it just kind of became a non-holiday in our house. I sometimes wish we had continued to make it about her - but maybe he had the right way of doing things. Maybe it was too hard for him, and so he changed it. And perhaps, that was just the better way for us, who knows.
Driving to the supermarket last week I had the overwhelming feeling that this baby is very much an addition to our family.
To Ian and I's family.
Although in no way is the baby a replacement for Ian, as the pregnancy progresses it feels like Ian is less distant now. There is a feeling of completeness, not end, not 'over it', but very much at peace.
I've been feeling the strains of beginning anew lately. Let's face it - starting to date someone is always messy. New person, new energy, new triggers and sensitivities. But being widowed makes it even trickier. After almost 3 years without a man by my side... I am a completely different person than who I was with Drew. I am far more independent. I don't even think of it as being alone these 3 years, but that I have been in a very deeply committed relationship to myself. I'm discovering this is making it hard for me to navigate the landscape of a relationship with someone ne
As far as the 'ups and downs' of grief go, it's been a pretty tough week. It started with what would have been Dan's 36th birthday on Monday (the second since he's been gone). Despite coming up with a plan for the day and preparing as much as I could for the inevitable roller-coaster, the rug was well and truly pulled from underneath me.
I was ready for the pain, but not so ready for the loneliness, the sense of isolation and the anger. I was so damn angry at him. I haven't really felt much anger towards him throughout my grief, and it's a terrible feeling. One that, to be honest, I'm still not really ready to explore. This might be something to go more in depth on another day. But I was also really angry that the people still here in my life hadn't been more present for me this week, and that didn't feel very nice either.
"...until my last breath." My wife Megan and I had those words tattooed onto our forearms on February 8th, 2014. It was my suggestion, and she was completely taken aback by it. Not because she wasn't sold on the idea of a little ink (she had sixteen tattoos already), but because I suggested it and came up with the whole plan. I only had two tattoos at the time, so it wasn't my "thing", and she found it one of the most romantic gestures I had ever made. Yeah, we were weird like that.
I've been back home, in Brisbane, Australia, for a couple of days now. As it seems to go with most vacations, it's so good to go away and then it's so good to get home. Getting off the plane after the 13-hour flight from LA and walking in to the arms of my wonderful parents, who came to town to collect me from the airport, was a good feeling. I had a wonderful time, both in New York exploring a new city, and at Camp Widow. But I felt ready to get back to my bubble.