Comparing, Comparing and more Comparing

One of the most fundamental aspect of our species is that we are constantly comparing everything.  Walking down the street, our brains are constantly comparing the faces of strangers to faces of people we know.  Isn’t that? …no, she’s too tall to be her.  Comparing helps us cross the street and be safe—we have an image of a safe crosswalk in our brains, and we compare what we see on the street with that image before our feet leave the curb.  Most comparisons keep us safe and healthy, while others simply make life far more complicated than it has to be. 

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Grief. Secondarily~

The easy affection between us.

The teasing.

The flirtatious wink across the room from him to me.

The sensation of electricity skimming across my skin when he entered a room where I was, even before I saw him.

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Reconstruction

My life is under reconstruction and it has been this way since the moment he died.  When I buried Mike, I said farewell to the life I knew and loved. This isn't me being all dramatic - this is simply the truth.  When his heart stopped, a part of me died.  And, now for the last two years and some months, I have been working to recreate myself.  When your spouse dies part of your identity dies with them and you must work to discover who you are without them.  You must redefine who you are.  You must reestablish yourself and your place in the world.  Without Mike, I am a work in progress.  I am for lack of a better term under reconstruction.

And, I am tired.  I am beyond tired actually.  In fact, I am exhausted. The work of recreating myself and reentering life is labour intensive.  All the decisions and tedious details are overwhelming.  Sometimes I feel nauseated just thinking about rebuilding my life.  I have been shifting through the wreckage of our shared life for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of days and I am mentally drained.  I have grown bored of the mundane thoughts that run through my head. I have some ideas about what to do, but nothing feels exactly right.  I am sort of stuck and I am not actioning any of my plans with any enthusiasm.  

I have begun the mental work of devising a plan, but I have not executed anything in earnest yet.  I am stalling.  Partly out of necessity; and, more so, because I am having a tantrum of sorts.  I do not want to recreate a life because the one I shared with him was everything I wanted.  I liked our life.  And, I am not happy about being forced to live without the man I love.  I am not excited about a future without Mike. 

I have been forced to make due without him; and, because of this, I have yet to feel genuinely enthusiastic about anything in my life.  This is a cruddy way to live.  And, in truth, I am not even sure this is living.  It is really just existing which is a complete waste of life - and this bothers me a lot.  I do not want to merely endure life because he died, but I am afraid that is what I am doing.  I want to live passionately again, but everything feels monotonous and tiresome without him.  My life is hollow and lacklustre compared the life I share with him.  So, what the hell can I do about this?

I try to feel less apathetic about my future.  I continually seek a way out of this commonplace existence.  But, again and again, I crave my old life.  I miss the excitement of the life we shared, and at the same time I yearn for the ordinary moments we experienced together.  I feel very detached from the run of the mill life in front of me.  After two years and a handful of months,  I have still not been able to figure out how to bond with a future that does not include him.

 

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The Sting of Spring

As the first anniversary of Tin’s passing ebbs closer, I find myself at the gate to the last season of the firsts. 

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Scared to Remain, Scared to Change

I have always hated change. Especially when something would change drastically or quickly, and I didnt have much choice in the matter. Like that time when I was about 7 years old and we went on a class field trip to a Maple Farm, and I somehow ended up with a gigantic ball of maple syrup in my long, curly, gorgeous hair. And then my dad, for reasons I cant quite remember (maybe my mom was away on business or something), took scissors, and CUT OFF MY HAIR so that it went from being down to my waist, to just below my ears. He couldnt get the huge ball of syrup out, so he cut it all off without telling me first. It was just suddenly gone. 

Or that other time when 3rd grade ended, and the town decided that the street we lived on would no longer have bus pickup to school, and that instead we would be "bussed" over to the new school that was on the other end of town, because we were considered part of that district or county or whatever. So with no notice at all, I had to leave all my friends and go to this other school that I didnt want to go to. 

There are so many other examples, but these two were the first that came into my mind. 

So you can tell Im not bitter about them or anything. 

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Talking About Grief

     I have watched loved ones turn into corpses, and, I somehow managed to survive.  Being alive means I get to watch an amazing little girl grow up, but each and everyday, I daydream of what life would be like if Anisha’s mother and grandparents were still with us.  I try to look on the positive—I am the ONE who gets to raise an amazing little girl!  I get to feel her hand on my face in the morning, “Dada, wake up!  I’m hungry.”  I get to hear her say, “Daddy, look at my new dance move!” or “Daddy I wish I could hug you forever and never, ever let go!”  I try hard to remind myself of the precious joys of watching a girl who is a blend of my wife and I mature.  I try, yet I still feel this never ending abyss of pain, fear and anger.

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Whispers of Memory~

Whispers of memory

In the halls of Time

Drift through me

Like the clouds of mist

That suddenly appeared around us

as we wandered the soft ground of Muir Woods

so many years ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Favorite Parent

There was always a bit of competition between Megan and I as to who could be the “favorite” parent.  It was playful, obviously, but between the two of us, we were always trying to get the “better” birthday present for Shelby, or take her to the more memorable thing to do, or tell the funniest joke.  Whomever could make Shelby laugh harder got to “win” that battle.

Megan won, more often than not.  When Shelby was younger, it was Disney princesses and ice-capades.  Pink everything and dance competitions. Every so often though, I would swoop in with something like fishing or a funny “dad” joke (to Shelby, at least), and I would get to win that day’s competition.

All of this was in good fun, and it only benefitted Shelby.  She got to experience multiple events, types of hobbies, or memories that she wouldn’t have otherwise.  It helped her form the interests she has today.

But, as I am sure you are aware, considering the fact that you are reading this on the Soaring Spirits website, Megan died a few years back.

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Stale Coffee

I am tired.  I am tired of everything about widowed life.  It is heavy.  And, for the better part of two years and a handful of months, I have been doing the heavy lifting of grief.  I am sick of it.  The loneliness.  The isolation.  The emotional and mental exhaustion.  I am tired of all that grief offers.  I think I have sampled it all.  And, I can say with authority, it all pretty much sucks.  Yep.  Hard pass on what grief is serving.  Thanks, but no thanks.  I'm good.  I'm fed up.  I'm full.

 

 

Living with grief is kinda like the stale coffee I drank this morning. 

Lacklustre, mediocre and kinda lukewarm. 

I would not serve the cruddy coffee I drank to anyone I liked; and likewise,

I would not wish grief on another human being. 

 

Being Mike's widow is by far the hardest thing I have ever endured.  I was building my life around him and his death destroyed everything that I imagined my future to be.  When he died I felt my foundation collapse.  I buried Mike, but it was me who was buried alive by the wreckage of our dilapidated life.  My words are powerful, but they only shine a dim light on the darkness of widowhood.  My writing, at best, outlines the landscape of grief and scratches the surface of the aching and ugliness.  But, those of us who live with grief know all too well how it relentlessly claws at your Soul - like nothing else can. 

There is simply no way to fully explain the awfulness of this mess.  Grief must be experienced to be fully understood; and, I do not recommend this experience to anyone.  This is not for the faint of heart. That said, with forced practice, I am getting fairly proficient at grief, but it is not something I ever wanted to excel at.  I have no desire to become good at grief.  I didn't sign up for this and I would love to revoke my membership to this club.  It is not working out for me.  It doesn't suit my lifestyle.  It is simply not a good fit.  

Grief and I need to part ways.  I am tired of waking up with a heavy heart.  And, I am equally exasperated about going to bed with a sadness inside me that runs so deep I am surprised it doesn't drip from me onto my bedsheets.   I am detached from everything around me.  And, an apathy lives inside me that I can not seem to shake.

I do not want to be unresponsive and dispassionate, but I am.  I want to reengage in living, but I haven't yet.  I am tired of being without joy.  And, I know full well that the only way to reenter life is to reengage in living, but it is so damn hard to live without him.  It is incredibly difficult to breathe life into yourself when you are breathless and running on empty.  It is so very hard to action carefully architected plans when your heart feels heavy.  Yet, I desperately want to feel the hum of a normal life again.  I want to return to days gone by when I was content and deliciously happy. 

So, now what?  How do I make this happen? I ask myself this question again and again.  And, I am not sure.  I don't know.  I am simply not sure what to do next.  I am unsure about the direction of my life.  I am not sure what I can do to recreate a life I am excited about.  I could blog about the ideas that swirl around my head and the hopes that live inside my heart, but until I action these things they aren't real.  I haven't breathed air into any of these thoughts so I keep to them myself for now.  Maybe, what's next is that I will stop drinking stale coffee.  I can start tomorrow by making fresh coffee and see where that leads me. 

It's as good a plan as any.

~S.

 

 

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Putting on My Grief Goggles

When Drew died, all the rules went out the window for me. I remember thinking “I’ve done everything right. I’ve been a good, responsible person. I put up with a 9-5 job and I pay my bills on time. I’m kind to people. I exercise and try to eat right. By all accounts I am a perfectly sensible adult doing everything I should....”

And then HE DIED. And then I said FUCK IT.

I remember thinking, “What the hell was even the point of keeping all of my ducks in a row? Of trying to be so responsible? Of always doing what I’m supposed to do? What the hell is the point if he’s dead now?”

I went on a bender after that. I quit my job as a designer, because I hated it. I moved out of Dallas, because I hated it there too. I stopped paying my credit cards, because I didn’t care anymore. My credit tanked, all my cards canceled me because I was suddenly a liability because I hadn’t made a payment in 6 months. I basically stopped doing anything I hated and started doing things I really wanted to be doing instead. I got a job as a cashier at an art gallery, because I’d always wanted to work in a gallery. I moved in with family out in the country because I didn’t want to be around city life anymore. I just sort of took a leave of absence from life I guess.

I realize not everyone can make those kinds of choices. I didn’t have kids, or a house, or anything tying me down really at the time. I had the freedom to change it all. Regardless of that though, I think there is always room to do more of what we want, and less of what we don’t want. And I think giving ourselves permission to do even small things that we can still enjoy is so crucial during grief and really in all times of life. It reminds us what's important, and that life is still worth living even in the midst of times of struggle and great pain.

I’ve been thinking about this lately more, because I feel like I’ve fallen back into a slump of not paying attention to what’s really important...

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