It’s been 7 shorts weeks since I lost my Partner of 4 yrs. – Clayton, or as my family calls him “Tin”. Right now I am sitting, ironically, at the Atlanta airport on a layover to go home to Boston for my cousin’s wedding. Tin and I met in Atlanta and left the city to move to the beach, get married and make a life. Everyone has been saying “Great! You get to see your family!” “You need a break!” “Have a great vacation!” They are right that I do need a break, but as I type these words I am deeply terrified. This visit will be a hurricane of emotional tests and trials.
Last year I lost my father at the end of this very month. I haven’t been home since. Shortly after, Tin was diagnosed with terminal liver failure. My mother was the only family member who could come down when Tin passed so I am about to walk into a tidal wave of in-person condolences that normally happen much sooner for others. Not having seen anyone else, the weak scars of seven weeks healing will undoubtedly be torn open. I feel like Dante beginning his journey through the Inferno. This plane is a ride on the boat crossing the river of the damned. I see the other side and along the banks are demons whispering dreaded questions that people ask to show support only to be used by my demons as worded weapons. Dante’s Inferno is my favorite book. I guess knowing that Dante eventually leaves Inferno provides me with a bit of hope that someday I too may reach Paradiso.
I had to consciously choose to go up three days before the wedding so I could get the “I’m so very sorrys” over before the wedding but there will be people I won’t get to see before hand. I’m preparing myself for the words “How are you?” “Are you angry, because it’s ok to be angry?” “Have you moved on?” The only answer I have:
I am utterly heartbroken and there is no other way to explain it.
I am happy for my cousin while concurrently having to accept that Tin and I can no longer reach that goal together. How do I deal with such conflicting emotions? I feel like I’m bipolar but I know I’m not. I’m just being thrust into an emotional experience that is a combination of a million to one. Why do I have to be the one?
Things might be a little easier if I had the opportunity to go through a funeral service for Tin. As fate would have it, Tin’s mother had a stroke after his passing. Everything is on pause. Like the loss wasn’t enough and the Universe felt it necessary to punish me more by delaying some closure. Than again, this may just be a lesson I’m supposed to learn. I can’t believe I control my own destiny and also that everything happens for a reason. I’ll go with the latter to save me some tiny bit of grief. Until everything is sorted out, Tin sits and waits in a beautiful blue vessel the color of the ocean with seagulls rising to meet the clouds. I cannot take care of him and I cannot be responsible to care for his mother. Here is where the demons of my guilt hide.
I’ve now started my connecting flight up in the clouds crossing this airy river towards I don’t know what. Will I be able to handle it all? Will I be able to fight the demons off? Part of me thinks that holding the demons at bay is survival. However, there is a small voice inside me telling me the demons are not to be feared but faced. Experience them to take away their power so I can be granted safe passage. Perhaps I should name that little voice Virgil….
It’s Saturday and while you read this blog I am getting ready for the wedding without Tin here to fix my tie and hold my hand as I step onto this new shore….