Well, I made it through the long three days of Mike being out of town for work the other week. He made sure to text or call at every turn so that I knew he was safe - which helped so much to keep the panic at bay a bit. So no, he didn't die. Much to my relief. Although I will say, the whole ordeal of having to cope with my new person on a work trip after my previous person died on one, has stirred up a lot. In fact, Mike is currently fixing my car and as I watch him underneath 3000+ lbs of metal, the thoughts just come again. Before I know it I’m imagining the entire thing crashing down on him and me, standing there, not knowing what to do. Or what if it crashes down on him and kills him instantly, and there I am, standing there, my whole world flipped upside down again. Only this time I have a kid and no job. How will I take care of her? How will I get a job to pay for everything? There goes my mind... off on it's own horrific adventure. Although this is all highly unlikely, you all know, that doesn’t stop the stories in my head, or the physical reaction.
I wish I could do something about this. I wish I could go back to not knowing what that would be like for my partner to die suddenly and instantly have my entire future taken away. Most of all, I wish my body didn’t remember the trauma. Seven years later, the thoughts, feelings, and sensations are quieter though. Or at least, I have gotten much better at calming myself and just allowing it to mildly be there.Read more
So, Sarah wrote last week about my leaving for a work trip. It was the first time I have done so since we’ve met. Sure, I’ve left for a day or two here and there to go backpacking, but being required by my job to board a jet to Chicago for three days is, quite obviously, a bit more of a trigger for her. Especially when it’s a trigger she hasn’t experienced in the seven years since Drew’s death on a work trip.
I get it. I know it sucked for her for me to be gone (for the record, I’m home safe and sound), but I can never feel what she feels. She’s in New York, visiting her sister for the past few days. While I miss her, and want to make sure she’s safe, it’s not and never has been a “please don’t die” issue for me.
Here’s the thing. I didn’t have a sudden loss. What I had was long expected. Megan’s death took years. If I was going to have a trigger or anxiety, it would likely be more when Sarah is sick or, god forbid, hospitalized for any reason. Just a little 6 hour drive to New York? That’s simply not a trigger for me.Read more
We all know the dreaded dates. The anniversary of their death, birthdays, togetherness anniversaries, holidays but there’s one more on my list that adds another dark mark on my year - His diagnosis date.
It seems like there is always something in grief you are experiencing for the first time. After seven years as a widow, I would have thought that I had already gone through almost every “first”. This week though, I discovered another first I had yet to go through, and it’s had my emotions all over the place.
Tomorrow, my new partner Mike will be flying out to Chicago for a few days for a work trip. This might not initially seem like a big deal - Chicago isn’t even an hour away by plane. And at first I didn’t really think of it as a big deal. He has left to go backpacking for a weekend several times, and that was fine. But this is something different. It is the first time since we met that he is traveling for work specifically. Which initially didn’t feel like a big deal… Until the other part of me remembered…
Seven years ago, someone else left for a work trip, and never came home. Someone else traveled for a job and died far away from me, in a horrific crash. It always feels like that part of me still doesn’t really understand what happened, where he went, or why I am now in an entirely different life. And I’ve accepted the fact that this part of me will just never understand - I suppose you could call it the trauma part. So I guess it makes sense that when Mike was telling me about this work trip over the phone last week, that trauma part of me suddenly woke up and began so sound alarm bells.Read more
I can easily say that I do not reach out to Tin’s mother and family as much as I should. I want to speak with them but it’s hard for me and I feel like I am the immediate reminder, that I trigger all of the grief for them. These widowed weights on my shoulders press down hard at times. It’s a double-edged burden. I want to speak with them but I don’t want to upset them. So conversations don’t happen as often as they maybe should.Read more
It's been 6 years and 5 months since Chuck died.
I kind of feel like I need to put that identifier in so that anyone who reads this will have a gauge.
Except that those newly living this widowed life might look at the time since and then read this blog and shudder.
Or shrink back in dismay.
The confusion lasts that long?
And I don't mean to convey that.
It's all personal, right?
That's what we always hear, anyways.
So, apologies ahead of time to anyone who reads this and is discouraged...Read more
It’s time I dive into a topic that is always at the heart of gay men dating – HIV/AIDS. Growing up I watched as the disease came forth, took lives and drove the world to treat the LGBTQ+ community worse than ever. There was fear of being accused and harmed and there was (and still is) fear of contracting the disease. From my biology background, I see medications and treatments have advanced to amazing supportive levels for those affected. A new preventative medication PREP has reached the mainstream and decreases the chance of contracting the virus to almost zero but nothing is ever 100%.Read more
I haven’t written in a couple of weeks. I could say I’ve been busy but really it is because I didn’t feel inspired to write. Writing for me is very specific. I have to feel I need to write to portray an aspect of my life that might help another. I don’t want to just write anything to have something written. There is an emptiness to that method. There was another reason hanging in the shadows and distracting me from being in the moment. I was gearing up for a professional conference that I was going to present at. Was it the presentation? No and yes. The last time I saw all of these people was 2 years ago when Tin was texting me he thought he had the flu. I wish he had gone to the doctor right than but he waited for me to get home. There is unnecessary guilt here, regardless if it is warranted, it is here. Had I only been home, had I only picked a career that didn’t take away valuable time from him. Had I only solved it sooner than he would be here and I wouldn’t be headed to a grief summit.
Shortly after losing Tin I was honored being asked to write in this space. I quickly felt the weight of grief ease as the words hit the paper. An amazing thing began to happen, others started to respond to my writing that they felt connected again and that lifted my grief a bit more. As I continued moving forward, I had started to use essential oils for support and the community surrounded me with support and asked me to share my story with others. No matter how many times I share my story it never gets easier, just different. However, I keep telling my story because each time I see my words create a space of safety for others even if it’s for just a moment where they don’t feel alone.Read more
Just yesterday, Sarah and I surprised Shelby (and my nephew) with a trip to Cedar Point, one of the premier amusement parks in the world, just two hours from our home here in Ohio. Shelby has been asking to go back for years now, having only been once, when she was around 5 years old, with Megan and I.
She was far too young to ride anything more than the “kiddie” coasters, carousels, and the flat rides back then. Even then, she was terrified of any ride that was taller than ten feet or so. Cedar point has 18 different roller coasters...over half of which are over 100 feet tall, with one even reaching 400+ feet.
She has always been an incredibly cautious kid. She visibly displays anxiety when anything she is asked to do presents any uncertainty. Learning to ride her bike took years, because she was terrified of removing the training wheels, not because she couldn’t do it. Slowly dipping her feet into the pool, and slipping herself into 2 feet of water was her modus operandi for a decade before finally learning to really swim (and of course, loving it) this past year. Even getting her to try a new food was presented with a stubborn resistance and feigned gags while holding her nose, even before said brussel sprout was placed in front of her.
This has been frustrating for me, because I’ve never been able to put a finger on WHY she seemingly feels fragile or lacks confidence.Read more