I’m sitting at the airport this morning headed to spend the weekend with my best friend from junior high. It’s my 40th birthday weekend and I’m all over the place in my head. Today’s blog is more of a list of competing emotions rather than a discussion or story…Sometimes bullet points get “the point” across better. See what I did there? ;-)
Ok here goes:
- Turning 40! Excited and how the Hell did I get this old?
- Yay! Friends and fun!
- Yay a break from work!
- Oh God this is my first birthday without Clayton. Can I hold it together?
- What’s next? Holidays? Oh God I won’t have him for holidays!
- Do I want to even decorate? Too sad but he would want me to.
- Seriously 40? I did not envision my life would be so shaken up at 40. Ugh
- Ok deep breath! Birthday weekend!! I’m grateful for what I have but I’m also excited for presents :)
It’s been a long day. I worked, came home, took the dog out, prepping dinner and the dishes of the past few nights are sitting in the sink reminding me that no one else will help me. It’s a regular reminder as I try to find a balance to this new unwanted bachelor life. It’s November already and Clayton has been gone for almost 6 months. I’m not doing better, I’m just getting better at acting. I just don’t know I my new abilities are going to be strong enough to get me through the next most difficult tasks before me….My 40th birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and starting a New Year alone. I’m already unbelievably overwhelmed and I feel like the loss is starting all over again. The intensity might even be stronger than when he passed. There is no immediate shock and adrenaline like there was in April. Again I feel myself back to the beginning of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno
“When I had journeyed half of our life’s way,
I found myself within a shadowed forest,
For I had lost the path that dos not stray”
Much like Dante, this season is a dark forest and before me stands a lion, a leopard and a she-wolf. My birthday. The holidays. The birth of a new year. They block my way to the great mountain and there will be Hell before there is Heaven. I knew the path would not be easy. In Dante’s struggle to move forward he was visited by a shade. This shade was sent by Dante’s deceased love Beatrice to bring words to Dante and aid his path.Read more
We still haven’t been able to put Clayton to rest. His mother’s stroke has resulted in her having to move near relatives and figure out a new life. Until then, Clayton sits in a (beautiful) Urn in our apartment. At first it was unsettling, having to look at a container that holds the dust of the person you want to hold the most. You want to keep it and put them to rest all at the same time for, what feels like, competing selfish reasons but that is another layer of the loss.
I don’t have many friends in the small beach town where I live. When we moved here, my job took a lot of time and Clayton’s job had us with different days off. There wasn’t time to meet people before we lost time. Now that Clayton is gone, I have a lot of empty space and time. This past week I invited 41 people that I knew in the area to come over for wine and some social time. I set up my house and got all the fun drinks and food for a mellow social evening. The house was cleaned and I was ready to go but then Clayton caught my eye. His Urn is in the living room where everyone would be and everyone knows that he is here. I didn’t know what to do. Too urn or not to urn? That was an awful question and a terrible feeling. Do I keep Clayton’s Urn where it is because he was (and is) a huge part of my life or do I put his urn in the bedroom to keep things from being awkward? Either way I felt incredible guilt.Read more
So I missed a week. I didn’t have a blog post for last week and I felt bad like I had let a bunch of people down in some way. I mean, I know it is a voluntary thing but I don’t like missing deadlines and I don’t like making an excuse. I create pressure that doesn’t exist. The sink is full of dishes. The carpet hasn’t been vacuumed. I almost ran out of gas in my car because I can’t focus on what “a day in the life of” should be.
UGGGHHHHHH!! I hate that phrase! “Don’t make an excuse”. I have been taught my whole life that I can’t make excuses for things but when is it not an excuse and it’s a legitimate reason? Who gets to decide? It always seems like it is the person that has everything going right in their life. I have this voice inside me that keeps telling me that talking about Tin is now just an excuse to not do things. Meanwhile, I will admit that I am hesitating to look at a bookcase of objects in the next room because it hurts.Read more
Time goes on and life begins to settle. You think you are past the hardest conversations until you get a message from out of the blue…
“Oh My God! I’m So Sorry! I Just Heard”
These words come in a text message, a social media tag, in an email and, rarely, in a phone call. Mine came just a few minutes ago through Facebook. It’s one of those messages you don’t ever expect from someone you really never thought you’d hear from again and you dread reading it. To be honest I did really look at my phone and say to myself “What in Gay Hell?” That’s a movie quote from Too Wong Foo. Tin loved that movie and I use that quote more often these days. It usually gets a good laugh.
As if we are really friends with everyone we call “Facebook Friends”, there is a sharper edge to the knife when the person that reaches out is someone that never really thought much about others unless they needed something. They gush over just how wonderful your person was and how sad. I have little patience nowadays as I figure out what to do with my new unwanted freedom. I need to fill my abundant time alone with things that allow me to feel and process but not trigger the feelings like I’m back reliving “D” day. I need to focus on the essential things in life and their importance in rebuilding my foundation.Read more
I’ve tried to write more about the good things in life recently but every week brings a new strange situation that results in processing new thoughts and difficult emotions. What does one think when they are given inheritance?
So many people are gifted property and money as their older family and friends pass away. It’s understood that each new generation gets a little lift from the ones before. Passing away at an old age allows for the ones left behind to process the loss as it comes closer. That death, albeit hard, is expected. Therein lies the trap for those of us whom have lost someone out of phase. Sudden loss or early loss due to illness steals our one chance to collect the time and memories of a life long lived. So when life starts to settle after the loss, the remaining possessions are passed around - Inheritance. Inherently designed to help after loss as a loving gift, inheritance takes on another form for those of us with an early loss.Read more
Sometimes a song is a gentle reminder an sometimes a song is a stick of dynamite…
I woke up feeling more relaxed than usual today. I went to the gym before work and felt centered and ready for the workday. I have a 5 minute drive to work which usually happens in a blink of an eye until Adele comes over the radio. Tin absolutely loved Adele. She was his girl! Anytime Adele came on the radio the volume went to max and he belted out whatever he thought the lyrics were. I have heard her song since his passing. They bring me some sadness and other memories. Today felt different. My heart sunk as she began to sing and I began to break down. My right arm was on the arm rest and I felt someone hold my hand and squeeze. The feeling passed when I looked down at my hand but I didn’t feel alone in the car. Tears came full force and I had to change the station – Work was 3 minutes away and I couldn’t show up as the manager for the day with red eyes and a broken heart on my sleeve.
I pushed through the day staying busy and keeping a river of notes from bubbling up and forming more emotion evoking harmonies. I was efficient and effective for my day job and immediately went to a vendor event next for my second job. We drank wine and socialized. They began to play music and the first song out wasn’t Adele, It was “Sugar Pie Honeybunch” - My late father’s song for my sister. I had let my guard down and the notes pulled another chord of my heart. Fast paced questions about products generated immediate distraction and I sailed through the stormy song without alerting to anyone I was in possible emotional peril. The coast had cleared and a neighbor stopped by to ask how I was doing since Tin had passed. More chords struck and I couldn’t hide looking at the floor and putting my hands in my pockets. I jumped onto another topic but the choir of “I’m sorry for your loss” echoed again and again in the background.Read more
Tomorrow marks 6 months since Tin has passed. How am I already here? How does time move so slowly and so quickly at the same time? Honestly it is Life’s biggest blessing and curse. As I look back at these 6 months, I see a new road behind me that I have paved on my own. Of course there have been others to help me through the thick brush but I had to be the one to cut through the weeds. Every once in awhile I see something amazing and I catch myself talking to Tin. Sometimes it feels good and sometimes it causes an upset. Either way I never expected to be where I am today only 6 months after my greatest loss.Read more
It comes in waves, those flames: the flames of fear and the flames of future, the flames of anguish and the flames of anger. You do your best to fight the fire but it is erupting from within you. As if you haven’t fought enough, you are constantly fighting with your inner beast but you never know whom. Is it your inner phoenix or is it your inner dragon? Phoenix is a rebirth out of the ashes but develop too quickly and your heart’s new house will burn down. The dragon brings strength to walk the path but beware your breath as you may strike fear in the ones you meet along the way. One must tread lightly around stirring giants. In their glory, both are majestic and rule with kindness and wisdom but at their worst they can destroy entire villages. Young beast master, do not try to wake them until you are ready to control them or you will lose control of yourself…
“I’ll never be able to move on” - The sparks fly
“It will get easier” - The pressure builds
“Have you moved on?” - The fire is stoked
It’s not under our control what feeds the beast and which beast we are nourishing. It breathes when it wants, it feeds when it wants and it sleeps when it wants - Caution to those that wake either of the sleeping beasts. Caution to all who wake both…
It’s been a long time since I have had a night out with others. There have been dinners, a mellow movie night but not one of those “Let’s grill! Neighbors are coming over and we can party”…I just had one of those nights. It felt like a relief but little did I know that the start of the relief was a release of the phoenix and the dragon.Read more
In all honesty, this week has been pretty good. I mean I have had my sad moments and the little things that remind me of Tin have shown up here and there. What I’m noticing though is that my reactions are changing. What used to immediately bring up tears and sorrow now brings up tears and a little smile sometimes a chuckle. I’ve noticed this week that I am talking more about Tin in regular conversations without feeling strangely disconnected from the room. Is it that I’m getting used to my new normal? Is this part of the process? Of course, I ask myself if this is a normal reaction 4 months after losing someone? Does this make sense because I had known last October to prepare for life without Tin? Then I tell myself that it’s ok to settle down and coast a little. I still will have to work through more firsts: My birthday (Never thought my 40th would have so much significance), Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day and the first anniversary of the day he passed….Read more