Saturday, January 28, 2006

From the Devil to God

Today is going to be a beautiful, warm, fifty-degree day here in Boston and I couldn’t be happier. What a nice treat in the midst of winter’s deep freeze. I have been running four miles, two times a week and I’m looking forward to increasing my distance and my amount of weekly runs.

I have two auditions coming up for a couple of musicals and I’m going to wrap up my certificate in Web and Digital Design in the next couple of months. Monday is my first day of my new job as a Communications Specialist. After almost two years of working as an administrative assistant, the job I took to support Chris and myself and to make sure he had 100% insurance coverage throughout his chemo treatments, I am finally returning to work that I am passionate about. Making the break stung a bit as yet another piece of my beloved husband fell away from me and faded into a memory. This move is a great one for me and will put me on my feet again, pointed toward new times, new experiences and new healing.

I’m thinking clearly again. I’m tired from the antidepressant, but I’m in motion once again. I don’t mind the tradeoff because I am able to do things without guilt for the first time in a long, long time.

Taking antidepressants to aid in the grief process is a very personal choice and I would imagine it varies from person to person. I tried as hard as I could to deal with grief on my own, but my anniversary damn near killed me this year. I confessed to my therapist that on my anniversary (1/17/06) I had experienced a daydream, in a series of vignettes, about my own suicide which essentially led to my reassessment of my ability or lack thereof to continue this dance drug-free.

The following is a snapshot of my frame of mind in the early evening hours of January 17th, 2006. As you read, bear in mind that this was only a daydream and essentially what prompted me to seek the aid of a prescription and to choose to begin to take the bull by the horns and live my life.

I sat on the couch in my apartment, a razor in my right hand and the left sleeve of my shirt rolled up. I ran my finger along my vein from the top of my forearm down to my wrist, thinking about my vein and what it would be like to cut it.

The sound of bath water filling the tub in an emulsion of pink floral suds emanated throuhought the apartment. On the bathtub wall sat a bottle of red wine, a wine glass and a razor blade. I thought about Robby and Carol and how it would take about a day and a half for them to think something was strange when I didn’t answer my phone. I supposed my failure to show up for work would have caused some alarm, as well.

My landlord would lead them upstairs to my apartment where they would find a note tacked to the door warning him not to bring his children in.

I sunk the blade into the vein at the top of my forearm with thoughts of sliding it all the way down to my wrist. The “pop” as the blade penetrated my skin surprised me and a spurt of blood shot up from the wound like a fountain, shooting two feet into the air.

The very vivid sight of the blood spurting out of my arm shocked me out of my daydream and back into reality.

I sat on my sofa, horrified that my brain took me to such a dark place and I knew immediately that I never wanted to feel that level of despair again. I also realized that the responsibility to turn it around rested solely on my own shoulders and I decided to seek the help I needed in order to stop sinking into the depths of hopelessness.

I went to a very scary place and the scariest part of the place I went is that being there felt peaceful.

This small albeit powerful and frightening fantasy of ending my pain is essentially what lead to my realization that life is to be lived. I do not believe in suicide, in fact I have always viewed the act as one of great weakness and one thing that I am not, is weak.

I conveyed to my therapist that this was a daydream, not a plan to end my own life. I don’t know whether he believed me or not, and I suppose it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I am feeling much better since my decision to help myself.

People talk about life being a series of tests and how God puts obstacles in your way to see how or if you will be able to overcome.

To analogize my experience of that evening is to say that I was kidnapped and held by the devil and that I escaped and ran into the safety and love of God’s bright light.

I hope this means my faith is returning.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Freaked Back In

This weekend, I had a voice lesson, dined out with a friend, sung at two open mikes, had coffee with a friend and attended a dinner party, and there is still one entire day left. I can’t remember when I had the energy to engage in this much social activity.

I began taking Zoloft this past week, after a long, long struggle trying to deny that I wasn’t strong enough to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I just cannot do this alone right now. The pills have already begun to work their magic.

Worried, I asked Clay what happens next. When I go off of the drug, will everything come flooding back, thrusting me right back into a state of grief? He reassured me that I will have an entire year to process what has happened and strengthen my ability to cope, put some time between life then and life now and after a year has passed, I will be feeling much better and I’ll be able to go off of the medicine and maintain my ability to cope. I hope he’s right.

Zoloft has done two great things for me. It has given me the ability to think of something other than Chris without feeling guilt, and when I do think of Chris, I can now get by without crying in anguish. I need this right now. Taking Zoloft is like getting on a bike for the first time, training wheels attached, and doing my best to pedal forward. Eventually, I’ll be able to live my life without my bottle of training wheels. I have faith that the day will come.

I do need to lower my own dosage for the moment. Today I was in a spaced out state of way-too-much-drugs which left me feeling nauseous in addition to feeling happy. I guess it is safe to say I was feeling happy and crappy, which is much, much better than daydreaming about bringing about my own demise and feeling crappy. For now, if I must ingest a pill each morning, or a portion of a pill as it were, in order to maintain some semblance of sanity, then that is what I will do. I have nothing to prove. Just a life to live.

Drugs are not the best solution to every problem, but I have to say that I am very glad for the peace, however artificial, that Zoloft has brought me these past few days. I am actually able to concentrate again and I can get through my days without freaking out. I have officially, with the help of pharmaceuticals, freaked back in.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Finale in Grief Minor

If today didn’t kill me then nothing will.

As you know (if you read the previous two posts, also written today) I had managed to regulate this morning’s grief reaction with a nice dose of Ativan. Well, today I learned what an Ativan crash feels like.

I first became aware that the effects of this lovely drug had begun to wear off when I was ordered to attend another 2-day offsite and I lacked the proper tools to cope. I was rude to my coworker, the woman who delivered the news (the one battling cancer) and I tried to get her to split the offsite with me and go one day. She became angry, but I suspect that has more to do with her battle than with my attitude. I caught myself, a little too late, and sent her a quick e-mail to apologize for my behavior. I informed her that today was my wedding anniversary and that my emotions were all over the map. She never replied. I’m certain that my grief is small potatoes next to the battle one wages with cancer. You’d think I would have learned a thing or two from my experience with Chris’ battle. I’m ashamed of myself, but I still forgive myself. My grief took me, heart and soul, today.

Bob agreed to meet me at the trees today at 2:45 today. It occurred to me that visiting the trees in time to hear the 3:00 bells toll, just as they did on January 17, 2004, might be a more meaningful tribute to Chris’ and my wedding day. He met me and the two of us just stood talking for a while before we hugged good-bye and went our separate ways. It was really nice to see him and share the moment with him. I cried a little. I asked him for a hug and he complied. I needed to be hugged at my wedding site. It helped.

I then grabbed a cup of coffee and headed back to work, ever so aware of how meaningless this whole world is.

At the end of the day, I grabbed my stuff and headed out the door, feigning smiles at the coworkers I passed on my way out. I could feel my rubber fake-smile mask shifting around on my face even as I engaged in idle chit-chat. The moment I got outside, the battle between me and my tears began. I walked briskly up Summer Street, choking back a grief tidal wave the entire time. I took deep breaths. That helped me hold it together.

I read my book on the train ride and alternated between absorbing the prose and fighting memories of that horrible evening in 2003 when I rode the T, my face buried in a Stephen King novel as I squelched my terror of Chris dying. That train ride memory is one of a handful of memories of terror and grief that are permanently burned into my psyche. Those are the ones that continue to keep me in awe of their power. Those memories, like my grief of this evening, leave me in disbelief of the fact that I bounced back. When I reach grief of such depths, I am certain that I am actually going to hear my brain SNAP. I cannot believe I’m sitting here writing this. By all accounts, I should be sitting in Bellevue, restrained to a chair, rocking back and forth chanting, “I’m married. I’m married. I’m married.”

The second I entered my door I dropped everything on the floor, shed my coat, scarf, hat and sweater, also onto the floor, and crashed onto my couch howling, my face contorted into the very shape of grief. I thrashed, punched my couch over and over again, contemplated scratching my own face again ( I guess I ‘m too vein to actually do it), wished I was the personality type to smash my own head onto my glass coffee table and cried and cried an cried screaming hoarsely into the air and into my blanket. I was out of control.

I went to the bedroom and abused my bed in the same way. I then opened up my storage space, dragged my boxes of Chris’ belongings out and sat on the floor. My grief did not stop. I embraced his bachelors and masters degrees, his 2004 day minder, his baseball glove and ball and the little ceramic music box the JP gave us at our wedding. I screamed about hating my life, hating myself, not wanting to go on, wanting to be with Chris, wanting him to come back and numerous other crazed demanding wishes.

Suddenly, I wanted to watch the DVD of our wedding ceremony. It wasn’t in the box. I began to search my apartment for it but couldn’t find it. I began to become agitated and even more grief-stricken than I am able to describe. I finally found it and sat down on the floor in front of the TV.

Watching that DVD calmed me. I saw us together, getting married, interacting, laughing, loving each other with our eyes. We did love each other. Chris loved me. I could tell by the way he looked at me and by the way he talked with me. I know I loved him, but that expression of love is something I haven’t seen on my own face for what seems like centuries. I no longer know the woman in that wedding scene. I am no longer capable of being that blissful, of exuding such levels of unbridled love. I remembered my devotion to my husband. It’s all there on the DVD. Nobody can deny it.

Try as I might, I am not going to be able to rush myself through my grief. It’s stuck, like glue, to my body and soul.

Still, today’s first was the last first. This is it. His birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day and our anniversary are all behind me, now.

I called my doctor today because I have decided to go back on an antidepressant. My decision was not born of the desire to cheat my way through my grief. Lord knows, I’m tired. Especially after tonight. I have become aware over the past few weeks that I am not doing the things I’m supposed to be doing. I have schoolwork to do. I have a certificate to earn. I have a bachelors degree to finish. I have a cabaret show to design and perform. I have been doing nothing to achieve these goals. I find more and more that I am frozen when it comes to forward movement. The further forward I move, the further I move away from my life with my handsome prince. My brain won’t let me go, so I have to help it to let me go. I have responsibilities to myself and I’m tired of feeling bad about how disorganized my thoughts have been. I don’t think I can recover from another breakdown like tonight’s. So I’m going to begin taking a pill, again, just to help me cope with every day life for a while.

I just want to live my life for a while. Watching our wedding DVD, I have come to believe that there will be no great love in my life again. Chris was it. I can’t imagine looking at another man with even a comparable expression of love to that of the one on my face on our wedding day.

God sent Chris to me. He sent us to each other. He knew Chris needed to learn to trust that somebody could care for him one-hundred percent and he knew that I needed to learn what love was and what it was like to give myself completely to another. Chris learned his lessons and his job was done, so he was given a full pardon from this world. I, on the other hand, apparently have more lessons to learn here, which pisses me off to no end.

I want, so badly, to go be with Chris but that’s not God’s will. I have to stay here and learn whatever it is that God thinks I haven’t learned yet.

I’m exhausted. I’m going to eat something and count the hours until my next session with Clay.

A Day of Happiness

I cannot believe I that I could not recall last January 17th, this morning. As I walked down the street to the train station, I suddenly remembered, we were all at Chris’ memorial service. How could I forget that?

Before I left this morning, I looked at my Chris-collage and said, “Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart.” and immediately fell apart. I was already late leaving and knew that I had to pull myself together so I pulled the bottle of Ativan from my bag, took one of the pills out and set it on the counter. A few seconds later, I picked up the pill, put it back in the bottle and placed the bottle back in my bag.

I thought I was going to be okay but, once again, my tears began to flow. I took the Ativan out again, put a pill on my counter, picked it up, eyed the bottle of wine next to it and thought, “That’s a perfect way to toast our love and anniversary. I’ll drop an Ativan and wash it down with some wine.”

I wanted to do it. I so wanted to do it. I refrained. I thought of Tai Babylonia.. Alcoholism starts somewhere, right? I had a forward vision of myself taking my Ativan and wine cocktail this morning, which segued into a vision of myself a month from now, drinking an entire glass of wine with my coffee each morning and having a bowl of Ativan and berries. That’s not how I want to proceed. Don’t get me wrong, the Ativan/wine cocktail was tempting, but once I realized the truth, that nobody will care, I realized I was contemplating out of anger alone. I swallowed the pill with water and left my apartment, confident in the knowledge that I would feel better by the time I reached the station. And I do. I’m tired, but at least I’m not a sobbing mess on the floor.

The problem I’m facing today is that because it’s our anniversary, I keep feeling excited and happy, as though something romantic is going to take place this evening. I keep forgetting that Chris is dead.

On my way to the station, I began to think of ways I could keep this day and make it a happy today and going forward. I thought, “What if I met somebody new, today and what if I went on a date with him, tonight?” The thought didn’t upset me. Instead, I thought, what a perfect thing to do on the anniversary of my beloved husband’s and my wedding day. It does make sense to celebrate a day of love with love. Really, my brain was just going into overdrive, imagining up scenarios. I didn’t see a reason to stop it.

I also thought that going forward, why can’t I deem our anniversary as a day in which I am nice to others. That would make me feel good. Why shouldn’t our anniversary day continue to go on being a happy day? It can.

I’m ready to go at 2:30 to grab my coffee and sit under our trees. Chris’ friend, Bob, might join me there. I hope he does. It will be nice to have the company.

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart

Two years ago, today, Chris and I stood underneath our trees on the Boston Common and said our wedding vows. It’s hard to believe that was two years ago. Time is still a blur.

I have no recollection of this day, last year. I was deep within the confines of my grief-fog.

Yesterday was a tough day and last night was tougher. I tried to “suppress”, as it were, but everything came flooding out of me as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep. I let it come, knowing the tears would eventually exhaust me into passing out.

I feel alone, alone, alone and I suspect the only way out is to find another man to love. I have begun to dabble, ever-so-slightly, in the idea of beginning my search. I really don’t know how it’s done. Chris found me. I wasn’t even looking. I remember I had just begun to feel sexy in my own skin and I was enjoying flaunting myself. (Creej would have said, “Like a sweet whore of the night”.) I suppose I had begun to send out signals without even knowing, because they reached Chris clear across the room. He found me and we worked. It was easy. I hope it’s easy, next time, too.

Today would have been our 2nd wedding anniversary. Is it still? I’m not really sure what to call it, anymore.

Today, I’m going to the trees to honor my love for my departed husband, a love that will remain in my heart through the ages. I plan to grab a coffee, sit at the base of the tree and wait for the 3:00 PM church bells to chime, just as they did, so sweetly and unexpectedly, when we finished exchanging our vows on January 17, 2004.

For now, I’ll just keep hanging on, banking on the hope that Clay’s words are true, that one day, I will feel as happy and carefree as I did before all of this ever happened.

In honor of Christopher J. Burrage and Robin Orloff Burrage

Monday, January 16, 2006

I'm Sorry I Feel So Bad

I need Clay, desperately.

I keep getting ambushed by panic attacks. My friend just informed me that she took a job in NYC and will be moving there. That’s great news, but after I e-mailed my congratulations to her I was instantly struck by panic and anger. I thought, “She gets to make this move with her husband, together with her husband. She still has a husband and they have been married for years. They bought and fixed up a home together. They made the decision to move together. They are together.”

My husband is gone. I don’t have what she has. Why me? Why did this have to happen to me? I didn’t deserve this. I don’t deserve this.

This is so unfair.

For the past year and a half I have been denying my own hardships and tragedies, asking myself, “How can I say anything bad has happened to me? Chris had cancer. CANCER. I don’t have cancer. I’m fine, so I should just keep my mouth shut and stop complaining.” It isn’t true though. What happened to ME is also tragic. A horrible event has occured in my life and I am feeling very much destroyed over it.

I suppressed nearly every single one of my emotions for the entire fourteen months that Chris was battling his illness. I am like a volcano back filled with pressure that threatens to erupt over and over again. All that anger and white-knuckled terror I kept shut up inside of me is beginning to bubble up into red-hot anger. I have been so cheated. ME. I have had a hard time, too. I haven’t been pumped full of chemo or stuck with needles or buried under mountains of pain killers and anti-nausea drugs and impossible medication schedules and memory loss and the inability to walk on my own swollen, disappearing ankles but I HURT, TOO. I have been destroyed by this monster. I lost the one man in my life who has ever shown me what it means to be loved, unconditionally. He’s gone and I am terrified by the thought of never finding that level of love again.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


When I asked him if I will ever be able to be as happy and carefree as I remember being before I ever met Chris, and before this tragedy occurred, Clay reassured me that I will be. I hope he’s right.

When I told him about my fight with Diane and about how I listened to her, came home, had the conversation with Chris and “let go”, I thought he would be happy for me and support my newfound ability to release my past. Instead he cautioned me about the danger of suppressing my feelings. I spent the entire weekend monitoring every single one of my thoughts and obsessively wondering, “Am I suppressing or moving on? Am I suppressing or moving on? Am I suppressing or moving on?” It was like finding a big ball in the street and holding it feeling lucky to have found it and having someone come along and smack it right out of my hands.

I was supposed to sing at an open mike with a friend, tonight, but he had car trouble and couldn’t make it in time so I’m home instead, feeling rather empty and quite nervous. The nervousness has been with me since Christmas, 2004. It’s a feeling of things having gone terribly wrong. I feel like I am never going to be able to return to the peace of mind I once had.

Imagining what Chris and I might be talking about right now, sitting on the couch together is not enough. Sometimes I feel as though I’m going mad. I’m having a hard time again.

I went to a Martin Luther King Concert last night and when the children’s chorus began to sing “We Shall Overcome” I remembered for the first time that Chris and I didn’t just meet in choir. We met at the Martin Luther King Day concert we performed in back in 1999. That’s what we were doing that day. Last night when the children began to sing some of the same songs Chris and I sang in our concert seven years ago, I was powerless to stop my tears. The memory was unexpected. The music was unexpected. My grief was unexpected. Last night’s concert was joyful, sad, thought-provoking and extremely moving.

This Tuesday will be the 2nd anniversary of my and Chris’ wedding day. I can’t believe I married him two whole years ago. Time has been blurry since his diagnosis. I don’t know whether time is going to fall back into a pattern I can follow ever again. Two years ago on the happiest day of my life, we stood beneath the trees on the Boston Common and said our vows, taking each other as husband and wife. I was a wife. I have to keep reminding myself that I was once a wife. I once had the honor of wearing those stripes. I was the proudest wife. I’m going to the trees Tuesday after work to honor our love for one another. I’m just going to grab a coffee and sit under the trees for a while.

What I want most in life is to someday be as happy as I once was.

Friday, January 13, 2006

An Abundance of Chris Dreams

I was jut telling Bonnie how mad I was that Chris never comes into my dreams and lo and behold, I make a decision to let go, and my dreams have been abundant with Chris’ presence. It’s always so nice to see him.

Chris was in my dreams again last night He had com down to visit me and we were hanging out together in our bed.

In one vignette, he was wearing darkish blue jeans and black button down short sleeve shirt with white specky-dots all over it. His hair was black and thick and he had his glasses on. My eyes kept drifting toward his abdomen, trying to see if the cancer was there.

Then I was driving to Davis Square with Creej, but we had decided to park in Porter Square and walk to Davis. I missed a parking space and kept driving and then there was a parking space on Willow Street. Creej yelled, “Right there!” and I pulled in. We discussed the possibility of finding a closer spot and then decided to remain where we were. For a moment, I thought I didn’t have any change to put in the meter, but then I remembered the change I keep in my ash try at all times and presented it to Chris. There were lots of quarters. Chris was pleased with me, which made me very happy. That’s a feeling I had forgotten all about, the satisfaction and comfort I always felt when Creej approved of even the tiniest thing I did. I loved remembering that that’s what I got from him constantly.

I was alone, driving in my van toward toward Kenmore Square, all the while aware that I was headed toward Fenway Park. There was some flood water and when I looked ahead I saw a van, jumping in and out of a huge sink hole, just the way a dolphin jumps in and out of the water. The entire van would disappear into the water and then jump up and do spins and the bystanders kept clapping. I decided to choose an alternate route since there was so much traffic on this one. Some college kids, men and women, came into my van and I began to get nervous that they were going to rob me. They left, except for one woman. I didn’t know how to get her out of the van because I became frightened of her. She left, finally, and in the dream, I knew that Chris, from the other side, somehow made her leave. He was protecting me. In this dream, I was able to lift my van up effortlessly. It was flipped over on it’s roof and I simply picked it up and turned it over. Then I slid it over, repositioning it so that it was facing front and aimed at the driveway toward the street so that I could easily drive out of the parking lot and leave. The tires were low.

Finally, I was sitting on the bed next to him while he slept. I was looking at him through the lens of a camera. He was bald this time. Suddenly, he jumped up, his face appearing in the center of my lens, and with a look of shock on his face, he exclaimed, “It’s gone! I think it’s gone!!” He ran his hand all over the left side of his chest (just opposite where his port was, in life), his fingers running up and down the scar. I felt a surge of joy, much like i felt when his surgeon came to tell us that she got all of the cancer out of him. I had forgotten how that much joy could feel. I felt it in my dream, in my bedroom, next to my Creej as he gave me the news I had wanted to hear for fourteen months. It was really nice and Creej was so damn cute.

There was a young girl with long, brown hair in my dream wearing a clown-like or elf-like costume with red and white horizontally-stiriped tights. She had a red circle painted on her nose and she was sitting on the floor smiling at me. I felt love and reassurance.

Something within me has dislodged and I’m feeling a bit freer. I think that's why I'm able to dream about him, again.

It was nice seeing you, last night, Creej.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

White Flowers: A Message from My Husband

Last night I dreamed that Bonnie and I were in a train station. We were pushing a shopping cart. Suddenly I looked down and there were two bouquets of white flowers in my hands, one for me and one for Bonnie. They were wrapped in clear plastic which was covered in little whilte flower illustrations. The flowers were from Chris.

I said to Bonnie, “They came like this.” meaning that they came without notes or cards on them.

I can still see the flowers vividly and I can still vividly feel the warmth and love I felt in the dream, having received them.

It took me all day, but I finally got a chance to look up FLOWERS in the dream dictionary and here is what I found:

To dream that you receive a bouquet of flowers, represents respect, approval, admiration, and rewards.

I then looked up WHITE and found:

White represents purity, perfection, peace, innocence, dignity, cleanliness, awareness, and new beginnings. You may be experiencing a reawakening or have a fresh outlook on life.

After last night’s conversation with Chris, I can’t ignore the possibility that Creej was sending flowers to reassure me that it’s okay, my letting go, and that he supports me.

Thank you for the flowers, Creej. They’re beautiful.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Letting Go

I believe there is a reason for everything. I believe there is a greater power and that greater power knows the master plan. I believe that love burns eternally and that where there is love, there is strength and courage. I believe that love conquers all, that it never dies and that lost loves find each other again.

Tonight was supposed to be my first night attending a young widow support group in Andover. I almost began attending a year ago and tonight, once again, I almost began attending.

I announced to my coworker, Diane, where I was going this evening and what followed was a most emotional conversation which began with her telling me I had to stop drudging up the past and move on, segued into an explosion of my venom-filled defenses aimed straight at her eyes and ended with a feeling of serenity, hope and enlightenment I thought I would never feel again.

She began by telling me that she knew what it was like to lose someone, to which I replied, “If you haven’t lost a spouse, you have no idea what I feel like.” She argued the point causing me to reiterate, slightly more incensed “If you haven’t lost a spouse, you have no idea what I feel like.” Diane kept talking.

I can’t remember our conversation in its entirety because I was so taken aback by what I had initially deemed an attack on my soul, that my body went numb with rage. Trembling, my mouth becoming more dry with each of her stinging, opinionated remarks, I sat trying to gain some ground and defend my stance that I would never, ever get over the loss of my sweet Creej and that she, having only been divorced, could never understand the magnitude of losing the one person in this entire world who meant the most to me, the love of my life. I wanted to cry. For a brief moment, I just wanted to cry. But then the wind changed. Diane calmly and quietly yelled at me and for the first time in a very long time, I began to listen.

I have said many times before that a person does not have to be loud to be yelling and I stand by that conviction. Diane’s eyes yelled at me. Her demeanor yelled at me. Her words cut, repelling me, and I wanted to catch every uninvited, unwelcome shred of unsolicited advice in my mouth and spit it right back into her face.

She, frustrated with me and a little incensed herself, continued to ask the question that many people have asked me over the course of the past year. Some have gingerly tiptoed around it, some have sweetly and lovingly queried, some have asked me simply as a means of opening my eyes and trying to point me in a direction more conducive to my own healing.

“What would Chris want you to do?”

Somehow, today I was ready to answer that question honestly. I know what Chris would want me to do. He would want me to be happy. He would want me to stop crying. He would want success and joy and good things for my future. He would want me to love again, even though it would mean letting him go and if he was watching me over the three days I spent curled up on my couch, hopelessly and uncontrollably sobbing, he would say, “What are ya doing, Shneed?! Get out there. Live your life!”

I believe that he is around me and that he has been waiting for me to let go of him, to begin living my life again and to begin tipping the balance of my laugh/cry ratio. Diane was right. She is right. It’s time.

Instead of attending the young widow support group this evening, I walked Carol’s dog with her and then we went out to dinner. Afterwards, she dropped me off at home.

When I got into my apartment, I felt strange. I could feel energy moving throughout my veins, up and down my arms and legs and in my chest.

I lit my Creejie-candle contained in the beautiful blown glass hurricane lamp Nancy bought us for our wedding. I muted the television, sat before the candle and placed my hands on both sides of the glass. I began caressing the vase just as I caressed my husband and I began to speak aloud.

I told Chris that I had something to say. I told him Diane was right today and I was going to be letting go of him and I told him how scary that is for me. I told him I’m doing it for both of us and that I need to stop crying so much and begin laughing more. I told him my love for him is eternal and that nothing will ever change that, that I know he wants good things for me and that I know he knows that I got the new job and that I know he played a hand in helping me find it.

I added that I need to be free to find love again and if I’m lucky to find love a second time in this lifetime, I know it will never be as strong or as beautiful as the love I have for him, but that I hope it comes close and that he will help me find the right person for me. I told him he is the love of my life and that I meant what I said when he was dying, that I will see him again. Once again, just as I did that day, I asked him to wait for me and meet me when it’s my time. Then I just asked him a few times to hold me. I know he did. He does when I need him to. He carries me when I’m not strong enough to carry myself and he coaxes me on when I’m feeling like I can take a step forward.

He’s not here, in body, with me now, but that doesn’t mean that I should remain in the past just to hold onto him in my white-knuckled horror death-grip. As frightened as that makes me, I cannot deny the truth.

I sat for as long as I needed to. I cried just a little bit, caressing my beautiful candlelit hurricane lamp, a symbol of my love burning eternally for the love of my life. My body trembled. It still does.

Monday, January 9, 2006

The Dark Depths

Today I had at least three separate inconsolable grief breakdowns. I could not stop thinking about Chris, the things we did together, the horrible events of last December, what he must have been feeling, the shock I was feeling and knowing he was going to die for four days.

I then moved onto our chance meeting, how adorable he was that day, the scenery, giving him a ride home, having him ask me out, beginning to get to know each other and exchanging phone numbers.

From there, I tortured myself with our first few dates, remembering the weather, his coat, my car, the first time he touched me.

All of this came into my head, rapid-fire causing me to laugh, cry, scream, yearn and snap into near insanity, grief so intense that I coudn’t see a way out. My life became black today and I felt like I didn’t want to live without him anymore.

Sitting in front of my collage of pictures of him, I could see myself smashing my forehead into it, breaking the glass and cutting myself with it. Sometimes I swear to God that if I didn’t believe from my core that suicide is wrong and an interruption of natural occurrences, I would leave this place just to escape the pain and just to see Chris, again.

I don’t know why I keep trying. There’s something deep within me that knows that I must continue living my life. I think I have been expecting too much from myself. There’s no way that one year is near enough time to grieve a loss of this magnitude.

Moving on is a thing of the future for me. For now, I just need to breakdown until I wake up one day feeling better.

Today I thought I was inconsolable, but it turns out that Ativan, my social worker in a bottle, had the power to console me all along.


My feelings are so securely locked deep in my chest cavity that I have to work very hard just to bring them to the surface so I can deal with them.

Today marks day three of staying home recovering from my cold, which is also day three of staying home alone with my thoughts. The brain has an amazing way of shielding a person from too much pain. My brain is not allowing me to fully experience my grief. Even after a full year, my brain knows how much I can and cannot handle. I still cannot handle Chris’ absense from my life and I fear that I will never be able to handle the crushing impact of that reality.

I keep myself busy, I run around visiting people, shopping, singing, creating noise in my life to overpower the noise of what I really need to deal with. I don’t want to deal with my loss. What I want is an impossibility. What I want is for this whole event to have never happened and no matter how many times I scream those words out loud, I cannot ever have what I want.

I keep the television on at all times to distract my brain from thinking. I am a broken person. I don’t function the way that I used to. I feel like I will never be as happy about anything as I was able to be before Chris got cancer. I’m a fraction of the person I used to be and I don’t know if that will ever change. Sometimes I just want to give up trying.

Sometimes I think about Chris or feel his presense and make the mistake of bellieving that because I feel his presence, that things can go back to being what they were. The realization that things will never be what they once were flattens me every time, squeezing the wind out of me.

Someitmes when I talk about him and laugh about things he said or did, I feel like he’s just away somewhere and like he’ll be coming back any day. Once again, reality knocks me off my feet. My brain has a way with tricking me into believing that he’s coming back.

I feel like my whole life has been ruined. At times I feel like I can’t do this anymore and since I’m not suicidal, I’m just trapped here in between, just waiting to die of natural causes fifty years from now. I could be here for another fifty years.

After fiance # 1, it was very easy for me to remember that there was life before him and that there would be life after him. It’s not so easy to think that way with regard to Chris. I’m not mad at Chris. He wasn’t mean to me. He wasn’t anything buy wonderful to me, but I feel as though I need to be able to say that about him if I’m ever going to be able to move foward. My brain will not allow me to think that way, though.

My life is ruined. I had finally arrived in a place where I really wanted to stay. Life next to Chris was pretty effortless. We just worked together, very easily. Home was peaceful. I learned how to handle his every mood and he learned how to handle mine. We leaned on each other for support and we never let each other down.

I hate my life without Chris in it.

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Full Shneed Where?

The weekend has passed before my eyes and I spent both days nursing a common cold, sleeping and resting. Being alone for two days in a row, for twenty-four hours a day has caused me to delve deep within myself and come to some realizations.

I miss Chris. That’s not the realization. That’s the seed. I have spent the past year, mostly the past six months running away from my grief, trying to rebuild a life that is not yet ready to be rebuilt. I have not yet given myself ample time to lay a new foundation. Instead I have latched onto the idea that I want to put it all back together again the way that it was, me, the wife and a new man to play husband. I have spent hours, days and months panicking about the fact that I’m getting older and that I don’t have much time to regain everything I have lost. I have spent a year angry about my loss, and I don’t believe that anger has even come close to being fully realized, yet.

I don’t want a new man. I want Chris back. I don’t want a husband. I want Chris. I don’t want to go on a date with some guy from the internet. I just want Chris. Do you see what I mean? I’m not ready. If I was ready, I would be open, but I’m not open. I’m shut tighter than a bank vault.

I believe that things happen for specific reasons and that there are guiding spirits all around us to help us if we remain open to their help. I have always believed that. I told Chris that I was certain his grandfather was around us helping him through his illness. Chris didn’t believe that, but I did and I always told him it was true. I think he finally realized it seconds before he died. He looked at me and said, “Ah---” right before he died. I think he was trying to tell me that Abada was there (his grandfather’s nickname). I think Chris knew that in the seconds leading up to his last breath and I think he went peacefully and that he wasn’t alone.

Of all days for me to catch a common cold, why this past Friday, when I had a date scheduled with somebody I don’t even know? I have to ponder that. I wasn’t supposed to go. That’s what I believe. If I was supposed to go, I would have gotten sick Saturday instead of Friday. I’m going to tell Internet Guy that I’m not ready. I have been completely honest with him and I’m going to be honest this time, too. The timing is wrong. It’s all wrong.

What I have begun to realize in the past two days is that it’s going to be a long, long time before I’m ready to release my grip on the past. It’s okay. If that’s the worst thing that happens to me between Chris’ death and the end of my life, then my life isn’t too bad.

I have been running away and filing up every single moment of my time with activities and people. Aside from my family and friends, those people and activities have been noise that I have turned up to drown out my grief. I didin’t want to feel it. Who does? I’m thankful that I only filled my life up with those things and not more dangerous things. All in all, I think I just may come out of this with a few scratches. Not yet, though. It’s not time for me to done with it, yet.

There’s a forum on the internet called that I had visited quite a bit when Chris first died, but I hadn’t been there for a very long time. Today I went back. I interacted with a woman who shared her own story with me. She helped me open up. She told me about a group of us young widows in the Boston area who get together periodically for dinner and invited me to join them next time. I’m going to.

For so long I have fought to deny that I’m a widow. I hate that word. I don’t want to be one. I never dreamed I would be. As a result, I had grown into a pattern of hating all groups having to do with widows and in effect, I deprived myself of a key part of my healing process. I need to embrace my situation and dive in. I often prattle on about how I want to help others. I can help others by helping myself and later on, others who have gone through losing a spouse at a young age. God knows, there are new widows and widowers created every single day. Just visit the forum if you want to see for yourself. Every day somebody else is screaming for someobody to tell them it’s all just a bad dream.

I’m supposed to help people who are going through what I have already been through. I can’t do that until I get through it, myself. I want to be living proof that a person can survive. I’m not proof, yet. I’m only just beginning my journey. I have a responsibility to myself to move through it willingly and heal so that I can then help others to heal.

No more talk of men for me. No more trying to “pop” a man into the role of husband for me. No more talk of dating, of having to put it all back together before I’m old. I’m not going to be forty and never have been married. I have already been married. It doesn’t matter. It’s not important. What’s important is that I got to enjoy the bliss of a wonderful marriage to my best friend and soul mate. I don’t need to patch it up with a less-than-ample replacement husband. I’m not looking anymore. I’m just going to live and grieve and see what happens.

I just may find that beauty and fulfillment will come find me, again and that I can help at least one other person feel strong and able to overcome.

What happens when the one person in your life whose pride in you constantly propelled you forward dies? Do you stop moving forward? Do you stop trying to be your best? Do you resign yourself to the thought that without that person's active pride in you, that you'll quit trying?

I have misprepresented myself titling this blog “Full Shneed Ahead”. I have been going full Shneed around for too long. It’s time to live up to my title.


Strangely, just seconds after I posted this, the song, “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful” from the musical, “Cinderella” came on the Music Choice Show Tunes channel.

The lyrics in the song are:

Do I love you because you’re beautiful
Or are you beautiful because I love you.


Do I want you because you’re wonderful
Or are you wonderful because I want you?

Strange, huh?


Saturday, January 7, 2006

Geographic Paralysis

There are roadblocks in my way and I don’t now how, if or when I will ever be free of them. The places I have been with Chris fill me with fear of myself and of whatever breakdowns await me in my future. It seems as though my future is going to be a series of breakdowns from here on in.

I’m sick today with my first common cold since the day I emptied Chris’ dresser and packed up all of his clothes to place in storage. Obviously I’m living two separate times side by side once again, this cold alongside that cold. My dermatitis has returned as it has ever since diagnosis # 1.

There is a movie on which I have been pseudo-watching while slipping in and out of sleep. The backdrop is Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Every time I see either one of those places on the television, I am filled with anxiety. I hadn’t been to either place before I visited them with Chris. As a result, I feel as though I can never return to either place without thrusting myself, once again, into debilitating grief. How can I be in either place without him? How can I walk the streets of San Francisco alone, after having spent an entire romantic weekend drifting in and out of art galleries, absorbing the creativity within and sitting with the dogs that populated many of them? How can I ever sit in a San Francisco coffee shop again without Chris by my side? How will I ever be able to ride a trolley up and down San Francisco’s hills or take in the sights of a trolley tour without him? The whole idea feels like a nervous breakdown stored in my mind and body, just waiting to happen.

How can I ever visit Los Angeles again without walking down the street and standing in front of the apartment Chris and I shared there? How will I be able to keep myself from walking through Plummer Park and down Santa Monica Boulevard, the old walk we used to take together on a regular basis? How can I avoid Pacific Palisades, where I worked for two years and made friends or stay away from Pacific Coast Highway, Manhattan Beach or Venice Beach where the famous Sidewalk Cafe and Muscle Beach are?

I can’t do it. I probably can’t ever go back to those places and that’s really sad. Chris and always talked about visiting again and how happy we would be to know that this time we would be going home after our visit. We were supposed to be able to talk about how happy we were to be living back in Boston, again.

Los Angeles was ours. I didn’t live there with anybody but Chris and now I can’t recall any part of those two years with anyone. There is nobody in my life who knows what we went through there, how we grew, what we endured and what it was like to up and quit our jobs, drive across the country and arrive in a strange place with limited funds and no employment. We did it, and although we both hated it there, we made it work. We helped each other and stayed with each other and made it work.

But he’s not here now for me to share that with. Those two years are like lost years, now, and there is barely any proof that they actually existed. I am now the sole person who remembers that period of time and that fact really, really hurts. We were supposed to be able to recall them together and go back there together and be thankful that we did it and then undid it together.

I don’t want to experience new places with anybody else. Chris was the first person I ever traveled with. He knew so much about places. He read about them before we visited, arranged the entire trips and brought me to them. How can I ever travel without him?

Visiting Somerville and thoughts of visiting Los Angeles and San Francisco paralyze me with fear and guilt. I can't go to the latter two places. Not yet. Maybe not ever. And I can barely drive the streets of Somerville, where we met, without being thrown into shock by the vision of the houses, so close together, thrusting me right back to those first few months when we first began to know each other. I still remember vividly, how he looked when he came down the stairs and opened the door when I picked him up for our first date. I remember standing on the front porch thinking that I couldn’t remember what he looked like and when he came to the door, his beautiful, warm, white smile was the first thing I noticed and what is burned into my memory forever.

Chris died a year and six days ago and I still can’t believe he is gone. Will I ever fully believe it? How can I ever move on? How can I let go? How can I stop the guilt that threatens to overtake me each time I realize I’m having fun?

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so god-damned loyal. My tendency toward loyalty is really getting in my way. At least when I was loyal to a living man, I had somebody to be with. Now I’m loyal to a dead man and that just makes me loyal and alone.

I miss him so much. I’m afraid to go places without him. Travel is something I’m going to have to overcome if I want the rest of my life to be as adventurous as the six years I shared with Chris.

But right now, I’m haunted by my memories.

Friday, January 6, 2006

One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Well, my entire weekend plans, including my first date in seven years, have been canned. Oh well. It's just me and me this weekend...and my bed.

"One large coffee with cream and extra matrimony, please."

Yesterday, I left work feeling spent, unappreciated, taken advantage of, alone and very much missing Chris. I realized a pattern in those feelings that seems to keep repeating itself. It seems that many times, when I have a tough day, full of inconsiderate people and difficulties, the very last thing that happens is that I realize that when Chris was around, those unpleasant occurrences were never the last occurrences in my day. I used to get to go home and be with Chris for hours before we retired to slumber. Hours of talking, sharing, laughing and just being together. Life was easier then.

I left work in an intense state of anger yesterday, stomped out and got to Central Square forty-five minutes too early for my social worker appointment. I got angry at that, too. I guess I was just having an angry evening altogether.

To kill time, I decided to have a cup of hot chocolate at Starbuck’s and try to relax and alleviate some of the stress that had invaded my being by breathing and people-watching through the window looking out onto Mass Ave. I felt very sorry for myself and fought back tears the entire time. That’s when I decided to write my thoughts down on paper.

I asked myself what makes me happy. My list comprised singing, auditioning, my friends, the prospect of falling in love again, stopping to think about what I’m capable of, imagining my life in the future and helping others. All of those things make me very happy. I then realized, at least sitting there fighting back tears at Starbuck’s, that from now on, I want to try to be who I want to be and not who I am. The person I want to be is a person who lets trivial matters roll off her back. Trivial matters are trivial for a reason. I felt better.

I continued to write about how I was feeling.

My apartment is a lonely place. I didn’t know love before I knew Chris so I didn’t miss it then. My friends and my tendency toward self-absorption were enough to sustain me back then. I can’t go back to being that person, though. She’s gone.

Sometimes, “now” can feel restrictive, hopeless and unadventurous. I miss the constant companionship of Chris. Even though we were never joined at the hip, I knew who I was sleeping next to each night. Even when we were off doing our own things, I knew the phone would eventually ring and his voice would be on the other end of the line. I don’t have that now, but I want to have it again.

When Chris was alive, we did so many varied things together. We went to baseball games, traveled, went to museums, folk shows, art fairs, movies, dinner, drives and the list goes on and on. Life was never boring. Most of those activities do not exist in my life as it is today. I want them back. I want to do them all alone. I know I can do it. I want to travel and go to baseball games again. It’s a nice way to honor Chris’ memory. I don’t want my life to become predictable again, like it used to be.

I had a productive session with Clay last night. We talked a bit about Internet Guy. I’m nervous to meet him, but I’m also excited. He seems really nice. Clay seemed slightly impatient with my nervousness. He said, “It’s just coffee, right?” I clarified that he was only saying that because he’s not a woman. I then continued to make sweeping generalizations based on my own thoughts and beliefs

One such generalization is that women try on the guy’s last name from the moment the first date is in place. I confessed to him that I’m already stressed out about how we’re going to continue to see each other when he lives an hour away from me and that I’m nervous about how we’re going to both live in my apartment. There isn’t enough room. It’s just the way it is for me. My brain goes into overdrive and it’s difficult for me to see a coffee date for what it is. It’s quite possible that I left Clay speechless.

Anyway…tomorrow morning is Internet Guy and my coffee date. I already tried to give him an “out” by sending my cell phone number and telling him to use it if he’s running late, already there, if he wants to reschedule or if he just wants to say hi.

Stay tuned.

Nervous and excited,

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Without the Safety of the Net

Something is stirring. There’s too much excitement for me in this week and I am beginning to shut down as a result. Besides being a prime candidate for a new position at work, I am about to embark upon my first date in seven years.

I talked with Lori the other day, who also lost her husband to cancer a few months after Chris died. She’s my age. She has begun dating a guy she boxes with and they have gone on three dates so far. I’m very happy for her and very inspired by her, as well. We talked about how we miss hugs, companionship, kisses and the company of a partner-in-crime. I still feel guilt, as though I am having an affair behind Chris’ back, though. Still, Lori sort of gave me the green light, although it flickers on and off..

I’m meeting Internet Guy this Saturday. I sat on the couch the other night, unable to motivate myself to e-mail and ask him if he is still interested in meeting. Finally, I took my laptop in my hand, dragged it onto my lap, started it up and pondered my choices.

I was aware that I could cancel the date and the thought deceived me into thinking that once I did my problems would be gone. I knew it wasn’t true. My problem is that my husband died, I’m alone, I miss the companionship of a man in my life, I miss hugs, touches and kisses. I resigned myself to the fact that not meeting him would not get me any closer to rebuilding a new situation and opportunity to put the possibility of love back into my life. Still, the past seven months of e-mailing each other, hidden behind the safety of the net, was very easy. He knows only what I want him to know about me. I don't even think he knows my last name.

I e-mailed him.

I decided to come clean and be honest, an approach that has always alleviated apprehension in my life. I began my note with idle holiday chit-chat and eventually segued into an out-and-out confession. I admitted my nervousness and that I had really wanted to e-mail him and cancel, and run away. I told him that while I am fun-loving, happy, easy to be with and just plain fun, I am also very shy, especially when it comes to meeting guys. I then informed him of my decision to push through it and meet him. I went on to ask him what he is calling our encounter. A date? A meeting of the minds? I told him that I was considering it a date, but that I knew that word made some people uncomfortable. I waited.

His response was delightfully surprising to me. After offering his own idle chit-chat, he nervously admitted that he, too, will consider our meeting “a date”. He transitioned into the admission that he, too, is nervous and that he was sort of hoping I was e-mailing to cancel.

I laughed out loud! I found a guy who seems to share some of my own neuroses! What are the chances of that happening? My fears were assuaged.

But that was Tuesday and now I feel nervous, again.

At this point, I just want to meet him, break the ice, enjoy the day and continue my evening out at the open mike, secure in the knowledge that the date is over and I can begin to process whatever new grief-reactions crop up.

Until then, I will be churning, shaking and dreading.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Breaks: Psychotic and Coffee

It’s hard to me to imagine that there are some people out there who have lost loved ones and don’t have support systems to help them through the days that follow their tragedies.

My friend, Robby, called today. I ignored the call. I couldn’t answer. I was in the middle of the psychotic break I described in my last entry. I didn’t want to put that on anyone. I’m tired of ruining everybody’s holidays with my story. Instead, I waited until my tears subsided, showered, poured another cup of coffee and then called him back, when I was sure I could recover my coherence.

He asked how I was doing and I told him I was spending the morning alternating between psychotic breaks and coffee breaks. I told him I was on break from my psychotic break and thought I would return his call. The thing about Robby is that even though our entire relationship is built on silliness, sarcasm and laughter, the tone in his voice became very serious and I could feel the care emoting from him. It meant a lot to me. We laughed more about the very fragile state I was in and I told him I would call him later. I didn’t have to. He called me back ten minutes later to invite me to come over and have lunch with him and his husband. I accepted. After all, I didn’t exactly start off 2006 with a proper diet. Between the hours of 9:30 (when I awakened) and 2:00 (Robby’s call) I had consumed two cups of coffee and a truffle. Nobody can accuse me of being a health freak.

I finished blow drying, put on makeup and drove to Robby’s, where I stayed for the following couple of hours. As per usual, we laughed and ridiculed each other until we were weak with laughter. I would do good to remember that I can go from hopeless to euphoric if I only take the initiative to accept the invitations of my friends.

On my way home from Robby's, Meira called and invited herself over for coffee. Once again, I accepted. And of course, Carol is always there. Always. I am a very lucky person to have the support system that I have in my life. These are the people who came running to be by my side instead of running away when things got horrid. I'm very fortunate and very much full of love.

Tonight I am supposed to go sing at an open mike with another friend. I’m teetering on the edge of not going. I’m feeling fragile and scared again and even though I know I can pull myself out of this grief by going with him, I’m not sure that I have it in me. I have about an hour to figure it out.

My other option is to toss back a wine and Ativan cocktail and got nuts. I don’t know, though. Drugs and alcohol? It is the age-old remedy. Maybe I’ll do it. I don’t know.

To sing or cry? Why is that a tough decision for me to make. I’m going to try to sing, I think.

Scaredly and unstably,


Despondency enveloped me from the very second my eyes opened this morning. I lay in bed, unable to get up, unable to feel, but I took advantage of a millisecond in which I felt okay, rose up and left the bedroom.

With a heavy heart, I brewed two cups of coffee and sat on the couch feeling as though this day really isn’t any different from any other day in which I yearn for my husband. I have a problem with the word “husband” today. It’s not my husband that I miss. The person I miss came into my life long before my husband.

I was reading an Ellis Paul interview online a couple of minutes ago. Ellis is the folk singer that I had never heard of in my life before I began dating Chris. Now his existence is as big a part of my life as my love for Chris. The interview detailed his foray into music, his growth and his song writing. With my heart still heavy, I enjoyed the article, selected an image of Ellis for my computer desktop and pondered the possibility of listening to one of his CD’s.

Curious as to when the interview was conducted, I scrolled to the top of the page and read October 4, 1998. That’s what started it.

I hadn’t even met Chris yet. I was going to meet him three and a half months after that interview was conducted.

It has been a little under a year since I last convulsed, punched, kicked, hit, scratched, screamed and blamed Chris for leaving me. I have temporarily shelved my instincts in order to record what I’m feeling right now.

I wanted to punch my own eyes out. I wanted to scratch my face until it bled. I screamed out all of the stock grief reactions including, “I hate you!!!”, “You left me!!!”, “I’m fucked now!!!”, “I can’t do this without you!!!”, “Why, Creejie??!!!, Why??!! Why did you leave me???!!!” and a host of others. I’m sure I haven’t uttered the last of them.

Why can’t I scream like that in my sessions with Clay? It’s always only when I’m alone and nobody can help me. I scream for Chris to come back and help me but that is never going to happen. I want him to come help me so badly.

I have such vivid memories of our courtship. His brown corduroy jacket. Our hands holding each others’. The love. His peaked interest in me and mine in him. The unspoken decision to be with each other. The way our bodies were drawn together. What it felt like to not be alone. To be fool enough to think I would never be alone again. What the fuck was I thinking? I’m such an idiot. I’m such an idiot.

Time just keeps marching on despite my brain’s desire to shut it down. The further time gets,the farther my memories of the most beautiful relationship I have ever had the pleasure of being half of. It isn’t fair. I’m a good person. Why was everything in the world that mattered to me taken away? I can’t go on. The pain is too great. The feeling of knowing he was mine filled me with so much comfort and love and kept me in a sound state for six years. I never dreamed it could all end. I never dreamed that a rising folk singer could symbolize my entire relationship and the death of half of my very being. It’s dead. I’m carrying around charred, black, rotting, dead matter with me everywhere I go. It’s never going to end. I need him. And I no longer believe he’s with me. I feel deserted, alone, damned, an outcast of society. I feel raw.

How can 1999 be gone? How could it have happened so long ago? How could two people curious enough about each other become friends, fall in love and become two of the same people be split apart by a force greater than all forces?

I’m never going to find the same innocence in a man that I found in Chris. We were two young people enjoying learning about each others’ hearts and minds. I feel old now, while he will remain forever young. For the rest of my days, we will continue to grow apart.

I had always planned to look back and smile, with Chris by my side. Now I can’t seem to look back without falling into the blackness of having had no idea it was all going to end in six years. It was always going to end in six years. The joke was on me.

I’m so mad at the universe. I didn’t deserve this. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to sit here, sobbing, shaking, gagging and hating. I don’t know how to put love back into my life. I’m blinded by visions of Chris by my side, walking with me, kissing me, softly speaking in that “we’re just getting to know each other” tone, the smiles, the sweet surprises of uncovering truths about each other and being delighted by those truths. That all happened so many years ago. It’s all over now.

Shame on me for rating my life based on the presence of another human being, and not based on who I am from my inner core. He made me awesome. He made me loved. He made me not alone.

I can still feel how I felt six years ago, five years ago, four years ago, three years ago, two years ago one year ago and today. In fact, the past is all I can feel today.

Beyond what was, I have no feelings. What will be feels much to disrespectful.