Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Chris’ father, Howard, is very sick. He has congestive heart failure and emphysema and he was just told that he has anywhere from one day to six months to live. Howard is going to be dead.

I never had much of a relationship with Howard, but Chris was crazy about him. He never exactly said it, but I could tell by the half of the phone conversation I could hear that they really enjoyed each other. Chris was like Howard in so many ways, both of them quiet, sweet, funny. Howard always reminded me of Chris in so many ways. I haven’t seen or spoken with him since Chris died. I had thought about calling him afterwards, but never quite mustered up the courage to pick up the phone and dial his number.

Bonnie thinks Howard gave up after Chris died. Chris meant so much to him. His boy. She also believes that Howard lived vicariously through Chris. I think so, too.

Howard’s impending death has got my already-in-progress grief rising up again. I have heard that happens and now I know. I’m sad. So much has changed since Chris was diagnosed and it just keeps changing and changing. There really doesn’t seem to be any stability anymore. I don’t think it exists as anything more than an illusion we, as humans, hold onto so we don’t freak out. Everything is vanishing before my eyes. The man who created my man is not going to be here anymore.

Chris is gone. Howard will be gone. The house Beth lived in when I first met his family at the twins’ 1st birthday party is no longer her home. his truck is gone, the apartment he lived in when I met him, his smile, that voice, his aspirations, Johnny Damon and my sense of who the hell I am. Gone.

I think the fog is back. It’s milder this time, but it’s definitely back.

I want to know if Howard is going to see Chris as he is dying and if he’s going to go with him and be where Chris is. I want to go and be there too.

In some strange, bizarre way, I’m envious of Howard.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Start

Something is going on and it is making me very unsettled.

On my commute home this evening on the orange line, I suddenly realized that I had not thought about Chris for hours and hours. The thought brought on sadness and guilt and I found myself once again fearing the thought of forgetting him.

Later on, I relayed to Carol my fears concerning forgetting Chris and she gave me some very helpful advice. Carol asked me, “Can you call it something else? Instead of 'forgetting him" can you say that his cancer and death just are not the first thing on your mind anymore?”

I considered the thought and for a brief moment felt like I could breathe again, but then realized that at this precise moment, I can not say that, yet. To admit that is to let go of him and I am not yet prepared to do that. In that respect, I am feeling quite stuck.

The day Chris was diagnosed with cancer was the start of my realization that we all have very littlel control over events that occur in our lives. I have no more control now than I had then. With regard to Chris, I feel unable to control even myself. I want to let go, but instead I hang on. I need to right now. I do not have a real grasp of the reason for my reluctance to loosen my grip on him. The feeling is an instinctive one. I am not really sure what to do about it.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

White Knuckled Grip

I’m confused about the shape my life is taking. I spent eight hours rehearsing for my show this weekend, which was the most fun I have had in a long time, and then another hour auditioning for another show in which I did not get cast.

I was just thinking how Chris thought I was good enough no matter what. I’m not talking about my singing or acting. I mean that whenever I faced rejection in the theater world, I would come home and express my dejection and he would softly tell me that there would always be more plays to audition for. Something about his calm, matter-of-fact delivery always made me feel reassured, validated and worth something.

I thought I would get cast tonight because I felt like I had Chris watching over me. Then when i didn’t get cast, I thought it was because Chris had other plans for me, that maybe he was saving a place for me after next Monday’s audition. Why do I do that? Why have I made everything in my life a product of what Chris is doing for me. Wherever he is now, I’m sure there are more pressing matters than my budding community theater career. I need to stop placing Chris behind everything I do and everything I want. I have brought him back into my life to assuage the loneliness and the panic brought on by his eternal absence. I’m not sure if it’s healthy for me to think this way. Clay will say it’s fine. He says everything’s fine.

Chris’ illness and death are becoming distant in my memory and that terrifies me. I need him in the forefront of my mind. This is so bad for me, but I can’t let go. I feel bad that he had to die and I can’t just plug somebody else into my life. I don’t even want to. Except that I do want to. I’m so damaged that I can’t imagine anybody being able to endure me.

I’m confusing myself. It’s probably best if I stop trying to write about it just now.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Love is a Little Piece of a Sausage

It’s midnight. I have to get up at 5:30, but I have been reluctant to go to the bedroom.

This evening at rehearsal, I couldn’t wait to get home the entire time. I wasn’t in the mood to work at anything, even music.

I began to cry on the drive home. I think all of these thoughts about dating have pushed me off balance again. I cried very hard when I got into my apartment. I talked to Chris, telling him that I wish he was here that I want him back that I want him not to be dead and everything else I always tell him when I’m in that state of mind. Tonight was rough.

I need to go to bed so I won’t be tired tomorrow, but I’m having that all too familiar feeling of reluctance. I don’t want to go. I want my life to return to what it was before Chris got sick and I want us to have a second chance. But that isn’t going to happen. There is no second chance.

I don’t think I can be with somebody else. The thought of looking across the table and seeing someone other than Chris is too much for me to handle. I dabble, here and there, in thoughts of dating. I almost joined eHarmony. I almost joined Match.com. I browse the sites, but I just can’t bring myself to join. I don’t know what to do.

Chris used to make pasta with vegetarian sausage. He was insistent upon boiling the sausages in water before frying them in a pan, even though they were vegetarian. I used to make fun of him for his cooking habits because he followed directions precisely and refused to stray. Whenever he made pasta and sausage, he would cut a little piece off of a sausage and bring it over to me to eat. It sounds so trivial, but it was special. He knew I wanted to try just a little piece so he would always bring me one.

I’m not going to be able to give another man a chance. I know it. I’m just going to keep seeing Chris in my mind and crashing every time I return to the present and see whoever is really there.

I don’t want to imprison myself, but I’m doing it. Maybe it just isn’t time, yet. I feel pressure. I promised myself I wouldn’t spend another year alone. I think I’m just weakened tonight.

I’m going to get up and force myself to go to sleep.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Truth Beneath the Truth

I’m scared tonight.

I keep thinking, “I’m nothing without my Creej.” Sometimes it is so difficult to let go and even more difficult and shocking to realize that he has been gone for fifteen and a half months. That’s over a year. Where did the time go and why does it feel like I just saw him yesterday? And why do I feel like he’s with me despite the fact that he is physically gone? And I still ask myself, “Where is he? Where did he go?” Will I go there, too? Will I see him? Will we be together, again?

It’s tough to feel like my time is running out. If they don’t already, people are going to begin feeling as though I’m not supposed to still be hurting. Once that happens, I won’t be able to talk about it anymore.

The truth is that I am still kicking and screaming, desperate for all of this not to be true. I feel as though I have buried Chris’ illness deep inside my psyche where I will keep it so I never have to remember what he went though...what we went through, again.

But it doesn’t feel good and I need to find a way to exhume the truth and toss it around and around and around until I can arrive at a conscious sense of peace.

The trouble is I don’t know how.

Separate Together

This evening, a memory popped into my mind of me being on a bus from San Diego to Los Angeles. I remembered that the bus pulled over to the side of the road and some customs officers boarded and asked everyone to show their passports. I began to become scared because I didn’t have one and I thought they weren’t going to let me go home. When they approached me, I nervously told them that I didn’t own a passport and the officer said it was okay and bypassed me. I guess they were more concerned with illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico into L.A.

Suddenly, I couldn’t remember why, on earth, I would have been on a bus from San Diego to L.A. without Chris. I distinctly remembered being there but why would i have traveled anywhere without him? I wished I could ask him. That’s what I would have done if he was here with me now. He would have cleared it all up for me

It took a few moments for me to remember that one of my friends had traveled to San Diego and I decided to meet her there and have a weekend visit while she was in town. Chris stayed home. He once traveled to Las Vegas alone to meet one of his friends there for the weekend while I stayed home.

I loved that about us.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Maybe I won't live to be 80. Won't that be a treat?

Sunday, April 9, 2006

39 Down. 41 To Go.

This entry comes on the heels of a conference call I had to dial into for work this morning at 4;00 AM. My new job is so completely fulfilling that I am excited about being part of the team and I was happy to participate at that ungodly hour. Chris would be so proud of my career. Maybe he is. I know that I am.

Before I go back to sleep for the next forty-five minutes to prepare for breakfast with my family, I wanted to attempt a verbalization of my thoughts and emotions from yesterday, now that I have somewhat processed them:

The closing episode to Six Feet Under was one of the most well-done television episodes of any show I have ever seen. The show was extremely thought-provoking and so creative and original.

I knew I had been deeply affected the moment the closing credits began to roll.

Life is strange. I don’t really understand it, anymore. I am so afraid of living to be eighty years old and having to wait another forty-one years before I see Chris again.

There are so many things for which I now have a connection and an understanding that I never had before. I now know what Eric Clapton was singing about in the lyrics to “Tears in Heaven. “ Will Chris remember me? Will he know who I am? Will I be attractive to him at eighty? He’ll still be thirty-four when I’m eighty. Will he still love me? Will he know me? Will he even be waiting?

When Ruth Fisher (Six Feet Under’s mom) grieved the loss of her son due to his death and the loss of her granddaughter due to her mother taking her back, I understood the depth of her pain. I remembered the day I returned home after running away to Hadley and Keene in the days following Chris’ death. I still have no idea how long I was gone. A couple of days? A week? I can’t remember. I know I was out of work for five weeks because I know the day he died and the date that I returned, but without physical numbers, I can’t remember much else about time. Ruth’s anguish reminded me of Bonnie and my heart broke for her.

I now wonder why we, as human beings, are here. Yesterday, I had a very clear-minded view about what life is. I was able to see it as a game. A fun game. As spirits, do we stay on the other side and talk about what life we’re going to live next and what we hope to accomplish there as though it’s a sporting event? Is Chris on the other side rooting me on and regenerating his battery for the next life? Can his exit from this life be compared to the third out in a baseball inning? He’s not in the game anymore but the rest of his teammates are and we’re still doing the best job we can to make something of our lives, never forgetting the impact he had on our team, always crediting him for the work he did and the mark he left and the inspiration he provided. When Johnny and Nomar left the Sox, the team didn’t quit playing baseball. They continue on until it’s their time to leave and when it is their time, they move onto another team or into another life stage, or they cross over, too. Yesterday, I saw death as nothing more than the next step, or a recharging station. I could feel it. We’re in the game. We’re out. We’re resting. We’re back in the game. Rookies come in. Veterans go out. And then it’s time for a new game.

Yesterday sparked an urge within me to see far away places, to take chances that will propel me into other stratospheres out of my comfort zone.

With forty-one years to go, I would be remiss to close my eyes to any possibilities.


Friday, April 7, 2006

The Best Gift, Ever!

Lately, I have been feeling hurt that Chris hasn't tried to visit me. I was just talking to Clay (therapist) yesterday, telling him the story of how I have guilt about not buying Chris the scotch glasses he asked for. Instead, I bought other ones I thought he would like more. He didn't like them more and I always felt bad that I didn't listen to what he really wanted. last night, I told Clay that my only regret is the "glass incident" and I expressed my anger that Chris doesn't visit me and my wish that he could come tell me that it's okay, that it doesn't matter at all, now and that he loves me. We both agreed that as regrets go, this one is pretty benign.

Then this happened:

I just got a phone call from Kelly, a woman who works at my company with whom I am friendly. She left a message on my voicemail this morning in which she seemed as though she was busting at the seams to tell me about her experience last night.

The temporary employee who covers for Kelly’s vacations is a woman named Linda. Linda is an actress/singer and a student at Emerson College who is currently working on a project for a film class she is taking. Last night she held a focus group in which Kelly participated, along with a host of other folks whose job it was to watch a student film and provide commentary.

While watching the film, Kelly noticed a woman come out onto the screen, get shot, and hit the floor. She thought the woman looked familiar but wasn’t sure so they watched it again and suddenly she realized with surprise and delight that the person who just got shot was none other than ME! Kelly couldn’t wait to call me and tell me.

Imagine that. What are the chances that a girl with whom I am friendly in a company of 30,000+ employees would be in a focus group of another girl I have actually worked with in the past who goes to Emerson College and is taking a class in which she was assigned MY husband’s senior project to analyze??!! She didn’t pick it. It was assigned to her.

Chris just swooped down and found a way to say hello to me, hug me, kiss me, envelope me in love, reassure me and remind me of the fun we had together that day at the office of Shear Madness with all of his friends around.

I am so full of love right now. I love him for that.

I am astounded, chilled, amazed, euphoric and bewildered.

My faith in my husband’s love for me is restored.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

What am I doing in Natick?! My husband’s dead!

That’s the way it hits me when it hits. I panic and remember what I forgot and feel guilty for forgetting it.

I should feel happy for the moments that are free of memories of our ordeal but instead I feel panic and guilt. How can I rejoice in song?

Tonight's rehearsal was in Natick and when I have rehearsal and it runs late and I get tired and I have to drive forty minutes to get home, panic sets in and I can't believe a year and a half has passed and I'm now in Natick, Massachusetts rehearsing for a show that's opening in three weeks. It doesn't mean a fraction of what it used to mean to me.

I get to be sultry and sexy on stage and all I can think is that Chris would have gotten a kick out of it.

I’m awake and my nerves are taut, preventing me from relaxing. I wish I could cry, but so far I’m having no luck. I just feel a dead weight in my heart.

And I still feel like a made a HUGE mistake losing him, like I must have done something, or forgotten to do something, like I left the baby on top of the car.It’s an awful feeling of having forgotten to do something.

Oh yeah! I forgot to keep my husband! Of course.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006


Talking about how I’m doing helps me cope. When somebody I see regularly suddenly comments on how I seem to be doing or asks me how I’m doing, I feel better. It’s easy to feel alone in my position and when somebody lets me know that I’m not alone just because a period longer than a year has passed, I feel embraced, accepted and free to share my experiences.

I rode the train home with my boss this evening. She is an incredibly wonderful person who is very warm, unafraid to be herself, spirited and just plain adorable. We chit-chatted about many subjects and just a few moments before the train reached my stop, she asked me if I have noticed, since Chris died, that having time to do nothing is more difficult. Before I answered, she added that although she does not see me in my darkest moments, she thinks I am doing a remarkable job coping, considering the short amount of time since his death.

I replied that time alone is especially difficult when I am sick because of the isolation and my half drugged-out state from any cold medicines I ingest. I elaborated that having all of that time and a whole lot of tendency toward daydreaming/imagining causes my grief to multiply and wreak havoc.

Basically, I can daydream myself into believing that Chris is coming home tonight, that he'll walk through the door just like he used to. I can still hear my favorite sound, that of his keys turning the lock in the door and my brain enters a state of nirvana in which all is right with the world. Inevitably I come to, as I must, and realize that I have just been daydreaming. At that very moment, Chris dies all over again in my mind and a tidal wave pulls me into the grief undertow, slamming me around on the jagged rocks below and gashing me open, blood flowing out of me like scathing red tears.

Spending three days at home, sick, alone and having wonderful daydreams crash back into reality is exhausting business and, at times, returning to work can be more restful than resting in bed.

I need to talk about what happened. I need to talk about Chris. I need to talk about cancer. For some reason, I feel better when I talk to people who ask me out of curiosity and not out of obligation or for therapeutical reasons. I’m not sure why. For some reason, I’m able to talk to these people without crying, stating the facts of my situation and my fears without losing control.

People that talk to me matter-of-factly about what I have been through and what it was like and the worst of it and the start of it and the end of it make me feel as though I am being acknowledged. It happened. I don’t have to bury it with the passing of any certain stretch of time.

In just a few moments of conversation, my boss validated my feelings and my process.

Monday, April 3, 2006

My Love

Today, on day five of my common cold,I caught myself thinking “I’m going to be sick forever.” I felt ashamed as my mind shifted to thoughts of Chris and how he truly must have felt as though he was going to be sick forever. He endured fourteen months of fatigue so overwhelming that all he could do was remain on the couch or in bed, sleeping for five days straight every two weeks. How does a person go on, find hope or find the strength to entertain the idea that things might turn out okay in the end?

I don’t know how he held on. I only know that he let go with the arrival of the second diagnosis. I could tell something was different. His fight was gone. I knew he wasn’t going to fight this time. Mentally, he was exhausted and beaten.

For the past four days I have drifted in and out of sleep, my mind taking me on trips through memories I would rather not explore. In my half-conscious states of this past weekend, I have remembered diagnosis # 1, Chris’ phone call to his family to break the news, all of my fears of the threat of his death, his hair-loss and loss of dignity and countless other points on the timeline.

I also remembered his sweetness, the way he looked at me, the rose he brought me when we met for dinner at Bangkok Basil, the boxes of four Godiva chocolates he periodically surprised me with, which I always split with him.

There were times this weekend when I forgot that Chris is dead. Of course, the trouble forgetting he’s dead is that after each warm memory, he dies all over again and again.

I have loved and trusted nobody in my lifetime the way that I loved and trusted Chris. He trusted me, too. I would give anything to have him back in my life

My days can be so cold. This morning, in my drugged out flu-ish state, I drove my car to the shop, left it and walked home the fifteen minutes in the cold. Later on, I walked the fifteen minutes back to the garage in a feverish spacey haze, picked up the car and went shopping for food. Again, I was struck with memories of teamwork past. Chris would drop off the car. I would pick it up. I would be sick. He would go grocery shopping while I slept. and when I staggered out of the bedroom, too well rested to go back to sleep, I would sit and watch the Red Sox with him.

God, I miss the Red Sox. It just isn’t the same without him. I hated sports. He made me like baseball. Chris knew so much. He knew stats, history, players, injuries, strategies. No matter what he said was happening, Jerry Remy would repeat it seconds afterwards amazing me the way a magician amazes his audience. I was truly impressed’

I’m in a little bit of a rut today in which I feel as though I am never going to feel better. I just want him back. Chris was everything to me. I don’t even know if I can ever give another man a chance. The way I feel now, he could never fill Chris’ shoes, never be as funny or as loving or as perfect for me. What if I’m alone for the rest of my life?

It would be my own fault. It would be God’s fault. It would be my own fault. I don’t know who’s fault it would be. I’m still mad at God. I loved him, too, but I really don’t understand how this happened. I try to believe that I’m part of something bigger and that everything that happiness has to happen in order for us to reach our destiny. I don’t want to be alone. I want to go see Chris. I want to be with him.

If I could disappear and find a place where I could curl up into a ball with Chris and put my arms around him, I would tell him I’m sorry. I’m sorry this happened. I’m sorry you had to leave. I’m sorry you had to hurt. And I’m sorry I have to live out the rest of my life without you. If I could wrap my arms around him the way I did every single day, I wouldn’t have a shred of worry left in my entire being.

I have so much pain.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Welcome Back, Grief.

Well, I guess I’m done suppressing. Grief came crashing down on me again, reducing me to a puddle of incoherent, quivering jello.

My vacation from grief was a nice, much needed one which I enjoyed for its duration, but tonight I had to fall. Everything got to be too much.

I spent about forty minutes this afternoon scrolling through personal ads, looking at pictures of men whom I can never imagine sitting across from me. Nobody looked like Chris. Nobody is Chris.

I don’t want somebody new but if I want somebody at all, I have to get used to the idea that he will be new, different, not at all like Chris. We won’t meet the same way. We won’t be the same way. He won’t love me the same way. We won’t go to the same places or do the same things or talk to each other the same way.

I don’t want to try. I just want it to happen. How can I be ready when I can’t even stop crying?

I wish I got to see how Chris and I would have turned out together.

I am aware that I sound like a broken record. The broken part is right. I am broken. I wish I had something new to say, but the truth is that the same thoughts penetrate my consiousness every moment of every day of every week.

I miss him. I want him back. I want him well. I want him to have never gotten cancer. I want us to have the chance to put it all back together on the east coast the way that we planned. I want us to be as happy as we were that first week we arrived back in Boston. I want to still watch “The Sopranos” with him and I want to come home to him cooking dinner for us. I want to wake up knowing that I have to be quiet for a couple of hours so he can enjoy the morning paper, even though I’m busting at the seams to talk to him.

What we had was special. It was close. Warm. Trusting. A true partnership.

I must not be ready, yet.