Sunday, July 30, 2006

Relearning and Old Lesson

Today, I had a “psychic" reading done in Salem, MA, even after submitting the following answer to a question posed by my Psychology professor not more than three weeks ago.

Q: Describe your understanding of and beliefs about ESP and other paranormal phenomena.  For example, are you more or less inclined to believe that phenomena such as telepathy exist? 

A: My fascination with extra sensory perception has waned quite a bit in the past decade as my suspicion has grown to occupy a more prominent part of my reasoning.
I used to visit a self-proclaimed "psychic" periodically, mostly for fun and the thrill of dancing with the unknown. This woman read my tarot cards and always seemed dead-on with her interpretations of the occurrences in my life as well as my emotions.
When I was in my twenties my astonishment was overwhelming. The experience of having a person who did not know me tell me what had happened in my life during the past year and how I was feeling about it was more magical than a David Copperfield illusion. I was astounded by what this "psychic" knew about me. I didn’t tell her at thing…or did I? Whatever I may have told her, I conveniently shelved in the name of believing.
Having exited that decade and finding myself now standing on the cusp of my fourth decade of life my opinion about ESP, clairvoyance and precognition have become tarnished (or scrubbed) with cynicism.
Thinking back, I now realize that the “psychic” told me nothing specific about my life and anybody who looks at me long enough can read my emotions like a book. Beyond that, she never predicted anything about my future. She only told me what had already happened and what I was feeling. I was young and impressionable and easily absorbed and accepted every word as the truth. I wanted her to be real. I wanted to be able to do what she did. I wanted to think somebody could see into my soul and my life and my past.
Presently, the aspects of the paranormal that I am unsure about (in a positive way) are past lives, reincarnation and the place behind the veil. My personal experience has made denying the existence of such phenomena extremely difficult for me. I have a tendency toward believing there is a place human beings go after their time on earth where they can see, guide and help the loved ones they have left behind and where they rejoin with loved ones who had previously left them behind. I also feel as though we can sometimes be visited by our deceased loved ones through dreams, other living human beings and our own thoughts.

I am ashamed of myself. I feel like I made an impulsive choice and that choice cost me $60.00 I could have used for a better purpose. I am very angry with myself for wanting to have a "psychic" reading when I knew damn well that I already believed it was all crap. Grrrrrr.

I told the "psychic" I wanted to know about my best friend. I didn’t tell him that this best friend I wanted to contact was actually my deceased husband. I thought if he was a true "psychic", he would have been able to “see” that.

He shuffled the tarot cards, had me pull seven of them out of the deck and began asking me questions.

"psychic": Is your friend very tall, like 6’1”?
me: No.
"psychic": Does he have light brown hair?
me. No.
"psychic": Is he 5’10” ?
me: No.
"psychic": Describe him to me.
me: Dark hair.
"psychic": And dark brown eyes.
me: Yeah.
"psychic": Do you want to sleep with him? You want more than you have with him? Does he want to sleep with you?
me: He’s actually no longer “with us.”
"psychic": Oh. (sweeps up the tarot cards and takes both of my hands in his and begins chanting “This is a full "psychic" reading.”) Were you married to him?
me: Yes.
"psychic": Now, did he die suddenly or was the progression a slow one?
me: Slow.

From this point on, the "psychic" lectured me on aspects of love and aspects of grief, never getting back to channeling Chris or predicting anything about my life. I was exhausted and bored and I kept looking at him like he was full of shit. I know he knew I didn’t believe a word he was saying, but he still won. When I left, he was $60 richer and I was out 60 bucks.

I feel dumb. This was a dumb thing to do. I already knew I was a skeptic but I went ahead anyway. Oh well. Now I know and as I stated earlier, “Grrrrrr.”

Chris would not be happy with me for blowing the money. I feel guilty and I feel stupid. I won’t be going to anymore "psychic"s although past life regressions aren’t out of the question.

I have had a very busy two days. I went to Hadley to visit Bonnie, my mother-in-law and Chris’ mother on Friday. After that, I came home and went to sleep. Saturday, I got up at 7:30am and didn’t stop running until 11:30pm. I have a house guest who arrived Saturday night and will be staying possible through tomorrow. My grief is suppressed until I get into bed and break down tonight.

It’s really hard when I can’t just burst into tears. I need to be alone a lot and if I don’t get enough time to just grieve my loss, things in my life become chaotic. I need to cry.

I can’t believe I was sitting around with three friends this evening talking about dating. This was never supposed to be my life. I already got married. It was supposed to last. I was never supposed to be in this position again. I liked my life with Chris. It was my life. I finally found what I had been searching for my entire life. He was here. He was next to me. He was with me. How did this happen? How is it possible that I’m sitting around talking about dates? I hate it. I hate it.

I keep finding myself in a perpetual state of shock as I realize he’s dead and wish he wasn’t and think he’s in contact with me and realize that even if that’s true, it doesn’t make him alive and it doesn’t bring him back and he’s not coming back. This is permanent, not temporary. He’s gone. I lost him. He’s not coming back.

After our readings, we visited a friend who is happily married and has an 11 month old baby boy. She and her husband are cute together. They bought a gorgeous condo together. They live in a lovely part of town. They’re happy. They have each other. It seems to me that I am the only fool who used to be married and is now alone. I feel so stupid.

Why can’t I stop searching for him? I need him so much.

Everything hurts. My skin hurts. My follicles hurt. I’m willingly, yet reluctantly dating.

And I am still lost without him.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Bargaining up the Wrong Tree

I loved Chris with everything I had in me. I loved him and I miss him every day of my life. I think about the times we spent together and the style in which we interacted. His sense of humor was beautiful and unique, offbeat, quirky and it matched my own sense of humor completely. I don’t know how to go forward always thinking that whatever love I find in my life will be less than that. Less loving. Less beautiful. Less funny. Less.

A few weeks ago, I told Clay that I had been angry with him and that I didn’t know why. As far as I could tell, I just targeted him because he’s the therapist and he has to deal with everything I do and say and that’s just too bad. I realized the reason for my anger this past week.

Somewhere deep inside of me, I still feel like Chris’ absence is temporary, like he’s going to come back eventually and then we can resume our life together. The thought is not a conscious one, rather more of a feeling.

Since I have been seeing Clay, I have been thinking that if I’m good, and I come every week and try to sort through my feelings, that then I can have Chris back. Furthermore, I have been feeling as though Clay has the power to give him back to me and each week that didn’t happen, I became angry with him for not doing it. It sounds absurd, but as I mentioned, the thought has not been on a conscious level. I think my behavior fits nicely into the “bargaining” stage of grief. Clay won't give Chris back to me because Clay's power does not lie within the ability to ressurrect the dead, but in the ability to help ressurrect the spirits of the living who have been left behind by the dead. In silently begging Clay to give him back, I'm afraid I have been bargaining up the wrong tree.

If there was a person who had the power to give Chris back to me but wouldn’t, I would fight that person to the death. I would punch, kick, claw and pummel until there was nothing left between me and Chris and then I would pick Chris up and run with him until we reached a safe place where I could nurse him back to health until he was strong enough to help himself. And nobody would ever take him away from me again.

I wish it was that easy. I have a big problem. I want to spend the rest of my life with a man who died, but instead I’m going on a third date with Marc, who’s very nice and who is about to find out about the grief I have been experiencing because I am going to tell him about it. He already knows my husband died and he knows when and he knows the story. In order to let him in a little, I think it’s fair to tell him about what it’s like for me and how guilty I feel and just how hard coping has been for me.

Try as I might, I can’t bring myself to tell him I don’t want to see him anymore. I do want to. Even if every date sends me into the eye of a grief-storm for the better part of the week to follow.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Sweet Daydream

I am aware that I have not been drinking enough water and since I like to run, I suppose I am at risk for dehydration if I do not start hydrating myself on a regular basis.

Relaxing on my sofa, a glass of water by my side, I began to daydream about dehydration. I daydreamed myself into the hospital, resting in a hospital bed.

I open my eyes and see Chris sitting by the bed. He says, “You might die. We haven’t decided, yet.” I say to him, “I wanna die.” and he smiles, shrugs his shoulders and replies, “Aw, thanks, Shneed.” I smile at him and close my eyes.

(White Out)

Sunday, July 23, 2006


I guess I have been feeling overwhelmed this weekend. Initially, I thought the source of my anxiety was my final exam, but now that the end of the day has come and gone, I realize that I have been running, running, running away from my grief since Friday evening just barely managing to stay one step ahead of an explosion.

Grief is like a volcano, sometimes quiet and cool and sometimes fiery and explosive, spewing molten lava and burning everything in it’s path. During the quiet times, it’s hard to imagine that an eruption will ever occur and imagining an upcoming episode or remembering a prior eruption is never quite as intense as when I find myself in the throes of a new one.

Friday night I went to a jazz concert. Saturday I went to a friend’s house and then to a voice lesson. I began to wander, aimlessly, after that but intercepted my thoughts of shopping with thoughts and the accrual of a delicious super sized carnitas burrito which I chased down with a bunch of watermelon. Running around and eating usually stave off the grief for a while until I can no longer contain myself. Right after that I took a Tylenol PM, watched the Fugitive and fell asleep. This morning, I cleaned, went to a meeting, shopped, washed laundry, visited my sister, went food shopping and finally came home.

In between all of that stuff, I found the time to snap at one of my closest friends. I struck like a cobra, unleashing my pent up rage all over him. I felt awful. I was venomous. I was angry. It wasn’t his fault. I called and left a voicemail apologizing to him and when I hung up the phone, all of the gurgling, toxic grief finally came bursting out.

I sat at my vanity, my spirit collapsing as it sometimes does, burying my head in my folded up arms and sobbed uncontrollably. Sometimes I feel small in the midst of my grief. My heart ached, my head ached and I sat for as long as I needed to, allowing sadness to take over. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see. Existing hurt.

I came out into the living room, inserted our wedding DVD into the player and watched us for the first time since the one-year mark. Seeing us happily wed destroyed me. Sometimes I can’t understand or believe what happened. He was 34. How could this have happened? I was happy. We were happy. None of it is fair.

When I was finished, I felt very tired. But I felt better. I visited my sister for a while, went food shopping with another friend and swallowed an Ativan to squish down the second onslaught of grief that threatened to resurface.

I need to remind myself that grief is turbulent. It’s a bucking bronco, throwing me and stomping on me until I’m writhing around on the ground trying to avoid getting crushed. It bats me around like a feline bats a trapped mouse around.

That’s what grief does.

I’m tired. I’m shaky. I’m afraid it will come again. It will come again. There’s no doubt.

Marc invited me out this evening but I declined. I was in no frame of mind to think about my future. I was buried in my past and that’s exactly where I wanted to be today.

Fugitive Heart-String

Last night I watched “The Fugitive” starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. Chris used to say “That’s a GREAT movie.”

I lay on my back on the sofa with pillows under my head and closed my eyes, opening them for the parts that got my attention. I daydreamed, quietly crying in between scenes.

I wished Chris was there watching the movie with me. In the flash of a second, I even though about calling him up to let him know it was on. I yearned to open my eyes and see him sitting at the other end of the couch smiling at me.

When I could no longer keep myself awake (or half-awake) I turned off the television, blew out my candles and headed into my bedroom where I fired up the other tv to the same channel. I half-watched the rest of the film and when it ended, a voice announced that another showing of the movie was coming right up. I felt comforted. I needed it to be on. I needed to feel Chris.

With the help of a Tylenol PM, and since I can’t seem to fall asleep on my own these days, I drifted into slumber. I dreamed that Chris was standing before me in his black pants and T-shirt. I extended my arms way overhead, stepped close to him and brought them down, wrapping them around his neck just as I always did. We stood there embracing and Creej said, “It’s gone, Shneed. It’s gone.” , meaning his cancer.

I still feel comforted, and I feel as though our hearts are connected across the veil by a single, eternal heart-string.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

All work and no play...(You know the rest.)

I was going to stay in last night after work since I have a psychology final exam this Monday evening. None of my friends were around and I finally succumbed to the thought that I would sit home, study a little, grieve a lot and then go to sleep.

Instead, I went to see my friend perform at a Thai food restaurant in Salem. One of my friends was there, so we enjoyed dinner and wine and fun music. I’m glad I went.

Today, my plan was to stay in all day and study for my exam and then go to my voice lesson at 4:00. It’s a good plan. However, one of my friends invited me over before my lesson to have coffee. I gave him a solid, stern, “No.” and we hung up. The moment I put my phone down, I picked it back up, called him back, and said I would come over at 2:00. Go me. Way to flip responsibility the bird.

I have just opened up my laptop to begin studying, but as you can see, I began writing this instead. Is there no hope for me?

I’m ready to give barbeque-guy a name. His name is Marc. Saying it feels good. Even though every one of our dates has been followed up with an overwhelming, crushing grief setback, once the dust settles, I feel good about him. I’m still scared. I’m still sad. But I like knowing he’s around. We don’t talk too much at this point. We each have our very busy separate lives. That’s a good thing because if I had met someone who was all about pushing things forward too fast, this could all be too much for me. This almost-no-pace-at-all is exactly what I need.

I had invited him to come with me last night earlier in the week and he didn’t call to answer me either way. I didn’t mind. I just figured he didn’t want to come. Then last night, he called me up and sincerely apologized for not calling me. His week went by so fast that he finally looked at the e-mail again and realized that last night was the night. I didn’t mind. It’s okay if he didn’t want to come. He’s stressed out about his time and I don’t mind that, either. Building trust is about accepting those things about others . If that’s who he is, then that’s who I have met and I just want to begin building trust and letting him know that it’s all okay.

We get along nicely. He reminds of Chris in a lot of ways. Good ways. Even his time-neurosis, although with Chris it was a money-neurosis. He has personal interests. So do I. So did Chris.


I just hope Chris is holding my hand through this. I really need him to.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Feeling Better

A friend of mine who lost both parents to cancer within very close proximity of one another said something interesting the other day.

She mentioned that for years she would lapse in and out of grief-depression for two weeks before any anniversary (meaning any “first”) and it would last for two weeks after each anniversary. That cycle is so familiar to me.

July 4th was a big anniversary day for me and today, roughly two and a half weeks later, I am beginning to feel better again. Lighter.

I’m feeling better about barbeque-guy today. I invited him out this Friday night to see a friend of mine sing.

I do need to talk with him and just let him know how sad I have been feeling and how dating is affecting me grief-wise. It’s only fair. I want him to know. I need him to know. He already understands. I could go on forever trying to find reasons why we should not be together or I can face my fear, guilt and anxiety and give it a go. Honesty is called for and I plan to deliver.

Boy, it feels nice to feel better.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Date-Induced Grief Wave

I’m lonely. I don’t know what I want. I only know that I’m sad and that I don’t like to come home anymore.

I have found myself thinking a lot about marijuana and alcohol lately. I won’t indulge in either one, but I have made a mental note that I have been experiencing some desperation as of late. I feel as though I am standing before three tunnels. One leads to a room full of Ativan. One leads to a room full of alcohol. One leads to a room full of marijuana. I don’t want to go down either one of them. I just want to feel okay again and I’m really not sure that I ever will.

I used to begin getting excited to come home an hour before work ended. There was only one hour separating Chris and me, then.

Grief has been having me for breakfast all month. I don’t know what to do. Befriend it? Envelope myself in it? Live alongside it? I don’t know.

I finally realized why I feel as though Clay can’t always help me and why I sometimes feel as though I am mad at him long after I have gone home. The problem is that I can’t be helped. Chris is gone. Clay can’t get him back for me. If the problem was (and sometimes it is) low self-esteem, Clay knows what to say. When I’m afraid to go on a date, he pushes me (and I get defensive) but nonetheless, he knows what to do. But Clay can’t bring back the dead. I wish he could. I’m sure he wishes he could for his own reasons.

Despite my sadness, I am still forging ahead. The terrain is mountainous and treacherous these days, but I just keep going.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Razors, Knives and Omelettes

Chris was in my dream last night.

We were in a parking lot that had potholes in the ground. I was in the driver’s seat of my car and Chris was standing outside leaning on the door talking with me. He said, “I’m going to Baystate today.”, which, in my dream, was a seafood place where he was going to get lobster or clam chowder with his friends from Vermont. I said to him, “Do you have enough money?” He took out a ten dollar bill and some singles and I said, “Here. Take this.” and handed him a twenty dollar bill. He said, “Are you sure?” and I said, “Yes. Take it. Go have fun.” I was filled with all of the love I felt for him in life and as he left, I walked toward the back of my car and remembered that he had cancer and was going to die. I began crying.

When I woke up, I thought he was still alive and took a few moments to reorientate myself to the here and now.

My new Chicago Cutlery kitchen knives are awesome and beautiful with their stainless steel handles and blades to match. Buying them made me very happy since the only knife I had left broke in half a couple of weeks ago while I was trying to slice through a watermelon.

Since last weekend, I have been feeling very anxiety-ridden and depressed and basically unable to calm the beast within. Sleep did not come easy this past week.

Although I have conquered the art of dating, entertaining the idea of beginning a new relationship has proven to be intensely crushing. Thursday evening’s date weighed on my mind like a wet load of laundry this past week, and I was hard-pressed to find the ability within myself to relax and just live my day-to-day life. The date went well. Still, I was left with another back draft of grief.

Hungry for breakfast this morning, I meandered into the kitchen to make a mushroom, onion and cheese omellette. Chris loved my omelettes, which I always arranged on the plate garnished with fresh fruit and a sprig of whatever I could find (parsley, a daisy, a plant leaf). He complimented me every time on both the presentation and the flavor. “That looks great, Shneed! You make the best omelettes!” he would exclaim in his excited-about-food way and we would eat them, periodically glancing up to smile at each other.

This morning, I had to scrape the surface of the glass-top-stove with a razor blade. When I looked at the blade, I was filled with excitement. I finished scraping and put the blade back into the drawer.

I cooked the eggs the way I did when Chris was alive, in a large frying pan. Once firm enough, I cut the circular egg-form in half in the pan as though I was making one for each of us, except that this time, I used one half as the bottom, put the cheese on top and used the other half as the cover. As the omelette fried in the pan, I started to fall apart. What began as breakfast-prep culminated in a Vesuvian eruption of anger, despair and thoughts of transforming one of my new Chicago Cutlery cooking utensils into a Chicago Cutlery self-maming utensil.

This episode of grief was brought to you by an old journal entry of mine from 1999 in which I described the beginning of my relationship with Chris. I stated, “We have only been on two dates, but I feel like I have known him forever.”

The anger was powerful, as was the fantasy. I could hear the *glitch* as I thrust the blade into the back of my hand, and I could see the blood, all too artistic and beautiful, plum-red, dripping down the blade toward the handle, coating the stainless steel angel of death in my love for Chris.

I sunk to the floor, my arms still on the countertop, knife still in hand repeating over and over, “I hate you, I hate you I hate you for leaving me! I hate you. How could you leave me?! I don’t want to be with somebody else. I want to be with you!”

I suppose the fact that I refrained from stabbing myself because I knew there would be pain involved is good news that proves I don’t really want to hurt myself. I have come to know that episodes such as this only mean that I want my pain to end...and that I want Chris to come back and be with me. I can’t have the latter, so I keep working toward easing my pain.

The two-year anniversary is coming way too fast. I feel like I can’t handle it. It’s too much. T w o y e a r s. How can this be?

I sat and ate my breakfast, breathing in between mouthfuls since my nose was no longer functioning.

And now? I am through the grief with not so much as a scratch on me. I am still not at zero, but I am back at the same low-grade anxiety I have been feeling all week, which is about all I am capable of right now.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Nobody told me this was going to be easy, but after experiencing three successful dates, I began to feel really good about myself and my struggles, which led me to believe I had pushed past the tough part. Every time I think I have pushed past the difficulties encased within my grief I find out that I have really only pushed past a miniscule portion of my grief and the rest is yet to come.

On date #2, we enjoyed dinner and conversation and then moved to another restaurant for a cup of coffee for me and cup of tea for him. As the night progressed and I began to become tired, the magic began to retreat for me. I looked into his face as he talked and right before my eyes, his face flickered from his, to Chris’, back to his, back to Chris’ and so on. I wished I was enjoying an evening with Chris.

His face is different. He’s thinner.

Last night, on my way into slumber, I found myself wondering when the switch between “not love” and “love” happens. I remembered that there was a time when I didn’t yet love Chris. I remembered not even liking Chris. The truth is that after I had been seeing him for a couple of months, I told my therapist I wanted to break up with him. I was bored. He was too nice. He wasn’t for me. She encouraged me to let three more months pass before doing anything. I did, and ended up marrying the love of my life as a result. I remain ever-thankful to her for that priceless piece of advice.

I thought a lot on my drive home after last night’s date. I was frustrated that we don’t love each other, but that thought is absurd. We have been on two dates. Love takes a long time. Love might not even happen between the two of us. Who can say?

Instead of secretly picking on him for not being Chris, I remembered all of the events leading up to me and Chris falling in love and realized that all of it took quite a bit of time.

The important factor for me to be aware of is that even though every man’s face flickers back and forth from Chris’ face to their own, I need to remember that love took a long time to happen. I must not reject somebody for not being Chris because that would put me at risk for spending the rest of my life alone. I didn’t love Chris on our second date and I am not going to love any man on our second date. Love takes a long time to happen.

For now, I am just going to let my relationship with this man simmer in the pot. The ingredients are all there and the finished product is either going to be a tasty treat or not really what I feel like indulging in. The fact is that there is no way for me to know until the time for me to know arrives and the same is true for him.

My best course of action at this point is to continue what I am doing. Live my life. Have my fun. Be with my friends and family. And continue to see this man for as long as the uncertainty remains. Eventually I will know. Eventually, we will both know.


Monday, July 10, 2006

A Really Nice Man :(

All weekend I couldn’t stop the mantra in my head, “It should have been Chris. It should have been Chris. It should have been Chris.”

Self esteem is something I never really pay attention to until it disappears and it disappeared this past week, almost totally. I hated myself. H A T E D. My guess is that this man I met, and the way I feel about him, is causing me a tremendous amount of stress and grief mixed together. I like him a lot. He’s got the stuff I could fall in love with. He’s vulnerable, sweet, talkative, kind, easy-going.

I need to train myself to live in the present moment and I need to remind myself that this man may not be the next “one.” We have fun. He’s nice. I’m nice. That doesn’t mean this will amount to more than a hill of beans.

What if he finds out I’m depressed? What if he knew that I have cried every single night for the past week? Would he believe me if I told him that despite the fact that I cry, take an antidepressant and suffer from anxiety, that I’m really mostly happy? What if I can never prove that? What if he just doesn’t know what grief is like? He does, though. He lost his father, brother and sister. He knows. I just have to breathe and know that.

He knows about Chris. We talked at length about him on our first date. I wasn’t going to but he really wanted to know and he was so great about the whole thing, asking questions, relaying like experiences of his own, being compassionate and complimentary about how I seem to be handling it all. He’s a good guy. I just hope he can be patient. I think he can be.

I ran 5 miles this evening. Maybe I’m not really depressed. Maybe I just have my depressive episodes. Usually they occur when I’m alone and that’s a good thing. That’s what I need.

This is hard.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Cancer Chameleon or The Flavor of the Month

Today I am attending the wake of my good friend’s mother who died after an extremely cruel and long bout with ovarian cancer. There is too much cancer in this world and the numbers are climbing.

My psychology professor works at Dana Farber Cancer Institute helping children with cancer and their families work through the heinous disease. There is too much of it. It’s everywhere and anyone at all can become afflicted whether or not the gene is passed down within families. Cancer has to start somewhere.

So, of course I think I have cancer. “Why?”, you might ask. My menstrual period lasted ten days a couple of months ago, then regulated for two months and is still lasting this month on day six, when it should have ended on day five. So this month, I am paranoid that I have ovarian cancer. After all, it’s the cancer I am in contact with at the moment, the flavor of the month.

Basically, I have whatever cancer anybody I know is dealing with. I used to be certain that I had a tumor in my stomach during Chris’ illness. Back then, nothing was scarier to me than the thought of finding out I had cancer when the task of taking care of him was on me. The thought of being disabled when he needed me most was terror inducing.

Now, in the wake (no pun intended) of my friend’s mother succumbing to ovarian cancer, I am filled with anxiety that I have ovarian cancer, too.

I am a cancer chameleon, taking on the illnesses of everyone around me and this month, the flavor is ovarian.

Carol’s Addition...

Cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer-chameleon
You come and go
You come an go-oh-oh-oh
Cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer-chameleon...

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

A Trigger’s a Wonderful Thing

Today, my coworker called me from outside of the building after experiencing a haircut gone wrong. He was upset and stressed out about how he looked and informed me that he was going home to shave his head. Apparently, an eighty-something year old man with shaky hands took a very sharp set of clippers to his head and in between lopping off his hair, stated, “I need to get a towel.” My coworker said the haircut was the most painful he had ever received.

Trying to calm him, I told him I was sure his hair didn’t look as horrible as he thought. I told him to meet me in the alley at the door and told him I would take him out for a cup of coffee. We hung up.

I decided to viist the ladies room on my way out of the building and much to my utter surprise, I began crying on my way up the hallway. I closed the door behind me and said to myself, “Now THIS is very Chris-like.” and it was.

I was always trying to calm Chris, to take his pain away, even before he got cancer. I liked taking care of him. I felt bad for him when he felt bad. I wanted to make him feel better. Sometimes he didn’t want to feel better, but I always tried. That’s a truth about me: I take responsibility for the emotions of others. I would like to stop doing that.

So there I was in the ladies room, in tears because my coworker, who by the way is the same coworker from before who looks, sounds and behaves a lot like my Creejie, called in a huff to tell me how horrid his hair looked.

Granted, Chris never complained about his hairdo (until he lost his hair) but the flavor of the incident was so Robin-and-Chris that I was brought to tears.

I wish he was here.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Limping Forward

I met a man and we really like each other but I am horrified of what that means. I cannot leave Chris. I feel like I am walking out on him. I am very sad and very scared and very anxiety stricken...and very flatterred and hopeful and very smitten. This man is very nice. He is quite a catch. We get along very nicely. We seem to click.

He called me from the road today on his way to New York (making me feel special) and we chatted for a while. When I asked him if he took his planned bike ride he said, “Yes I did! Good memory! Thank you!”

Chris used to thank me for the little things. Can it be that I met somebody like Chris? Is it fair for me to even say that? I am not comparing him to Chris, I am just noticing the similarities. Why wouldn’t I want to be with somebody similar? Afterall, I love Chris and I devoted my life to us. It’s only natural that I would try to find similar qualities in my next soulmate.

Still, some people claim to know me better than I know myself, which is a quality I find to be inherently annoying. Many people in my life have worried about me and with good reason. I have been to hell and partway back and although I am more and more able to stand on my own as time passes, I am still grieving quite heavily. Despite my grief, I am absolutely ready to meet somebody to love. If I wait for the ever-evasive “complete recovery”, I may be sealing my fate. The possibility exists that I will limp through the remainder of my days. I need to get moving and keep working on myself instead of waiting for my spirit to heal. My spirit may never heal completely.

So this man makes me very happy. He makes me laugh. I make him laugh. He is brilliant, the intellectual type in my opinion, but also a sports fan, cyclist and all-around well-rounded guy. He seems very honest and very accepting. Of course, we have only been on one date (two, if you count his relaxing and morphing our “coffee-date” into a “bite-to-eat” date. I mean, really we had our second date right there on our first date!)

Lord, it is tough to let go and start over. I can still remember writing similar thoughts when Chris and I first began to notice we liked each other. I hate that I am forced to write the same type of thoughts about another man instead of reminiscing with Chris about how we met.

Anyway, as I stated, he called today and we talked for a while and decided to see each other again. I’m happy. Guilty, but happy.

And I feel like Chris is happy, too.

Half a Lorezapam to the Wind

I made it to Independence Day, but not without experiencing the constant, nagging anxiety to which I have grown accustomed, so accustomed that I can clearly recognize the level of unsettledness that lies directly between “I should take a lorezapam. “ and “I can do this by myself.”. One-thirty this morning was a very clear lorezapam moment, just half, though. Most of the problem was a basic lack of the ability to sleep.

My friend’s Boston Terrier has been staying with me for the past few days. Her mother is in hospice, dying from ovarian cancer and driving back and forth from MA to NH each day has become very hectic business for my friend, so I took her dog.

She’s very cute and has proved to be a nice distraction from my Fourth of July sadness. She doesn’t allow me to cry. The other night, I was crying on the couch and she jumped in my face, incessantly licking my tears until I stopped. Then last night she was sleeping way at the foot of my bed buried under the covers and I was at the head. I began crying silently (I thought) and unaware that she was still on grief-watch. I can’t seem to lay in bed without the distraction of the television without recalling the memories of Chris that destroy me the most. Within a couple of seconds, she dug her way out from under the covers and threw her entire body (albeit tiny) onto my face and just lay there looking worried. I laughed and that was the end of my tears for last night. She’s a good egg.

We just got back from a walk. After a few days of walking with her three times a day, I think it is safe to say that I no longer want a dog of my own. I’m always happy to have my little Shnookie-face spend some time with me, but having a dog of my own is a wish of the past, unless I can share the responsibility with somebody else.

I know I haven’t cried the last of my tears this long holiday weekend. Tomorrow I will be safely surrounded in others at work. It ain’t the nicest solution, but it works.

Safe Fourth

Sunday, July 2, 2006


This is what I have been terrified of looking up since it happened, and in case you haven’t guessed, I am still often too scared to refer to it as anything but “it.”

Obituaries » Tuesday - January 04, 2005

Christopher J. Burrage died at his home in Somerville surrounded by his family. He was 34 years of age. He was the husband of one year to Robin (Orloff) Burrage. Born in Springfield, MA, his family moved to Ludlow when he was 13 years old. Chris was 1988 graduate of Ludlow High School. Christopher went onto Saint Michael's College in Burlington, VT, graduating Cum Laude in 1991. He then received a Masters degree from Emerson College in Boston in 2002. Christopher went on to work various jobs in Radio and Audio production, working for Allston/Brighton Free Radio, Nurse Radio, volunteered at WBUR in Boston and most recently his dream job at Car Talk. Chris also held various positions with the production of Sheer Madness. He also spent 2 years in Los Angeles, CA working for HBO Movies in post production services. In addition to his wife he leaves his parents Bonita ''Bonnie'' (Janes) Krotkov and Howard Burrage. His grandmother Edna Janes and a sister Elizabeth Burrage of Amherst. He was the step- brother of Eric Krotkov of Philadelphia, Peter Krotkov of Sunderland, MA, Sonia Krotkov of Northampton, MA and Jasmine Krotkov of Montana. Also survived by 2 nieces Hannah and Emily Worpek, 2 aunts and 2 cousins. A Memorial Service will be held on Monday January 17 at 10am at Toby Friends Meeting House, 194 Long Plain Rd. (Route 63), Leverett, MA. Please dress casual. In Lieu of flowers the family requests you make contributions in Christopher's name to Dana-Faber/Jimmy Fund, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th Flr., Brookline, MA 02445-7226.
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Memorial Service for Christopher J. Burrage
To be held Monday, January 17th, 2005 at 10am at the Mt. Toby Friends Meeting House, 194 Long Plain Road (Rte 63, Leverett, MA.) Please feel free to bring photographs and stories for sharing. For more information, please contact Bonnie Krotkov at 549-6627.
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