Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The last page.

I have decided to end this blog. This is the entry I will make here. If you have been reading, I hope I have helped by sharing my process with you. We all have the strength within us to move our lives forward. I wish peace to everybody who has ever been left behind by a loved one and suffered the raging throes of grief. May you find the strength within yourself to overcome someday soon. Happiness awaits each and every one of us.

I have entered into rewrites of the content of this blog and when I am finished and satisfied that my writings accurately reflect my journey of the past three years, I am going to seek to get them published.

So without further adieu, I give you my last entry.

I’m done.

I have made a decision to stop putting grief in the lead. From now on, I’m going to be in the lead.

I want to move on. I want to say goodbye to Chris. I’m tired and I’m ready to start the goodbye process.

I feel so much better about Carol’s new relationship. I have hated these past few weeks of grief responses. I am a different person now.

I sat on the floor in front of my full-length mirror this evening, trying to see all the way into my own soul, through my eyes. I kept repeating, “I am not Christopher J. Burrage wife, anymore. I am not married to Christopher J. Burrage. We are not a couple. It’s over. That story is all a part of my past.” I uttered the serenity prayer until it made sense. I can’t control what has already happened. I can change what’s left, though, as long as I can tell the difference between what I can and cannot control.

This week, I took every picture of Chris off of my walls and placed them into some special photo albums I bought. Each one of the books is labeled. Remember. Reminisce. Reflect. Those titles are perfect. I am going to bring them to Clay Thursday night so he can flip through them. It’s just another way for me to begin saying goodbye to my life with Chris and a life imprisoned within my grief.

I’m going to bring the “us” box to Clay’s, too, and go through it in his office. the “us” box is a box of almost every movie, concert or event ticket that Chris and I went to, every greeting card we sent to each other, the flowers from the wreath I wore on my head on our wedding day and other such contents. Chris saved all of it. I used to make fun of him and he would say, “One day you’ll be glad the “us” box is here.” He was right. I am glad.

I deleted Chris’ e-mail address from my contacts yesterday, finally. I had been keeping it there so I could hold onto him, even though it hurt to see it every time I opened up my address book. I deleted the phone numbers of his friends in Vermont from my cellphone. I don’t think I have ever called any of them, anyway. I still have their e-mail addresses for when I want to say hello to them. I realized that every time I scrolled through my phone numbers and saw theirs in the list, I was instantly brought back to that day in the hospital corridor when I had to robotically call each one of his and my friends to tell them they were sending Chris home to die. That day was the saddest day of my life. So the phone numbers are gone now, and I can begin to heal that part of me and put that horrid memory in my past, where it belongs.

It feels so good not to be upset over Carol and Josh’s relationship. I had come to realize that with every little thing Carol shared with me about how sweet he is I was tripping back in time and reliving meeting Chris. She and Josh are experiencing all of the wonderful things Chris and I experienced at the beginning of our relationship. I was never mad at Carol or jealous of what she now has. I am, in fact, so very happy that she has finally found happiness and love. I was just panicking about my loss over and over and over with each wonderful act of Josh’s. But I am not going to do that anymore. Instead, I am going to celebrate for them and know that I will have love in my own life again some day.

I feel a bit like a dove being released into the air. I want to soar, again. I want to feel air and wind and freedom, again.

I think the healing began with my brief relationship with Marc. I liked being with him. Being out on a Friday night with a man felt really nice, even if that man wasn’t the right man for me.

I’m studying psychology. I’m singing. I’m enjoying success in my work. I’m letting go of anger. I’m submitting to the reality of the situation and realizing that it wasn’t my fault, that I’m not being punished by God and that I have power to bring my life in whichever direction I choose.

I am excited about my future, I am excited about the present and the past is the past.
I couldn’t stop what was happening from happening then any more than I can stop it now. What’s done is done. Chris is dead. I am not his wife. He is not my husband, anymore. I am a single woman whose poor husband got cancer and died.

I feel a sense of relief. I can breathe, again. I can focus on what’s important in the here and now and stop wasting so much precious time on useless tears and pointless wishes.

What I had with Chris was the most precious thing i have ever experienced in my life. I am so lucky to have met, fallen in love and helped him into the next realm. I was married. I did that. We did that. From now on I am going to remind myself whenever I need to that it really is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

I am afraid, but I am more ready than scared to step into my future, bravely. This part of my journey is coming to a close.

I love you Creej. I loved you before we met and I will love you long after I die.



Sunday, September 24, 2006

Maybe tomorrow will be better.

8:04 PM...

I’m running out of time.
There is nobody in this world for me.
Chris was the one.

I can’t keep breaking down this way. It has been a year and eight months!

I hate my life.
I hate my grief.
I hate myself for not being able to handle Carol’s new relationship.
I hate Chris.
I hate that nobody knows I still feel this way.
I want to hurt myself.
Why am I such an asshole?

I feel like a fucking schizophrenic.
I don't want to feel this way anymore.

i just, plain hate.

Jeez. I should have posted all of THIS in my new match.com profile.

9:39 PM...

Well, that was quite a breakdown, initiated by too much time spent on Match.com. I became overwhelmed and bounced into a mode where I believed I would never love anybody else my entire life though. I threw my remote control and my box of tissues. I shoved my laptop away from me, punched the sofa, dropped to the floor, writhed around screaming and crying and finally banged my head on the floor, injuring my neck.

After pulling myself back together, I called Jeanne, a woman from the young widows’ forum I frequent online. We have never spoken in person before, but I am beginning to feel like I will possibly attend some of the get-togethers the group holds. Talking with her stabilized me. She and I are on the same widow timeline, so we shared our stories with each other.

It’s tough, sometimes, to realize that nobody knows how grief-stricken I still am. I don’t freak out like that in front of other people. Sometimes I scare myself. Tonight I scared myself. I found myself wishing I could kill myself, once again. Then I decided that if I am still alone and grief-stricken ten years from now, I will kill myself. We’ll see how that goes.

Nobody knows...except for the other young widows. It’s time to reach out.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Love is in the Air

I ended my relationship with Marc, yesterday. I decided to go with my gut feeling that the timing is completely off for me and decided not to keep him hanging on. I had some really nice times with him and he’s a very nice person, but I just don’t feel as though this is the right time or that he is the right guy for me.

My plan is to focus on school, theater and writing and live my life for a while without putting any pressure on myself in the relationship department. It's best for me that way. I apologized for wasting his time. He said that I didn’t waste his time and that I actually brought some happiness into his life.

So now I am single once again and although this was the absolute right move for me, I’m feeling a bit scared of the independence, especially since Carol is absolutely blown away by her new love. But I decided that if I ended my relationship, I would promise myself that I was going to be happy about all of the other things in my life and that’s what I am going to do.

Carol has what I had with Chris, now. I am so, so happy for her and although sporadic envy threatens to infect my soul, I am doing a stand-up job of tempering any feelings of jealousy I may feel, smothering them with unconditional love for Carol and happiness that she has finally found somebody who she is crazy about and who treats her beautifully. We both believe she has just found her husband. Because I believe that, I also believe that love could find me at any moment at all. That thought excites me. Jealousy is a useless emotion and I don't want to be that girl.

Tuesday, I have an appointment with a psychiatrist who also practices hypnotherapy and past-life regression. My hope is that he will help me to let go of some of the blocks I still hang onto, like the comparisons I draw between Chris and other men and the feeling that I will never find anyone I love as much as I loved Chris. I would also like to remove the sadness I feel when I remember times like the day we sat on his front steps sharing a pint of Ben and Jerry’s waffle cone ice cream or that first time he came down his steps to answer the door when I couldn’t remember what he looked like. I don’t want to cry when I think of those times.

I feel old when I remember who I was back then. I know I was 32 years old, but meeting and falling in love with Chris made me feel like I was an adolescent discovering love for the first time. There was something very young about us. I always felt like we had met before.

Carol believes that she and her boyfriend had known each other in a past life. They met two weeks ago and they are totally in love. It isn’t like Carol to feel that way but they have been on a whirlwind for the entire two weeks. They both feel like they have known each other for a lifetime. I know what that feels like. I felt that way about Chris. I’m glad Carol has found him. I look forward to meeting somebody like that again, too. I have already begun learning so much from Carol about how to be open.

For now, I need to get busy getting better, healing, growing and remaining open to any blessings that may come my way. I want to do life right. I want to do all of the things I am supposed to do here so that when I see Chris again, we can share our accomplishments.

Love will come, as long as I want it to come.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Jealousy, Hatred Turned Inward and Grief

I feel like a loser. I’m having a tough time remembering how I was once married and how it meant the world to me. I can’t remember our friendship or the ease in which we interacted. I want it back.

My psychology professor mentioned his wife tonight and that triggered a downward spiral of grief for me that has so far lasted an hour and twenty minutes. It was the way he said, “my wife” that sliced my heart in two. He said it with such normalcy. I remembered the times I heard Chris say those same two words, “my wife” in phone conversations. I loved hearing him say it.

I’m going to tell Marc I want us to stop seeing each other. It isn’t right. It doesn’t feel as good as I want it to. I’m not ready. I’m still grieving and I’m not ready. I didn’t plan to meet Chris. It just happened when I wasn’t trying. That’s the way I will find love again...when I’m ready.

Carol has a boyfriend, now. Carol deserves love and I hope she finds it. The two of them are so immersed in each other. Still, tonight I freaked out when she left a message telling me “Don’t call.” She was going back to her house after watching him play the piano. I know she was saying it tongue in cheek, but I got so jealous and angry and victimized. I don’t deserve her friendship.

I hate myself right now. I don’t want to be without Chris. I have a whole lot of anniversaries rounding the bend again beginning in November. Time really flies.

I feel like nobody understands what this is like for me. People know I’m hurting but nobody understands. I’m turning it all in on myself. I hate myself. People don’t hate me. It’s me doing it. I have to remember that.

Everybody on the young widows board says that when you are through actively grieving, you know it. There’s a calm, a peace that begins. I think I was foolish to believe it could happen this quickly.

Still, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I had a lovely week. This is a setback. That’s all this is.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Out of my Cocoon and into the Air

I have been feeling different, lately. Hopefully, I can analyze and accurately describe what is going on in my life.

I have spent the past week on a roller coaster of euphoria/confusion/anxiety. I’m not even sure where to begin.

I have been seeing Marc for the past couple of months. Together, we have established that we have referred to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend. I have a really nice time when I’m out with him. The trouble is that I’m not sure if that’s because I’m out with him or because it’s nice to be out on a date with a man...any man. I am not particularly attracted to Marc other than in a way that is similar to a good friend. He makes me feel good. He’s very nice to me and very nice in general. Still, I am beginning to feel as though I need to spend some quality time alone.

I have spent the past twenty months in a state of unrelenting grief over the loss of Chris. I have lived every day with anxiety stemming from my fear that I will never meet another man in my entire life that I love as much as I loved Chris. I have thrown myself into school, work and performance in an effort to keep myself busy to try to temper the grief and anxiety. I have been alone for twenty months of pain and anguish. I am finally beginning to feel differently and I believe it’s because I have dated Marc.

For so long I have just wanted to get another man into the empty slot that Chris left behind. Another man is all I could think about. Getting him in here to fill the black emptiness. I have been dating Marc for a couple of months, kissing him, holding hands and just being with him and my time with him has been very nice and has helped me to feel better. But now that I feel better, I think I really want to be alone now.

True, I have been alone since Chris died, but alone and in pain is very different from what I am beginning to feel these days, which is alone and hopeful, alone and happy, alone and industrious. I think I want to be alone for a while and enjoy the good emotions, enjoy myself, and enjoy the solitude I have just found myself reborn into. My favorite thing in the world lately is spending all day Saturday drinking coffee in my candlelit living room, organizing my life back into shape and studying psychology and spontaneously visiting my family and friends. Before I met Chris, I spent my entire weekends in this fashion. Half a year ago, the thought of returning to that unstructured schedule horrified and upset me. Now it's back and I can't believe I feel better.

I don’t want to be tied to anyone. I like my solitude. I finally like my solitude, again, which is something I thought would never happen.

The other piece to all of this is that Marc is my first foray back into a life of couple-dom and I never wanted the very next man I met after Chris to be the next “one.” I have a blank canvas in front of me on which to paint my present and future and I want to take my time and see places, people, events and experience life before I decide to couple up again.

This has been very confusing because I have such a nice time with Marc, but I am 90% certain that I don’t feel love or attraction or romantic feelings toward him. Maybe it’s too soon for me to feel or maybe I’m afraid. I don’t know the answer. I just have to know that whatever I choose, there will be no going back. If I set him free, I need to leave him alone after that or risk dragging him into my very transitional confusing metamorphosis.

I really think I just want to be alone for a while. I keep feeling the desire to go on dates with many men and just coast for a while and have fun. And relax. And finish closing my life with Chris.

I have indicated to Marc a couple of times that I think I want to be alone but our conversations have been so wishy-washy and he has the gift of persuasion on his side.

At any rate, I am going to take a few days and see if my feelings change. If they stay the same, it may be time to venture out and be the brave warrior that I know I am.

Monday, September 4, 2006

A Much Wanted Visit from Creej

Chris vistied me last night in my dreams.

He came back and we were going to get married again. I was so happy to see him and to walk beside him again. He walked beside me throughout my entire dream.

At one point, we were walking down a street on a sunny day. I looked at my ring (in reality, our rings that I had soldered together and made into my tribute ring) and said to him, “I can’t wait to put this back on this hand, again.” , meaning my left hand. Chris didn’t smile. I remember feeling his disapproval and then telling others how he disapproved.

We were at an open mike the day before we were going to NYC to be married again. My friend, Linda, was there looking like she looked in junior high school, with her long hair and her young, teen-aged, face. She was the pianist.

Suddenly, I looked up at Chris and his hair was exactly the same as mine, long and wavy and held back with two barretts (in reality, the same way I styled my own hair last night). I said to him, “We have the same hair.” and smiled.

Then we were in another room, which resembled a hospital room with a hospital bed except that all of my own bedding from home was there. Chris became irritated because the room was messy, but I showed him that it wasn’t messy and that it was just that my pillows and blanket were on the floor. I told him about how lots of people had been iin the room the night before waiting for the elevators to open so we could all go down to the open mike.

I was on the elevator with a man I had never seen before. We were about to descend but then my dream switched gears.

We were at a woman’s house. We just walked right in and sat in the kitchen admiring her garden through the sliding glass door. She saw us, smiled, stood and came inside with her dog. I was filled with love and joy and emraced the dog, laughing.

Then I was with a faceless man that I didn’t know. He was in shadow. It was time to leave. He said he would let me into my car so I went with him to a parking garage. He opened his car and then slid the key over the hood of his own car to me. I took it and opened up my own car.

I believe this dream was a visitation from Chris. I think that by looking like me, he was telling me that we are the same person, now and that I am carrying both of us forward. And I think his disapproval about my comment about my ring was him disapproving of me holding onto the hope that he will come back to me some day (as impossible as I know that thought is).

I woke, this morning, feeling like Chris told me to go ahead, to move on. I feel like I have his permission and approval...and his love.

I feel like he wants me to move forward with Marc. I’m still apprehensive, but I feel better today. I can feel Chris inside me so strongly. It’s as if he and I have really meshed together and are as one, just as we promised each other when we got married. He’s in me.

I rolled over, looked at the picture of him I keep at my bedside and whispered, “Thank you.”

Dream Analysis from dreammoods.com...

Friend: To see your childhood friend in your dream, signifies regression into your past where you had no responsibilities and things were much simpler and carefree. You may be wanting to escape the the pressures and stresses of adulthood. Consider the relationship you had with this friend and the lessons that were learned. Alternatively, the childhood friend may be suggesting that you have been acting in a childish manner and you need to start acting like an adult.

Piano: To dream that you hear the sound of a piano, suggests harmony in your life. You are pleased with the way you life is going.

Man: To see a man in your dream, denotes the masculine aspect of yourself - the side that is assertive, rational, aggressive, and/or competitive.

Car: To see a parked car in your dream, suggests that you need to turn your efforts and energies elsewhere. You may be needlessly spending your energy in a fruitless endeavor. Alternatively, a parked car my symbolize your need to stop and enjoy life.

Key: To see a key in your dream, symbolizes opportunities, access, control, secrets, or responsibilities. You may be locking away your own inner feelings and emotions. If you hear the sounds of keys rattling, then it indicates that you have the right attitude toward life. You are heading in the right direction and asking all the right questions in the process. It is also a sign of decisive action.

Woman: To see a woman in your dream, represents nurturance, passivity, caring nature, and love. It refers to your own female aspects or may also represent your mother.

House: To see a house in your dream, represents your own soul and self. Specific rooms in the house indicate a specific aspect of your psyche.

Dog: To see a dog in your dream, indicates a skill that you have ignored or forgotten, but needs to be activated. Alternatively, dogs may symbolize intuition, loyalty, generosity, protection, and fidelity.

Hugging: To dream that you are hugging someone, symbolizes your loving and caring nature. You are holding someone or something close to your heart. Alternatively, it may indicate your need to be more affectionate.

Parking Lot: To dream that you are in parking lot, suggests that you need to slow down and take some time to relax from your daily activities.

Garage: To dream that you are in a garage, signifies a period of inactivity and idleness in your life. You may feel that you have no direction or guidance toward achieving your goals.

Elevator: To dream that the elevator is out of order or that it is not letting you off, symbolizes that your emotions have gotten out of control.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Later that night...

Taking these past two days to take it easy and do what I feel like doing when I feel like doing it has been really good for me. Basically I spent the past two days with no expectations for myself. I went out with friends, had friends over and spent a large amount of time getting stuff done that I have been wanting to do for a long time.

I finally called Marc a little while ago. We talked for quite a while. I’m glad I took the past couple of days for myself because once I relaxed, I missed him and wanted to call him and that’s a nice thing for me to remember going forward.

I want to move on. I want love in my life. I want happiness.

Reality Check

I want to call Marc, but I am petrified right here where I sit. I want to do it, but I can’t. What if he wants to see me? How can I want to call him without seeming like I want to see him? I want to hold onto him, if not forever, then for now. I like him. We have a good time together. How the hell am I going to get past the reluctance to begin anew?

I am supposed to be seeing a hypnotist/past life repressionist this week. My hope is that he can perform some sort of psychological surgery in which he removes the self-talk that keeps repeating, “He’s not Chris, he’s not Chris, he’s not Chris.” All that counterproductive babble is doing nothing to help me progress through the mire that is my predicament. If I can lose the negative (and protective) self-talk, I may feel freer to step in a little more with Marc.

I am stuck. I hate that. I am so good at moving forward and taking life by the horns. How can I be stuck? Stuck is for the weak. Well, maybe stuck is just for the stuck.

Clay’s on vacation for the next two weeks. I want to stop my therapy with him. At this point, I’m not sure that it’s helping me. There’s nothing he can tell me that I don’t already know. I’m going to see how this session(s) goes with the hypnotist/repressionist guy and if I fell as though it does some good, I think I’m going to stop treatment with Clay.

So here I sit, wanting to call Marc, yet frozen. It’s okay, especially if I tell him about it. He’ll be flattered that I wanted to call, even if I don’t do it. I could send an e-mail. That could be okay.

Anyway...This weekend has been lovely. I have seen him twice, my friends, I have gone out to sing, shopped and bought new clothes for work, done a slew of homework and cleaned my apartment almost from top to bottom. I still have the bedroom to complete.

Whether or not I call Marc will not matter at all the next time I see him. Not at all. I’m just going to take this weekend as it comes and try to relax and process and visualize my life the way I want it to be.

Friday, September 1, 2006


Yesterday morning, Marc e-mailed me and asked if I felt like getting together after my therapy session with Clay. I accepted his invitation and proceeded to feel nauseous and irritable for the rest of the day. I felt smothered, overbooked and somehow tricked into seeing him two days in a row, something I am much too frightened to plan that way. It happened, though, and there was nothing I could do to change it.

I discussed the details with Clay and talked about how confusing this budding romance is for me. On one hand, I just want to be alone and on the other hand, I just want somebody important in my life. I have found myself in an impossible place. I want exactly the same thing that I don’t want. Leave it to me to be so difficult with myself..

After my session, I walked up to Central Square and awaited Marc’s arrival. He was cute, as usual, very animated and sweet. We walked to a small Mexican restaurant and enjoyed dinner and conversation. The evening was short and after we left the restaurant, we walked to his car. He drove me home and we sat for a few minutes saying good-bye. I thanked him for his patience. He is working very hard to accommodate my current state of mind and doing a very good job, I might add. I think he really cares about me.

I feel differently about us now. There’s a standard called “What a Difference a Day Made” which comes to mind right now. Yesterday I wanted to cancel our date and today, I’m looking forward to tonight’s date. I suppose I could revert back to not wanting to be with him, but I think that only happened because I spent time in his house before I was really ready to.

My boss just approached me and informed me that I am free to leave at 3:00 today, since today is the Friday before a holiday weekend. The tradition is a nice perk which has remained rather consistent at my company, at least for the eleven years I have worked here.

I have lived without Chris in my life for exactly one year and eight months, today. During the time I shared with him, he was the first person I called when I learned of my early release from work. Together we would plan the rest of our day and weekend based on what time I was leaving work for the day, since he was usually already home or at school. Sometimes we met for coffee in the afternoon, relaxed and then embarked upon our weekend plans together. For the past year and eight months, nobody has cared when I have gotten out of work early. There has been no one there to be happy to see me a little earlier or happier to spend more time with me. Likewise, I have not been excited to be released earlier, since the better part of the past year and a half I have spent either working or crying.

Today, the moment I found out I was getting out early, I called Marc. The act came as a surprise to me. I didn’t expect such an automatic admission on my part that things might be working, that we might be building something together.