Monday, April 30, 2007

Still, Again

Last night, I had a horrible meltdown. I guess my grief had been
simmering all day long and I should have known that as soon as I got
too tired to stay awake, I would lose control of my emotions.

Sometimes I think about how much time has passed since I have been
held by somebody. Years have gone by since my last romantic hug.
Years. Developing infatuations for men that I meet is not an uncommon
occurrence for me. Last night, I found myself thinking about the men
I have met since Chris died, unavailable men, and how at one time or
another I have wished each one of them would wrap their arms around
me and tell me everything is going to be okay. Isn’t that what
everybody wants?

But alas, they’re married or involved or gay or uninterested or I
imagine that they would never, in a billion years, put up with the
fact that I sometimes fall apart at night when I think about
everything that happened and all of the ways my Chris lost his
freedom and ultimately his life. Who would put up with that? I know
somebody will eventually, but not unitl I stop believing that my
grief is unacceptable.

I need to stand my ground and maintain that grief is part of who I am
now and anybody who has trouble accepting that is not as open-minded
and accepting as I am, and as a result, he will not be a good match
for me. Emotion is a part of everybody’s life.

I want to be loved, again. And I want to love back.

And I still hurt tremendously.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Visiting the Dead

Last night, I had a horrible nightmare.

Chris and I and many of my family members and friends were imprisoned in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. We were all dressed in beige and gray rags. The Nazis were announcing who was going to be extinguished and who was going to remain alive.

Since my emotions in my dreams are gleaned from my waking-state experiences, I identified the level of stress, horror, panic and dread in my dream as being the same stress, horror, panic and dread I felt for fourteen months straight while I worked, hoped and prayed harder than I ever had before to make Chris’ life as bearable as possible under the circumstances. During my slumber, my brain made the association between my level of horror and assigned the Holocaust to it.

None of us knew whether we would be selected to die or live and we all waited and listened to announcements blaring over prison yard loud speakers, awaiting our fates.

I found out I was not chosen to die but I was unable to let go of the panic and dread I felt because I didn’t know which, if any, of my loved ones were slotted for death.

Nobody I loved was chosen to die. I felt the panic drain from my soul and I felt I could drop to my knees expressing thankfulness. I was so thankful.

I found Chris, wrapped my arms around his neck, held onto him and said, “Thank you so much for loving me.”

I woke up feeling nauseous and I held onto my dream all day long until now because I felt too afraid to call it into my consciousness. My reunion with Chris was very powerful and I needed tonight to process.

I can’t imagine the horrors of Holocaust survivors and non-survivors. I have only read horrifying true accounts and watched documentaries on the subject. How can a person have that experience, all of the senseless cruelty and sadness stored in their memory and still continue on with life?

Even though I miss Chris with everything I have, I am well aware that my experience doesn’t come close to that which was endured in the death camps.

Tonight, I am feeling so very sorry for all of the people that died and watched their loved ones die at the hands of the Nazis.

I have a friend who believes that when we dream, we are actually visiting the afterlife, that our dreams are a portal through the veil.

I feel like I went to visit Chris last night and thank him. His love changed my life and that moment in my dream felt unbelievably and powerfully real. If humans can visit the spirit world, last night was my first visit.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spectator’s Guilt

I’m going to the Red Sox game with my department tomorrow evening. We’ll be sitting in the green monster, being served dinner, hors d'oeuvres and drinks and taking in the game.

Before the game begins, we’re getting a behind-the-scenes tour of Fenway Park and on-field access during pre-game player batting practice.

And I feel guilty. Chris would have died for this much more readily than he died for cancer. He was a fanatical Red Sox fan.

One of my co-workers made me feel better by pointing out that spouses and significant others are not invited, so Chris would have had to stay home being jealous, anyway and I would still feel guilty. I suppose he’s right.

Still, I feel bad and aside from my guilt, this trip to Fenway park, or dealing with the Red Sox at all, is a straggler of one of my very last firsts.

It hurts.



I wanted to hug the man on the train and tell him everything was going to be okay, but I also realized how invasive that sort of support could be to a complete stranger.

I noticed his bald head right away. A head that is hairless as a result of chemotherapy differs from a shaved head. A shaved head shows signs of re-growth. A chemo-head is smoother than a newborn baby’s head without a trace of fuzz. Thankfully, I was sitting right next to the man, so I wasn’t able to rudely stare. I did, however, steal glimpses of him when I could, under the pretense of looking around at the general surroundings, and noticed that his eyebrows had long disappeared. There wasn’t a trace of facial hair. Not a trace. I know the look, well.

I remembered how horrible Chris felt when his sickness became visible and apparent. There were things I wanted to say to this man. I wanted to tell him that I know what he’s going through. I wanted to slip him a business card and tell him that if he needed to talk with somebody or just if he wanted company, he could call me. I felt a high level of energy passing from my soul into his and wondered if he could feel what I was sending his way. I closed my eyes and said a prayer for him.

Ultimately, I said nothing. I didn’t want to impose upon his life. I don’t know what type of cancer he has. Maybe he’s got the disease under control. Maybe he doesn’t want to talk about the horrors of his condition to anybody, much less a stranger on a train.

I projected Chris onto him and experienced a tremendous amount of transference. I truly felt I was within seconds of slipping my arms around him, hugging him and kissing the back of his neck. I wanted to comfort and reassure him. I wanted to let him know that I love him. Most of all, I wanted him to live.

And I wished he could have.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

No Apologies

At the beginning of my grief-journey, Clay told me things would get better. I didn’t believe him at all. How could things get better when everything had gone so terribly wrong? I couldn’t fathom the thought. I thought nothing would ever get better. I still remember watching the red line train coming down the track and knowing that if I wanted to, I could jump off the platform and end my life. I also remember knowing that I didn’t want to end my life, I just wanted to be past all of the shock, horror, pain and sadness. And I still remember the fog.

Shock is a curious phenomenon. I remember being in the middle of the grief-fog and I remember being afraid that I would feel the numbness for the rest of my life. I felt as though I had been sedated and covered with a heavy, wet blanket. For months, I moved through my life with that sensation and the wonder of whether what I was experiencing was the new me, or just a temporary state.

There’s a man at work who is stationed in India. He sends a daily quote each morning to those of us who have asked to be added to his distribution list. I am one of those people. The other day, the quote I began my day with changed something very deep within me and lifted whatever fibers of wet blanket may have been left behind when my shock dissipated.

God brings men into deep waters not to drown them, but to cleanse them.
-John H. Aughey

I do feel cleansed in so many ways. Sadly...and happily...I can feel myself putting my ordeal into the past. I keep it in a beautiful, engraved box lined with soft velvet and when I am ready, I will lock the box and place the key into the deepest part of my heart for safekeeping. The box will forever remain in a luxury suite in my brain’s memory, where I can retrieve its contents and pay tribute whenever I wish.

Even though I feel better, conjuring a vivid memory of Chris’ face will bring me into a whirlpool of tears, longing, wishing and memories of holding him in my arms. I don’t mind. There are times — moments, hours, days, weeks — when turmoil is the only emotion I want to be feeling. I know there are some folks who cannot understand the desire to mourn for a lost love one. It is just that, a desire, something I want to do and something my soul needs to do. Mourning is love.

I’m off to run 5 miles and hopefully ingest a delicious Dunkin' Donuts caramel coolata.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Grief's Cameo

I have been reluctant to admit to myself that I have been experiencing some sadness and anxiety, lately. I have been having such a wonderful couple of months and I really want the happiness to last, but the truth is that grief and depression have been trying to poke through my recent mood elevation.

I went out to dinner, a play and a cabaret show with Mario, the musical theater guy from last year this past Saturday evening. It wasn’t a date. We’re just friends, as far as I’m concerned. I’m hoping he feels the same way. I had a blast. Mario played piano for the cabaret artist, so I sat alone in the audience, watching the show. I began to wish that Chris was with me and that we had come to the show together. I imagined him next to me, us holding hands and stealing glimpses of one another and smiling. I am still full of as much love for him as I was when he was alive. The difference is that I have nowhere to direct that love, now. I fill up and then I deflate. I can’t describe the joy I felt whenever Chris was in sight, no matter what the distance. I don’t feel that for anybody but him and I’m afraid to feel it for somebody else because I’m afraid of being left behind, again.

Clay forgot to give me my bill last time I was there so he mailed it to my house with a little note explaining. When I saw the letter in my mailbox, I was instantly filled with anxiety. I thought he was leaving the psychology field. I thought he was moving away. I though he was quitting his job. For a few moments, I couldn’t bring myself to open the letter. I kept trying to figure out why, on earth, he would send me a piece of mail. When I opened it and realized it was the bill, I exhaled. Then I cried. I’ll have to discuss that with him and try to figure out ways to break down my certainty that I will be abandoned again and again.

I attended my step-sister’s wedding on Sunday and had the most wonderful time. She and her husband are so beautiful together. The love they feel for each other is evident. I felt filled with joy for them as they exchanged their vows. When I got home, I felt very lonely and the torrential downpour of rain coupled with the threatening sounds of furious winds blowing past my windows was of little comfort to me. I lay in bed wishing Chris was there to lend comfort with his presence. I imagined him into the bed next to me, imagined his arm draping over me as was once the case. The more I imagined, the happier I felt until the fairy tale bubble broke, popping me back into the reality of my situation. I missed him more at that moment than I have in a long time.

I was sad that he wasn’t there, mad that I was sad and even madder that I felt mad for being sad and so went the cycle until I quieted it with Advil PM and half an Ativan.

I’m good again, today. I just got discouraged about grief’s cameo role in my two-month progression toward peace.

I’m okay, again.

Oh…and I finally got my left hook at the gym, even though I practically had to beg the trainers to teach me. No more 1, 2 for me. Now I’ve got a 1, 2, 3, and dammit, I earned it.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I’m sick, again. I suppose I shouldn’t complain. I get sick about once every five or six months. Not too shabbs for a person who suffers the effects of depression.

I had to go to work yesterday because my co-worker was out and one of us always has to be there. I didn’t want to ruin his vacation day, so I dragged myself in, did what needed doing and then lapsed into zombie woman, sat in my chair and stared vacantly at my computer screen until 5:00.

Today I stayed home. I may stay home again tomorrow, depending on how I feel.

Historically, grief has taken me down each time I have been sick since Chris’ death. The isolation gets me and when I’m sick, I’m pretty much forced into isolation since I don’t feel well and I don’t want to spread my germs around my office. Grieif didn’t get me, this time, though. I have had my moments, but only moments. I have made such strides in the past month and a half. I want it to last. I’m scared of it lasting, though. Anybody who has been reading this blog since 2005, knows why I’m scared.

I’m just a little blue at the moment, but that’s because I feel crappy and I should be sleeping instead of torturing my eyes with this computer screen. I was laying on my couch remembering how comfortable I felt with Chris. I could say and do anything with him. He never judged me. Ever. I have trouble coming to terms with that part of my loss.

When I really stop and think about my situation, I know there are other men who would accept me exactly the way I am. I am in contact with them all day long.Those men aren’t available, though, but it’s still nice to know they exist.

I watched a Nova documentary this afternoon entitled, “Cancer Warrior.” I reccommend it to anybody who is interested in cancer research and basic knowledge of the nature of cancer and how it grows. The PBS website details the television show and goes more into depth about the growth of cancer cells. Have a look at, PBS’s extremely detailed website.

I think the show has upset me. The documentary explained how cancer acts, how it forms and how a tumor draws its blood supply toward it so it can grow. It was really scary and I kept thinking aobut Chris’ insides.

Dr. Judah Folkman has spent years and years searching for ways to cut off the bloodflow that enables the growth of cancer and although he and his colleagues at Children’s Hospital in Boston have made great and hopeful strides toward this end, still there is no surefire way to slay the beast.

I was so hopeful for the man treated in the documentary. I wanted him to live. But he didn’t live, either. Nobody does.I wished I could help.

I wish Chris was alive. I wish we were still married. I wish we could laugh at “The Family Guy” together, again.

And my wish for myself is that I get to meet and marry somebody who accepts me and loves me as much as he did.

Okay, maybe grief did get me today. I’ll ward it off with another workout as soon as I’m feeling better.

Monday, April 9, 2007


Sometimes I am horrified of the future because its approach brings me farther and farther from the past. When my past was ugly, the future was perfectly acceptable, even enticing, but since Chris came and made my past beautiful, leaving those years behind is a very scary prospect.

I dreamed about Chris again last night. He looked really good and really healthy. Beautiful. He was losing his affections toward me. He and his college buddy, Mike, were beginning some sort of creative project...a band, maybe...or a radio project, or something like that. They were in the house across the street and I was peering across the way at the two of them standing in the doorway. I could feel that I was losing Chris and I wondered if I could love Mike.

When Chris first died, I used to find myself frantically wondering who would be next. Who could it be? At one point or another, it was every single man I knew. Nobody was safe. I used to think about Mike and ask Chris’ spirit if that’s the way it was supposed to be. Weird. The things I thought within days of my husband’s death. When I remember those thoughts now, I realize how unrealistic they all were. Here it is two and a half years later and I still cry uncontrollably when the recurring shock strikes.

I still feel as though I can’t go on without him and I still feel as though there is no way I won’t go on. My only way out is not an acceptable one for me and so I remain in.

My life will happen, of that I have no doubt.

I think I would like to have children or at least one child. That desire has been the one big change in my life since Chris died. We never wanted kids, but now that he’s gone, I want a child named Christopher (boy) or Kristofer (girl).

Time will tell.