Monday, December 31, 2007

With Creej's Help

I just came from the Ellis Paul concert. Ellis was a tradition for me and Chris, one that my friends have helped me to keep up even after Chris' death.

Something very special happened.

I was sitting listening to Ellis and feeling a surge of sadness and tears coming on. Then my thoughts suddenly weren't my own. It was like I was having a conversation with Chris, like, he visited my head and talked to me.

I thought to myself, "Don't cry, little Shneed." and then I thought "I'm trying not to Creej. Help me to not cry." At that very second, one of Ellis' strings snapped, mid-song, and I laughed out loud.

That's it. I felt like Chris and I had that conversation and like he helped me to not cry.

I would give everything I own just to hug him again, to feel him hugging me, and to feel special to somebody again. The weight of the world is a feather's when somebody thinks you're special.

One more anniversary for me after this one. The wedding one. Then I'm free for another year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day. Three years later.

I have heard others in my position say that the anticipation is always worse than the arrival of an anniversary day. I agree with that philosophy.

I just woke up and I’m already tired. I also just got off the phone with my friend, Meira, who lost her mother a couple years ago and she said, “I’ll just be happy when today is over.” I am also in agreement with that sentiment. The day is never as bad as I anticipate, yet, nevertheless, I’ll be happy when it’s over.

I know I won’t be a curmudgeon once I get out into the world, today (not that my friend is one -- I always judge myself harder than others). I just mapped out a 3-mile run that I plan to begin sometime in the next hour, after which I will get ready to head over to my father’s house for the holiday. My brother is coming from out of town and I have invited Meira to join us in the spirit of suppression. Ah, what would I do without sweet suppression?

Last night I was plagued by parralell-thinking. I got caught in a destructive (or maybe it was constructive -- opinions vary.) cycle of play-by-play ‘what-was-happening-in-my-life-three-years-ago-this-very-moment?’ Pain was happening. Sadness was happening. Chaos was happening. This kind of thinking confirms for me that I need to launch a nationwide search (or citywide, at least) for a good cognitive behavioral therapist. I told Clay I would probably be leaving him, shortly. I told him the only reason I come to him, nowadays, is because I like him and I’d miss him if I didn’t come. I suppose that’s as good a reason as any to see a therapist, but it’s a better reason to see a friend, which Clay is not. I need somebody to hold me accountable for the sometimes counterproductive thought patterns I exhibit. Monitoring my own thoughts and invoking change are easier said, than done.

Today will be fun. Hanging out with my family usually is fun. Food is always fun. And I’m so looking forward to my run, now that the temperature seems to be hovering around 40 degrees. I am not going to let this small window of outdoorsie-opportunity escape me.

Merry Christmas.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Grief has me by the throat.

I stopped wearing my ring, yesterday. I just did it. Just as with all of the other milestones I have reached throughout these past three years, there was no warning, and all of the imagined plans leading up to the “big decision” were not present. I simply suddenly decided not to wear it, anymore. I have hidden it somewhere special, in a place that makes sense to me…and to Chris.

The absence of a ring on my hand conjures up feelings of anxiety, loss and nakedness – a feeling of the removal of training wheels. The ring is absent, and I’m walking by myself, upright, albeit wobbly.

I don’t want it on my hand, anymore. For all of the comfort it has brought me these past three years, it now invokes in me a feeling of loneliness and begs the question, “Why do I wear it?” I don’t have an answer to that question, anymore.

This past weekend was the first one in four months that I had nothing but free, unstructured time. My three classes ended last weekend and I am finally able to sit on my couch and relax without the weight of a homework assignment or final exam hanging over my head. I like it.

The thing about unstructured time and me, however, is that when I have it, I’m lost. I was very productive this weekend and bragged to my friends about all that I was able to accomplish. What I didn’t realize is that I accomplished as a means of suppressing an onslaught of grief, as per usual.

Once I stopped accomplishing, I was overcome with anger, anxiety, impatience and grief. I didn’t want to go to dinner with my two friends, last night, but it was our third annual Holiday dinner and we had planned it for weeks. I had a hard time laughing it up, last night, but I feel that I kept myself under a reasonable amount of control.

The moment I dropped them off, I exploded into meltdown that began in the car and ended an hour and a half later when I could no longer stay awake long enough to grieve.

Three years ago, today, my husband was writhing in pain, swallowing five Oxycodones at a time and, I’m sure, beginning to have an inkling that he was going to die. Three years ago tomorrow, I drove him to Brigham and Womens Hospital’s emergency room and watched, as the orderly took him away in a wheel chair, telling me not to worry and promising me that they would take good care of him. We spent the entire day in the emergency room that Christmas day.

Eight days later, Chris was dead.

Last night, those memories broke me and they’re threatening to break me again, today. They will, partially because they’re very sad memories and partially because I know no other to pay tribute to Chris than with my grief. For that, I apologized to him, last night.

What difference does it make? He wasn’t there to hear me, anyway.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bang a Nail in the Wall, Hang it Up and Move On

Last night, I dreamed about cancer.

Chris and I were very distant with each other. We both had cancer and I was trying to connect with him in some way. I came across his Woody Woodpecker pajamas (In life, he had Underdog pajamas.) and I wanted to give them to him, but couldn’t figure out if doing so would trigger anger and fear in him or bring him comfort.

As is usually the case in my dreams, he was mad at me.

As my morning progressed, I must have suppressed whatever emotions would have surfaced as a result of my cinematic slumber, so when I was hanging pictures up and came across our wedding picture, I completely fell apart.

I was married, once, to a man with whom I fit completely and wholly. I don’t get to be with him anymore.

I retreated to my bedroom, hammer still in hand, and dropped onto my bed, embracing the picture and crying.

As I lay there sobbing, I had a poetic (albeit macabre) vision as though from above my own body, of me lying on the bed with my arm around the picture, bleeding from my head of a self-induced beating with the hammer.

There’s so much rage buried within my psyche.

Sometimes I just want to go to sleep and find him, and never come back.

I don’t know where to hang our wedding picture. Somehow I feel as though it shouldn’t be the first thing I see every time I come home. I feel like it shouldn’t be in my bedroom. I also feel like it doesn’t belong in the bathroom or the office or the kitchen, or the hallway.

I’m stuck. At the moment, it’s on my lap getting rained on by my tears. But I can’t sit here forever, so I have to bang a nail in the wall, hang it up and move on.