Friday, January 30, 2009

A Framed Gesture of Acceptance

About a week ago, I decided I was going to take my and Chris’ wedding picture down from its place on the wall at the top of the stairs at the entrance of my apartment, and replace it with a picture of Jonathan and me. I think that when, and if, he notices (Let’s face it. He’s a man, and for all of the importance I placed on the deed, he’ll probably walk right by my framed gesture.) he may be delightfully surprised at my token of affection and forward movement from the “then” into the “now.”

Removing our wedding picture stung. I’m still not sure what to do with this very special record of my past love. At the moment, the photo, still in its frame, sits on the end table next to the chair Chris sat in as I held his hand, talking him out of this world and into the next.

I’m saddened and I feel guilty (of course). I’m erasing my husband. No. Cancer erased my husband. I loved him. I loved being his wife. I loved telling everyone that I was wildly in love with him. I was wildly in love with him.

Still, the fact that he has been transformed into a flattened, paper likeness of the man I knew and loved stings less and less with the entrance of acceptance and the exit of denial and anger.

Jonathan helped me make the switch. He helps me make the switch every day, whether or not he realizes.

Jonathan. I wonder if he’ll notice. If not immediately, then eventually.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Creej.

There’s a nor’easter brewing within me this morning, and I’m hoping I can drink my coffee, get dressed and get out of my apartment before the storm hits. I can feel my suppression-engine thrusting into overdirve. Not staying in is, perhaps, among the six-hundred milion best plans that have ever hatched in my mind. Today can be a good day, as long as I stick to the plan. Coffee and a movie with a friend, running, weight-training, dinner with another friend. The storm will come, but if I can manage to delay the rain until bed time, at least I can just fall apart and then fall asleep.

I’m afraid of my wedding video, now. I’m afraid to see Chris in motion. I’m afraid to see how happy that bride was, how unbelievable it was to her that she had met a man she loved, who loved her and who, together with him, created a unioin as perfect as the healthiest unioin can be. I’m too afraid, now.

Still, there’s happiness all around me today. I have a choice to follow the sun or the rain. The decision is mine. I don’t want to cry just yet. I don’t want to cry, at all.

Happy 5th wedding anniversary, Creej.

I love you.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Grief's Hostage No More

I’m tired. I have been going to sleep on the couch for the past week, waking up after midnight and transferring my half-sleeping body to my bed.

Tomorrow, Chris and I would have been married 5 years. I can’t believe our wedding, on the Boston Common, was 5 years ago. I can't believe we would have been celebrating 10 years of knowing one another.

I have had a measurable amount of anxiety over the last couple of weeks. Last night, I fell apart, again, just for a short while. Still, I managed to get out and run, donning my brand new cold-weather running apparrel. Unbelievably, 13 degrees didn’t affect me at all. I remained warm enough throughout my entire 4.5 mile run, and then I entered the gym and lifted weights for an hour. Who’s better than me?

I’m glad I have Jonathan. He doesn’t know I cried, last night, but knowing he’s in my life makes my life easier, more safe and less lonely. He’s like a giant queen-sized down comforter who keeps me warm on nights like last night.

I’m not grief’s hostage, the way I once was. I can easily come in and out of the state. I suppose “lucid grieving” would be an accurate label for the state of my grief, these days. Life has gotten easier. Dealing with my loss has become easier, just like other widows before me assured me it would. What I am left with is sort of a “ground zero” of anxiety akin to earthquake aftershocks or tremors. I remain ever-affected under the surface and I really don’t know what I would do without the knowledge that my bottle of Ativan is always full. I almost never take the drug. Each prescrption of 20 pills takes me an average of 8 months to swallow. Not bad for a person who has grown to really enjoy it’s effects. I often refer to Ativan as “the new marijuana” -- bottled peace.

So, another January 17 is before me and of course I’ll feel sad, but I have come a very long way since that first anniversary, when fantasies of suicide promised a possible permanent respite from my pain and anguish.

Initially, I thought I’d stay in for a while tomorrow, watch our wedding video and fall apart, but now I plan to run, hit the gym and hang out with one of my friends, a much more adaptive choice.

Peace out.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Spirit Guide

Dear Chris,

I wish you could be here with me, right now. I’m just sitting on the couch, with the tv muted, thinking about contacting your spirit so I can feel our souls meshed together, again.

I’m nervous that I may not ever feel that soul meshing with Jonathan. Will, I Chris? Can you help me get there? You’re all wise now, right?

What’s it been like in Heaven, if there is such a place? Almost from the moment you died, I have imagined you flying around euphorically, celebrating freedom from your cancer-ridden body. Is Howard with you? Abada? Edna? Are they in love, again?

I think about you every day and I know the times when you’re with me. I can feel your presence sometimes and I become so happy. I feel hugged, cared about and safe when I know you’re with me. You comfort me. How does that work?

You sent that sparrow, didn’t you, to tell me that Jonathan was the man for me. I believe you. I love you and I trust you. Jonathan’s wonderful. How did you get that little bird to climb onto my finger and hop up my arm to sit on my shoulder? I loved it. I love sparrows. You knew that, didn’t you? That was quite a way to let me know you were watching and guiding us towards one another.

I’m scared, Chris. I’m afraid I won’t be good enough for another man. You and I were cookie cutter matches for each other. We were the same. Some days I just don’t know how I’m going to get along without you. Some moments I don’t get along without you.

I need you very much. I wish you hadn’t gone. I still cry. I still need you. I still love you. You’re still precious to me. I can still see the little boy in you and I can still hold you, sometimes, just like I feel you sometimes holding me. Thank you for that.

I need you more than ever now. I’m scared. I want to be strong enough to allow myself to go with Jonathan completely. I still feel like I’m hurting you by doing that. i still feel like I’m cheating on you. I still feel like it’s wrong to leave you standing alone on the other side when all I really want to do is run through the veil, wrap my arms around you and hold you, and thank you for knowing me.

I wish I could see you tonight in my dreams. I wish you’d come.


Monday, January 5, 2009


I got through the anniversary cluster; Chris’ birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. One more anniversary to go. Our anniversary. January 17.

I had a wonderfully joyous weekend, this past, and I’m a bit surprised to admit that I’m feeling some more sadness today, probably due to the upcoming anniversary. It’s okay. Actually, it isn’t okay. I feel anxiety. I hate it. I feel sadness. I hate that, too. I worked out extensively this evening, and the exercise helped a lot, but endorphins, like any other vice, are a temporary fix. I know I’ll be okay.

I have been thinking about Chris, a lot, lately. I can see his face so clearly in my mind’s eye. I feel like I just saw him, yesterday, and I feel like I haven’t seen him in years. I miss him.

I’d like to be open, but there’s a part of me that’s terrified to feel. When I’m with Jonathan, I love him. When I think about him, I love him. But I think about Chris, too, and I still love him, too. I love someone I can never see again and I love someone I can see whenever I want to. I don't want to lay this on him, though. It's my crap, not his.

Maybe I’m just tired, tonight. I’m chalking up my sadness to weariness. A good night’s sleep and tomorrow’s cup of coffee are just around the corner.