Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I have a hard time believing that the spirits of those who have passed are not walking beside us or, at the very least, peeking in on us and helping us during our dark moments.

Yesterday was a tough day for me. I knew that moving in with Jonathan would initiate a grief backdraft, and that I would need to remain alert and aware in order to navigate through the smoke, but all day yesterday I was suffocating, lost in the fog. Anxiety and panic from the past two weeks, my first two weeks sharing a home with Jonathan, collected within my mind and body, and I found myself crying, off and on, over my loneliness for Chris, and my anger over the differences between my interactions with him, and my interactions with Jonathan. Like I said, I knew it was coming. It was just a question of when.

Jonathan and I had dinner plans, last night, so although I fell apart all day (I worked from home), I knew from experience, that I would be able to pull myself together and enjoy my and Jonathan’s evening together.

During one of several breakdowns, yesterday, I spoke to Chris. “You have to help me. I need to stop crying over you. I can’t do this anymore. Please help me.”

Jonathan and I had a wonderful time at dinner. We talked, laughed, and shared our entrees, sans the growing pains of our past two weeks of figuring out where we fall together, as a couple living together. Not that we’ve had any problems, but moving in together for anyone, male or female, takes a fair amount of adjusting on each side in order to create a smooth and easy existence together. Being a person who panics when things don’t go as smoothly as I want them to, I have found that over the past two weeks, every time we hit a snag, I wanted to run back into Chris’ arms, again, to the safety of a time before I knew cancer.

After dinner, Jonathan and I went our separate ways within the confines of our home, fed our separate interests, and decided to turn in for the night. Even though I spent the day in turmoil over the events of the past almost six years, I went to sleep hoping I could hold on to exactly the way Jonathan and I got along all evening. It was perfect.

I fell asleep quickly for the first time since moving in, and I dreamed that Chris was dying and that we (?) were all waiting for the phone call to tell us (?) when to arrive at the hospital. I was primping, styling my hair so I could look beautiful for him. The call came. I went to the hospital. Chris died. My floodgates opened immediately and I cried just the way I cried when I was told he only had 4 days to live.

I can’t remember whether or not I actually woke up crying hysterically, or whether I dreamed that I woke up crying hysterically. Jonathan said he didn’t hear a thing.
I went back to sleep, and awoke a couple hours later feeling happy and free from grief.

I believe my Chris stepped in, as he always does when I really need him, and infiltrated my dreams in a symbolic attempt to kill himself for me, so I could experience the reality that he is gone and move past yesterday’s snag, which wasn’t the first snag, and which won’t be the last.

He’s here. He’s with me, and he helps me let go and move on. Today, I feel light and happy, and I can see my future possibilities.

Friday, August 13, 2010


The night before I moved, I caught myself thinking, “Maybe I can let go of the Chris-chair.” The salvation army was coming the following Wednesday and I was just thinking about how easy it would be not to have to move the chair. Chris’ chair was really my chair. It had been for a couple of years before we even met. It only became his chair after his cancer surgery. I set it up for him, without the footrest, so he could be comfortable while he recovered. There was so little I could do to make any part of the ordeal easier for him, but when he came home and saw it set up, he smiled and thanked me.

Jonathan and I tried to make the chair work at home, but it just wouldn’t. Single futon chairs are quite large and no matter what layout we tried, the chair didn’t work. I decided I was ready to let it go, especially since it was tied to a memory of Chris that was bad. The chair came to symbolize great sadness for me, an empty chair, the chair in which my husband took his last breath. I didn’t want it anymore. Not now. Not when I’m really taking huge strides pushing myself forward.

The salvation army came on Wednesday. They began loading up the truck with all of the boxes and furniture we had stored in the garage. When they took the chair, I lost my breath. I turned to Jonathan and said, “I don’t think I’m going to be able to get through this without crying.” I try not to cry about Chris in front of Jonathan. Hell, I try not to cry in front of him, at all. But when the chair went, I did.

Jonathan held me and said, “It’s okay. You can cry if you need to. It’s okay. You loved him. You loved him very much. And he loved you. He still does. He always will.”

How did I get so lucky? Twice.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Huge Part of Who I Am

I’m just about finished packing up my stuff for my move in with Jonathan, who, by the way, I got engaged to two weeks ago.

Even though I love Jonathan, this major life change has not been an easy one to prepare for. There are things of Chris’ I had been holding onto for the past five-plus years, that had been buried in the crawl space of my current apartment. I sifted through the rubble of “used to be” and surprised myself with how much stuff no longer held meaning for me. On the flip side, I melted down again and again over the stuff that still does hold quite a bit of meaning for me, and placed it into a brand new waterproof storage box to store at Jonathan’s house. Everything I have left that once belonged to Chris now fits into one plastic box, a time capsule of a part of my life that held immense joy…followed by immense dread, anguish, and five years and eight months (and counting) of grief-induced loneliness for my lost love.

I often talk about the magical (and fictitious) “one year of firsts” that everyone seems to think follows the death of a loved one. The firsts never end, unless life ends. I’m about to move in with a man I love for the first time since Chris died, a fact I have been simultaneously celebrating and grieving. My apartment has become an asylum of sorts, a place for me to cry, laugh, fall, get back up and scream. I’m happy every time I think about Jonathan and depressed every time I think about Chris. I wear a brilliant diamond engagement ring on the ring finger of my left hand, the hand closest to my heart. I wear my engagement ring from Chris, and both of our wedding bands which I had soldered together on my right hand. I think about both rings and I sometimes feel handcuffed by them. I haven’t decided yet whether or not to keep my right-hand rings on. Jonathan is a very generous, supportive, sweet man who tells me I should keep both of my rings, since Chris was such a huge part of who I am, today. Then he tells me he loves me because of who I am, today. Brings tears, doesn’t it? That kind of patience and understanding is just what I need.

I’m ready, Jonathan. I’m ready for something. And I don’t have to be ready for a lifetime of love. I only have to be ready to step outside my door.