Category Archives: grief

Don’t Touch

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When I was pregnant (both times,) I very quickly tired of people coming up to touch my belly uninvited.  It was bad enough when my friends and family did this, but total strangers would do the same thing.  I worked in a public location and, since I’m a short person, I looked like a little cube walking around.  People would just come up to me and touch my belly and I had to fight an internal war to keep from going all Chuck Norris on them.  At one point, I even asked Brian to make me a cage of chicken wire to wear over my clothes to keep people away.  Well, a cage or a stun gun, but you know, stun guns are often frowned upon in public places.

Lately a very good friend of mine has been going through a rough time.  Everyone is asking her how she is doing, what she needs, and sending ” {{{hugs}}}!”  People will come up to her in her office or on the street and just lay themselves on her.  She has even mentioned that one person said, “How are you?” to which she answered, “Okay.”  He then said, “No really, how are you?”  “I’m okay.”  “NO REALLY, how are you in here?” and pointed to her heart. By that point, her heart was feeling, “Fuck OFF!”

This past year has been incredibly difficult for me, but the last few months have been particularly excruciating.  I won’t get into the hows or whys, but I will say that some folks have done some awful things to me and I have done some equally awful things and, at this point, I’m in a place that’s not full of unicorns shitting rainbows along the golden brick road.  People are constantly calling and texting and wondering what is going on and why I’ve been so distant and telling me all kinds of unhelpful things like, “Come to a yoga class,” “let go of their negativity,” “just put a period and move on,” or “what you need is to get away” amongst countless others.

I think my friend and I both need a chicken wire cage.

I can’t speak for her, but I can and will speak for me and say that I know that people are concerned and are motivated by love and a desire to help.  I get that.  I understand that their intentions are pure and good.  I also understand that their actions are not particularly helpful.  Asking questions like, “how was therapy,” or “how are you” are absolutely meant to be harmless and are voiced from a place of compassion and concern, but what it feels like to be on the other side of those questions is this: I’m going to strip you naked in Times Square, rub your skin all over with sandpaper or a cheese grater, and then throw salt water at you.  The unsolicited advice that almost immediately follows feels like, “You’re too stupid to know what to do, I know better (even though I have never ever experienced what you’re going through,) so listen to me because my life is perfect.”

When dealing with emotions as strong as grief, loss, depression, confusion, heartache, betrayal, loneliness, longing, hopelessness, worry, and doubt, I am already feeling so very exposed and so very raw.  To be randomly touched, hugged, or questioned feels jarring to the open, sensitive nerve endings of my soul.  Not only that, but I don’t always have the answers to the questions that are asked of me.  How am I?  Ummmm.  I’m  here.  I don’t know how I am.  What can I do to help?  I have no clue.  As far as the uninvited hugs, I often avoid them not because I don’t want or need comfort, but because I know that I have spent hours trying to get myself together and out in public and one touch or “awwwwwww, you poor thing,” will either result in me breaking down into a sobbing pile of goo, or will cause me to lash out and take no prisoners as I go postal.  And hearing about how I should handle the loss of my husband or the fall out from my brief and very beautiful (until it wasn’t)  love affair makes me want to dig a very deep hole with no clear understanding if I’m digging it for me or for the person who is talking to me.

Maybe we need chicken wire cages for our heads and our hearts, too.

Again, I want to be VERY clear: I know that these comments and questions and offers come from a place of pure love and a strong sense of compassion and the lovely part of humanity that desperately wants to help.  And for that, I am grateful.  I’m grateful that I have friends and family and even some strangers who care so much about me.  Please don’t misunderstand me on that point.  All I am saying is that when I’ve already been turned inside out and put in a cage for public display, please don’t poke me. I will tell you what I want you to know when I want you to know it.  I will come out of my shell when I’m ready.  I will open up when I feel safe and not so exposed.  Don’t avoid me, but also please don’t try to “touch my belly,” as it were.  It’s mine.  I’m protective of it because it’s the very core of who I am at this time.

Remember, the best things come from the inside out.

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Are You Talking to Me? Obviously Not.

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I have debated writing about this for several days.  I have tried to gradually move this blog back into more of a yoga / mindfulness blog and less of a grief processing blog, but as I stated in my first Brian post, I just can’t separate the two.  Ultimately, this is a blog about my life and how I see it and what I learn from it.  Lotta strands in old Duder’s head. – and they are all tangled together.

While I wouldn’t say that this past week has been the hardest of my life (not by a long shot,) I can with certainty say that it was a fucking nightmare created entirely from the twisted minds of other people.  Yes, I know, I should be able to stop this post and my squirrel cage thinking with that sentence.  NOT MY DOING.  The end.  Easier said than done. While I have espoused for years the mantra of “what other people think of me is none of my business,” and I believe it, the fact of the matter is that when people take actions based upon their erroneous beliefs, the results can be devastating.

While my kids and I came out smelling like roses, there were about 36 hours of complete and utter terror in my house last week.  No one needs that in their lives, but it was especially traumatizing to us since we are all still trying to recover from the trauma of Brian’s death.  I won’t get into the specifics about it because to lend power to the events would be to lend  power to the instigators, but the details don’t matter so much to the lesson.  I will say this – one of the most painful parts of the whole thing is knowing that this egregious assault on character and lifestyle came from people who could have and most certainly should have spoken to me first, rather than making asinine, unfounded assumptions and acting out of misconstrued truths.

At any given point, the instigators of this horrible week could have spoken to me about their concerns, asked questions, voiced their opinions (not that their opinion would have swayed me one iota,) and asked for clarity and / or more information.  These people chose not to do that.  They chose instead to gossip amongst each other, gathering hearsay data and mixing it with their own judgements, and jump to ghastly inaccurate conclusions.  The result?  My children and I were hurt and traumatized and have taken the actions necessary to prevent ourselves from further injury.  The result for them?  They don’t get to be a part of our lives.  Honestly, I think we got the better end of the deal.  When someone shows you who they truly are, believe them.

Satya and Ahimsa.  Speak the truth and do no harm.  We need to talk to one another instead of talking about one another.  In this situation, everyone hurts.  Had there been open and honest communication, we could have all been saved some pain.  Sadly, the other parties involved chose to hide behind other people and sneak around like thieves in the night to fulfill their agenda.  I won’t lie – there were days when I wanted to lash out and retaliate against these people for the agony they caused and the fearful distrust they have created in me and my children.  I’m human.  I wanted them to hurt as badly as they hurt me, I wanted them to feel the slap of betrayal as clearly as we have.  I wanted them to suffer, but (gratefully) I have learned to give things time and space so that I can act instead of react.  As I write this, my feelings at this moment are those of pity for them (and, admittedly, righteous indignation,)  but also pride in myself and my children, in our ability to see through the fog, in our ability to stop playing the dreaded “Telephone Game” of our youth and go straight to the source, and in our ability to make the choices that are best for us and the lives we want to lead.

Talk to each other.  Speak the truth.  Do no harm.

It’s really that easy.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

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It’s been a long time since I have written.  I have been struggling with getting my thoughts together. Hell, I have been struggling to get myself together! Sometimes life just gets away from me and I get lost in the shuffle.  Lately I have been running 90 to nothing and feeling like I haven’t been getting anything done.  Is that a grief thing?  A life thing?  An ADD thing? A depression thing?  An age thing?  I don’t know for sure, but I’m certain that it’s definitely a thing.

The 9 months since Brian died has been a total roller coaster.  Just when things seem to get easier, something comes up and knocks us all back down.  Not as far down as we have been, of course, but it’s still a fall. I can say with all honesty and without a doubt that this experience has been the most powerful and educational experience of my life.  I have learned so much about life, about death, about other people, but mostly about myself.  The biggest lesson I have learned is this: I am not Superwoman.

I have been fiercely independent my entire adult life.  I still am.  I am the woman who will fix her own plumbing, carry in all the groceries in one trip, work on my own household projects, open my own doors, pay my own way, etc.  Asking for help is almost impossible for me – it’s just not in my makeup.  My parents tell the story of taking me out on a boat with friends when I was three years old.  The adults were waterskiing and, at one point, I attempted to jump into the water screaming, “MY TURN!” When I was 8 months pregnant with my oldest child, my husband came home to find that I had not only assembled all of the nursery furniture, but had also rearranged our bedroom by myself.  I have painted houses, built fences, moved furniture, held a breastfeeding baby with one hand while plunging a clogged toilet with the other, and superglued my finger back together after I cut it to the bone, but I’ve learned that, as much as I wish I could, there are some things I cannot do.

I cannot process grief or love by myself.

I cannot heal my depression, anxiety, panic, or lack of focus by myself.

I cannot be both mother and father by myself.

I cannot pretend that I’m not a nervous wreck every moment of the day by myself.

I cannot pretend.  Period.

I cannot take care of my children and myself 24/7/365 completely by myself.

I need help.  I hate that I need help.  I mean, I really hate it.  It goes against everything I have ever believed about myself, but it’s my truth now.  I need friends and family to help me with the kids.  I need therapy and medication and meditation to help with my emotional and mental health.  I need to be heard and understood as I process this new life I’m trying to create.  I don’t want any of these things, but I need them and I have learned how to ask for them. Okay, it’s more accurate to say that I am learning how to ask for them.   When I do ask, I am given what I need.  It’s a whole new kind of DIY lesson, but I’m trying. 

Who is this bitch, anyway?

There’s a Light

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When Brian died, all kinds of people told me all sorts of things.  I can’t count the number of times I heard, “at least he didn’t suffer,” (how do we know?,) “he will always be with you,” “you’re strong and you’ll make it through,” and a bunch of other stuff that I know were said to me out of compassion and love, but honestly didn’t do me a damn bit of good.  There was only one thing anyone said that helped me out at all (interestingly, two people told me the exact same thing,) and that was this: It’s going to suck for a very long time.  It’s going to suck until it doesn’t suck anymore.  And when it stops sucking, it will likely be because Brian led you to the place you are meant to be and it will be okay to be happy.”

Friends and neighbors, I’m here to tell you: it doesn’t suck anymore and I am happy.

Don’t get me wrong.  I still miss Brian every day.  I still love him and always will.  I still hurt.  I don’t think any of that will ever go away and I hope it doesn’t.  Brian is a huge part of who I am and everything that happened in our 14 years shaped me, including his horrible death.  I wouldn’t want to wish that away.  That said, I’m still here, I’m alive, and I’m living again.  I’m happy and that feels wonderful.

Months (years?) before Brian died, my life started taking on a new color.  I started getting interested in music that is mostly unknown to the mass public because it doesn’t fit a radio station’s idea of what should be played.  I started meeting artists and writing some here and there.  I started talking to folks on Twitter, going to shows in little clubs, interviewing people, and just sort of getting involved.  Brian used to look at me and shake his head with a grin on his face and say, “Just remember to take me with you when you go.”

After Brian died, that part of my life took off.  These people that I had been interacting with somehow swooped in and showed me support and grace and generosity that shocked me. There was no pity, there was no dancing around the subject, there was no patronizing me.  It felt safe.  It felt like I was where I was supposed to be.  Out of Brian’s death, I was given a new life.  I feel like he led me here.

These are good, good people.  I have gotten pretty close with a lot of these folks in the last few months, very close to one in particular.  He is one of the kindest people I have ever met and we are now in a lovely relationship and I am very happy.  I put my whole life out here on this blog, but I won’t be talking about him in detail because that’s his story to tell, not mine.  We have both spent some seriously painful time in the dark, but somehow we managed to take a chance and found the light.

All of this to say that, if you’re in a dark spot, just keep going.  This crazy life will pick you up and body slam you right down into the pits of hell, but if you keep going, if you don’t give up, it will also pick you back up and gently set you down where you are meant to be all along. I promise you.  There’s a light.

Sluts, Shaming, Strength, and Survival: In which I piss off everyone I know

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It’s been quite some time since I’ve written and, once again, I am astonished at how quickly things can change.  Sometimes it’s perspectives that change, sometimes it’s the amount of one’s courage that changes, sometimes it’s life circumstances.  It makes no difference, it can all happen and it can all happen in an instant.

One of my favorite books is If Buddha Got Stuck.   Admittedly, I haven’t read it for a number of years, but I remember how much it impacted me the first few times I read it.  More than anything, the book taught me how to recognize when I was stuck and, friends, I am here to tell you that I had been stuck since the day the cops came to tell me that Brian died.  Stuck waist deep in muck with no branch or rope to pull me out, no friendly hand to guide me, and no clear eyes to see any of those things had they been there.

About a month before he died, I purchased tickets for us to go to Chicago and attend MoonRunners Festival that took place April 27.  After he died, I didn’t quite know what to do with those tickets, but the awesome guys over at MoonRunners heard of my story (they actually ran my first Brian piece) and encouraged me to come anyway.  I rounded up a couple of girlfriends and we trekked our way from different areas of the US and met up in Chicago for the festival and, how do I go about saying this?  It was probably in the top 3 weekends of my entire life.  I had fun, I met people, I felt alive again.  And, yes, I took some chances that worked out rather favorably for me, but not everyone understood those chances or my need to take them or my elation in the results.

No one knows anyone but themselves.  Sadly, there are a lot of folks who don’t even know that.  Even more sadly, there are many folks who think they know you and what is best for you enough to place judgement or criticism on what you do, regardless of how comfortable you are with your own ideas and actions.  Call it projection, call it self defense, call it whatever you want.  It all boils down to distrust and disrespect and putting your nose where it doesn’t belong.

Earlier today, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a post by a fairly well known yoga teacher that mentioned something about someone’s arms being long enough to do a certain asana or transition.  This is not anything new.  There are some people who just have skeletal formations that will prevent them forever from doing certain things.  That is not what triggered me.  What triggered me was the tag line this teacher used to promote her YouTube video: “Click here to see if you fit!”  This pissed me off to no end.  Yes, I realize that it seems hypocritical that I am judging another person by their words.  I get that. That is why I am not naming names or linking to blogs nor am I even saying that this teacher is wrong for having used those words.  I’m just talking about what it triggered for me.  There is NOTHING in the world anyone can do to grow their arm bones an extra 3 inches.  Nothing.  Telling a person with shorter arms that they don’t “fit” is, frankly, body shaming.  It’s the same bullshit I hear all the time about how yogis should be thin and bendy and muscular and strong.  Yes, it’s true, many of us are all of those things, but let me state right here and now: there are just as many yogis out there who are NOT thin and bendy and muscular and all that spandex-hyped bullshit, and those yogis are just as qualified and authentic as those of us who can roll through splits and do pushups all day.

Why do we have to fucking judge other people so harshly? SO WHAT if your arms are too short to allow you to do a jump through?  So what if your breasts are too big to do a fully vertical Salamba Sarvangasana?  SO WHAT?  You do what you have to, nay, what you WANT to do as long as you’re okay with it and you’re not hurting yourself.

Which brings me to sluts.  (How’d you like that segue?)  

While I was ranting a bit on FB about Body Shaming, I decided to throw in the fact that I am feverishly disgusted with Slut Shaming, too. Someone asked, “What is Slut Shaming?”  I could write pages about it, but this little YouTube clip sums it up quite nicely.

RIGHT?!?

One of my dearest friends is a tiny bit older than me.  She is a beautiful single woman who has raised her two children to adulthood and likes to go out and have a good time.  She pays her bills, takes care of her family, holds down several jobs, is clean and clear and wonderful in every possible way and she has no intention of getting into a relationship.  At all.  She has a good time being herself and going after who and what she wants.  She’s a blast and I adore her!   She also loved Brian with all of her heart.  She knew how amazing he was and how deeply we loved each other and how pure our love was.  She also told me, before I went to Chicago, “Boo, you go out there and get you as much of what you want as you want to get.” Interestingly enough, my therapist told me the same thing, although he used words like Living, Experience, Boundaries, Exploration, Celebration, etc.  Even more interestingly, my parents told me the same thing.

What did or did not happen in Chicago is my business (that didn’t happen,) but I will tell you this: it was a very awakening experience.  I went out and introduced myself to people I had never met.  I felt no fear nor any shame nor any desire to be anything I am not. I simply felt free to be me for the first time since Brian died. I had a blast! I met artists and promoters and purveyors and just generally awesome people.  I had conversations with people of whom I still don’t know their name.  We talked.  We laughed.  We shared stories.  We had drinks.  We took pictures.

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943054_10152834386360192_157386304_nI have no idea who these guys are, but they were fun and up for a photo op.

So what does this have to do with sluts and shaming and strength and survival?  Well, I’m not sure I can connect all the dots for you, but I will tell you this: I would cut off both my legs and one arm to spend every day kissing my husband for the rest of my life, but he is never ever coming home.  I will never kiss him again.  Ever.  He is dead and I am still here.  I will also tell you that I have always been a highly affectionate person: I kiss and hug ALL my friends, each and every time I see them.  I’ve been that way since I was a teenager.  I am physically affectionate, but that doesn’t mean that I’m looking to date (I’m not,) or for a relationship (I’m not,) or that I have moved on from Brian (I never ever will.)  That said, I still struggle every day with the “what would so and so think” of how I am moving FORWARD (NOT moving on.)  I worry and I stress tremendously that our friends and our family members will think that I’m dishonoring Brian, when in actuality, I’d rather die than dishonor him.  Might I kiss someone?  Yes, why not?  I always have! Brian loved that about me.  And, let’s just throw this out there since we’re being honest, he loved it when I kissed my girlfriends (girl friends, folks.  Don’t read anything into this.)  We were always on the same page – we were each other’s everything and neither of us ever did anything other than give a friend a friendly peck in 14 years.  Ever. But I know that if I were the one who died and he were the one sitting here alone, I’d want him to not feel so isolated.  I’d want him to have fun, I’d want him to feel alive, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he wants that for me right now.

Enter shame.

There will never be another soul that will take my husband’s place.  I have no desire to have a relationship with anyone, nor am I in any place to have “relations” with anyone (although, believe me, I’ve turned down many offers.  Guys are strange.) Yet, I get a feeling from many people that I shouldn’t be living.  That I should be staying at home and not having fun and not meeting people and god forbid, not kissing anyone.  No one has said those exact words to me, but I am feeling it. Maybe that’s ME projecting, but that says even more about how pervasive this whole “shaming” business is!

I’m realizing that no one has a right to say what is right or wrong for anyone else.  I have been guilty of doing that for so much of my life, I see now.  There is a difference between stepping up and saying, “You’re drinking / drugging / partying too much,” and saying, “You’re living too much.”  I have to decide how I feel comfortable living and so do you.  No more shaming!

It takes incredible strength to stand up for who you are.  It takes immeasurable strength to be able to do that in the face of adversity, be it on the mat, back stage, or in a coffee house.  Let us all be kind with one another and realize we’re all on a journey.  Some of us have a rockier, darker road to travel than others.  Sometimes boulders come crashing down on our path in the dark, but we’re all just trying to find our way home.  Let us be open.  Let us be honest.  Let us stop shaming.  Let us be strong.  Together.

Edited to add:

MOONRUNNERS II is set!!!  You ain’t seen nothing yet!  Check it out! http://www.blackcountryrock.org/moonrunners/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=381:moonrunners-fest-tickets-on-sale-friday&catid=8:news&Itemid=22

This Life

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As you can imagine, the last four months have consumed my entire being with thoughts on life and death.  What matters?  What is important?  What can we let go?  What should we grasp more tightly?  It’s all a crapshoot.  There’s no rhyme nor reason to it and none of it comes with a guarantee.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  Blink of an eye.  Just like that.  And a thousand other bullshit trite sayings that I’m so sick of hearing.  Sad thing is, as unoriginal as they are, they are all true.  We just never know.

We gotta live this life.

Buddhists say that Life is Dukkha.  Essentially meaning life is shit.  It just is.  It’s our attachment to it NOT being shit that causes us heartache and suffering.  I hear that, I truly do, but I expected to live this life with Brian and that was cut short.  Dukkha, indeed.  It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the end, be buried by the grief and suffering of it all.  It’s so easy to swim in the pain and let it crash over my head until I breathe the salty waters of grief deep into my lungs and I mummify myself into a shriveled soul.  Wouldn’t hurt me a bit, but it would destroy my sons.

They gotta live this life.

My parents married in 1967 and I was born 9 years later, the youngest of 3 children.  While life wasn’t always great, it was fairly good for a long time.  Until it wasn’t.  My siblings had left the nest and I was the last child remaining, born a full 5 years after my next closest sibling, when the shit hit not only the fan, but the motor, the housing, the wiring, and the whole thing went up in a blaze of the farthest thing from glory that you can imagine and left us all charred and gasping for breath.  Spring of 1993, the year of our own small version of Hiroshima.   Regardless of how old you are, being a first hand witness to that kind of destruction changes who you are.

Brian’s parents married in 1972.  While I’m sure that there were a few good years, the majority of their 39 year marriage was a mirror of the relationship my parents had, although much more subtle, underground, and prolonged.  My husband spent many years watching their slow demise and experiencing his own torture.  They divorced about 2 years ago. One enormous bomb or the prolonged exposure to radiation results in the same destruction and pain.  His long term exposure changed who he was, just like my different exposure changed who I am.

We had to live this life.

A little less than 20 years ago, when the debris had almost stopped falling from the sky, I asked my mother to give me her wedding rings.  She looked at me as though I were crazy.  I explained to her that I wanted them, not for the gold or the diamond, but because I needed some tangible proof that I came from a place of love.  It was so very ugly at the end.  She looked at me and said, “Someday.”  Let me say this here and now: neither of my parents intended for it to be that way, but they, like me, are human and sometimes things don’t go the way they plan.  They never meant to hurt me or anyone else, but … what can you do?

You live this life.

About a year or so ago, Brian’s mother, my MIL, came to him and told him that she was going to be breaking down the jewelry that my FIL had given to her during their years together.  She would be dividing the stones up equally between Brian and his brother.  She said, “You need to know that these things came from a place of love.  There was great love here. You came from great love. These things should be a part of another great love – the loves you have with your wives.”

I identified Brian’s body by his wedding band.  Somehow, even though his zippers had melted into grotesques, his wedding ring survived.  I’ve had it on the index finger of my right hand since November 27th, 2012.

Last month, my mother-in-law and I met with Brian’s personal jeweler and had one of her diamonds turned into an “engagement ring” for me.  It had been Brian’s plan all along.  I now wear my wedding band and the engagement ring that symbolizes the love he had for me, as well as the love he came from, on my left hand.

Last night, my mother looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “You are the keeper now,” and gave me her wedding rings.  I wear them on my right hand.

Evidence of love in this life.

We all came from a place of love.  We all came from love.  We all came because of love.  We all are love.  And, while I might not choose to teach my kids how to square dance or how to say the Lord’s Prayer, I will teach them, like Brian taught them, that they come from love, that they are made of love, that they are love, and that our love for each other never dies.

We live this love.

We live this life.

Yes, my hands look like 90 year old gardener hands.  I've been too busy watching Sons of Anarchy to moisturize.  Don't judge me!

Yes, my hands look like 90 year old gardener hands. I’ve been too busy watching Sons of Anarchy to moisturize. Don’t judge me!

 

Seasons Change

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It’s the first day of Spring, although you wouldn’t know it here.  It’s freaking cold and windy, but at least the sun is out.  As is the moon.  I love days where I can see both mid-day.

I haven’t written in a long time.  So much has been going on and I just didn’t know how to find the words.  Brian died late in the Fall.  It is now Spring.  I have made it through an entire season.  Unimaginable.  While the world goes through it’s seasons, I have been turning my own.  It has been almost 4 months (impossible,) and while people say that things get better with time, it’s almost harder now than ever.  Much of the shock has worn off.  Now it’s just daily life and the understanding that daily life sucks ass without Brian.  This is the time of year that was the best for us.  Things come alive and we started to run like wild children in the wind.  OH how we played! Now the playground seems all rusted and full of sharp edges and my legs have forgotten how or where to go.

I don’t even know what Spring looks like without him by my side.  So much needs to be done.  Last week I chopped off a 100lb tree limb that broke off during the snow and ice storm a month ago.  I pounded stakes through the fence and into the ground to deter Zeus from escaping.  I have fixed plumbing and electrical issues and have pulled weeds and checked gutters and made arrangements for car maintenance.  I have almost caught up with the laundry for the first time since Brian died.  I have changed the sheets, I have spent time in the sun, I have grilled steaks.  And all of it, ALL of it, is empty because there is someone missing.

Photo by Anastasia Pottinger Photography

Photo by Anastasia Pottinger Photography

I have also done really hard things, important things.  I have now gotten almost all of Brian’s property back from the state.  I have gone through almost all of it.  I got his wallet and his driver license this past Monday, his 39th birthday.  I have taken his mother to the place where he died.  Sunday, I will take his brother.  I have taken our children.  I have taken myself.

Some days are much harder than others.  There are days when I barely do anything at all except watch countless episodes of Law & Order: SVU on Netflix all day.  People ask me why I do this.  I do it because, for 42 minutes at a time, I can escape and live in a world where police aren’t incompetent, where investigations are taken seriously, where there is always a big strong guy to get the truth out of the bad dudes (I will stop watching when I hit the season where Stabler leaves.)  I watch it because it doesn’t always turn out pretty, the good guys don’t always win, and I watch it because I relate so much to the victims in these stories.  No, I am not suffering the trauma of sexual abuse, but I do feel like I have been violated by this entire event and process and I want Benson and Stabler to put the whole damn thing back together again.  And I want to see Christopher Meloni take his shirt off.  Come on, I’m still human!

There are also days when I get myself up, dust myself off, and get shit done.  TCB Sarah comes out and kicks ass.  Those days are highly productive, but I’m not foolish enough to see them as days of healing.  I see them for exactly what they are: days of escaping and coping in a different way.  Go go go, run run run, do do do.

It doesn’t matter.  I still go to bed alone every night, regardless of my daily actions.

When Brian and I got married, we were Ramen Noodle poor.  We didn’t have two dimes to rub together, but we had an abundance of love.  We were the richest people in the world.  Our rings cost less than $175 combined.  About a year ago, Brian told me that he wanted to get me a diamond solitaire, an actual engagement ring.  I believed he was going to give it to me for Christmas or for our anniversary.  He was going to use a diamond that his mother had given him – a beautiful marquis cut stone.  He died before he could get it made.  Brian’s mother never forgot the conversations he had with her about using that stone, however, and so a few weeks ago we met with Brian’s personal jeweler and, as I sit here typing this, I am wearing the engagement ring Brian had in mind.  12 years after we married, almost 4 months after he died.  It’s stunningly beautiful, but there is a part of me that looks at it with pain in my heart because he wasn’t here to put it on my finger.

Concert season is approaching.  I bought tickets to the MoonRunners Festival on November first.  We were supposed to go together and have a weekend in Chicago.  My heart breaks to think of a concert without him.  I am blessed with the best girlfriends in the world and I will be going with 2 of them and it will be a wonderful weekend, but it will be my first show since Brian died and I will find myself looking for his hat in the crowd.  I have three more concerts lined up and then it’s more festivals.  How will I do this when I’m not even sure how the sun will rise?

I wake up every day.  I go to bed every day.  I do what is needed to be done and I carry on, but most of the time I have no idea what day it is.  I just get up and go through.  It is a new season.  The season of painful change.

Photo by Shea McJagger

Photo by Shea McJagger