Who rules this kingdom?

I just read that despite the economy, people continue to increase spending on their dogs. These four-legged creatures have become such integrated parts of our families. There is a four-legged, furry one that I share my home with. Yes, I am a dog owner. Albeit, a tormented one.

“Cleo” is just over a year old…strong-willed and still full of explosive (and destructive) puppy energy. We got Cleo as a puppy, for my husband. And to be honest, ever since his death, I swing wildly back and forth as to whether or not I can handle this dog. Owning a dog was not a decision I took lightly, and “giving one away” is not either. Continue reading

Shaky Beliefs

Next to the garage of the house I grew up in, there was a discarded tombstone. I was a curious kid, and somewhat morbidly intrigued. It just seemed strange that it was there, so I asked my dad about it. I don’t remember his exact response, but knowing him, he probably explained that it was for someone who had died, but then with certainty, probably assured me that, no, there was no body buried under our garage. But I couldn’t seem to let it go, and even from a young age I expressed my questions artistically, so I drew a picture of it. (Though it should be noted the dates I put on the tombstone were Born 1329 – Died 1977. Apparently the guy lived to be 648 years old. Just goes to show that even from a young age I was a not a “numbers” kind of person). Continue reading

Praying to the porcelain god

Well, today it finally happened. I experienced a complete meltdown at work.

After months of showing up, (not an easy task in itself), taking on projects with an almost frightening zeal, and trying to prove to myself and everyone else that I was still the calm, reliable employee I once was, I finally cracked.

I’ve fought hard to keep things at bay. My mind has been working overtime to maintain my sanity and only let the reality of my loss sink in slowly. I’ve even tried, loosely, to keep my grief contained “to evenings and weekends” (ha!) – and the privacy of my car. I haven’t done it intentionally, it’s a self-protective mechanism. I’ve always processed things slowly, and quietly. Continue reading

Pop Therapy

This summer, after my husband died, the only music I could tolerate was “Top-40” hits. Not exactly sure why. I just couldn’t listen to any other music. Certainly not anything sentimental that would remind me of him; I just couldn’t bear it. And I couldn’t deal with the news, it was empty chatter that I couldn’t make meaning of. But I had to fill the silence otherwise my mind would just go crazy. So I gravitated toward the morning-show people. The ones who play hits, make jokes about bodily functions, and intentionally banter about nothing. No dark corners there, just pop. I’ll take it! An escape. Continue reading

Widow I wear?

Losing a spouse messes with you in so many ways. Some are very weighty issues, and some seemingly shallow. This past week I had a social week, including an invitation from friends of my husband’s to meet for dinner. As I got ready, I found myself getting very stressed about what to wear.

I’ll admit, figuring out what to wear is not a new issue for me. I like fashion, but I also like to feel that what I am wearing is “appropriate”. For me, continuing to put effort into how I look seems to help in my healing process. Even when my husband was ill, I tried to at least put on the “appearance” of outward “positivity”. And after he died, I knew I wouldn’t be showing my grief by wearing black, it just didn’t feel right. I guess it’s a crutch, a false bravado, that if I try to look good, I will eventually start feeling good – and though seemingly superficial, it’s one I am clinging to for survival. Continue reading

She Ded

When my friend first suggested I watch the show “Go On”, about a newly widowed man (played by Matthew Perry) and the support group he joins, I was resistant. I saw the pilot and didn’t think it was funny. Plus, “widowhood” and support groups are what I am Living and Breathing right now, so I was worried the show would hit a little too close to home. Is it even “kosher” to watch a show about death, when a loved one has just died?

*Case in point: I used to watch that cleverly written show about cancer, “The C Word”, until we found out my husband actually had cancer, then I wanted to throw a rock at the tv faster than you can say “pheocromocytoma” (the type of cancerous tumor my husband died from).

But one night as I was scanning hundreds of channels in search of something escapist and numbing like “Gnomeo and Juliet”, I stumbled across “Go On” and decided to give it another try. Continue reading

Um, it’s pretty dark in here…

Illustration courtesy of the New Yorker.

WTF? Why can’t I see anything? How did I get here? Ok, ok. Stay calm. Yes, it is dark. But I am OK. Still breathing, still alive. I just wish I could see something. In fact…could someone please tell me where the hell I am going????

Breathe. Just breathe. Let’s take inventory.

I still have cell reception…so it’s ok to call. I just talked to a friend in fact, and tried to explain how I feel like I am walking around in some kind of hazy gelatinous bubble. Yup, a snakey shadow of my former self.

And like I said, I am still breathing, I guess that’s a plus. I just can’t understand how I got here. It’s dark and lonely. Everything looks muddy, and even though this thing keeps moving, I have no idea where we are headed. Oh, am I repeating myself? Well, for all I know this big old serpent might only be going in circles.

I know people are out there. I can hear the muffled concern. I’m just not sure they see me clearly. And I understand how it must look from the outside! A little scary to approach… potentially venomous. I’d really like to be able to say, “I won’t bite!”, but what do you expect? I am in the belly of fucking a snake!! Obviously, I don’t have control. Or perspective. Which reminds me, could YOU please CALL ME? Even though I have your number, it’s really hard to dial from in here.

Nope, sorry, no idea how or when I will get out. But one thing is for sure, if I make it to the other side, I definitely won’t be wearing the same skin I went in with.