Going through the (e)motions.

VICTOR 07I just learned something this week. Something new about grief.

Yep, I’m still on the grief train over here…albeit in “panicked passenger” mode…desperately seeking the drink cart, woo-hoo!

And just to completely derail for a moment, I have been on many trains. We lived in Switzerland during my high school years, and my mom is from a picturesque little town in the alps, Wassen. Wassen is known for its beautiful church that sits out on the edge of a slope. It is also known for the train tunnels and tracks that wind up through the mountains, the Gotthard pass. From the town, if you look up the mountain, you will see the same train pass by 3 times. Each time a rung higher, and each time going in the opposite direction. Continue reading

Driving through a snow storm.

In about 3 months, we will reach the day.

It’s a day that looms large for all who have lost someone. People seem to think that in the first year you are grieving and “getting over it”, but the way I see it is that for that first year you are just surviving, just getting “into it”. Slowly being forced out of sedation, to face your injuries. (The biggest one being a hole in the heart. And for me, also a hole in the brain.)
Making it to the anniversary of his death, will be a fucking testament of my survival. It will also be a tough, tough day. And, unfortunately, the hard work is still to come. I knew it from day one. This is going to hurt, this is going to take a while.

Yesterday, I saw a job that I am interested in. It’s in an entirely different field, but one that I’ve been wanting to transition into. My heart lept when I saw the job posting. I thought, that’s it! My chance!! It’s what prompted my post yesterday about following my heart, because my heart has been racing with anxiety and excitement ever since I saw it. I read the description and thought, I am all those things. I can do those things! I have those skills. I will work on my resume and apply. See what happens. If nothing, then fine, it wasn’t meant to be. Go for it! That’s the “old me” talking! Good to see you! Where have you been?!

Then last night a storm hit. Like in “Back to the Future “. The “new me” met the “old me”, and it got trippy. My future got funked up. Continue reading

Be still, my beating heart.

LeveesREVColorThere are moments in life, when there is no way to describe what you are feeling, other than trying to explain what is going on with your heart. That your heart skipped a beat, or started pounding, or was fluttering like butterflies. That it crawled up into your throat. Or completely sank.

When I was younger, I trusted my heart, my intuition, that inner guiding voice. As I muddled through life, the decisions of adulthood, painful but necessary heartbreaks, it seemed harder and harder to hear my heart. The drum that it was beating to, often muffled.

But when I met my husband, my heart flipped. A couple words from his mouth, and it double flipped. I remember going to yoga, where I was supposed to be concentrating on breathing and holding postures, and all I could think about was him. My heart was definitely a-flutter. After only a few months, he asked me to move across the country with him, for a job. It seemed crazy, but I followed my heart. Things fell into place, there was flow. I got a job offer, we found a wonderful apartment on a lake, eventually we bought a house, got married. Life was not without challenges, but overall, my heart was at ease. It was comfortable in a steady, stable rhythm.

I have heard that it is important to get a physical exam after suffering a deep loss. Your body is affected. Increased blood pressure, anxiety, depression, the heart…your heart is affected. The first fissure started with the phone call from my dad, telling us that he was going to stop dialysis. Stop he did, and my heart too, for a moment. At the first grief support group I attended, when it was my turn to talk, my heart blocked my throat completely, not a single word could squeeze by. It would not let me utter the words. It chokes me up just thinking about it.

Never before have I lived from my heart, like I am living now. The core organ that keeps us going, beat by beat, we don’t pay it a lot of mind. We don’t give it a lot of thanks. But it’s got my attention. Every day. It reacts quickly, letting me know if something I am doing is good or bad for my well-being. If I need to be paying more attention, if I need to slow down. It reminds me that I am fearful of other losses, because even though wounded, I still have the full ability to love. It starts beating frighteningly fast when things cross my path that symbolize my husband, like the time I saw the owl in my back yard, or when a deer walked with me for a full block. I held my breath until he disappeared into the woods. Then the heaving sobs spilled forth. When tired, my heart closes up tightly…unyielding in its sorrow, it knows I still need to mourn, stay home, take a day off, honor my losses, respect my heart’s ache. And my heart really hurts when I read of others’ losses, hearts in grief are like kindred stars shining as hard as they can to give a little light to each other across a vast dark sky.

I can’t deny that death has rattled me, pierced my rib-cage. I find myself saying, “be still, my beating heart”, because I often feel anxious, unsteady, vulnerable and exposed. My heart dangling out there, for all to see. But I am also thankful. My parents gave me life, but it’s my heart that has been carrying on the daily work. Beating loudly, fast and furious, frightened and fearless, continuing to guide me along, through the thick of grief, the steady drum of life that I can not ignore. How can I not thank it? With every breath. Every day.

When the monkey is away….

I have written many posts about grief that don’t get posted. The same words tend to pop up, about drowning, battling, fighting, then relinquishing control….

It’s not easy to experience grief (understatement of the year), but the metaphors of the experience seem to come with ease. And while writing about it and getting it off my chest is part of healing, even to me, the story gets old.

New experiences…putting myself out there, trying different things, meeting new people, that too will give me something to write about, or, at least experience. Grief won’t be going away anytime soon. But my life, well, I’m all too aware of how finite it is.

Continue reading

It’s just data.

DSC03153-effect“I’m afraid to say, that what we have here is a complete hard drive failure.”

God damn it! If I’m not careful, I am going to go into a “complete emotional failure”. An epic widow melt-down. Breathe. Process this news s l o w l y.

See, on my most wonderful, “joyous” birthday in December, my computer crashed. Died. The IT guys at work couldn’t fix it, so, after much procrastination (obviously, as it’s now February), I took it to a specialist. Which is where I got the diagnosis. He explained that there was still hope for retrieving the data, by sending it to a data recovery service. But it would cost me. How much? I vaguely heard him say, possibly $600, going up to a thousand, as my mind started freaking out. Continue reading

A date with grief.

This morning *that* song came on the radio, the song from last summer that went straight to my heart, the song that goes straight to my gut, and immediately takes me back to a place of deep sorrow. But then another one came on, and another, ALL songs from last summer that remind me of my husband, of his death. What is going on? Did someone make a medley of my horrendous summer?

Ah, the Grammys. Of course. Might need to avoid them this year.

To a normal person – a person *not* in grief – that might sound like the wrong thing to do, “avoiding” things that stir up memories. But I can tell you that grief has completely re-arranged my perception of what is right and wrong in terms of how we process a loss. Continue reading

Looking for signs of life…

(Or Movie Mash-up: “Get busy living, or get busy dying, Dude.”)

Shawshank Redemption. Good movie. No, GREAT movie. It was on last week and I watched it for the hundredth time. I was reminded of the quote, “get busy living, or get busy dying.” I also watched the Big Lebowski…the Dude. I had forgotten most of it, and it had me busting out laughing. Every morning now, I hear the soundtrack in my head, asking to “see what condition my condition is in”….

I was in a very dark place recently. And while in this “condition”, many things happened. Mostly, I was mourning the loss of my husband, remembering the months we spent in the hospital, worrying that I will forget his wonderful qualities, wondering if I will ever come out of my grief. Have I made a single step forward? I often feel stagnant, boxed in by a very narrow vision of my self.

When I started this blog, I didn’t know what I was doing, or why. Stuff was just pouring out of me. It had to come out. But not without some trepidation, about sharing publicly. Worried that no one would read it, worried that anyone would read it. When I got my first follower, I had a panic attack. Then, as others started following, I got even more confused. Why are they even reading this dark shit? I haven’t posted anything funny for weeks! And why do I even feel the need to be funny? This is a blog about loss. Again…what am I doing? Why? Continue reading