Rearview Mirror

A sleepless night. Physical pain, lots on my mind, and busy dogs all added up to me giving up and getting out of bed at 3:30am.

In the quiet of the morning, I sit and drink my coffee. I pet my new foster dog, at my home because of unspeakable abuse. I check the pool pump that exploded last night and is flooding the dead body cave room under the waterfall. I hope that the help that said they were coming, will actually come.

Today I want to talk about running away and looking forward all at once.

Moving to the island was definitely a run-away. I needed to get out of the environment that I shared with Michael. I needed to get out of our home, the place where he took his last breath. I needed to get away from the well-meaning but very painful interactions with those that still to this day reach out to me, expecting me to be able to comfort them because they miss him. I needed to get away from the pity looks and the whispers, the scenes where I would step up to the crowd and they would fall silent. I needed to get away from the pain of knowing friends that were nearby but who disappeared.

In running away, I also enabled myself to face the pain and the grief and process my losses and my life and my future. I personally believe that unless you really face it and address it and push through it, you won’t heal. And I can’t carry that kind of pain with me. And I couldn’t do it where I was.

It’s like getting in the car, driving away from a terrible fire, seeing it in the rearview mirror. You know you had to flee the fire or you would be burned to ashes. The fire consumed everything you thought your life was, and now you’re driving into a black gaping hole.  You know that it can be a tunnel, or it can be a cave. Depending on which way you turn once inside. And if you do indeed find the tunnel and not the cave, you have no idea where the tunnel lets out. The tunnel is SO LONG that you think maybe you found the cave instead. But you keep driving, sometimes with no headlights, and you hope that you chose the tunnel. You hope to see the light.

The rear view mirror. What a bullshit thing this is. You can’t ignore it, as it has formed who you are and it is your story. But you can’t dwell there because that’s a cave. So you look out the windshield, even when it’s pitch black, and you squint and seek a direction.

The problem with the rearview mirror is that it reminds you of what you’ve lost, what you once had, and what you’ll never have again. At the same time, it can remind you of your strengths, your blessings, and the fires you have run away from.

I’ve been focusing really intently on that rearview mirror, adjusting it and changing the angle and the view so I see what I need to see and forget the rest. The pain and hurtful things that have happened are no longer in that view. All that is in that view is the loving marriage I was blessed to have; the moments of pride in my rescue and my accomplishments; the last few weeks with my dad that were life-changing and intensely meaningful; the memories that are my story. I’m looking through the windshield now.

I’m letting it all go. I’m a pretty good letter-go’er if I say so myself. I have let all the times I have been hurt go. I have let all the times I’ve felt wronged, go. I’ve let the life I used to live, go. None of these things serve me any longer.

The windshield is a scary view. I have no idea what’s ahead. My headlights still aren’t working reliably, and I can’t see sharp turns ahead. I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but I’m pretty sure it is the tunnel I am in, not the cave.  With this, comes fear and anxiety.

And now, I have to work on letting that go. Just BE. Right here, right now. Just be. I’m in a position that some would envy. Relatively youngish with no ties whatsoever. I can go ANYWHERE I WANT. Do whatever I want to. I can move to Mexico next (which I think about a lot). I can go back to the US (not on my radar at the moment). I can stay here forever (doubtful but hey, it’s an option). I need to trust that somehow I will land on my feet as I always have. Trust that somehow I will find my way as I always have. Let it go and give it over to the universe. And I need to always remember, nothing is permanent.

Let it go. Look forward. You can run away and run into something all at once.  And while you can’t tear that rearview mirror off, you can adjust it.

Peace,

~ Lisa

Why’d I do it!

Happy Sunday, everyone.

I’m struggling. A lot.

I guess I must have forgotten I did this, but it turns out I chronicled and photo-journaled so much of Michael’s last weeks. I was digging through my phone looking for a specific completely unrelated photo, and then I got to them. I could see the progression in the photos of when we still had hope and as it faded. I have photos of him shaving all his facial hair off because it bothered him. Photos of him in hospital beds, waking up from surgeries. Lots of hospital bed selfies of us, him withering away and me with puffy eyes.

I saw fake brave faces and the spirit leave both of our eyes. And omg the details. I took SO MANY photos. There are videos too, but I cannot bring myself to watch them.

I am SO tired of my story. I hope it’s just the holidays. I have been doing phone therapy with my therapist in MN every two weeks, and we have decided that my PTSD is a major component. Yes of COURSE there is grief. Of course. But the complicated grief (one loss after another – my son, my grandkids, my dad, many pets, Michael) and the circumstances (watching my father and my husband die within months of each other, after I hands-on caregave until their last breaths). To put it simply, my brain feels broken. I feel like I may never recover. Well, let me rephrase. I can never recover. When I have a good day, I literally say “hey! I’m proud of myself, I had a good day!” I define a good day as no panic attacks and no breakdowns. I probably have those about half the time. the bad days are so powerful that it takes me a day or two to mentally recover from it. This shit is not for the weak.

I look at his photos and if he’s looking at the camera, it takes my breath away. I go back to that moment and that feeling and that time and get so fucking sad that he’s gone. He’s just GONE. Plucked off the planet.

And in a half hour, I’ll be okay. And in a few hours, I won’t. And then it starts all over. I don’t trust myself out and about except for short periods. Crowds overwhelm me. I’ve put up walls and let very few in. I want connections but I’m safer behind the keyboard. It feels like it will never change.

I think I’m also upset that it is STILL so raw. I feel like something is wrong with me. I’m breaking my own rules and looking at timeline. I’m wondering when the fuck this is NOT going to kick my ass. Or IF it will ever NOT kick my ass. I don’t know why it feels so fresh again or why I’m back in the depths of darkness.  Maybe healing isn’t linear and is instead like a pinball machine, bouncing you all over the place. Or maybe I’m backsliding.

Seventeen more days until you-know-what. I’m gonna call it Wednesday. This used to be the time leading to a lot of wonderful and warm and fun times together.

Any my heart is broken.

Peace

~ Lisa

Depression Confessions

Hello everyone 🙂

My heart is heavy today, actually the last couple of days. And I need to talk about it.

For starters, let me say that as a rule, people here shame me for grieving. This isn’t the case with EVERYONE – but a large part of the people I have spent time with in the DR quite simply have very little compassion or understanding, and they are of the 1950’s belief that you just pull up your boot straps, get over shit and move on. If you are in a sad place, something is wrong with you and you really should hide that because it’s boring, nobody cares, you’re a negative person, and nobody likes you. This, I learned quickly and harshly.

As Mr Rogers’ mom said, “Look for the helpers”. Fortunately for me, there are helpers and beautiful souls who do understand that there are many layers to a person and that I am much more than just this mood or that state. There are those helpers who cared enough about human connection to do just that – connect with me. I think maybe they’re surprised to find out I’m not the loser that others think I am, and I can tell you I’ve had some of the sweetest and most fun times with them. They are my people. They’re messy, they’re complicated, they’re dealing with their own stuff, they’re honest, they’re authentic, and they’re there. For good days or bad. They don’t say stupid shit like “well you have a lot to be thankful for!” or “well you know, the reason everything is sad is your fault for looking at it that way”.

Anyway, suffice it to say I have very limited outlets for my feelings and learned very fast that it’s not everyone is “safe” to be yourself with. I used to wish I could help them understand me, but then I realized that I have no desire to spend time with human beings who can be mean and who can judge anyone in my situation so I no longer have the need to earn their respect or affection.

But let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about how some days it’s all I can do to get dressed. Or some days, the thought of leaving my house is paralyzing. Let’s talk about how the chronic physical pain adds to the sadness. The medications that are kicking my ass, all in the name of some sort of improvement on the physical side. Let’s talk about the added element of PTSD and waking up to night terrors and voices and replays of horrific moments in time. Let’s talk about waking up in another country with a dead husband and the number of people you can really trust in your country is like, three – and there’s a whole faction out there that has belittled you, lied about you, and left you with nothing. Let’s talk about the friends you thought you had; the ones who said how much they loved you and yet never reach out; the ones who promised they would come to see you yet there’s been not a mention; the ones who have stopped messaging and barely reply to you when you message them. Let’s talk about the HELLIDAYS. OMG, it’s brutal and painful and sad to live through this time of year. Let’s talk about how in spite of all of these forces I managed to find a house, I am working on finding a car, I am building a small business and making income, I am taking excellent care of my dogs and the house, and I am making time to build the connections with the few people who don’t choose to think they are above me. I am actually creating a life, all by myself, in another country. Nobody gave me this house. Nobody is giving me money. Nobody is supporting me.

Yes, I have really bad days. And I have really good ones too. Do I suffer from depression? Absolutely. PTSD? Yes. Does that mean I don’t have joy? A sense of humor? Have fun? Absolutely not. Do these conditions define me? Absolutely not. They’re just another layer.

Every day starts anew with a beautiful view, a delicious cup of coffee, time with my life dogs, and a fresh slate. Some days are so amazingly happy, and others are empty. This is life. And anyone who represents themselves as always happy and always grateful and always on the sunny side is full of shit. Because newsflash friends: this is the human condition. We are not robots. We aren’t always “on” and anyone who claims they are is lying to themselves and to you.

Depression isn’t an attitude. PTSD isn’t “hanging onto the past”. Grief isn’t a mood or a choice to be sad. This shit is real. It’s hard. It feels insurmountable some days. I wish he had never died. I wish I had never ended up “relying” on others. I wish I wasn’t a widow. But I’m not going to hide from it either. I wish everything was different. But it’s not.

In the very beginning of this hell or as I call it the Life Sentence, a friend Cheryl (who just recently passed away from cancer 😥 because why the fuck not), told me something I will always remember. When Michael got diagnosed she reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to hear the good news. And the good news was that when this was all said and done, I’d know who my real friends were. She told me, even those who were there during the worst may not turn out to be my people. She told me that I would lose far more than just my husband. But what I’d be left with would be a treasure. And she was right on every single count.

I have lost much of what I “thought” I had, but anything I have lost wasn’t mine to begin with. I have in my hand a few beautiful diamonds, and I’m slowly adding another one here or there. The coal has all fallen away, and while it was and is a painful process, who wants a handful of coal anyway. It just gets everything dirty and taints everything it touches.

My diamonds know who they are.  I will always treasure them and carry them with me. The ones in the DR have had such an amazing impact on my life and have given me so many reasons to keep going.  And I do have true friends in the states, those who talk to me late at night or send me a quick message to tell me they miss me or they’re proud of me. They tell me the drama in THEIR lives because they trust I’m not a fragile cracker and that maybe, just maybe, I can be of help.  Leaning on me shows faith in me.

And that’s all. All we can do is the best we can do. We can choose to be diamonds or we can choose to be coal. There’s nothing “wrong” with me. And the diamonds know that. The coal isn’t for any of us to worry about. All you’ll get is dirty hands.

Peace,

~ Lisa

 

From Barrio to Opera – Finding my Groove!

Hello everyone! Wow what an amazing week I have had really enjoying and seeing so much more of this beautiful place where I live.

One day this week, I spent the day with my good friend Nancy. Nancy is a New Yorker (Brooklyn baby!) but she’s been here for many years. And Nancy ain’t screwin’ around. Nancy lives in Puerto Plata right in a barrio. And hanging out with her was awesome. She taught me how to make rice old school, and showed me the Dominican washing machine OMG…her house is tiny but has everything you would need. In her living room, one chair and a motorbike parked so it doesn’t get vandalized or stolen outside.

Then we went out on the bike! I was on the back of a moto for the first time. Part of Puerto Plata day was getting a hot fresh-made empanada from a little hole in the wall (literally). SO delicious. This little video at the very end, you will see the empanada hole in the wall. 🙂

 

Then we went to the port. It was cruise ship arrival day so Nancy knew that the vendors would be out selling their little knick knacks. So we bummed around there, there’s an AWESOME amphitheater, and then we cruised through town on the moto. MOTO!!

 

We stopped and saw umbrella street and the pink street. Went back to Nancy’s and had real Dominican food (minus the meat!). It was just a fabulous day that was so good for my soul and my mood. I can’t wait to do it again. I put the photos of Puerto Plata into a slideshow.

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Then Thursday, I went to the horse ranch where I’m volunteering for them to help them raise some funds and awareness. Angela and her brother Manuel are seriously some of the most pure, accepting, kind, grateful, humble and insightful people. Angela is with her horses like I am with my dogs. Excellent care for every animal in her care. The ranch currently has 17 horses, a donkey, two geese, some chickens, a rooster and some dogs. ❤ All in the most beautiful and peaceful setting. Angela and I are becoming friends and we don’t speak the same language. It’s almost comical. She speaks FRENCH. And I DON’T. She speaks NO English. And we both speak AWFUL and VERY LITTLE Spanish. LOL but somehow we connect and we laugh and communicate. Manuel and Angela are also musicians. Angela is a vocalist. When I arrived this week, I accidentally interrupted their rehearsal. When they told me to sit and enjoy, I was STUNNED when Angela opened her mouth to sing. STUNNED. Out of her tiny body and soft spoken demeanor, the most powerful voice came.  It gave me chills. She was rehearsing, Manuel on the keyboard, dogs lying around, horses in the distance. Just ethereal.

8ghandi
Donkey name Ghandi with an injured foot.
2horse
One of the beautiful horses getting his daily grooming.

 

Thursday was just that – Thursday. And I like it that way. After I went to the ranch,  I went out to the local watering hole with a couple of friends. It was a nice, chill, no-pressure day.

D
Happy Thursday!

Today, my foster girl Rae left on a jet plane to meet her new family in Canada! We will miss her a lot, but she’s going to have a wonderful life. She was with us for a couple of months!

1Rae
Sweet life, baby girl! 

This was by far the absolute best week I’ve had.

When I decided to move here, I didn’t want to live like an American in another country. I didn’t want to live in the all-white gated communities because I felt like, why live behind a gate? If you live here, you live here. But after the robbery, I feel differently. ONLY because I am alone. If I were here with Michael we would never live in this house. He would have laughed at the idea and told me to come down from the pedestal and reminded me that we aren’t big huge McMansion people. Truthfully the house is uncomfortable in that it’s too much. It’s so big. SO BIG. Much more than I need. But I digress.

I can live behind a guarded gate and still not let my life be whitewashed. I have ALWAYS really dug diversity and I’ve always really dug people that can just be. No plans. No money needs to be spent. Just come over and we’ll screw around or hang out or go act like tourists. Come over and hang out with horses and share some coconut water and listen to people’s dreams. My circle of friends is SO diverse and I’m loving the way my life is setting up. I don’t need to surround myself with people like me. I need to grow and explore and take it in and DO. I don’t mind being the only person that looks like me in a whole crowd. I LOVE it. I love to look at my circle of friends and realize they are all so interesting and so different but yet there’s a way to connect with them all.

And I just ended the week by announcing publicly that I am moving on from my rescue and the DR rescue. It was incredibly freeing and felt really good. I also finalized some chats with an upstart rescue in the US who is focused on the China Dog Meat Trade. I am officially taking on their communications. It’s bittersweet because it carries a very heavy responsibility with it, and I know it’s going to be emotionally draining, hard work. But I have decided that while I serve my life sentence I’m going to LIVE. I’m going to travel to China. I’m going to do everything I can to bring light to the subject.  It crosses into some grey areas for me…such as, how do I advocate about this without preaching vegetarianism? It’s a whole other topic for another day, but there’s an invisible line somewhere saying it’s okay to kill certain animals to eat them and not others. I’m a veggie for those that don’t know.

And that wraps up my week in pictures and video! Just a happy week. The first of many now that I’m in a good headspace.

I hope you’ve all hung in there, and if you’re a holiday loather I hope you made it through the first wave alright. The next month is going to be a sick torturous ride of merriment and happy families. Hang on tight.

Peace,

~ Lisa

Improvements and Setbacks

Hello everyone! Well here we are, Thanksgiving week. Is everyone planning their traditional feast?

TGiving was never a huge deal to me or in my house. More than anything, it became a nice long weekend for Michael and me to spend together, we’d work on things around the house, maybe go see a movie or binge on something at home.

More than anything, it marks the beginning of a painful season. The holidays just suck. This is my first AWARE TGiving without him. Last year I was still in a haze. Not this year. Christmas music, food, lights, decorations, they’re everywhere. And it hurts.

There are some good things happening:

My pills are WORKING. My hands and my elbows always show signs of flare-ups and damage. My index fingers are pivoting inward…the fingernail is starting to face the finger next to it. My second flip-off fingers are also starting to go astray and bend and pivot. Nodules appear on my fingers, elbows and toes. So…I’m in the midst of a flare-up right now, but the pain is minimal. I’m able to go down the stairs normally instead of one leg, one step at a time. I can ALMOST make a fist. Things are improving.

In other news, last week I did a video/fundraising day for the rescue in DR. I have also been openly letting people know that I’m looking for freelance work. All of that came together in the past few days. The video was the catalyst for a couple of people to reach out to me for work, and then I was also recommended for a really exciting project by a friend and business contact. I had worked with her before and have known her a few years. She is quite successful and well known in non-profit world. And it made me feel really wonderful to know that she thinks enough of me to recommend me to someone. So…I’m potentially looking at a nice body of work doing some really exciting stuff with a rescue.  I’m excited to exercise my work and brain muscles again. I’m also really excited because I’m also going to start helping a local horse rescue that’s right by my house with their communications and marketing and fundraising. And horses! I’ll get to know horses.

I still love the house I’m living in. It’s a lot of work because it’s big. I don’t even go into the extra bedrooms except to steal the furniture in them for other places in the house, and to vacuum and clean up. I still think the kitchen is WAY too tiny. But I love it here. The view, the quiet, the security, the location. It’s a good place for me and the girls. I’m going without some basic “luxuries” like cable tv and the internet leaves a lot to be desired, but that’s because construction is concrete. No drywall here!

I had a meltdown this weekend. Was talking with a friend and told her that it felt like Michael died today. And that really, it feels like he dies every day. I’m backsliding in my process. I don’t call it losing progress because this isn’t a race and there is no finish line. This is the life sentence. Or as this article says, “Dying to Leave, Trying to Live”. I feel a bit better today, exhausted from my meltdown but that also is part of life after Michael.

I was really proud of myself last night. It was my friend’s birthday and she was going out to the local watering hole. I felt kinda cruddy from the poison pills and decided I wasn’t going to go. But I changed my mind. Went out, parked and walked to the place by myself, and hung out for a couple of hours and a couple of beers. This is BIG stuff for an introvert. Progress. 🙂

Lastly, I have decided to adopt my foster dog. He’s special needs. We thought he was paralyzed, but he’s not. He has spinal injuries but he is able to move his legs and we are doing lots and lots of PT with him. He is SUCH a good boy and he’s a LOVE. And the girls like him too. So, he’s staying. We’re attached to each other. Meet Walter. ❤ He’s a few years old, about 30 pounds, and he has a long way to go to get shiny and healthy and mobile. I’m looking forward to watching him get stronger and more active. ❤

Walt

So once again this year, Thanksgiving will instead be called Thursday. I have plans to go work at the horse ranch because they are having a Thursday too. ❤

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving with those you love, and extend a loving hand to those who may be alone.

Peace,

~ Lisa

Pleased to Meet You?

I’m a research geek. Whenever I am trying to improve something about myself or understand anything in the world, I research it and delve into it and try to understand it better.

In all my research, there is no correlation between how a person handles grief and anything else. Some people can really put it away, others feel paralyzed for years and years. There is no predictor or commonality between the two extremes. Age, circumstances of death, length of relationship, social or economic status. Grief isn’t a choice and everyone processes it differently.

Having said that, I also really try to learn from my mistakes and I really try to understand them so that I don’t repeat them.

And here’s what I have learned…

Meeting people and trying to build new relationships during the worst time in your life, is a bad idea. A really bad idea.

Grief turns you into a person you don’t know. You are emotional, sensitive, at times irrational, at times too trusting, at times not trusting enough. For me personally, Michael is always present in my mind and heart, but it’s not just Michael. It’s his absence that screams at me. And the PTSD kicks in frequently. It takes a toll on you to watch the love of your life deteriorate in 7 weeks and die. You see, there was no nurse or doctor to call. There was no morphine drip. No aides. There was no hospital staff to come and help with meds or to help with physical tasks. It takes a toll hearing screams and wailing for hours a day, or hearing the person you love screaming that he doesn’t want to die. It takes a toll tending to their every need when they are inconsolable, in pain, or in a moment where they are raging at you. It takes a toll to go through this just MONTHS after going through the same thing with your father, all the while trying to be present but at the same time process that you are losing everything that matters right in front of your eyes. Be strong for him, you tell yourself. Because although you are losing him and you’re terrified, he is losing EVERYTHING and grieving his ENTIRE LIFE.  Take care of him. He needs you. You have plenty of time to be scared later.

It has changed me. I am quite often surprised at the emotions that come up and the timing in which they occur.

I’m not in a constant state of depression. I am emotionally all over the place, and that leads to high highs and low lows. It leads to me choosing to be alone a lot of the time because I don’t trust myself in public situations very often. I’m not a sad person; quite the opposite. I experience and seek out joy and new experiences and chances to grow and improve as often as I’m able. I laugh a lot. I cry a lot too, but there’s more to me than sadness.

Things in the DR got off on a bad foot. Things happened, things were said, things were done, and through all of it I’ve been hurt and frustrated and scared. And really examining it lately, I realized…these people have only known me through the worst time of my life. A time when I am lost and lonely and trying to learn how to live alone for the first time ever, and a time when my life support system has vanished. My dad leaving just months before Michael, my friends at home who have lives to live, my circle. Add to that my physical situation that I’m working on addressing and living in a new country (alone), and it just amounts to the fact that my start-over was a fucked-up mess because I was a fucked-up mess.

I’m told by people who know these things that I’m doing really well and I shouldn’t be worried about my process at all. I’m told that the steps I have taken since he passed are signs of strength and hope and wanting to improve my outlook and the rest of the days I have to serve the life sentence. And I do believe that in familiar company that may be true. But trying to start a new life with strangers who know nothing more than this emotional and lost side is a recipe for failure.

There are a few people who have gotten to know me personally. They know I have kids. They know where I’m from and things I like. They know stories and they’ve shared laughs. We’ve found things in common and basis for friendships. They know a little more about me as a human than most others here do, and I THINK those relationships are blooming.

When things here get overwhelming, I talk to my core people who knew and loved me before death changed me. And they’re loving and supportive. They’re my cheerleaders. They’re my laughers and my criers. They’re my compass to who I used to be. They knew me when I was at my best, not just at my worst.

So today I let all my frustrations go. I realize that I’ve given nobody reason to think anything differently of me, and I accept that because I can’t change it and because I cannot control my process or my feelings or the way I handle this loss.  All I can do is apologize when I’ve wronged someone, try to help others understand me if they choose to, and put one foot in front of the other.

For any other new widows who may be reading this, here’s the other thing I’ve learned. Give yourself a full year after loss before making life-changing decisions. One full year. I didn’t. And I should have.

There are some good things happening in my life :). I was offered a position with a US rescue yesterday, and I’ve also been approached by several people in response to my posts seeking freelance writing work. After some thought and talking with a couple of trusted friends, I decided rather than accept a full time position with this rescue, I am going to instead be a consultant working with non-profits and small businesses to help them organize, establish, market, fund raise, write, and communicate. I already have three private clients not including the US Rescue, so I think maybe I’m finding a niche. Time will tell! This will give me an excellent diversity in my days as well as the freedom to work as I wish, travel when I need or want to, pay the bills, and not be tied directly to any one operation. It will allow me to help whomever I want or whatever cause I believe in. And give me time to just be.

Take care of you, friends.

Peace,

~ Lisa

 

I’ll be in the fetal position if you need me

Hello readers,

Welcome to the wonderful and wacky world of being smacked in the face with the suckitude of loss at random times for no real reason.

Yesterday was a long day, I had to go to court almost 2 hours away to see the dude who robbed me and stole my car, waited for hours only to be told there was an extension. Not a big deal I have come to expect this nonsense here in the DR. Got home and was talking to a friend about plans this weekend. Was tired so I logged off and went to bed early-ish.

And woke up so many times I lost count. Not because I woke up, but because I woke up in tears. Inconsolable sadness. Missing Michael. I’d drift off and start to dream about him, and then wake up and sob myself back to sleep. On it went until 4:15 when I finally got out of bed.

Checked my emails and learned that someone very special to me lost her battle with cancer yesterday and is with the angels.

So many thoughts…here we go on the random ride that is my brain.

On death:

  • Why do we feel bad for the dead? “Oh poor Michael, why did he have to die?” is something I’ve heard more times than I can count. I believe it was a gift to him for being a superb human being. Living this life is not fun or easy. The good ones are just that. Too good for this hell.
  • When are we as a society going to give a shit about the survivors? I literally can’t believe that I was told to get over my grief. It’s 2019, assholes. Read an article. Learn. Or shut your mouth.

On being victimized:

  • I was at court yesterday and sitting very close to a person who has wronged me. There was no pretense of friendship, no feelings of “I better not say anything because I don’t want to start a big thing”. Is there a difference in levels of wronging someone? Is his robbery worse than or better than a rape? What about kicking a dog? What about being just a shitty person and intentionally hurting someone? Where does that fall on our spectrum? In my world, there are no levels. You wrong someone, you wronged them. You hurt someone, you APOLOGIZE. You don’t justify.
  • Let me be clear. I’ve been wronged. In a big way. In the DR. I’m not sure how to talk about it without stooping to the level of those who have wronged me, so I’m choosing not to talk about it. I will just say that gaslighting is a very real thing. 

And finally, on holidays.

I don’t remember last year. I know I was completely alone on Thanksgiving. I remember this because it was my first real consideration of suicide. I don’t remember Christmas or New Year’s or anything else.

Thanksgiving was a special time for Michael and me. None of our kids seemed to really want to participate in our lives very much, so we always made it our own. We’d offer the open house meal and a couple of kids would stop by for a bit, but the rest of the 4 day weekend was ours. We made mexican food and binge-watched shows. We drank mimosas for breakfast. We always fit a date or two in there, and really just enjoyed each other’s company. It was OUR four days every year to just be together and form our own traditions. Obviously that era ended abruptly, as the very first Thanksgiving weekend without him I was desperately alone for 4 days. Sure, I got the pity invites but sitting at a table with a bunch of strangers who know me as the woman whose husband just died was not my idea of pleasantry.

And now it’s coming. And so is Christmas. So are the traditions, the love, the merriment. This is my first holiday season away from anyone in my former life, and I’m dreading Christmas most of all. I wish I could cancel it. I wanted to bring my daughter down, but she wants to come in January instead. I’m dreading it all.

Any maybe all of this is why I was waking up from dreams of him and sobbing. I miss him. I’ll never NOT miss him. I’ll never be able to joke with him or feel his arms around me. I’ll never get another trademark Michael hug, or watch Breaking Bad with him. I’ll never smell him, as the smell has left all of his tshirts I kept. I’ll never hear him. He’s just. Gone.

And I’m giving myself permission to curl up into a ball.  Judge if you want. I don’t care. This is my process. MINE. And I need to curl up in a ball and cry today. Not for Michael. He’s in no pain. I’m gonna cry for ME. Because I need to.

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Over and out. And as always,

Peace.

~ Lisa