Dating and Grief

When I was involved in my tryst with “George”  there was no worries, no thoughts about the future together.

I knew what he wanted, what he planned.  He didn’t want a live-in girlfriend, he didn’t want to get married again, he didn’t want forever.

And he lived close enough that the “Walk of Shame” was short.  It didn’t bother me to date him because I knew I’d never be “married” to him, never merge our lives.   And that was ok.  Its not what I wanted out of that relationship.

And now there’s Mike.   Mike is a blast from my past.  He found me through POF.   But my POF profile had certain restrictions such as marital status, location in order to contact me.

After all – what’s the point in meeting someone who doesn’t live close enough for me to plan a future with?   I’m not moving, I love my life, my kids’ school, my friends, my job.   All my memories and my past is tied up in the house I’m in.  And on a purely practical note – I have really great rent.

Between all that – whomever I dated – I swore – would be either local, or willing to become local.  Not only that – the ones that weren’t local would have to come to me for the first date.

And now there’s Mike.

I’ve read somewhere that you never stop loving someone.  That you may be separated by time, distance, etc., but if there’s real love there – you never. stop. loving them.

And Mike showed up in my life recently.

I dated Mike 20 years ago.   I was young.  I loved him fiercely.  My memories of our relationship are disjointed and fractured, but aside from the colour of love that permeates what memories I do  have, I remember him doing and saying some things that hurt me deeply.  I loved him enough to accept them… and in the end we broke up anyhow.

So now Mike and I are back together.  Who would have thought?  I wouldn’t have ever thought I’d have ended up dating a man who I’d dated in the past; after all  – you’re ex’s for a reason.

The problem is… I have to rely on him for the reason.   When I’m with him, all I know is that I love him, still. I love being around him.  He makes me feel safe.  He makes me feel loved.  He makes me feel protected.

It’s a good thing we live far apart.  He lives 7 1/2 hours away from me.  His life has complications.  Him moving down to me would be WAY more complicated than me moving up to him.

It’s a really good thing that we live far apart.

I’m up visiting him this weekend – and I am looking at the town where we’d live if I moved.  I’m looking at the houses, the potential, the plans he has.   I’m looking at the family that would suddenly be close by, the change in lifestyle I’d go through.

And I’m grieving hard.

What should be a lovely weekend (and is for the most part) is an exercise in grieving over holding on to the past vs. embracing the future.

My home… is where I lived with my husband.  My bedroom I shared with my husband.  My garden he built for me.  The apple tree we planted in Kamloops then transplanted in Squamish when we moved back.  The pathway he built me by hand.   His Jeep.  His fishing gear.  My marriage, my husband, my loss, is all tied up in that place.   My job is a daily reminder of what I had and what I don’t have any longer. Everything reminds me of him.

I’m not ready to let go of that yet.  I’m not ready to go into the craft room where his stuff is, and sort through it.

I’m not ready to pack up his things into boxes.

Most of his stuff has been sorted through, but there are pockets of “Mark” all over my house.   I’m not ready to sort through those.

When I move forward with another relationship, I will have to, in order to be fair to that new relationship.   It would be unfair and inconsiderate for me to insist that someone new move into my home, with all the reminders of my husband, and expect that person to be comfortable in calling that place “home”

So dating, and getting serious about someone, is a new form of grief… there will be some letting go.  There will some be a moment of saying to myself, my children, my family, my friends… “Yes, Mark was and is still a very important part of me… but he’s part of my past and I’m looking towards the future”

I’m not quite there yet.  I have some grieving to do first.   And some honest assessments of how I want my life to look.

Courage

 

There is a part of me that feels guilty about wanting a future.  That feels that I’m betraying him in some way, even though I know that he’d want me to be happy.

It’s almost as if by choosing happiness, choosing life, that I am choosing to say goodbye.

Fuck.  That threw me.  I wrote that… let the words fall… and realized… I don’t want to.  I desperately want happiness and love and life and laughter… but I don’t want to accept that he’s not going to be a part of that.   I don’t want to acknowledge that he’s never coming back.

I know it logically. I just don’t seem to know it emotionally.

 

 

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I’m Scared

I’m scared of what this week will bring.

I’m scared to go to bed alone, wake up alone, and have no one around to take care of but me.

I’m scared of the emotions that will come out because there is NO ONE to keep me in check.

I’m scared the grief will overwhelm me.

I’m scared that my kids won’t miss me while they’re gone.

Tomorrow they go to Clinton (tiny little town in the middle of the middle of nowhere) to spend a week with their cousins.   I’m excited for them. They’re freaking thrilled.  I’m pretty sure if I said they could, they’d stay the entire 2 weeks.

I’m not going home tomorrow night… I don’t think.   I’m staying in the city as far as I know – but as of yet, I have no plans for the evening.

I don’t know that I want to wake up on Sunday morning in my house without my kids or husband.

So tomorrow, I have plans with friends Saturday afternoon, and depending on how those plans go, I will have plans for the early evening and I’m going to bring a change of clothes in case I need to make plans for the later evening.

If necessary, I’m sure I can go crash on my cousin’s couch for the night.  I do know at least two friends who would love to see me, if not put me up for the night.   I’m ok for tomorrow night.

But Sunday night – that’s a different story.  That involves being home, no prep for the next morning and just responsible for myself.   I’m not sure what I”m going to do with myself.  Ok, I’m going to watch Walking Dead.   And I’m going to do yoga.  But I don’t know what I’m going to do without my kids to drive me crazy.

This will be good for them – the making of more happy memories (take some damn pictures Susan!!!)  And it will be good for me too, taking the time to be by myself.

But I’m still scared.

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Widow

Widow is defined as “A woman who’s spouse has died and who has not remarried”

By that definition – I am a widow.  By any definition, I am a widow.

I’ve taken my ring off my left hand, moved it to my right.

His ring is on his urn on the shelf.

He died – I have not remarried.

But when I go to Facebook, a place that means nothing, is nothing, just a time waster… and try to set my relationship status as “widow” it just seems… wrong.

I don’t want to lose the connection to him.   Every where there are threads breaking.   Every where there are connections being severed.

I go to the *edit* and see his face looking back at me and I don’t want to sever that last connection.

But I am a widow.

Do you have kids?  Remember when they were babies and just before they learned a new skill they’d get all cranky and irritable?   You couldn’t figure out what was going on and then suddenly they could roll over or stand on their own and suddenly back to their normal smiling selves?

That’s how this feels.   I feel like the angst and the arguing back and forth is a precursor for something to shift internally.    Since the “widow” thing is on my mind… that’s probably it.   I might be surprised.

But forever, in my heart, I am Mark’s wife.

Mark in Fruitvale

The Year in Review

I had posted a while ago about what to say in the yearly newsletter I send out with Christmas cards… I was having a bad day and all I could think of to say was that he got sick, he died and our life sucks.

It doesn’t though.

Part of the Christmas stuff I do is send out calendars to family members.  Each month has a picture or 2 or 3 or 4 of our family relating to that month -whether it be birthday parties or family vacations or what have you.

This year, although Mark wasn’t in most of the pictures, we had a pretty good year.

I didn’t take a *lot* of pictures, but I took enough.  And I took enough that there will be a full calendar.

After all, we did some pretty cool stuff.    And I can create a lovely pictoral as well as narrative record of our year.

There’s not a lot… but enough.

This is one of my favourites – we’re waiting for the ferry to go to Victoria in September.

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There’s good in everything.   Life doesn’t suck.  The fact that my husband died does.  Life will still go on, we’ll have fun adventures and we’ll make happy memories.     And I can write a newsletter of all the happy memories we had this year.

New Beginnings…

Most people associate January 1 as a time for a fresh start… a new beginning…  We make New Year’s resolutions… we try to regain focus after a Christmas season of excesss….

But the real time of new beginnings is in September.   September brings the end of summer and the beginning of a new season.  It brings the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year.  It brings the beginning of leaves falling and everything going into hibernation for the winter so that everything can bloom forth again in the spring.  It signals the time when we harvest our gardens, prepare for the cold, and prepare for a time of less…

For me, this September is a new phase of my grief.   My summer has been one of excess.  One of unrelenting mourning.  One of wallowing in the grief.  One of just “being” and just feeling.   One where I would feel until I couldn’t feel and then I would numb out.  And I would self-medicate.

I have had one last weekend of that sort of grief.   I went camping, and drank the entire weekend.  I stayed in a constant state of “numb” and not feeling.  Only it didn’t work.   By the end of the weekend… I missed him still.  I needed him still.  There was much I wanted to share with him.   There was times I could almost FEEL him there.  There were times I wanted to snuggle up to him and just revel in his warmth.

And then there were the moments where it was painfully obvious that I was no longer part of a “couple” and I missed him beyond what I thought I could handle.

I left the camping trip early – I needed to be home, needed to be in my “space” again, needed to centre myself and with all the people around – I didn’t feel like I could just be “me” in my sadness or my melancholy if I needed to.

Today marks a day of new beginnings.  This is the point where I stop “being” in grief, when I stop “wallowing” and I start actively working through it.  I will force myself to create routines.  I will allow myself time to grieve, and allow my boys to help me work through that.  But I will no longer just “be” in grief – I need to be MOM again. I  need to be JANE again.  I need to be the role model I can be.

Just because Mark isn’t there to lift me up anymore… doesn’t mean I have to stay down.

Today I start to work my way back to the woman I was with him….

I still miss you Mark… more than you might know… more than I thought was possible.

 

Being Home

After my lovely 6 day vacation, it was time to come home.  The boys and I were tired, we wanted our own beds, and we wanted familiar surroundings.

I didn’t realize how much being home would hurt.

It’s almost a continual sadness.   Away from home, I could *forget* and just enjoy most of everything.   In fact I did, a couple times, referring to Mark in the present tense.

And then reminders would come up and I would get sad at how he would have liked this or would have liked that, then I would refocus and carry on creating good memories for the boys.

Then the drive home.  And as we got closer, and closer, my heart/chest got heavier and heavier.

When I woke up this morning, I woke up in sadness.  I woke up feeling the loss of him and his presence.  I woke up, did what was necessary, all the while with the ache and twisty-ness and emotions clogging up my body.

My kids are all home.  My home is clean and peaceful.  My husband is not here…and he never will be again.  And being home hurts.

Vacation

I’m on vacation with my boys.   A couple different people offered me getaways…. and I took them.  My goal for this summer is to make it memorable, and not just because Daddy died… I want them to experience LIFE because without the joys, Daddy’s death means nothing.  He would not want me to be sad and hiding in the bedroom, isolating myself and the boys in our house.

He would be encouraging me to get out, do new things and see people.

We took a co-worker of mine up on her offer to go to Bowen Island.  This was the view from the place we were staying at:

And this was the view as we headed out to see the fireworks at the Celebration of Light festival.  (ON A BOAT!!! ZOMG THAT ROCKED!!!)

 

My boys got to go swimming in the ocean:

 

And then we had a lovely ferry ride back to the mainland:

 

They got to go out on a boat, drive the boat, play in the ocean and ride a bunch of ferries.  Overall, the first 3 days of our trip were pretty darned good.

And yet, I’m sad.  I’m weepy, I’m full of emotion.

We got to Victoria today, and went to a bbq with our hosts.   Everyone there has someone.  Except me.  I was incredibly lonely, even though my friend pretty much stuck by my side the entire night.  The best part of the night was the hug she gave me.   Oh, and the grilled pineapple with spicy peanut butter some random guy named John offered me.  He plays a mean guitar – great duet/jam session with the accordion :p

But we get home, get kids settled in, and I’m sad.  I want to cry. I miss him sofa king much. It’s a physical pain, how much I miss him.

I plan to make the next few days to be fun and exciting for the boys.  Tomorrow we’ve been invited to visit with a school friend, and swim in her pool.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be the Bug Zoo and a Maritime/Navy museum on the Naval base in Esquimalt.

Tuesday night will be a night out doing karaoke.

I was hoping to connect with my cousin and meet his babies, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.  Either fatherhood has him really really busy or he’s just not interested.  Either way, he’s not responded to my messages.

I don’t feel like a very good guest.  I’m sorta quiet, moody, and brooding.  I don’t mean to be, I just am.

I wish he were here with me.  We had planned a trip to Victoria with our boys… and this trip isn’t *the* trip – but its still bittersweet.

I miss him.  I hope for the boys that I am making good memories with them.  I know they miss him too – but I want them to see that life is to be enjoyed – even when we’re super sad… *sigh*