Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Lost in the Dark

You may have to bear with me, I think this is going to be a little more disjointed than usual.
I feel like I should put one of those "viewer discretion advisories" at the top... "the following may contain graphic depictions of grief."

When I first received the heart-shaped relic of Joanne, I stumbled a bit with what to call it.  "Joanne's heart?"  "Joanne's relic?"  "Joanne's memorial?"  Recently I've noticed I've settled into calling it my heart.  She is, literally, inside "my heart" forever, as she should be.  It also feels right that "my heart" is not inside my chest; symbolically, it has been torn out.  (Does that mean that when I am missing Jo and press "my heart" against my chest, I am symbolically trying to put it back in?)

[Unzip my body, take my heart out]

I have this innate sense that all life is sacred, even my own, and interconnected in the sense that we are all, in the end, pieces of God.  Within the interconnectedness, I also have Joanne's idea that everything happens for a reason, even if we don't know the reason and even if the reason isn't about us.  The net result of this is that I don't believe in "ending it all" myself.
But that doesn't mean I'm not ready for this to be over so I can be with my sweetie again.
It's oddly freeing, if I think about it right.  I don't need to be afraid of anything anymore.  So what if something kills me?  Then it kills me.  Death can take me the same place it took Joanne.  I don't need to worry about death, if it comes then it does.
I don't need to be afraid of pain, of suffering--in a sense that's real enough to me, I'm walking around carrying my heart in my hand.  What pain can the world possibly show me that is worse than the pain I already have?  I don't need to worry about pain.  I've already survived the unsurvivable, three times now by my count.
I don't need to worry about anything anymore.  There's nothing left for me to worry about.

I get off into this mood, and then it feels silly to me that I am all fixated on building our retirement funds, when I'm sort of hoping I don't have to be here that long.
But I might be.  We never know these things.  I was reading something this morning, a quote from an atheist writer, that uncertainty was a beautiful thing, because where there was certainty, there was no more possibility.
My life still has possibilities.  All I can do is see where all it takes me before it gets to the end.

Monday, July 18, 2016


Today (tonight, and until sunset tomorrow) is the Full Blessing Moon.  I have to admit the name of this moon holds no meaning for me right now; the concept of "counting blessings" or looking for "silver linings" or the like just sounds like the type of irritating platitudes that would make me want to cut someone's thread, and not anything that would be useful or inspirational during grief.

However, because it was a Full Moon, it was an auspicious time for me to go bring our niche "up to code."  As it turns out, one of the items I put in our niche to represent Joanne wasn't technically allowable by the columbarium rules; the Hummel 'Her Guardian Angel' print was made of paper, which would have deteriorated and thus been less than permanent.  At first I was very upset and hurt by this, but Joanne's sister told me about some other Hummel items that were also very important to Jo; they had been her mother's, and were the one thing that Jo was insistent that she got when her mother passed.  So, today I removed the Guardian Angel, and placed her Apple Tree Boy & Girl figurines.

Even though I still found it difficult and painful to reach into this sacred space and disturb it--I tried to do it in as ritualistic and reverent a way as I could, and I still felt the need to apologize to Jo as I was removing her Angel--in a way, I might have to admit it might look better this way.  It looks a little more balanced, I think, and the figurines aren't quite as hidden behind the urn as the print was.

Joanne was a firm believer that everything happened for a reason.  From anyone else that would be yet another of those above-mentioned irritating platitudes, but from her, it felt like it was true.  So, I was thinking back to when our relationship was just starting; I still lived in Missouri, she hadn't even met me in person yet, and I had just lost my job.  She wanted to give me something that would protect me, so she took her Guardian Angel, the one she'd had her entire life, and boxed it up and mailed it to me.  She was perfectly serious that it was obviously going to protect me, too; for her, that item held great power, just like I talked about her relic in the last entry.  And when I was going through a hard time, she wanted me to have that power and that protection, even though it meant she would be without it.

Looking back, that 'hard time' of losing that job seems insignificant compared to how hard it is to have lost her.  I could imagine that if she wanted me to have her sacred item back then, then if she were able to, she would probably want to box it up and send it to me now as well.
And now, it's back home, next to my bed.  Our bed.

I swear I can almost hear her telling me that this happened for a reason, that it is the way it was meant to be after all.
If anyone else said it to me, it'd piss me off.  But if she says it, I guess it has to be true.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sacred Relic

Today is three months since Joanne passed away.  I think this has probably been the toughest month so far, emotionally; even aside from the panic attacks, it just felt like I fell off into that starting-to-be-familiar pit again, but instead of hitting what I thought was the bottom, I crashed right through it and dropped another hundred feet.  If I hadn't already had the time off around my birthday, I'm not sure if I could have made it through without missing work.

I did have something positive happen this month; last week I went to Artful Ashes in Seattle, and they made a glass monument for me from some of Joanne's ashes.  Wednesday, I was able to go pick it up.

On Wednesday night, I was a bit down, like I was feeling as if it hadn't been the comfort I had hoped it would be, but now after a few days, I think maybe it has.  I've been taking 'her' to work with me, twice now, and being able to pick this up and hold it when I feel like I need something has been nice.  It's not the same as holding her hand, but it is what I have.  I can be holding something that is--or was--a piece of her.

And based on results, I think it must have made some kind of difference; on Friday, I was able to push myself to do some things in the house that hadn't been getting done, and even to do some yard work in the front lawn, which hadn't happened yet this year.  And today, even though I was worried how I would hold together at work, with it being the three-month anniversary of her death, and it being a Saturday like it was then, and with me being at work in the same place, making the same drive home, I think I did a pretty good job of staying strong.  My co-worker commented to me that she could tell I was "melancholy," and I did carry Joanne's relic around with me a lot during the day, but there were no paramedics, no crazy screaming-and-sobbing freak-out sessions... I did good, compared to how I had been worrying I would be.

We did good, Joanne and I.

I know she's not really there, inside the heart, any more than her soul is attached to my Eternal Flame; I know she is on the other side.  But if this object--a chunk of glass with some calcium swirled through it--can help me feel connected to her, can help me pull the broken pieces together well enough to shamble onward, can help me find strength to face the world as I am, in all my shattered glory... then it does have power, even if only to me.

And that makes it a sacred thing.  Even if only to me.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Into the Dark Black Forest

I understand more, now, why I felt solitary this morning, why I couldn't make myself leave home.

I woke up early again this morning, at 5:30, despite staying up late last night.  I thought about making myself stay in bed just to try for more sleep, but I could tell it wasn't going to happen and all I felt was stiff and uncomfortable.  I don't think I've been able to sleep past 7:00 even once since she passed.

Once I decided I wasn't going anywhere, I tried to get myself organized by making a list of stuff I should work on--cleaning in the kitchen, organizing in the file cabinet, putting together a grocery list, trimming the puppy's nails (and maybe doing mine too)...

I was taken aback this morning by how much I hurt today.  My legs ache, my back is stiff, my shoulders are sore.  I feel old.  I feel like I've aged fifteen years in just a couple of months.

Looking back, I should have seen the wave coming.

But I didn't, so I surprised myself when I had one of those 'tsunami of grief' moments--crying, collapsing on the couch, wailing and screaming, sobbing.  Energies I had saved up leaking away, spilling out of new cracks.
That hadn't happened for a month or so.  I had been hoping I had moved to the 'next stage' but I guess I knew it wasn't that simple, wasn't that linear.

Bodie has been clingy since then.  He doesn't like when it seems like there's something wrong with his mommy.  He's going to have a tough weekend anyway.  Fourth of July sucks.

Not much has gotten crossed off of the list, although the Kitchen did come to life a little bit.  I made myself hashbrowns for the first time since I've been alone; that might have been the trigger, especially since they turned out so well, I thought it was a shame she never got to try my hashbrowns made in the new All-Clad skillet.  I've resisted the urge to order pizza again, and I'm making some tacos and Mexican rice instead.  That is something, I suppose.

Oh well.  It's a holiday weekend, and tomorrow is also the New Moon.  I have three more days off before I go back.  Things will happen as they happen.  I think it's starting to sink in that there are parts of this process that can't be speeded up, that have to come in their time.

The night lasts as long as it lasts, and no amount of effort will bring the sun any sooner.
Better to just accept the darkness, and look to the moon and the stars.