Sometimes,

a thing needs to get lost,

never to be found again,

before I realize just how much

it really meant to me while I had it.

Her laugh,

her smile,

her scent,

her softness,

the sparkle in her eyes

when I’d tell her the secrets of my heart…

and the fire in them

when I’d tell her the pain in it.

I never expected to have a “her”

in my life.

I never expected “her”

to last twenty years…

Then, cancer.

Three years later,

three years since the end,

I’m more convinced than ever I

never will again.

Sometimes a thing,

like this one,

doesn’t get lost.

It is taken.

Stolen away,

for what seems like no reason at all.

That pain never heals.

Never.

~C.

**A memory…**

 

It is…

Dark soul…

Untamable.

Black.

Deep space, ever deepening.

Always expanding, demanding.

Churning black hole, hollow.

Sucking me in everyday,

Spitting me out every night.

Holding me hostage.

Prisoner.

Chained.

Bound.

Aching.

Swallowed.

But holding on.

No choice in the blackness.

Can’t afford to get lost…

Yet…

Feel my way around it…

Hold on to what can’t be seen:

Angel wings.

Butterflies in spring.

Positive thoughts.

Energetic streams.

Consciousness.

“They need…me.”

Private tears.

Silent screams.

Memories blur.

Sleep.

Restless dreams, where she smiles.

Brightness, but not enough to pull me out of pain.

Rain.

Tears inside.

Anger.

Resentment.

 

Shower it all away.

Scrub until the skin is as raw as the pain inside.

Sing Tiny Dancer…

Cancer…

Churning sucking churning sucking churn suck churn churn churn churn.

Today I thought we’d lost her.

((09-15-14))

I’m sitting here in her casino bathrobe, planning her deathiversary. I’m supposed to have an actual plan, you know, like my fairy godtherapist told me to. So far? I’ve managed to plan to not be alone and to go buy dog food at the corner store. Is that good enough? Wave your magic wand and make it so. 

I’m already a mess. Yesterday I kept flashing to trying to get there in time, over and over again. Today I am flashing to watching her leave. Tomorrow…I don’t know what to expect. I knew this would be a hard time. I didn’t expect to relive her death like this. CPTSD/PTSD cause people to grieve loss in very different ways. 

Another blogger e-mailed me this link and I read the page while having coffee. It didn’t help to consider that I’m complicated. But the truth is, everything about all of us is complicated and that’s ok… 

PTSD does prolong both grief and survivor guilt, along with all of its own characteristics. I’m struggling most with the stuff from the last year. But I’m also struggling with basically 3 years of nothing but grief, let downs, huge life changes, death, trauma and loss, which finally triggered childhood trauma memories and led to CPTSD.

If you’re struggling with any of these things, know that YOU are not complicated, it’s the external stuff that is, and there’s a number below that you can call for help. Here is an excerpt from the article that resonated with me: 

“While it is not clear exactly what causes prolonged or complicated grief, the cause of normal grief can most commonly be attributed to the death of a loved one. According to the University of Rochester, grief can also be caused by the following:

  • Loss of a job
  • Loss of a beloved pet
  • Loss of a friendship
  • Loss of a personal dream
  • Loss of a romantic relationship

The loss of anything important to you can cause feelings of grief. When you are unable to cope with that grief over a long period of time, you may be at risk for a grief disorder. If you or someone you love is having difficulty coping with grief, you can seek help by calling 1-888-480-5593. Our compassionate staff members are available any time of day or night to assist you in finding the most appropriate treatment for grief disorders.”

Check. Check. Check. Check. Check. Some double-checks. Some in bold AND italics. But, all in all, it’s just part of my story, and my story doesn’t end here. That’s what I am telling myself over and over again today. Somehow, we cope. Even if today that means not pushing through at all and instead sitting on the tree deck in her bathrobe watching old home movies on my phone all day, it’s coping. Deathiversaries are hard for me now. But when this week is over, maybe it will feel like just another day…

Sending all the love and support to you all today, and lots of cyber hugs. If you’re into that sort of thing, feel free to grab as many as you need. 

Lots of love,

C. 

I have written many of these posts over the last three years. Especially after her death, I haven’t shared them publicly. In fact, after her death I took most of the ones written when she was alive down… But today, I just feel compelled to share one. I feel compelled to share more of me. Again. 

This is my best friend and one of the soulmates in my existence. I took this photo on the day of the diagnosis, after a long ‘ol conversation and a lot of tears. It was not the first time that sitting on this front porch was heavy and difficult, not even the day it was heaviest and hardest (for me, that would be the day she died, and I was on this porch watching in disbelief and denial as they took her away). It was also not the first time smiles prevailed over hardship there… They always did. But, definitely this was the day that the truest miracle of friendship happened between us – the day we made the hardest promises, and kept them. 

I miss having this in my life – not just her but what we were. I can’t say I wish to have this in my life again – I don’t believe it exists for any of us more than once, if we have it once at all; it would almost feel selfish to ask for it, anyway. But to look back and to be so grateful to have had it once, for half my life, makes me so very aware – joyfully so – of the miracle I had in my life in these people, and still have to some extent because some things just can’t be destroyed by death. 

I don’t know why I’m so randomly missing them today – because that’s the way grief works, I suppose. But today, I do miss them – especially her – from somewhere deep inside my soul. Not just missing a moment or a memory but missing what felt…feels…like such an essential essence to my being. All I know to do is recycle it into whatever it is I can give to the world…

I miss my Dad, my dog, my family and my friends and my life being what it used to be. I want it back. I can’t have that, necessarily… Some things can be mended, some things can’t…either way, it’s never the same. But I feel this today without tears or doubts. I feel this today with nostalgia and gratitude, with a sense of reverence for what it was, and look to it to find the tools to build whatever is next. I feel like that’s such a powerful gift. I don’t want to waste it; I want to live on…and I am. 

This was the time she had a rainbow on her shoulder and it reminded me of Mardi Gras. This one seems fitting for today, being Fat Tuesday and all. I said to her, “when you get better we should go together,” and she said, “yes! And I’m taking my grandson to Utah, too!” Perhaps it’s silly to make plans when you’re not sure whether you’re gonna be there for them…but are we really ever sure? No. We’re really not. 

We plan our lives when we’re well. Then we (Ok, I) get into panic, depression and sickness and feel like our lives are over. We start to think things like, “the best years are behind me, I’m past my prime, I’m too old, I’m too sick, I’m too afraid,” when in reality – and I know this from experience lately – it’s all bullshit! None of it is valid or true. But we use those things as excuses not to live, because the reality within us is that we don’t feel like we deserve to. 

There are many days that I don’t feel like I deserve goodness, love, patience, etc. I’ve done some terrible things to some people in my life while at the same time thought I was doing wonderful things for other people in my life. Sometimes stories don’t align and sometimes relationships fall apart; sometimes while we are doing what we feel in our hearts is right for someone else we are inadvertently hurting another. We do these things because we are human, not because we are horrible people. 

I truly and deeply believe that we are all doing the best we can with what we have and what we believe in any given moment. We make mistakes, we screw things up, we lose people, we inadvertently “break” ourselves. But we forget that we can make ourselves whole again – and we are the ONLY ones who can do that for ourselves. Then, sometimes we realize and accept it but don’t have the strength or courage to do the work. Maybe we just don’t know where to begin. I haven’t, since she died. The lack of her light in my world has left it a very dark place, indeed – but only because I’ve put my own light out with my tears. Death is so final…

I’m doing my best, every day. There are some I wish I could make amends with. I think of them every day but I can’t contact them. That’s one of my inner battles. I just have to – try to – honor them with the way I live my life now, and hope that they know the love is still there, that the love never left. And that’s what I’m trying to do. 

Deep morning thoughts:

My health isn’t good. Earlier this week I was made aware in a much more realistic way that my body is unhappy. Tests were done. More (very scary ones) have been scheduled. And for a moment I found myself frozen in fear. Utterly terrified. This is how people find out worse news. “Well, we see your problem with this area but whilst scanning for this problem we found these nodules or lesions and we need to further test them.” Then, a week later, “we’re sorry, it’s cancer.” That’s how it happens. Almost every time, that’s how it happens. At least this was true of both my daddy and Dorie. 

My therapist calls it irrational fear. I don’t see what’s irrational about it. First of all, the fear is not of being sick or of dying. It’s of not being able to take care of my son or my mom. These people NEED me. I don’t have time to be sick – no matter how trivial the situation is, no matter how quickly recovery from (possible) surgery might be. I don’t have time! Besides that, rational fear versus irrational fear is simple: a fear is rational if you’ve experienced a bad thing or result, or death has occurred (if fear of death is the issue) with the same or similar situation in the past. I have. Multiple times. HELLO? Same with my fear of driving in the rain. What an idiot, right? No, just a person who has experienced multiple bad things in that situation and has a very valid reason to fear the situation. 

Anyway, none of that is the point. The point is this. Lately, but especially yesterday, I have felt alone. I haven’t been, but it’s how I’ve felt. I’ve felt very distant and disconnected; from friends, from my family, from LIFE – just separate from everything. And then, this morning, it suddenly hit me. I’ve outgrown it. Maybe I’ve outgrown my life. I’ve outgrown it and I feel like I don’t belong anymore. Especially since the election, and living in America, I feel like I don’t belong – more profoundly and painfully than ever before. 

Perhaps it’s just my life in general. I stretch myself transparently thin to meet all the requirements of the roles I have to play and I’m tired. Exhausted. That’s what’s wrong with my health. It’s not that I don’t take good enough care of myself, it’s not that I stress too much or can’t emotionally handle it, it’s not ME AT ALL. Nobody – NOBODY – was ever created with the ability or the expectation of their creator to deal with this much weight on them. We just weren’t. 

Our bodies have limits and no matter how emotionally flexible we are, one can only bend their body so far (or push it so far) before it breaks. In my case, the doctor says I’ve done it to myself by mismanaging my stress. In that case? “Screw you, therapist – what am I paying YOU for! You’ll be receiving my medical bills as they pile up.” Ha! Admittedly stress is a factor but in this case, in a general sense, it’s not about how well I’m handling the stress. It’s just about being literally stretched between homes and people and being exhausted, and having only one of me to go around isn’t likely to change soon since cloning humans has yet to be made legal. 

In the end, there’s no one to blame. It’s just what happens. So, we fix it. People who believe in a Christian God will say that he never gives us more than we can handle. I think that’s BS. I think that’s a crock and a fairy tale that helps some people keep love and hope in their heart when their subconscious knows that otherwise they might fail, so that when they do (like I have), they have someone to blame. And if it helps them, that’s ok. But it doesn’t help me. “It was all part of God’s plan.” Pfft. What plan? To make you miserable? To make your loved ones miserable? To cause suffering in the world? To teach you or someone a lesson? OK. Maybe so… Or MAYBE, just maybe, it’s just the way the cards fell. The way the cookie crumbled. The way it was meant to happen. 

Maybe there doesn’t have to be a reason and it’s time to stop looking for one. Maybe you just feel what you feel, desire what you desire, need what you need, and want what you want, find beauty in what you find beauty in, are hurt by the things hurt you, are too sensitive or not sensitive enough or are too deep or not deep enough (labels often applied to me) because it’s just who you are. 

I’ve outgrown this rampant and cancerous behavior of society in general to constantly blame and not grasp the concept of personal responsibility, or to require an explanation, or to have anything make sense. At a personal level I’ve outgrown this ridiculous need I’ve always had to be accepted and to be a part of something “bigger than me.” By default, we will always be extremely small beings in an extremely large (immeasurable) universe, and that’s the reason I suppose so many of us long to feel like we belong… But I’m beyond it. I do belong – to me, and to the universe. Why are we so afraid to go it alone? Why have I been? I don’t know. I think religion and indoctrination into this idea that “the universe is a scary thing” is the reason. 

Since she died, I’ve outgrown a lot of things but the main thing I’ve outgrown and dropped off at life’s thrift shop is religion. I’ve completely shed my skin. I’ve shed the skin of my past and the skin of my captors – both secular and religious. I’m done with it. I’m me, and I’m ok even when I’m not ok. I have a handful of people around me who have outgrown their own versions of these things, or who are on their way at least, and the rest of it…well, I just don’t have time for it anymore. 

I’m almost literally barely surviving right now. My life is extremely heavy. It has been since she died. I mean, after daddy it was bad enough but then her…and I’ll be damned. You’d think that there would have been relief, and initially there was, but mostly? There wasn’t. It was just a whole other, different burden. At the end she said I’d be just fine and she accused me of being the strong one. In honesty, neither of us was. Nobody is. We are not strong or weak – we are just us. We do what we gotta, somehow. Strength and weakness are just labels we create and then give some sort of modifier to so that we can judge each other and tell ourselves whether we are doing ok or not, when in reality, we’re always ok – even when we’re not, as I’ve said so many times before.

She loved tulips – in fact, I took all these photos of tulips (including the cover photo for this post) to send to her while I was in New Orleans a couple of years ago. Tulips were her favorite. They’ve meant many things to me, especially since she got sick. But now, looking back at these photos, they remind me that, “why?” is not the question I need to ask. The question is simply, “what’s next?”

This’ll be a better blog someday, and maybe then it will make more sense. For now…the ideas and thoughts are just fuel for tears born of exhaustion and expressing them is the quickest and easier way of relieving the pressure on my heart. 

C.