Iconoclastic Fury

November 24, 2012

Old Friends

Filed under: grief,marriage — by telechick @ 5:29 pm

I’ve been having a bit of a rough time for the past few days. Thanksgiving wasn’t too bad in and of itself.  My mother and I ate lunch with my grandmother (aged 94) and two of her friends (aged 98 and 102).  My mother was the only non-widow at the table. We never really had a big celebration and we never had dinner at our house, so I was spared that emotional minefield – only to be hit by a different one driving to my mother’s.

On the radio I heard the Simon and Garfunkel song “Old Friends” on the radio the other day and there’s the line in it – “how terribly strange to be 70” which got me to thinking that when I’m 70, C will have been dead nearly 30 years.  If I live as long as my grandmother he will have been dead 50+ years.   Even by the time I’m 50 he will have been dead longer than I knew him.  That’s pretty much unfathomable to me. How can I go on for 50 years or even 3 or 15 without him?  I know I will, because I don’t really have a choice, but it makes the future seem so very long and so very lonely.

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October 25, 2012

Happiness

Filed under: Uncategorized — by telechick @ 8:22 pm

This is one of my favourite photos of C and one of the most bittersweet for me because I know it was taken the last time he was truly happy. His contentment and happiness just radiate from the photo. We spent the week before Memorial Day 2010 in Colorado skiing at Arapahoe Basin. This had been a lifelong dream of C’s – to hang out on the “beach” at Abasin and to soak up the spring skiing. We rented a cute historic house in Breckenridge and skied and enjoyed ourselves immensely. We bought season’s passes for 2011. It was a wonderful trip. Travelling was something we did a lot of together and always had a great time.
We came home from that trip and something happened. C was hit by a wave of depression that he was never able to shake, for which he refused any help other than from a bottle of vodka, and just under 2 years later he was dead. Ironically, at the time of his death I think he had “hit bottom” and was ready to take the help that was offered to him to help him combat his disease, but a hospital infection put an end to that dream.
Since his death 6 months ago (this Sunday) I’ve found it all but impossible to look at photos of him directly – to look into those beautiful hazel green eyes, at that wonderful smile and to see that handsome man and to feel once again that kick to the gut of all that he and I and everyone who knew him has lost. It just hurt too much.
This week in my widows’ group I was asked to bring a photo of him to share. I ended up bringing a collage that a friend put together for his wake which included this photo as its centerpiece. For the first time in months I was able to look at some photos of C for a few seconds at a time without feeling almost physically ill from the pain of his loss. Granted, I am wiritng this with tears streaming down my face, and I still can only stand to look at the photos for a few seconds at a time, but I hope I am making progress. That being said, it is still incredible to me that my love will never again walk through the door with his trademark “Hey Babe!” and that I will never again hear him say “I love you more than you will ever know”.
C, I love you more than you will ever know and I am so glad that you were able to experience true happiness.

October 20, 2012

10/8/68

Filed under: dreams unrealized,grief — by telechick @ 6:40 pm

I had meant to write this before C’s bday, but never quite got it out.
For those who have cared for a loved one with a serious illness, there is no way you can forget that person’s birthdate. I can’t even begin to tally how many times I had to give his name and birthdate to the endless stream of nurses, doctors, PA’s, LPNs, dieticians, respiratory therapists, priests/rabbis, physical therapists, transport staff, IR staff, social workers, secretaries, and likely even some cleaning staff, with whom we interacted over 3 yrs. Sometimes C was awake and lucid and able to give the details himself, but often it was up to me to provide the relevant data. It got to the point that even now, 6 months after his death, when asked my birthdate I have to hesitate and make sure I’m giving mine and not his. There is no way I will ever forget that date and there is no way that an October 8th will ever pass without me wishing that he were with me in the flesh.

It was a priviledge to be with him during his illness and to see how his innate friendliness and genuine interest in other people never wavered even when he was feeling lousy or was having an unpleasant procedure. I still have a lot of guilt over what happened during his last week of life, but I hope that wherever he is now, C has forgiven me. I also hope that with time I can forgive myself.

C always promised me 50 years and we only got 8. That’s some pretty lousy math. However excrutiating the pain is right now (and it is excrutiating), I know that I wouldn’t trade those 8 yrs for the world, but I would trade the world for just 5 more minutes with him.

September 1, 2012

Don’t look back in anger, I heard you say…

Filed under: Uncategorized — by telechick @ 9:23 pm
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I think I have reached the anger stage in my grief’s journey.  I am pretty much pissed off at everyone and everything, beginning with Corey for the decisions he made that led to him requiring a liver transplant, with the hospital for ultimately killing him, with myself for choices I made or didn’t make that may have contributed to his need for a second liver transplant, with my realtor for not doing enough to sell my house, with my dog for chewing a large hole in my couch and the list goes on and on and on (but I won’t). 

Some of this anger is warranted and some of it is not and I recognize this, but right now I don’t care. I’m just royally pissed off at the situation in which I find myself. The worst part is that I find myself here without the one person who could conceivably make it better, or at least make me feel better in general so that I could deal more rationally with things. Right now everything is a big deal no matter how small of a deal it really is. I don’t have the emotional reserves to let things roll of my back and it just seems like the hits, big and small, keep on coming.  Every part of the process of dealing with the aftermath of Corey’s death has been a case of two steps forward, one step back.  I am definitely making progress, but it has been a painfully drawn out process that isn’t going to end any time soon.

Despite all of this anger, I do recognize how incredibly lucky I am to be surrounded by wonderful friends and relatives who have given and continue to give so generously of their time and support to help me get through this.  Yet as the angry part of me points out, I already knew they were wonderful and didn’t really need Corey to die in order to have proof.

On my two hour drive back home today, after spending 36 hrs dealing with things related to the aftermath of Corey’s death, I was relating all of the above out loud to him while I drove, tears streaming down my face. I had the radio playing and the next song that came on was Oasis’s “Don’t Look Back in Anger”. Even I had to smile at this and shake my head.

August 22, 2012

Y

Filed under: Uncategorized — by telechick @ 6:57 pm
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I have come to the realization that I am suffering from very low levels of testosterone. Not my own levels, but those around me. I am literally awash in a sea of estrogen. My 3 animals are female, my closest relatives are female, my closest coworkers are female, the friends I interact with on a regular basis are all female. There is nary a Y chromosome to be found amongst them and I miss it.
I realized this 10 days ago when I was on a backpacking trip with two college room mates and the husband of one of them. It was so nice to be around a guy, just hanging out, having him be chivalrous and for lack of a better word “manly”. I don’t want to come across as some helpless 50s housewife – I am fully capable of taking care of myself, as are my female friends and relatives, but it’s so nice every once in a while to feel taken care of in the way that good guys do. It was only after spending 3 days with John that I understood how much I’ve missed that feeling. Corey was so sick for the past 2 years that I haven’t experienced this care for a long while, but even while Corey was sick there was still his essential maleness and his presence. I loved burying my nose in the crook of his neck and inhaling his phermones. I was automatically soothed. When you’re in love with someone, there’s nothing better than the smell of their skin.
What I miss equally is being able to melt into Corey’s hugs. There’s no one I can do that with now. I hug my mother and I hug my friends, male and female, but these hugs are not the same. They are expressions of love, but I can’t relax fully into them and just let myself go, secure in the knowledge that, at least for a moment, his arms will keep all the bad things at bay.

I know that I’m in no emotional shape to date yet, but I do long for pair of strong arms to hold me and the phermones of someone I love to soothe my soul.

August 19, 2012

That old refrain

Filed under: Uncategorized — by telechick @ 12:12 pm

Last night I was driving home after having dinner with my mother and it was a beautiful evening. I had the windows open as I sang along at top volume to the Violent Femmes’ Blister in the Sun playing on the radio, being transported back to high school. It was a fun and relaxing moment, but then there was the thought “Corey is dead. I will never enjoy a moment like this with him again.”

I find this happening almost constantly.  No matter what I’m doing/seeing/experiencing there is always this underlying current or refrain in my head: Corey is gone. Corey is dead. We will never experience this moment together.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not enjoying what’s going on around me, it’s just there’s always the knowledge that I am not with him and that it will never be the same. It colours everything.

This past weekend I was in Idaho camping and hiking in the Sawtooth mountains with a college roommate and her husband and another college roommate. The scenery was spectacular, the hiking almost did me in and the company was wonderful, but at the same time there was always the underlying sadness for me.  My friend and her husband have been married for 13 years and have 4 beautiful children, something Corey and I never could have. Corey and I hiked a lot when we first met and he loved the mountains and was proud of his mountaineering skills. He would have loved this trip. I know people would say that he was with me in spirit, but as we all know all too well, it’s not the same.

I did find a black and bright orange bird feather in our camp and I have no idea what bird it could’ve come from. Orange was Corey’s favourite colour, so perhaps he was there with me.

–To everything there is a season And every blessing has its cost —

August 17, 2012

Who Am I?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by telechick @ 1:01 pm
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Everything I read and hear refers to this “new” and possibly “better” me that seems destined to appear out of Corey’s death.  I’m not really sure what people mean.  How exactly will I change?  What will be different?  I’m guessing that if I’m asking these questions it’s too soon at 3.5 months after his death and that the “new me” is still waiting somewhere in the wings.  I don’t feel like a different person – I just feel like the regular old me with a gigantic hole in my heart and a constant undertone of sadness.  I haven’t suddenly begun to like okra or country music.  I still get royally pissed and impatient at stupid stuff.  I don’t think I’m any kinder or gentler than I was before April 28th (which is to say, not very).

I was only with Corey for 8 yrs (to the day as it turned out) and during the last 2 of those Corey was mostly too ill or depressed to participate fully in our lives.  I paid all the bills; I ran our business as well as working full time at my real job; I organized the things that needed to be organized; I took care of the animals; I basically did it all.  This new Corey-free life isn’t much different than the old with the glaring absence of the primary reason I did everything – the hope that Corey would get better and that we would get back what was wonderful about our relationship and the reasons why I eloped with him 10 months after we met. Without him, I’m still doing all the exact same things, but only now because I have to.

I keep hearing that now that I’m widowed I have to get to know who I am again, my real self, but I feel like I already have a pretty good sense of who I am: strong, stubborn, determined, loyal, to name a few of my more positive (I guess) traits, plus a good dose of some not so positive ones. I am just not sure how this transformation will take place – do I wake up one morning and suddenly I’m different?  It would be really nice if the new me would exercise more and eat less and lose 20lb while she’s at it.  That’s a new me I’d love to wake up to, but so far she’s proving elusive.

August 8, 2012

100 days

Filed under: Uncategorized — by telechick @ 3:05 pm

Tomorrow marks 100 days since Corey died.  Presidents get 100 days to wow the nation and to prove they’ve got what it takes. I’m not sure how my first 100 days in the office of “widow” stack up.  Granted, I have an entire lifetime in this position now, not just 4-8 yrs.

I have accomplished a lot: I’ve moved; I’ve got our dream home almost ready to go on the market; I’ve sold or given away a lot of our junk; I’ve dealt with much (but by no means all) of the bureaucracy that surrounds death in the US – including getting my $255 survivor benefit from social security (not sure who came up with that amount); I’ve travelled 3 times without Corey, including an overseas trip to the UK where we were together exactly a year ago when everything seemed so good; I’ve planned a Christmas trip with my mother as a way to get through the holidays; I am slowly churning my way through the process of shutting down our company and finishing up outstanding contracts; I’ve begun exercising again; my puppy and I passed basic obedience. 

Not a bad list of accomplishments in 100 days, but at the same time I feel like I’m just going through the motions.  I am a stubborn perfectionist, so losing my shit and not plowing headfirst through my miles long to do list was never an option for me. Failure is not an option.  Corey had been sick or not really present in our life for the past 2 years, so in many ways functioning completely on my own isn’t anything different for me; but it is because now there is never the hope that the old Corey will surface even for a few hours to make dealing with all of the crap on my own worthwhile. Now it’s just crap I must deal with for the reward of not going to jail or not starving to death. Not the same at all.

Sometimes I feel like I’m not grieving enough, even though Corey’s absence is my constant shadow.  I can’t count how many times a day in the middle of some mundane task I will stop and mentally shake my head at the fact that Corey is dead, gone, never coming back, not just at the hospital waiting impatiently for me to visit. Intellectually I’m well aware of this, but emotionally it still delivers a hefty punch several times a day.

100 days in an office I never hoped to hold.

June 12, 2012

To everything there is a season, and every blessing has its cost – Emmylou Harris, The Road

Filed under: Uncategorized — by telechick @ 10:35 pm

I heard this song tonight on the radio as I was driving home in a torrential downpour from Ph’s first obedience class and dinner with my mother.  The lyrics are so perfect and encapsulate so much of what I’m feeling:

The Road

I can still remember
Every song you played
Long ago when we were younger
And we rocked the night away

How could I see a future then
Or you would not grow old
With such a fire in our belly
Such a hunger in our souls

I guess I probably loved you
When those words rolled off your tongue
Seemed that we were traveling
Under some old lucky sun

I know I couldn’t save you
And no one was to blame
But the road we shared together once
Will never be the same

Hey, gone a long way
Won’t be coming ’round again
Hey, with a song I pray
And on wings of a song I’ll fly away

I wandered in the wilderness
For a while, I was so lost
To everything there is a season
And every blessing has its cost

So I took what you left me
Put it to some use
When looking for an answer
With those three chords and the truth

I come down from the mountain
I come walking in your shoes
I was taken for a gambler
When I had no more to lose

For you put me on that pathway
How could I refuse
And I’ve spend my whole life out here
Working on the blues

Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

So I’ve carried on
You can’t be haunted by the past
People come, people go
And nothing ever lasts

But I still think about you
Wonder where you are
Can you see me from some place
Up there among the stars?

But down here under heaven
There never was a chart
To guide our way across
This crooked highway of the heart

And if it’s only all about
The journey in the end
On that road I’m glad
I came to know you, my old friend

Hey, gone a long way
Won’t be coming ’round again
Hey, with a song I pray
And on wings of a song I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away
Oh, oh

 — Emmylou Harris

She wrote the song about her relationship with Gram Parsons and his death in 1973 (I didn’t realize it was so long ago). 

Today I don’t know how many times I mentally shook my head over the fact that C is dead and won’t ever be coming back.  It just kept hitting me and almost taking my breath away. This week has been much harder than last.  The mess of the apt and the let down of not having the move to look forward to/dread has left me empty and left me with nothing but tears and anger for what has happened.

Driving the truck down during the first move I actually felt like C was sitting quietly in the passenger seat next to me.  That’s the first time I’ve felt his presence in any way. He’s been in my dreams on occasion, but never really interacting directly with me and in two of them I was dealing with doctors and trying to make him better but knowing that it wouldn’t work.  I wish I weren’t so skeptical/empirical and could just believe or have faith that his spirit really is here with me and that there is an afterlife and that I will see him again.  I don’t know how people can be so sure of this.  I want to believe, a la X Files, but I just can’t. At the same time, I can’t believe that all of the energy and life and soul that was C is just gone.  How could it all vanish into nothing?  Where is he?

June 11, 2012

strawberry rhubarb sauce with a side of tears

Filed under: dreams unrealized,grief — by telechick @ 6:23 pm

So this evening I finally got around to turning the rhubarb I’d saved from our garden into strawberry rhubarb sauce, or glop as C and I used to call it.  This was one of C’s favourite things that I made and I spent most of my time crying into the pot. 

It seems like the past few days all I can think of is “The last time I did X or wore X or saw X or read X or thought X, C was alive.”  It’s been rough.  I moved the rest of my stuff down here on Saturday and I think it’s really beginning to hit me that this is it. This is all I’ve got for the foreseeable future.  No C, just a box with his ashes on my dresser next to my boys in their small boxes.  I am just so angry and so sad. 

He wasn’t supposed to die.  Someone made a big mistake at HUP and I and he will forever be paying the price.  It’s a beautiful early summer evening.  Today I found a red tailed hawk nest with two juveniles in a pine tree across the field from my house.  I took Ph on a lumber this am all around Chesterbrook and marvelled at the Stepford wives-esque perfectness of it all.  I ate some delicious strawberries. I had a glass of wine.  I spent way too much money on my pets at the pet store and much less money on me at Trader Joes.  None of this C will ever experience and none of this will I ever be able to share with him.  It is so f’ing unfair.

The other night while I was unpacking the truck with the help of my wonderful friends, a park visitor walked by and said how jealous he was that I got to live here in this amazing setting.  I totally agree with him that it is wonderful, but at the same time I wanted to say to him “Well, what allows me to live here is the fact that my husband died unexpectedly  6 weeks ago due to medical negligence and left me alone and a widow” and see what he thought then.  But I didn’t.

I’ve been reading through the Heartbreak Diary and she often suggests writing topics as a form of therapy.  The one I happened upon just now was to describe a place or thing that represents a hope that turned to nope with the death of your spouse.  She writes about a boat they bought.  The first thing that came to mind for me is a spot that I passed this morning on my lumber with Ph.  It’s where C and I first met that April 28th, 2004.  He thought I was so hot and I thought he was vaguely scary.  We were supposed to be together for 50 years.  That’s what C always promised me.  Instead, I got 8. The second thing that came to mind, is the house we were rennovating for C to move into when he got out of the hospital.  God I love that house. It was my dream house. We had so many plans and so many dreams for it and for us and now they’re all gone.  It sits, empty and half rennovated and it is so difficult for me to go back into.  We never even spent a night in there together or apart for that matter. It was always our dream, just out of reach and now I must try to get it finished enough to get rid of it. God that hurts.  I just don’t understand why.  You cannot convince me that there is some sort of merciful higher power out there who would let this happen.

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