Saturday, August 31, 2013


the crickets are chirping
but I wish it were rain tapping

walking the dog tonight, on a green leafed tree
there was one fire like frond
dangling in the middle
an oddball
a spark in the midst of
a spinning meadow

I feel like a swirling, wobbling top
one moment nostalgic
the next, explosive

wanting to be held and touched and set on fire
needing to hide and withdraw
to melt and remold

there are so many simple solutions
which simply solve nothing

but the only elucidation
the only remedy
is ticking along, measuring the number of heart beats
that seperate yours
when it beat
from mine.

so it seems
the path from that pain
to the entrance to something

needs distraction

but the dry, dry nights
with the crickets
and soft silence
drawn out

they are empty
full of nothing but noticing

I'd rather it rained.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Whether you like it or not

the day slides by

the tears absorb

the disappointment trembles, tumbles, perhaps it is contained

nothing goes away
you only learn if you look
you only grow if you allow the next thing

and the music rumbles
the days tumble and crash and careen
the fear fills every trembling extremity

and nothing matters
you move
you try
you ruin
you fix
you roll
with every punch, pot hole, sideways glance, and compliment


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

in imperfection

so exhausted.  and I just want things to be easier.  and I want to feel something stronger than the stress and emptiness. 
and I wish I knew what that was. 

or how to figure it out. 

i guess the thing is just to wait.  time is the only thing...

i wish i could use big, magic scissors, and cut away everything, for a few days...

allow my body to be absorbed into my soul,
sucked down into something invisible and infinitesimal,
something lighter than air, that would float on the breeze. 

I could sail into the sky, till the horizon is just the next place
and the invisible became the next line to cross. 
I would absorb the energy from the sun, I would rattle across the wings of a robin...
my soul would see the purist of things, more sharply than any eye...
 the crisp blue that cuts, washes away confusion,
the white soft lace clouds emptying the empathy,
the grinding need to reach for another...
leaving only the tender yellow warmth of nothing and sunlight. 

and the call
of the different birds would be a push,
 like a broom across the dusty floor that moves you and turns you. 
and nothing,
can stop the heat at the center of me burning
for every touch you told me about, every word and look and moment of longing...

and I would crack like an egg and reverse the dissolving

I would become embodied, again, naked and on my knee. 
Alive and strong, quiet, cleansed, clipped,
un-whole in my brokenness,
streaming light in, beaming light out,
a cyclical cyclone of fury and fire. 

“For within your flesh, deep within the center of your being, is the undaunted, waiting, longing, all-knowing. Is the ready, able, perfect. Within you, waiting its turn to emerge, piece by piece, with the dawn of every former test of trial and blackness, is the next unfolding, the great unfurling of wings, the re-forged backbone of a true Child of Light.”
Jennifer DeLucy

Monday, August 26, 2013

Thoughts on a movie, thoughts on life...

Just watched the movie "Unforgiven" with Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and Gene Hackman.  It was one of those stories that doesn't seem to enable you to truly feel that there are "good guys" and "bad guys".  It acknowledges that things are all mixed up.  It reminds me of the way I was processing right and wrong, good and bad, before.
In the movie, Clint Eastwood's character was a murderous bastard...until he fell in love and got sober.  He had two kids, and his wife died of small pox.  This flick begins with him being approached to kill a couple cowboys that cut up a whore.  In the process, we see the simple ugliness of killing, the dirtiness of each decision involved in running a town.  We see how even the worst of us is simply, to sort of quote Gene Hackman's character at the end, building a house.  We don't always do the best job of it, leaving leaks in the roof and all sorts of crooked angles.  But we try.  And we invest in the building, the action as well as the structure.  Sometimes we make good decisions, sometimes bad ones.  We do the best we can with the information we have at hand at any given moment.  But in the end, the only thing that makes us good or bad, is love.  Loving someone so much, they take a chance on us.  Loving someone so much, we take a chance on them and decide not to care what anyone else in the world thinks of that decision.  And loving someone in a way that makes you a better person.

How odd that this gritty, raw cowboy movie makes me think of my favorite As Good As It Gets in ways...Nicholson's line "You make me want to be a better man".                                                

I think I like love stories that are broken and messy and gritty, that may not always seem like love stories. 

I believe it is good to take time for myself.  I am overloaded in each and every move I make.  I am trying to breathe through my frustration and I feel like if I am not careful, I will end up hyperventilating because there is so much of it so many places, so many times a day.   Today, all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball somewhere and hide.  I can't do that.  That just isn't an option.  Not sure it would be a good one to partake of, even if it were an option.  But it is what I wanted, all day today.  My heart is beating so hard in moments right now, I can see my dress move, feel my chest squeezing.

I seem to be getting better at managing my anxiety in small ways.  I feel it coming, and try to side step it, slide along the edge before it closes in on me like Indiana Jones rolling under the closing boulder just in time...

and my secret is that I know deep in my heart that this life I have to live right now is too damn hard for me.  So every single tiny triumph, I want to pump my fist in the air and jump for joy:  woo hoo!!  I did two loads of laundry and put them away!  Someone gimme 5!!  I actually cooked breakfast!  Oh yeah, baby!  We went outside to play!! But I have these moments where Neil won't do what I say and I am stuck between four different things that have urgent and immediate needs facing off with a toddler and no one to take him.  So I have to figure out not just how to refuse to engage in the tantrum, but how to make him do what I say so that I can take care of the other things and know he is going to be safe.  And he won't do it.  But I can't just put down the other things that HAVE to get done NOW.  And I just want to hurt him....but he is a baby and doesn't get it.  So I want to hurt me, but John's ghost won't let me hit myself like I used I wrap the dogs' leashes around my wrist as tight as I possibly can and just keep my hands off Neil and somehow get the kids to do what I need so I can walk the dogs and figure out supper and put the trash out and help Cilly with homework, all the while I get reactions of tears and screams because I ask that while I am actually GOING to the bathroom, can I please not be asked to open applesauce and pour juice?  Can't we just wait till I'm done actually going????

And then the evening is done, the kids are in bed, the movie ends...and I am so tired my core rings with a hollow clanging, but I can feel it...sleep is going to evade me.  Perhaps I will try a bubble bath.  And music.  Music almost always helps.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sorrow somehow without tears

The first week of school prior to kids was a vicissitude of varying levels of tears, a herculean effort of will to focus my mind on curricula and on classroom set up and was a mental marathon that left me cognitively exhausted and wrung out like a dishrag. 

And then came last week, with the kids.  When I taught fifth grade, I carried a level of "strict" during that first week or so of school that I dropped almost immediately...they needed to know that if they tried to mess with me, it would NOT be pretty.  And then, very quickly, they needed to know we would work hard, but they were still kids and we could play and be silly and goofy and just have fun. And I cared about them, deeply.  But when I started last year in 2nd grade for the first time, and I had 7 year old babies in front of me, I wasn't sure how much of the Meanie I should wear, or for how long.  And I had one super sensitive little sweetheart that had me taking if off and being tender and careful right away.  This year, I find my barometer is still unbalanced.  They have me laughing, smiling, playing, yelling, bursting into small bouts of moderately inappropriate hysterical laughter because I just can't BELIEVE what some of the 7 year old babies are doing, AND IT'S ONLY THE FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL! Sigh.  I think my planning will need a little hand holding for a while...not only is it my second year in this new grade, but my brain still gets muddled in grief fog now and then.  But it is good to have little guys again.  There are soooo many sweeties in my class!

So exhaustion of body, mind, emotion, intellect...and then the weekend as a single mom.  I ROCKED that bitch!  More or less.  I wanted to take the kids to the swing park (a block and a half away) when I saw how nice it was Saturday.  Which was met with a screaming melt down because I wanted to sit and have my coffee first.  Well, I sent the kids to their rooms, sat and had my coffee and read in the sun while they cried themselves out.  Then they opened the window and yelled down an apology.  So after caffeinating  myself more or less efficiently, we were off to the park- ON their bikes.  Fun ensued.  Then napping and laundry ensued.  And when everyone (younger than 30) was rested, we suited up and went to the Appalachian Trail that runs through Gathland State park.  John and I used to take Nikko, our lovely golden retreiver, there years ago...and we have done the hike with Aiden and again with Aiden and Cilly as a baby.  This was Neil's first hike with me and on this was, of course, my first one without John.  We talked about how I used to go hiking when I lived in Maine, about how Daddy and I hiked with Nikko, and about how much we loved going on this particular trail.  We met a father and son who were through hikers, all the way from Maine, we looked at mushrooms that were bright red and trees that were growing around rocks and spiky caterpillars.  Neil screamed for me to pick him up and I told him when we hike, everyone walks.  I said I would be happy to stop and rest, but everyone walks.  And when he made it down the trail, we high fived and I told him he should be very proud of himself.  He put his head on my shoulder (I picked him up once we hit the parking lot), and said "Dat make me, happy, Mom".  Boston Market for dinner, and home to bed.  I did it!  We had some fun adventures!!

And today, when I was driving us to church, I had a moment where I felt John as much as if he was sitting on my lap while I was steering.  I was thinking about Neil's birthday.  He turns three in three days.  I know that functionally it is going to be Aiden that suffers the loss of his dad the most, since he is the one that will remember him most clearly and long for the unique craziness that he encompassed, but it is Neil, who will never truly know him one on one, that has always ripped my heart to shreds.  Not broken it- that is too easy.  It is truly rent, as in torn, split, ripped, ruptured, fractured. Because one of the many reasons I wanted to marry John was that I knew that I wanted his blood, his unique way of processing the world, his humor, his heart, his experiences to be shared with another generation.  I wanted that man to be the father of my children, to help them when they were hurt and hold them when they were lonely.  Sigh....I digress....I meant to say how I felt him with me, with us...and I felt the push of the tears behind my eyes, and I took a deep breath and told myself that the sorrow that was sitting on my shoulder, holding my heart in its hand, did not have to make me cry.  Not crying would not make the sorrow more or less.  I could feel it, own it, and still keep going, singing along with the stereo, talking about Dunkin Donuts and regular everyday things.  And my heart believed my least this time.  I didn't cry.  I felt the hollow, empty, loss...and I don't want to say I was okay, but I kind of was.  

And then, at church, I got to be a song leader- my friend and I (and some others) got up on stage and lead the hymns!  And I got to wink at my friend in the audience, and tap the mini tambourines against my leg, and smile at all the sweet, smart, amazing folks in our congregation who have sent so much love and support to me and my family this last couple years...and it was so nice.  And Carl's sermon was started well enough...and ended in a way the crushed me.  Not in a bad way, but in a way full of thought and heart and growth...which is why I am linking it here.  It is about 27 minutes, so make sure you have the time if you hit the link.  It is worth the time...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

school starts

I miss John.  I did a great job reading my poem at church today.  That was...right.  I don't know.  A friend told me how "polished" she felt the piece was...I didn't work on it more or less than my others on here, but I think it comes across better when I read it.  I can show where the emphasis is, stretch words and use my emotions to convey undercurrents.  That same friend also told me that she felt guilty for any infinitesimal moment she had when she worried I wouldn't make it through this mess.  I don't think she needs to feel guilty.  This is a roller coaster, and I have already been through so much (that you simply can't see on the surface), deep in my heart I know I will get through this.  I remember lying in the hospice bed with John, it was either one or two days before he died.  I was crying, and telling him that I knew I would be okay, that I would be a great mom, that it was okay for him to go even though I wanted him to stay forever.  I told him I would be ok.  Oh, I loved him so much.  I love him.

Our little girl starts Kindergarten tomorrow.  John loved her so much.  He always said that her hugs would always make him feel better, no matter what was going on.  She was a tree frog when she was born, all fingers and toes.  And then I saw her up close.  She was a perfect little angel...Aiden had a little bit of jaundice when we were in the hospital, but not our sweet Cecilia...she was perfect, pink cheeks, delicate eyes that tilted up a little at the corners, lips so red people asked if we had put lipstick on her.  And she has always been a magical snuggle bug.  She would curl up so sweet when I nursed her, we would fall asleep together and I didn't even really have to move around.  She would latch on when she needed me, and tuck her sweet head into the crook of my arm when she was done.  And as she got older, I was her lovey- no pacifier, no blankey or special toy.  She still holds on so well, so soft and sweet, that holding her is magic.  She snakes her skinny arms around your neck and snuggle in.  Now, her legs just dangle off your lap.  I wish he could be here for this.  And it occurs to me how many things there will be that he doesn't get to be a part of.  So, I guess, my only recourse is to talk about how happy he would be to see her starting Kindergarten, how proud he would be of Aiden starting second grade. 

Okay.  So, I have a plan.  That's good.  That is a start.  Whatever I do from here, I need to make sure that he is a part of things, even just with a brief comment.  I have to move on.  He even gave me permission to.  I made sure to talk him about that.  It's just this huge part of me doesn't want to...I want him here with me forever.  His was the first love I never felt I needed to change myself to earn.  And I don't get to have that anymore.  And I have to deal with that.  And sometimes I will hate it so much I want to scream till my throat bleeds.  And sometimes, it'll mostly be okay.  Sort of. 

I will work on focusing on the things I can be grateful for.  Some days that will be very hard.  So maybe start small?  I am so grateful I had him for the time I did.  I am so grateful for the laughter and tenderness and goofiness my kids bring me ever day.  I am grateful for the eclectic group of people that love and support me.  There is a strange and wonderful variety of them!!  I am grateful for the strength and chances I have had to let in old friends, in a variety of ways.  I am grateful for strange neighborhood kids that bring my dogs back to me when Neil lets them out.  I am grateful for a wonderful job, coworkers, and two great bosses.  I am grateful to be writing again.  I am grateful for my church! (still such an odd thing for me to be saying...) I am grateful for choir and for the chance to read my poetry. 

I feel a little better.  A little.  And here is the thing:  it doesn't matter either way.  Tomorrow, we do the first day of work since John died, first day of Kindergarten, first day of second grade, and daycare.  That's how we roll now.  With the punches.  And I pray for simplicity.  Not sure I believe it exists, but I won't stop praying for it.

Breathe in peace.  Breathe out fear.  Breathe in hope.  Breathe out sorrow.  Relax the muscles in your neck, your belly...breathe...and go to sleep!  Work starts tomorrow.  I can do this.  I will do this for my babies, for John, and because the only way to find my way back to hope and love and life is to keep my feet moving forward, even when I don't want to.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

view it from the sky

Looking down from so far
I see myself with an invisible burden
It is not a bucket, nor a backpack
but a malformed parasitic growth weighing
an unknowable amount

It is, for now, a part of me

View it from the sky and you will see
there is no one else who could carry it
even if they would
even if I would let them. 
This is mine
Like his love was mine
Like his future should have been mine

The road is also
the length, the time needed to traverse this
particular trail
Are things over which
I have no control.
I control my steps, my forward progress,
sometimes I control my breath.

And in the shadows of my lonely journey
Ursus creeps along, somewhat beside me
half hidden in shadows
easily mistaken for
any number of things

His scrub brush back
black lump outline lumbering through the underbrush
does not threaten me
he is a grizzly cheerleader pacing himself
to my slow and steady gait

when I fall, when I cry, when I beat my breast and tear my hair
He stops to watch.
Help is not the objective.
The objective is observance
What is seen, cannot be unseen
What has been done, cannot be undone

A thing that is made, may be torn to pieces
but the image that burns its shape
a red shadow in the black of the back of your eyes

I can close my eyes and feel him there
my powerful totem
His unseen presence, just beyond reach
just beyond scent
just beyond me
still guiding me, offering courage.

Knowing I am followed by fiercness
confers courage to my beating-too-heard heart

Courage that is quiet, till I can't contain the screams
Courage that is swollen with two hours of torrential, tears
Courage that cannot always smile, and snaps and yells, pulls inward

Courage that sings and walks and gets up off the ground
Courage that puts one foot in front of the other and so keeps moving, regardless of speed
is courage just the same

Especially when you view it from the sky

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

longest but quite short...

well, that, I think, is the longest I have cried so hard...on and off for about 2 hours.  my eyes are so swollen, I can hardly open them.  And it doesn't matter if I feel like I can be strong enough, like I can get through this.  I have to be.  Encourage me all you want...I will still have to roll in mud and shit and find the strength to build my own shower, ground up...learn about plumbing, find the materials, tools, the work, fix the errors, redo the work...all while the kids scream for my attention, and I have to do every damn chore in the house!!!! 

No...too much.  When do I get to play my "help me please card"...or rather my "help me just a little with EVERYTHING for, well EVERY DAY, for let's see...the FORESEEABLE FUTURE card"???  Oh, that card doesn't exist.  I see.  Well, fuck you very much, she said to Cancer who robbed her of her future, her love, her hope...

yes.  that. 

And now I have to find a way to relax and rest, wake up in seven hours and do it all over again.  and again and again and again.  fucking awesome. 

just sayin

please don't judge me...widows mess up too


Everything hurts.  Everyone leaves and dies and nothing ends up like you thought it should be.  I can’t believe what I did with NO NAME GUY*.  He does have great laugh and smile.  And he is married married married for thirteen years married and I went beyond online flirting with him, and wanted him to fall in love with me.  I wish he would show up at my door, suitcase in hand telling me he left his wife.  I wish he would worship my body and my heart forever…he made me feel alive and beautiful and hopeful and sexy and interesting…and wrong…and I hate that I am thinking of him and wondering how much of my thoughts about him are my attempt at hiding from thoughts about John.  I hate everything right now.  I wish I could get sucked into a vortex.  I wish someone would come and save me. I wish I actually believed in wishes.  Or saving. I want john back.  Even cancer wasn’t this complicated.  I hate and I hate and I hate and that is just a waste of energy…no point in hating and I can’t stop.  I hate everyone who is happy, everyone who has never felt love, everyone who still has it, I hate people who think they understand my grief because their mother or father died…JOHN. WAS. MY. LIFE.  He was my future, my hope, my best friend, my lover, my rock, my sweetheart…where he was, there is now nothing.
I thought I was a torn and tattered painting that had once been beautiful.  I am not.  I am a once vibrant canvass, drained of color, singed, scorched beyond recognition. 
My smile is so fake right now.  My son makes my heat melt, but my smile is still fake.  And it fades so fast.  And it hurts my face, in a gentle, irritating way.  My idiotic, selfish interactions with NO NAME* made me smile. 

I hate everything.  I hate myself.  I hate cancer.  I hate hope and love and dreams.  I hate laughter and I hate flirting.  I hate breathing and sunshine and butterflies. 
I feel selfish and short sighted and foolish and broken and clueless and immature and at least partly beyond hope.
I hate hate haate hate everything
Everything hurts.  And NO NAME* made it stop for a little.  And I want him back.  And I am glad I blocked him.  And I hate everything.  And SOME GUY* even texted me tonight.  Heavy pain loneliness shit and bad things and loss and emptiness……Oh yeah, and fear…can’t forget that. 
*names have been changed to protect the innocent, as well as the not so innocent…not my job to throw stones, because if they were being thrown, I’d be hit too.  Deservedly

One down, the rest of my life to go...

First day done.  I cried four times before 11:00.  Two times, the tears were tiny; more like moisture on the tips of my lashes, spilling only slightly.  The other two times, I lost control.  First I had to walk outside for a minute and try to cool down, calm down, regulate my breathing.  Then I saw my old teammate from 5th grade.  I always wanted to be actual friends with her.  We were on our way last year, but it seems to have fizzed, at least for now.  But we have shared a lot over the years, listened, supported, encouraged, and had quite a bit of fun.  And she was at my wedding, and she knew John pretty well.  And I crumbled when I saw her.  I just wanted to hug her and cry on her shoulder till I was empty. But I stopped after a very brief moment and was able to get back to the meeting. 

Then, there were two more tiny episodes, quiet, more moisture.  And one more set of near-sobs.  I got a card and a note from a wonderfully neat co-worker.  Her words were so simple, kind, supportive, and loving...I wanted to sit in the corner of my room and rock like a baby.  I let myself have a moment, and then I got back to work.  Putting music on helped, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Lenka, and Adele today...

My room is still a mess, but I got my whole word wall up, my two favorite posters up (one says my favorite flower is dandelions because they refuse to stop growing, and the other says you miss 100% of the shots you don't take), a smattering of other things on the walls, and started to organize empty containers, teacher materials, and text books. 

I feel like I ran five miles, spent an hour cleaning the house, wrestled with a bear or two, and then punched myself in the head for twenty minutes.  Or something similar.  And now the kids have hot dogs and gold fish, squeezers, V8 Fusion and WhoNu cookies, and are sitting in front of the t.v. so that I can find some semblance of strength/energy to get them bathed and in bed soon.  I don't know WHAT I will do when homework starts trickling in!

I could write more right now, but there is literally too much...I just wanted to document that I made it through...

Monday, August 12, 2013


I am so scared right now.  I am exhausted.  I am numb.  I can't smile.  I keep looking around at things and I know my face is blank, my lips closed as I breathe through my nose.  My vision is perhaps 3 or 4 mm over the edge into blurry.  I snapped at the kids so much tonight, but I did keep apologizing and telling them how scared I am about going back to work tomorrow.  Aiden agreed with me when I said I figured they wouldn't understand my fear, and asked if I was worried about there being "mean teachers".  Ha!  No.

But when I enter those doors tomorrow morning, I will truly begin to see the changes that have begun behind the curtains.  Once I enter that building on a regular work day, there is no way to imagine things as any different than they are.  And each pair of eyes that have known me for years will look at me with pity and tenderness, fear and pain...and I wonder if I will cry.  And I worry about staying focused.  I want to know what I am doing.  I'm glad it's a job that is nonstop, all day.  Because time will pass.  I'm glad it is not just a job, but a part of me, because that will help me keep smiling and doing my best.  There is no motivation better than loving what you do.

But I keep thinking that I am just a hollow woman.  I am a facade of what I was, some badly patched together imitation of who I think should be walking and talking from where I least it is just a teacher work day...I don't have to get dressed up, I don't have to be planned yet, or be "on stage"...

An old friend told me his favorite book today is Infinite Jest.  So I read the reviews and figured I'd give it a try.  The foreword was a bit intimidating, talking about how it is not an easy read, but packed with language and thought provoking and worth every extra moment of thought it creates...but how can you not give it a try when the Book Description on Amazon begins "A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction"??  I thought,damn, that is what I need...something to read at night that forces me out of my head, makes me work, makes me laugh...maybe this will be a good distraction for me.

And Choir starts on Wednesday!!!  I am very excited for that...the new director has offered to come 30 minutes early to work with people who want to improve their voices...I would love it if I could sing a song myself at church someday...

The phrases "young widow" and "single mom" keep banging around the inside of my head though.  Those things make it hard to focus on I try to combat them by reminding myself I am also a warrior.  I am powerful, playful, compassionate, and curious...I absolutely KNOW I have it in me to get through this.  But that doesn't chase away the fear or the loneliness. It doesn't stop me from feeling like the color is draining out of my heart, leaving the invisible center parts of me translucent while a white hot light builds and burns and grows to the point where everything inside of me explodes in tiny fragments of light energy, leaving me a hollow shell...and then I wonder if maybe my lights will be like boomerangs...maybe I will explode and shatter, but maybe, after a bit, my tiny orbs will come back to fill me again.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Right and wrong and moving forward

I think I may have posted about my loathing for the word "fair"...I am fine with "fair skinned" and with county "fairs", but I think the idea of things being "fair" is a concept people fabricated to make sure that they could get more or complain when they felt they weren't getting enough.  It doesn't really actually help anyone.  John used to talk about how, when he was a kid, they would play baseball a lot in his neighborhood.  They would make the teams based on ability and not worry if one team that had better players had fewer kids on it...and everyone was happy with the way they divided things.  Until along came an adult and tried to make things "fair" and redid the teams with equal numbers, leaving virtually no one happy. 

It is not "fair" that those young babies died, that cancer even exists, that mean people have more and better stuff than nice ones, that your family is nicer than mine, that disease and alcoholism and seizures and cavities exist.  Fair is crap.  Stop talking about it.  It just messes up everyone who tries to fight for it.  Fight for honesty, happiness, compassion, kindness, justice, harmony...those things make sense.  Life is not a bowl of cherries- it's a bowl of crap cake.  But you can see and feel and smell and experience all sorts of beautiful, amazing, fun, thought provoking, loving, mind blowing things while soaking in the crap bowl.  You just can't ever get out of it.  Neither can anyone else, though.  Even those people that seem to have better and more stuff, the girl or guy of their dreams, the more supportive family...we are all living in our own crap cake bowl.

And this is where I start wondering about Right and Wrong and Good and Bad.  There are certain things I think are just bad:  murder and rape, for example.  Definitely bad.  Cancer.  Bad.  Death camps and Nazi's- bad.  But I think of a friend whose husband cheated on her.  And I used to think about how awful that was.  But I never liked her husband, not even back when they were just dating.  I kept my opinion to myself because they seemed okay.  But I don't know, now, how to judge if it was right or wrong that they got married in the first place- they have a beautiful child together and that child wouldn't exist if they hadn't gotten together.  So I think about if it was good or bad, right or wrong that he cheated and they divorced.  He didn't treat her that well, was often demeaning, and now, she has a guy that seems fantastic.  So, really, wouldn't it have been more wrong for them to stay together? Even my parents splitting up- if that hadn't happened, I wouldn't have my awesome how could their divorce have been wrong?  Or bad?  Even with all the pain it caused.  It's all just too intertwined.

I feel like the only thing that matters is helping to ease someone's journey here.  But how do you decide who needs more help?  What if, in trying to ease one person's pain and sorrow, you hurt another person?  Was it wrong to try to help in the first place?  I just think it is too complicated to judge.  At least some of the time.  Perhaps more often than we would like to admit.  It's like the tattoo on my back: 

14. OBI NKA BI (Bite not each other) A stylized image of two fishes attempting to bite each other's tail. A symbol of WARNING AGAINST BACK-BITING and also advocacy for HARMONY, PEACE, UNITY, FORGIVENESS...

I chose this symbol mostly because of the duality within it...the warning against "back biting", which I usually describe as "betrayal", but the simultaneous need for forgiveness...if you do something to someone else in malice, with the intent to hurt or break or ruin, that is different than if you are doing something that feels right to you, that gives you hope and lifts you up, but hurts someone else by accident.  Recognizing that is hard, but important.  I feel like there were ways in which John hurt me, but there was never ever a time when he intended anything but love.  I worry that as I feel the desire in my heart to move on, people around me won't understand, to varying degrees...I will feel like I am betraying him, our love, our marriage, our kids.  But I know that isn't true.  And when I think about dating, at 40 years old (this December, baby!), I think about the guys that are out I even want to date someone who has never been married, been single this long?  Do I want someone divorced?  What if they cheated and that is what broke their marriage?  Is it true, once a cheater always a cheater?  Do I want a widower?  Someone who knows the pain of loss; losing the story you had hoped would be and needing to build another?

Not looking for love is not an option.  John and I talked about that.  He was NOT happy with the idea at first.  And then we had my counselor here and I told him that never dating after he is gone would mean that I would basically have to choose the path my grandmother and mother traversed.  Both were divorced at moderately young ages, and neither ever dated again.  Ever.  My parents were divorced when I was six.  My mom died when I was pregnant with Aiden.  I remember, perhaps in high school, her saying that she hadn't had sex in so long, she was a virgin again.  TMI, I know, but that was how my mom rolled with me...what can I say?  I told John that if that is what he wanted, I would do it, for him.  Then I held my breath, silently begging him to understand.  He paused, frowned, and sighed his  He told me he did not want that for me.

But here is the difficulty:  no matter who comes next, if time and space could be bent to allow it, I would always choose John.  Because to not choose him is like saying I am glad the cancer took him.  Which will NEVER be true.  For eight million reasons.  So how do I expect someone to love me and embrace me, when there is this part of my heart that will always be John's?  Who actually has a heart big enough to do that?  And wouldn't committing to that person, knowing that John is and will always be my first choice, isn't that wrong?  And of course, there is the horrible thought that intrudes, saying that maybe I will find someone better...someone who dances, who likes Thai food, that let's me talk more...But how can they be better, even with those things, than the guy who hid my keys.  We fought and I was ready to leave, but couldn't.  He had hidden my keys.  He taught me how to face those scary things, talk about them, and end up cuddling and kissing.  I had never done that.  He was the only one who could have gotten me there.  You can't get better than that.

And yet, I have to try.  Because that is moving forward.  And I want to.  And I know I shouldn't worry about the nature of that need, because it is what it is...but how can that be right?  Even though I know it's not wrong.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

fat eyes

from crying.  and they burn.  I saw my young, good looking neighbor out with his littlest daughter and his dogs last night...he helped reign in Sammy after he got out and we talked...I actually asked him if he and his wife have any single guy friends.  I actually told him about my recent reconnect with a male member from my past who told me he fantasized about me for years after we broke up.  My neighbor confirmed that something like that would get you thinking about things again.  I need that confirmation. 

One of the many annoying things here is that just because I KNOW certain things, doesn't mean I can truly embrace them or do them.  I know that it is far too early to think about dating.  But I am so lonely, all I can seem to think about is flirting and how to someday reach out.  I know that I am all those ages and things I have been and done and seen, but it doesn't mean I can choose to hang onto the strength part whenever I need it. 

I remember when John and I got engaged, I wanted to run around yelling it to everyone so everyone would know.  I feel the same now.  It seems so messed up and wrong to me that everyone goes on with their own lives and issues and drama and dreams when he is gone. I want to tell every person I see that I am a widow and that every move I make and smile that tips my lips is a mini miracle; that each time I snap at my kids has loss at the center of it right now, so if I over react, well, too bad. 

I have been thinking...It seems that everything is cyclical...desire, loneliness, company, joy, anger, is strange to think that we believe, on some level, that one thing or another should last forever. 

Tonight I have found blogs about widows and dating and sex and loneliness...and the crazy thing is that I really believed that I was alone and unique and I felt bad about my feelings...sometimes I love the internet...okay, most of the time...

Some days, I don't know if I can get out of bed.  And soon enough, school will start and time will spin out of control.  I will get up, regardless of how I feel.  I am still fighting every day to remind myself I am beautiful.  I fight to remember I am strong, even as I cry and struggle for focus and function.  I want to laugh and love and play and hope and flirt...I will never be able to be whole in all the ways I was before.  And humans are like that.  Each loss takes something away from us.  And no loss can render us so broken that we cannot love again.  We can always choose to close ourselves off, to find hope only within, or to shun hope all together. 

Not me.  And I know I am not alone.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Movement inside spirals

And moving forward is aided by actually getting out of the house. Playing with the kids helps. Also, breathing and remembering that idea that I am not only my past, not only my weaknesses...I am everything I have been, everywhere I have gone, all that I have done. Some moments the good shines through, some the bad. So in breathing, I focus, try to calm, and remember to connect.

This journey really is a roller coaster. And I am continually amazed by how much energy it takes to do next to nothing.

At lunch today, Neil made me turn my head and leaned in to plant a long, pizza wet kiss on my cheek. When I reciprocated (without pizza face, but still a long one right on his soft chubby cheek), he smiled and said "you fill ma bucket." I soften so much when he says that. Like a chocolate bar in the car.

Today, I feel like I can do this. Perhaps I won't do great (still away behind on laundry, house is getting a bit gross messy, but the dishes are clean, recycling got out, AND I had the kids brush their teeth before bed!), but I can move forward and calm myself a bit when I am spiraling. I need to remember that last one, so I will repeat it: I CAN CALM MYSELF A BIT WHEN I AM SPIRALING. There. Let's hope repetition helps it stick.

Tomorrow isn Cilly's birthday celebration! I can hardly believe how much she is they all are. How I suppose I am too.