Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Grief: It's Crying Time Again...

Nope.  Couldn't hold on to that good feeling.  Forgot what kind of ride I am on! 

When I first came to NYC after Artie died I was doing counseling and a bereavement group and feeling that was making me even more sad.  I write poetry and short stories - of course didn't write for a long time after my husband died - he was always my first reader.  Even read e-mails and letter - I can be rather snarky sometimes.  I decided to sign up for comedy sketch writing.  The teacher asked everyone "Why are you taking this class?"  I said "My husband died so I thought I'd do comedy."  Then I took a storytelling class.  The only story I had at that time was Artie dying. (Stories are 6-8 minutes) I told it at the class show - and to my surprise - because all the other stories were funny ones - I got an amazing reaction.  I was lucky that Artie got to die at home and we spent two beautiful weeks together.  There was always jazz playing.  I brought all his favorite things from different rooms into the living room where the hospital bed was. I left the front door open from 10 am to 10 pm so people could visit and I didn't have to organize things - so it was a kind of crazy open house death party with a lot of love and laughter and philosophizing.  I didn't do it for anyone but Artie - but being involved in that way of dying had a big effect on the community.  So I am turning the experience of our romance (with all it's beauty and weirdness and wasted moments) and his death and my coming into NY into a solo show.  It's called "My Husband Is In The Overhead Compartment" because I think that sums up all the pain and outrageousness of this big charismatic personality that I loved being transported as ashes in the overhead compartment.  I'm doing it because I think people need to hear about death and grief as it really is - with specific descriptions.  I'm also doing it because the two times I did a short version - I got that amazing heart felt reaction.  Someone said that I am doing it because it is healing for me.  Nope.

The part I like about it is that it keeps Artie alive and a lot of new people - just like with the blog - get to meet him even though he is dead.  But it is so hard is going back into the feelings and the memories of that time.  It doesn't feel healing at all.  I miss him so much.  I was thinking about after he died - at five in the morning - the people from the Neptune Society picked up his body - I loved his body too - to take it to be cremated.  I curled into his side of the bed and the first telling was - I picked up his teddy bear and said, "Cozy -  I'm so sorry, your person isn't coming back.  I'll try to take care of you."  Artie had bought me a purple teddy bear with white hearts on it - but he really loved it and this tough guy who grew up in the Bronx wound up loving his teddy bear and sleeping with it every night.  One day he was having lunch with some tough guy friends and they were surprised and laughed to find out that actually they all had teddy bears!  In the hospital they used to take Cozy and put him on the shelf - they didn't realize Artie like to hold him when he slept.  I thought about all that - Cozy is in bed with me - and I just started crying. 

Yesterday after all the tears I got dressed to go to the gym and wound up shopping instead.  I've been having problems deciding about my wedding rings.  I bought a ring with a big black stone surrounded by a broken circle on top of a completed circle.  A costume piece.  I'm trying it out.  It's like a secret grieving ring.  Never made it to the gym - wound up back in bed with tears and DVDs.

Cried again this morning - but got up and cleared a lot of stuff off of my desk.  I do try to pay my bills on time.  Tonight I have dinner and a play with a friend from Alabama.  She is happily married and pregnant and I am so happy for her.  Don't have any envy about the pregnancy part - but wish - oh how I wish - Artie would be here in the flesh for when I come home - so I could tell him all about it - instead of talking to his teddy bear. 

Part of clearing my desk was writing a bereavement coordinator from California who sent me a form letter on the anniversary of Artie's death that I felt that it was a cruel thing to do.  Imagine sending a form letter to someone whose loved one has died.  Imagine thinking that one size fits all.  I suggested she read my blog and also look at a sight called Hello Grief.  She didn't know I moved to NY - she didn't know anything about me.  It irks me - ha - it enrages me that so many professionals don't understand grief.  I wish this blog didn't exist because - well, I guess first of all because Artie and all our loved ones were still alive - but second of all because all the professionals and our friends understood us better.

We are grief warriors getting through each day with laughter and tears and it seems we need each other because we understand that when you love someone deeply you carry the burden of their death as best as you can and you don't get over it - just keep trying to find better ways of being able to grieve and live fully at the same time.   Much love to you all.  I hope tears are good for my skin!   xo

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