Sunday, June 26, 2011

Grief: Silly Widow Things I've Done

Decided to talk about the silly things I've done since Artie died after all this seriousness.  Not that I wasn't clutzy and slightly absurd when he was alive.  My daughter once told me that she felt bad because I was  "perfect" and she wasn't.  I started telling her stupid mom stories.  There wasn't any shortage of those. :)

When Artie first died I always put my clothes on backwards.  I knew I was doing this and would look at the tag, carefully arrange my shirt or my pants and then put them on backwards anyway.  Sometimes it would take me two or three times to get it right.

I don't do that anymore but my concentration sometimes disappears.  I will carefully fill out a check - look it over - and then get it returned because I forgot to sign it.

The other night I put a plastic thing of tapioca on the bed because I was going to eat it while watching DVDs before I went to sleep.  I forgot about it and when I got to bed - I sat on it.  I thought - "Thank goodness Artie isn't here to see this!"  I distinctly felt him say, "Are you kidding, of course I saw you!" and he was laughing.

On his birthday I buy him a cupcake and light a candle and wait for him to blow it out.  He doesn't - but one year I found a note from him in a poetry book I hadn't opened in years telling me how much he loves me and not to be insecure.  It's in a frame now.

I have his slippers next to the bed.  I tried to put them in the closet but it didn't feel right.  I know he doesn't have feet anymore - at least not people feet - but I like keeping his slippers waiting - just in case.

Sometimes when I come home I say, "Hi honey.  I'm home.  I must have just missed you.  See you later." 

Sometimes I walk down the street with my hand slightly cupped outward.  No one else would notice - but I'm pretending he's holding my hand.

I usually don't wear my wedding rings when I go out any more (not that I've met anyone) but I put them on as soon as I get home.  I love wearing them.  After almost two years I feel married.  I like being Mrs. Artie Warner and I hate things like tax forms where I have to put one name instead of two.

The other day I was in a drugstore.  It was a self pity day and I walked past the card section.  I thought - I can buy myself a sympathy card!!  I wasn't planning to actually do it - but I found one with a quote from Thoreau "Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest, lays down its life in its season as beautifully as it was taken up."  I liked it so I bought.  Now I wonder if I will mail it to myself.  The idea that Artie laid down his life in his season.  I've often felt that he died at the right time for him - just the wrong time for the rest of us.  He, with all his fear and pain, managed to live out each season of his life with great beauty and joy - in my eyes, anyway.  His always being available to other drunks and addicts after he got sober taught me to make myself available to other people who are suffering because someone they love died.  As long as I keep telling our stories he lives on.  He was someone who also managed to carry spring far into winter. I suppose that's my hardest task - to make as many flowers bloom as I can in what seems to me since his death some weird kind of eternal winter.

I sleep with his Yankee jacket and take it with me when I travel.  I know he's not in his old jacket - he's not really even in his ashes in the plastic bag in the stuffed leopard I cuddle.  I just need something tangible to hold on to - and those are the closest things I have.  I know his spirit is all around me but I miss the face and voice that used to contain it.

I know because I am still alive I am allowed to fall in love again and get married again.  I don't know if not wanting to do that - not working at finding someone else - is silly.  It would be fun to have someone else to share my life with.  Artie used to say always leave room for miracles and the inadvertant. 

I don't know which would be sillier - believing he is with me always and that he talks to me (it always feels like it comes from outside although I don't hear his voice) or not believing it.  I'm not delusional.  I know he's dead.  Yet believing we still have a relationship comforts me - allows me to live.  When he was alive he held my kite string and ran along the beach so I could soar - he still does that - even now.

Today is the Gay Pride Parade - especially festive because NY legalized same sex marriage.  Here's to love whatever forms it takes (as long as no one is exploited or hurt).  Here's to silly widow things - and also silly memories (we loved bad puns - what's the color of a burp? Burple.).  Here's to laughter and hope and having the frozen parts melt so our rivers can flow.  They can always freeze up again when we need them to.  Here's to Artie.  You're my heart.  Always.  Death can't touch that. A last silly widow thing - me sticking my tongue out at Death.  Or maybe another gesture...   xo

Grief: Everything Still Happens In The Same Day (Same 5 minutes!)

Last night I went to see The Normal Heart - a heart breaking play Larry Kramer wrote in 1985 about  AIDs when only 41 people had died.  Now 35 million have died - and a lot of their names line the walls of the stage and the theater at the end.  So much grief.  Then the producer - now Tony Award winning producer - came out to announce that NY had just legalized same-sex marriage.  My position on this is that there is a shortage of love in the world so let it triumph where ever and however it springs up.  Then a letter that Larry Kramer wrote is available for you to take home with you.  This is still a plague, folks.  I always bang my drum about cancer because that is what killed my husband - but the problem with AIDs is that more drums need to be banged and a cure needs to be found.  Keep talking about it.  A perfect night of joy and grief all mixed together.  The friend I went with and myself were sobbing and laughing and sobbing.

Today I got a phone call from an actress I didn't think would call me about a documentary I am working on with a friend.  I can't picture myself as someone who would receive a phone call from someone famous.  I'll be less mysterious if this all works out.  She's great - we laughed a lot at dinner - and during the phone call.  I have to learn how to think of myself as - I don't even know how to describe it - worthy - capable - deserving.  Folks say great things to me all the time - I have great friends but I still have my very critical mother (long dead) in my bones.  One of the advantages of having my self esteem a little off center is that I am delighted when something extraordinary happens.  I don't take it for granted.

Then I went to the UPS store to mail some presents and an older lady walked in using a walker.  The man waiting on me couldn't stop because the computer was in the middle.  I said, "Excuse me.  If you want he can weigh your letter so you know how many stamps to put on it."  (She had been asking someone else that while complaining about everything)  She screamed at the top of her lungs, "Shut up already."  That pushed about 17 buttons.  Being screamed at for being courteous.  Reference critical mom described above.  I didn't respond to her - but my head was not in a happy place. I wish my let go of it switch worked in 2 seconds instead of in seventeen hours!

Missing Artie a lot  - always do - but more so since it is getting close to the second anniversary of his death.  Don't mind being sad and a little disoriented.  Feel more of a disconnect with folks that think starting over is the best way to go.  I can't imagine living without the memories of the love and the fights and the love and the hurt and the love etc... and all that we learned together.  My life today is built upon the foundation of the time I had with him on earth - and my gratitude for it (well, most of it!) and the hope that some day we will be back in the same form instead of me here and him wherever (he says here - always does) but I still find it hard to relate to him being here in that other form.  I'm just a simple earthling.  I need to see his face and hear his voice and they don't exist any more.  I know his "Artieness" exists.  I just wish it was something I could physically touch. 

There should be an Olympic event for how many emotions you can feel in one day.  Which one of us would win?  Just remember to notice the laughing ones as much - if not more - than the sobbing ones.  xo

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Grief: Doomsday (is that funny?)

I'm calling the second anniversary of Artie's death doomsday because it's supposed to make me laugh.  I'm watching myself slow down and not want to do all the things I have been doing.  I didn't go to a bereavement group tonight because I wanted to tell a story at something called the MOTH.  All of a sudden it seems impossible.  I haven't become totally housebound.  Still doing a lot of different things.  It's just getting harder and harder to push myself to action unless it's necessary.  Part of it is my sleeping is off again. It's hard to fall asleep and when I do - who knows what I am dreaming or nightmaring.  I know this is normal.  Those dates are difficult whether you pay attention to them or not.  My get up and go got up and went.

It's so weird to me when I look at an e-mail and think - I can't answer that right now.  I did have to go down to the editing studio again - and did that early this morning.  Going to dinner and theater with a friend tomorrow night.  Life goes on and all that.

People try to cheer me up.  Some of them.  They tell me all the great stuff I've done since Artie died.  I have.  They tell me how wonderful and powerful I am.  Wonderful sometimes, not very powerful right now. 

I know a lot of people love Artie and miss him - but I don't think anyone else cares about doomsday.  What does the anniversary of his death mean?  He's dead every day.  Yet as I watch things fall apart around me I know for me it's like he's dying all over again.  What?  He hasn't come back yet?  He's never coming back?  I've known that for almost two years but sometimes my body and my heart can't absorb it.  How can it be that I'll never see that face again, that I'll never hear that voice again.  My love hasn't faded one bit.  I don't cry like I did when he died.  But that old frozen feeling is coming back.  It's hot humid NY and I am sweating outside and freezing inside.

How lucky is it that I'm going to Majorca at the beginning of July.  I don't care.  I'd rather be in bed.  Someone on a Facebook site said that people who don't persist don't deserve to be happy.  What a cruel thing to say.  Some days I can persist and make things happen for myself - some days a feather is to heavy to lift.  That's the way grief is for me. 

I am going to go out - and get a present for someone who had a baby a couple of months ago.  A little walk will be good.  All these books and blogs and positive thinkers and techniques and CDs and darn, I'm just plain sad anyway.  Not all the time.  I won't make the mistake of saying all the time. 

I'm thinking that maybe I can't use Artie as material for stories anymore.  Like in the editing room - he is so vividly alive and says such funny and loving things - but there is no way to pull him out from behind the glass.  I don't even know if I said that before.  I never read my previous posts.  Some people say I should write a book - I probably have the bones of one if I put all the posts together. I wonder what the first one said.  Maybe I'll look at it one of these days.

I want to join the party on the other side.  The side where my husband lives.  I want to stay alive and meet my first grandchild and love it and play with it (don't know the sex yet - soon it will turn into a him or a her in my mind).  I want to be there for my daughter.  I want to spend time with my friends.  I want to just be dead and be with Artie in whatever form we'll be in.  It's all such a muddle!

I want to write - oh how lovely everything is - it's almost doomsday and I feel so wonderful.  Everything I've done has worked and poof - I'm all better now.  I want you all to feel happy and joyous - and yet when I read something from someone who says that they are totally happy - I don't believe them!  I miss Artie so much I can see being happy - but not all the time.  Even if I remarried I can't imagine not feeling lonely with Artie far away.  He said it again - ye of little faith - I'm right here with you - holding you - protecting you - trying to soothe you.  Maybe he is.  I don't know how to be comforted by a dead person.  Not today.  Maybe tomorrow.

This is one of those days I wish anyone who reads this post is doing MUCH MUCH better than I am.  Tra la la.  I have time over the weekend - maybe I will write something that is cute and jolly - or maybe I will still be tumbling down the mountainside.  Thank you all for being there on this strange journey - stranger still that I am taking it in public instead of in private.  xo

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Grief: A Rainbow of Feelings

I've noticed some people say you should only be happy, never angry or sad.  That seems very strange to me.  Especially today. I was going to write about this subject anyway - but today it is thumping in my brain because I found out someone lied to me about giving me creative credit for a project I worked very hard on.  I am very angry with her.  It would be strange not to be.  I don't need to stay angry - but I have a right to insist on her giving me the promised credit.  I might not get what I want but I have a right to try. I'm also hurt.  It hurts to be betrayed by someone I thought was a friend (although to be completely honest I was always a little suspiscious).  I used to think I was better than my husband because I was very trusting and he wasn't.  Then I realized we were both wrong.  The best way to approach someone is neutral.  Also, get everything in writing when it involves something that should be contractual. I find it unbelievable when people take credit for something someone else did.  What kind of satisfaction do they get from it?  They know they are lying, or maybe they don't.  Maybe they don't care as long as they get the attention. 

That was me venting.  What I wanted to say about feelings is that we as human beings are given a full range of feelings.  To only feel one or two would be like playing the piano and only being allowed to play some of the keys.  You wouldn't get all the notes and there would be no music.  So, I'm all for feeling sad when I'm sad and feeling angry when I'm angry.  The difficult part for me is not holding on.  That's why I wrote the first paragraph.  I don't want what happened to ruin my day - but I can feel myself going over and over it in my mind.  I want to get better at letting go of a feeling when it is getting in the way of my doing other things.  My husband used to say, "Don't let people live rent free in your head!" 

The other thing that I don't like is the idea that we all live in the same box.  On a Facebook depression page someone from some organization said all depressed people avoid confrontation.  Nope.  Not me.  If I need to confront some one about something they've done I do it.  Not in a mean way (unless I'm feeling especially snarky and then I apologize).  I think it is important to ask for what you want and to hold people accountable for their actions.  What didn't I say today that I wanted to because I was afraid of the consequences?  Most of the time when I say something calmly and nicely I get a good reaction.  There are some people I don't want in my life.  What makes me feel bad is when I misjudge someone and suffer because of it. People who are depressed are depressed in different ways for different reasons.  People who are grieving grieve in different ways for different reasons.  Some moments I'm depressed - but for me that is different than grieving.  I don't ever assume anyone feels a certain way or thinks a certain way.  I always ask them.

I don't mean I go around telling everyone everything all the time (except in this blog!!).  I have dinner tonight with a group of people - two I have never met - I won't be talking about my friend's betrayal. Artie usually finds his way into the conversation.  I don't know how to spend more than a couple of hours with someone without mentioning that my husband died almost two years ago.  Even dead he is so much a part of my life - and I think he wouldn't like it if I didn't still talk about him! :)

I'm sorry I'm not posting more.  It's a combination of being busy and the fact it will be the second anniversary of Artie's death on July 17th.  I feel like he is dying all over again - which is silly but normal.  I know he can't come back but I am still so sad he hasn't come back!   It's all a series of puzzlements.  He's with me and yet not with me.  There was a thunderstorm with loud thundercracks last night.  I missed pretending I was afraid and having him hold me.  Friday turned out to be another sad old bad old day - most days I get out - but I cancelled everything on Friday and stayed home.  I did post on Facebook pages.  I try to spend some time sharing on grief and depression pages.  We are all so alone and yet together we can have strength.

I did listen to my hypnosis tapes last night.  Made a mistake and fell asleep nicely during the sleeping one and then instead of the machine turning off a loud motivational CD started playing and woke me up.  Sometimes being a widow is just confusing.

I know that if Artie were here he would help me by holding me and by talking with me.  You all know how it is.  Even though I have a lot of people to talk to - and I have talked to a couple - it's Artie I want.  I still marvel at how people survive catastrophes.  I am having such a difficult time having one person die. I better take my own advice and see if I can get a little energy going here.  I hate when I am all dressed up to go out and then something happens and I don't feel like moving.

Grumble grumble grumble.  Groan groan groan!   Someone said they were going sailing today. That sounds nice.  I'll picture myself in a sailboat sailing off to Happy Day Island.  Artie and I used to make up islands to go to.  We had Monkey Island where the monkeys lived (and could talk) and Sweet Dream Island where there were never any bad dreams and Puppy Island because I am allergic to dogs in real life so in our imagination we could go to Puppy Island and I could play with the puppies.  There were puppy nannies that lived there to take care of the puppies.  The last island was Hermit Island which was in the middle of the ocean.  We never went to Hermit Island.  The hermits didn't like visitors! I guess I need a new island - Artie Island. Sail away to spend some time with my husband. 

Well, that was a fun mind drift.  Hope your mind drifts towards something lovely and away from something not so lovely - but if it can't - embrace all your feelings.  They are like small children if you don't pay attention to them they will get louder and louder until you do. 

Now that I'm all dressed to go out I think I'll take a shower and wash my hair for when I go out later.  It's just that kind of day. xo

Monday, June 13, 2011

Grief: Be the Love in His Eyes (a new technique)

Good news:  I started listening to my hypnosis CDs again.  On one of them it said, "Picture someone who loves you."  Of course I pictured my husband Artie.  Then it said, "Now put yourself into their heart and look at yourself through their loving eyes. See yourself the way they see you."  What a beautiful idea.  If I could look at myself the way Artie did - does.  If I could love myself the way he did - does.  I have his voice on tape saying how much he loves me, how he thinks I am beautiful, bright, generous, loving. I have his words in letters saying how proud of me he is that I try new things, that when I fall, I get up again and try again.  I wish I saw myself that way.  I'm going to practice.  I see this lonely puffy sad lazy lady - no one else sees her.   I need what someone used to call perspectacles.  I need to see myself the way the folks that love me see me.  When I performed the solo show people one by one said things like amazing, wonderful, moving etc...  I kept saying, "Really?"  

Other good news:  I am going to the gym today.  It's been a long time.  I am continuing to edit the show and take classes and am doing some exciting things this summer.  I am trying not to run away from the open doors.  There is a storytelling place called the MOTH where if they pull your name out of a hat you tell a 5 minute story.  I'm going to go for the first time.  It has a long line - and a lot of names - but it's important to go to if you want to be a storyteller. 

Not so good news:  My husband is dead.  Strange to call that news.  It seems like news every day.  People said the second year was harder than the first.  I want to say I feel much better now.  I'm doing more things - having more successes - drawing more wonderful women into my life.  I'm  proud of that.  But with the second anniversary of his death coming up next month I feel like I have a rock in my chest instead of a heart.  Especially editing this show (it's called Pull Me Back and is about our relationship - perfect love - imperfect marriage - his dying at home - and my survival - folks laugh and cry and have loved it so far) - seeing his face - hearing his voice over and over and over.  The loneliness and the longing for HIM not for anyone else.  Oh, I would love it if a warm cuddly guy with arms for bear hugs walked into my life but all the men I meet are married and the ones on line have been so useless (not that I've tried very hard) that I haven't had one date.  The thing is - I don't know if I want one or not.  I am a little jealous of folks who have found a new love.  I want to use my age as an excuse - but one friend who has found someone new is 70.  I'm not trying.  I want the impossible - my Artie.

The good part about the bad part is that on really bad days - like yesterday - I spend time on Facebook on grief and depression sites.  It helps me to share what others are going through and I hope that if I post a comment maybe it will help someone else.  Some folks seem to be so happy all the time - although I know that sometimes folks sound happy and then they e-mail me and I know the pain underneath.  I suppose I look happy to most people.  I am happy somtimes.  It's a rough patch.  I have to learn how to take care of myself during the rough patches instead of falling into a pint of ice cream, under the covers, watching programs about Hitler.  Okay - that one's weird.  Sometimes when I get depressed I watch programs about Hitler.  It's so unbelievable.  50 million people died in WWII.  I'm not doing a very good job surviving the death of one person. 

I hope you aren't watching programs about Hitler!!  I hope you are finding some happiness in your day.  Try looking at yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you.  Hold yourself the way they hold you - or held you.  Whisper in your ear what they would say if they could.  If you don't have a real person - make one up.  Imagination is great - your favorite movie star could be whispering in your ear right now - in your imagination! 

Okay.  I told all of you I'm going to the gym.  I better do it.  Can't break a promise I make you. xo

Friday, June 10, 2011

Grief: Slumpy, Lumpy, and Grumpy Are Better Now

I have been feeling that old exhaustion.  Why bother to get out of bed if my husband's dead?  That is a really bad rhyming sentence.  I think editing my solo show for the DVD added to the second anniversary of his death fast approaching is part of it.  I am trying to look at the show, Pull Me Back, as a project.  I have never edited anything before and it is fun.  However, being in a dark room looking at images of my husband all day eventually got to me.  He is so vivid in picture and sound. I can make him do anything I want - except come off the screen back into life.

Today, though, was the perfect example of moving.  I did that old behavior of not getting out of bed when I woke up - made myself go back to sleep over and over again.  Then I got up and went out to take care of some business.  When I got back a friend called and asked me to go to lunch.  I wanted to say NO NO NO.  I was actually feeling physically sick.  However, I said yes.  I didn't put on makeup or brush my hair (pulled it into a side pony tail) so I even looked lumpy and slumpy.  With good conversation, laughter, and delicious mac and cheese all of me feels better.  I was going to cancel my writing group tonight and instead feel like going and will even brush my hair!

Sometimes it is very hard to start moving.  I have all these great projects going and sometimes that makes me happy and sometimes it makes me exhausted.  Even after almost two years it still seems weird and uncomfortable doing anything without sharing it with Artie.  He says I am sharing it with him - me of little faith - but sharing things with a dead person is very different than sharing it with a live person!

That date I almost went on - not only didn't he call like he said he would - when I e-mailed and said I was curious why men say they will call and don't - he e-mailed me and said he was sick and would call later.  That was a week ago.  At least I'm old enough to know better than to contact him again.  Eek, eek, and eek! On the other hand, the friend I had lunch with after dating a lot of unkind people is at 45 getting married for the first time to a very loving man who adores her.  Maybe my heart isn't ready for anyone new.

In July I am going to trance camp!  I'm looking forward to having time in San Diego away from the real world (and hot humid NYC).  Hopefully some more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle will slide together.   Sometimes I have almost the whole puzzle put together and someone tips the table over and I have to start again.   Me.  I'm the one that tips the table over.  When I start to feel bad I stop doing all the things that make me feel good.  I don't know why.  It's like I'm a building and when I get to be 20 stories high I say - well, I don't need those steel beams any more - and eat lousy food, don't listen to my tapes, don't exercise, sleep too much - all of which make me feel worse. Silly old me. 

I put on Facebook this quote from the end of Camelot - where King Arthur knows that the round table has failed and his beloved Guinevere has betrayed him with Lancelot -and he knights a young boy named Tom and tells him to live on and tell the story of the idea of Camelot.  He says Tom is  "One of what we all are. Less than a drop in the great blue motion of the sunlit sea. But, it seems that some of the drops sparkle. Some of them do sparkle." I always cry at those lines.  The love Artie and I have sparkles so brightly.  He still sparkles - even though I knew the quiet, frightened, sad, struggling side of him as well.  I want to be one of the drops that sparkle.  It more difficult now - but still possible.  I know I will keep telling the stories.

Here's to being a drop that sparkles - not all the time - but even if only for a second once a week - because each sparkle can light up a sparkle in someone else.  If for no one else, let me sparkle so that Artie can see me - and I can see and feel him - if not in my arms - in my heart and my mind.

Hoping you are not slumpy, lumpy or grumpy - but if you are - I hope someone you love - dead or alive - breathes gently on your neck - and tickles you into a smile.  xo

Friday, June 3, 2011

Grief: A Poem By Kahil Gibran

Thank you Coleen for sharing this with me - and now with us.

Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Khalil Gibran

Grief: When I Ignore My Feelings...Meltdown!

Yesterday I had a lovely meltdown.  I have been doing a lot.  Good and bad.  Good is being busy - showing up - doing new things. Good is finding support on Facebook and trying to support others.  Bad is not reinforcing the positive side by using the techniques that I know work - including simple things like pressing the play button and listening to my hypnosis tapes.  I don't mind the words good and bad.  Bad doesn't mean guilt and beating myself up.  It means falling back in to old behaviours and not doing things that will make me feel better.

One of the traps for me is that I have been saying, "It's okay." when it's not.  I have been saying "I'm okay." when I'm not.  I know positive thinking works for a lot of people.  Act a certain way and the feelings will follow.  If I act in such a way that I am ignoring or covering up my real feelings I always unravel.  This is the time of year two years ago when Artie was dying.  He died on July 17th.  I am feeling more confused and sad and incompetent than usual.  I write a blog on grief, I did a show which I am editing on grief - how can I forget that I AM GRIEVING.  It's been almost two years and Artie hasn't come back and I haven't died.  Not much of a surprise there.  I'm not delusional.  I'm sad and lonely without HIM.  Not without a generic someone - but without HIM.  Instead of paying attention to the real pain of this I am so busy getting help and trying to accomplish things and connect that I am falling apart.  I need time to spend with my dead husband.  I need time to spend with my grief.  If I don't spend time with it, it sends out tendrils that creep and crawl into every crack of my day and night.  Some folks who post seem to absorb pain better and embrace joy better than I do.  Some of them are telling the truth (they actually discovered that people like me have something they call the misery gene - I am genetically structured differently than perky folks who probably don't read this!) - but some of them are lying.  I know because I read something jolly on line and then get a message or e-mail about the pain underneath.

I love laughing.  I love making people laugh.  I'm still doing that - and my days and nights are fuller than they were when Artie first died.  I'm still sad.  Every day.  I'm not looking back into the past - I love Artie and our life together.  I learned so much from him, laughed so much with him - I think it is wrong to not carry my past into my future.  It's how to make that past enrich my future instead of destroy it.  I named this blog Stop Thief:  Don't Steal My Grief for a reason.  Now I have to say it to myself - don't steal your own grief.  Don't cover it up. 

My other problem is the fact that my daughter is pregnant and giving birth in Seattle when I am NYC makes me wildly unhappy. I apologize to those of you who have had children or grandchildren die - because I know that to have her across the country is so lucky - because she is alive and I want her to have a happy pregnancy and I want to support her.  However, everything that makes me sane is in NYC.  I don't even enjoy my short trips to London or anywhere anymore.  I was a misery in Russia.  Luckily the friend I went with loves me and didn't mind.  I don't know how I can go to Seattle for a month around Erin's due date and stay sane.  I had lunch with a couple and their 3 month old beautiful daughter yesterday.  I want to be a daily presence in my grandchild's life.  I can't be.  I want to be there to know my daughter better and share things with her.  We talk every day.  I don't want to have to choose between my life and everything I do to keep from curling into a big old grief ball and never uncurling and being with the only family I have left. 
I have been so busy pretending this is okay with me that again I am unraveling.

I always give other folks permission to feel what they are feeling - why not me?  I have done all this work.  Why aren't I better?  I don't know how to be better without Artie to comfort me and hold me and talk to me.  I know how to be a little better - not a lot better.  I know how to be a little brave - not a lot brave.  I even was going to go on a date and the man did the thing I never understand - he said he would call and then he didn't.  I'm not 13 - I'm not sitting by the phone.  However - why bother to say you are going to call and then don't without at least shooting off an e-mail to say Oops, don't have time. 

I don't know if I'm selfish in this - but I think people who have found new love relationships find it easier to live.  It's not that they are not still grieving their original spouse.  However, I don't think there is the same kind of feeling with someone who is happily remarried and someone who is alone.  I can't imagine finding another love like I have with Artie - but if I did - it would be very easy for me to blog about recovering from grief because I would have bear hugs and cuddles and not this endless quiet or the babble of my DVDs.  Not that I begrudge them.  I am so happy when people love and miss their dead love and yet find a new love.  I just don't think they live on the same planet any more as those of us who are going it alone.

That's part of the problem with my daughter - she really is the only family I have.  I am lucky to have a lot of good friends - but that is different than family.  I won't burden her - but oh how I wish she would move back east.  Not to live with me - I don't want to be taken care of - but to be someone I could spend time with. 

No answers today.  Just uneasiness.  But I'm out of bed - and soon - out of the house.  Things planned for the weekend.  Next week is busy.  Staying alive.  Looking for the sunshine - but being willing to say it's pouring rain when it's pouring rain.  Hey folks.  It's pouring rain in my heart even though it is sunny outside.
Hope you are in the sunlight today - if not you can walk with me under my umbrella.  xo