Monday, August 29, 2011

Grief: Hurricanes and Sunshine

I managed to get home.  Flew from Denver to Philadelphia.  Stayed in a hotel and then on Sunday got someone to drive me to NYC.  Went past Newark airport which was still closed even though everything was completely dry.  Seemed as though all our leaders reacted on the basis of fear not strength.  When I got into NYC at about 4 pm on Sunday everything was dry.  It was cloudy - but people were out doing their thing.  Today it is a bright sun blue sky day.  It is tragic for the few people that died (mostly from the rather normal storm happening of downed tree limbs) and sad for the people that had property damage.  However, it wasn't the catastrophe that the news kept making into. 

Shows me what language does.  How often do I operate from my own fear and how often from my own strength?  How do I make my little setbacks and sluggish days into catastrophes?  How much do I protect myself from hurt that is never going to come?  How do I learn to be strong in myself so that I look at what is really happening and react to that?

Artie is really dead.  I still have hurricanes and sunshine around that.  It is lonely coming home without him here.  I think I will always have this odd mixture of happiness and sadness.  Maybe not.  What if instead of fearing the future I live today?  I'm going to the gym after I write this.  Maybe I should fear that!!   Sore muscles heading my way.  Ouch. 

I had an odd trip.  The first friend I was with I felt was really with me and understood the joys and the difficulties of my life every day - like I understand hers.  The second two friends - I had a good time - but I had planned everything - and they spent a lot of time talking to their guys and about the troubles they were having with them.  After a while it started to wear me down.  I wanted to be a good and supportive friend but it was difficult that they didn't get how lucky they were that their guys were still alive to have problems with and it might be hurtful to me since I didn't.  I also felt bad that they got to go home (they live out west) and I had to wend my way through closed airports.  I got home.  Whatever home is.  It was a longer journey and they didn't check with me to see that I made it.

Maybe that is part of being a widow, of being anyone who has had someone they love die - every journey is a longer journey.  Every journey can contain joy and laughter but it is different because we can't share it - before, during, or after - with the person we most want to share it with.  The same thing about home.  I was so glad to be in my own bed instead of stuck in another hotel.  However, my bed has no Artie in it.  I had no one to greet me when I walked in the door.  After two years and more I still can't get used to comforting myself.  The space where Artie used to be is BIG BIG BIG.  As much as he wraps himself around me spiriturally it's not enough for me. That is what my first friend understood and my second two friends didn't.  Luckily I have friends that do understand - but I want everyone to.  It's so obvious to me.  I'm wounded.  Artie's death is a wound that doesn't want to heal no matter what I put on it.  I don't mind walking with a limp - I want people to notice that I'm still limping. That's not true.  I do mind.  I keep trying not to mind.

I have put pressure on myself to get more involved in things and take better care of myself (the gym - food).  I don't know if I can measure up to what I've planned.  I am going to try though.  The main thing is that I go on living when people take care of me and when they don't.  That's the hardest part.  Not being number one in someone's life.  I miss that so much. 

Whine. Whine. Whine.  Then - out into the world and shine, shine, shine.  Hurricanes and Sunshine.  Got to get used to the whirl of both.  Got to know when the hurricane is real and when it's a bunch of hype I'm spouting to make a good story.  Can't close my airports when the weather is dry.  I can't fly if I do.

I don't know if of this makes sense.  Maybe it's a day to stop thinking and move instead.  Off I go.  Sorry so many days went by again without writing.  Thank you for taking this journey with me. Wish you didn't have to.  Wishing you teeny tiny hurricanes and enough sunshine to nourish your soul.  xo

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grief: Taking Artie's Yankee Jacket On The Road Again

This is the first time I've ever done a blog post on a computer in an airport lounge. :)  I'm on my last on the road summer trip.  Spent yesterday with a long time woman friend who lives in Michigan.  I'm so lucky in my friends.  I wish they didn't have lives and they would all move to NYC.  Only kidding, kind of.  We went to the factory where they make Ford  Rouge trucks.  I can't even explain how amazing this assembly line is.  All these moving parts carrying heavy and light bits at exactly the right time and speed to get them in the right place at the right time.  A blue door and a white door in a moving compartment timed so that the blue door doesn't wind up on the white truck and vice versa.  All the people working together in teams.  There is a team leader who knows all the jobs of his 10 team members.  I know that because I asked, "What if you have to pee!"  The team leader can step in for you.  The whole plant shuts down for lunch.  If one person makes a mistake - or one cog in the line goes wrong - the whole line shuts down.  I need an assembly line for my life.  I'm spending too much time trying to fix all my wonky cogs even though I have a great team!!

When my friend had to leave - we cried.  It's sad loving someone and hardly ever seeing them.  It's even harder loving someone and having them die.  I woke up in the hotel room by myself not wanting to do anything.  I do have a lot of props in NYC to lean on - at home - and also out in the world.  Things to do and people to see.  I used to love travelling.  Now it is always uncomfortable knowing that there is no one at home waiting for me. I try not to think about it - but I dream about Artie a lot.  I often dream that I am supposed to meet him and everything goes wrong and I can't find him.  After two years it's still weird not calling him to say good night - and calling him again to say good morning - when I am away.  I talk to him and feel like he hears me and answers - but it's not the same.  I found myself touching my lips last night - not in a crazy way - just remembering how it felt when he kissed me and how long it's been since that happened.  Hard to know that he will never kiss me again - not while I'm alive anyway.  I can hear him - but spirit lips don't count.  Okay, honey, they count but I'm still earthbound and I miss your real lips.

I got up anyway and I'm at the airport.  Going to Denver to see two more women friends, one who lives in Tucson and one who lives in Wyoming.  We have a lot of fun things planned.  Artie's Yankee jacket is safely packed.  I sleep with it like a little kid with a favorite blanket they won't let go of.  It's not a person - but I don't feel comfortable any more without it.  Will there ever be another person - romantically?  I have no idea.  So lucky to have such a great love - with all the problems.  I said this a long time ago - but soon after Artie died someone said, "After a while you'll only have good memories."   I said - "Are you kidding - I want to remember my husband!"  We didn't have a perfect marriage - I've said this before too -there are many many things we would have done differently if we knew how - but we always loved each other and we had this rule that nobody leaves. We trusted that no matter what happened the other person would always be there.  Then Artie had to leave because his body was too riddled with cancer for him to stay. 

I'm going to have my first grandchild in December and my husband's dead and the circle of life, the dance of life keeps going on like it has for thousands of years.  My job is to join in the circle, join in the dance as much as I can.  Maybe even invent a couple of new dances!   As long as I still have the Yankee jacket!

Hope whether you are having an adventurous day or an ordinary day (although I find since Artie died there is no such thing as an ordinary day) that you have time to kick your heels up a little without falling on fill in the blank.   xo

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Grief: Helping Others

This is a short one.  I just remembered I put in a load of laundry about 5 hours ago.  Was doing the usual feeling sorry for myself and not wanting to move.  I got on the computer to answer my e-mail and then went to Facebook.  There is a page called I HATE bullying.  There is another one about self harming.  Another called Depression.  There is a world of hurt out there.  I spent some time posting trying to give people support - the way so many people have supported me.  I don't know if works or not.  Sometimes I get someone check like or ask to friend me.  For those of you who don't do Facebook - those are ways people can respond to what you say.  Sometimes I don't get a response - but sometimes people like what you say and don't respond.

It's kind of like this blog.  I started talking to myself and then it turned out what I had to say helped some other people.  I can be a very private person.  I've developed this outrageous personality but I'm really an introvert.  It's strange - I'm fine on stage - but put me at a party where I don't know anyone and I am terrified. Since Artie died, I've felt a need to be part of a community.  I've seen how important it is not to grieve alone.  It's helped me to know that what I am going through is the same thing other's go through. Not everyone grieves the same - but it's nice to know I'm not the only one grieving the way I'm grieving.

I'm not saying you all should do what I'm doing..  It's important to have real as well as on line friends - but there are ways now that we can reach out to people not only in person - but by taking 10 or 20 minutes of our time just to write to a stranger that you care about them - or on the bullying page - that there is life after school - if they can be strong.

I think I'll always allow myself down time - and I'll always feel sorry for myself - I'm so talented at it!  On the other hand, I'm still trying to change the balance.  Sometimes people call me generous - but I find that making an effort to help others is the most selfish thing I can do.  It helps me.

Real life calls.  Got to get that laundry in the drier.  Hope your Saturday gave you something to smile about. xo

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grief: In Artie's Eyes

I went to see a play called Follies the other night.  When I walked into the theater I realized that I had been there many years ago with my husband.  We were eating lunch at a place called Cafe Un, Deux, Trois which we liked because they had paper tablecloths and a cup of multicoloured crayons and we could draw and write each other love notes.  The play we were supposed to see was across the street.  I noticed no one was standing in front of the theater.  I said, "Wait here." and ran across the street.  The play was closed.  It was in the days when Artie could walk as quickly as I could.  I said, "Let's go!"  He paid the check. I grabbed him by the hand and started walking up Broadway as fast as I could looking at different theater marquees. No, no, no.  Then I saw a sign that said Jerry Lewis in Damn Yankees and thought that would be fun.  Jerry Lewis!   I went up to the box office and they had two tickets for the show - which was starting in about 15 minutes.  Artie started to put the tickets in his pocket.  I said - No - we need them.  We sat down .  It was totally sold out - we were in the 5th row center.  Someone must have turned the tickets back at the last minute.  I looked at Artie and said, "You have no idea how you got here - do you?"  He laughed and said, "No idea."   The play was great.  I was surprised to be sitting by myself in the same theater and not feeling sorry for myself  - just enjoying all the memories of that happy day such a long time ago.

Then Bernadette Peters sang a song called In Buddy's Eyes.  She doesn't sing a song - she lives it emotionally.  With apologies to Sondheim I'm going to change Buddy to Artie and tell you the tears were coming so fast and furious I thought I was going to lose it. Here are some of the lyrics:

Life is slow but it seems exciting
'Cause Artie's there.,,
In Artie's eyes
I'm young, I'm beautiful.
In Artie's eyes
I don't get older.
So life is ducky
And time goes flying
And I'm so lucky
I feel like crying,
And...In Artie's eyes
I'm young, I'm beautiful.
In Artie's eyes
I can't get older.
I'm still the princess,
Still the prize.
In Artie's eyes
I'm young, I'm beautiful.
In Artie's arms,
On Artie's shoulder
I won't get older.
Nothing dies.
And all I ever dreamed I'd be,
The best I ever thought of me,
Is every minute there to see
In Artie's eyes.

I'm crying now.  But there's also a song "I'm Still Here."   I didn't lose it.  I eventually stopped crying. On the way home I snapped my fingers.  All this time trying to explain to others why it's okay not to get over it - not to let go.  No matter how much fun I have, no matter how many people love me, no matter what I accomplish - no one looks at me like Artie looked at me.  Breaking plates, hair unwashed, any way I was - sweet and loving, grumpy and a pain - in Artie's eyes I was loveable and beautiful and the most important person in the world.  My reflection in his loving eyes was something so special.  How foolish would it be not to remember that with joy and love.  How foolish would it be not to be sad that I'll never see those eyes, that look again.  His spirit may feel that way about me - but I'm still here on earth - and I miss him.  We said we were each other's raison d'etre - reason for being. Other people look at me with kindness and interest etc... No one will ever look at me like Artie did.  Someone might say I should look at me that way.  No.  It's different.  That loving look that goes back and forth back and forth warming two people's hearts and souls is unique.

When I got home I wasn't crying any more.  I was grateful.  So lucky to have had that love for so many years.  Grateful even for the tears.  I have Artie's eyes as my Facebook picture.  I think I'm going to keep it for a while. 

Part of me would like to have new relationship - but a lot of me thinks it's not so bad being married to a ghost if that's who I love.  If it's my last romantic relationship - I saved the best for last.

I have to go out into the world now - because with all that - I am still breathing.  Let's breathe together.  xo

Monday, August 15, 2011

Grief: Good Stuff

Cool.  I figured out how to put two short videos of Artie on my blog page. Not bad for a 60 year old!  The one with our wedding is a slide show of the idea of running memories backwards.  It starts with his obituary and ends with my favorite picture of us together and has the song "Snuggle Puppy".  The one with the two of us has a song about beginning again.  The writing under the picture is the plaque that is on the bench in Central Park.

I watched a movie and they had this old story about two mice who fall into a vat of cream.  One mouse gives up and drowns.  The second mouse tries so hard to get out he churns the cream into butter with his little feet and escapes.  I'm afraid if I was the second mouse, once I discovered I'd made butter I'd be in danger of being a contented, fat little mouse who forgot to get out! 

I took a class this weekend called 15 Second Scenes.  I had still unravelling from the anniversary of Artie's death brain. On Saturday I showed up at 1:27 pm thinking, "Whew, I've got three minutes."  Unfortunately the class started at 1 pm.  I'd even written 1 pm on my calendar.  It was an improvisation class.  I've been avoiding improv because as much fun as it can be I've been afraid I can't think quickly enough any more.  The truth is - however - that all life is improv.  We all make it up as we go along every day.  The first day of class was fun and I did fairly well.  I was in a class with a lot of people who do this professionally.  The second  day my first scene went well.  It's amazing how long 15 seconds can be.  The second scene I couldn't do what I was supposed to do - in the middle of making up a scene I was supposed to add in movements that I had been given every time he said "Change.".  The teacher was on me.  I kept trying and trying and not getting it. It went on and on and on.  Maybe 10 or 15 minutes. During the break I explained to him that I have a hard time remembering other people's things which is why I tell stories - don't have to remember lines - it's my story!  He said he didn't need a break - so I spent the break in front of the class telling a story and trying to add in one movement (putting my hands on my cheeks and opening my mouth in surprise like the kid in Home Alone) when he said "Change.".  Sometimes I could do it.  Sometimes I still messed up.

I thought about going home.  I felt like a little kid.  I didn't.  I stayed.  The next 15 second scene was okay but not wonderful.  So...I was sitting in my chair trying to think of a very clever funny line for the last scene which was to be made up of 15 seconds moments - but last 10 minutes.  I would say this line, it would drive the scene and everyone would laugh and think I was terrific.  This time he cast the scenes.  He didn't choose me.  At the very end there were four people left.  He chose three people and said he would put me in the last scene with two people that had done it already.  I felt like a little kid not being picked for a team.  It wasn't until I got home that I realized he wasn't punishing me - he wanted me to have the best experience possible. 

When other people were doing scenes he made my plan impossible.  He said, "No plot."  "Dare to be boring."  Before I went he gave me permision to make mistakes, to stall, to fail.  What he had been emphasizing the whole time was to see, hear, connect, and be present.  Without my clever line I had to get out of my head.  I looked at the two women who were my partners.  I had to be totally present and let things unfold naturally.  One of the rules of improv is to agree instead of doing conflict.  For example, if I say I'm an astronaut the other person doesn't say - No, you're a doctor.  One woman said as a line, "You must be courageous to wear such ugly shoes.  No one else would wear them."  Instead of being my normal snarky self I looked for a place to agree.  I said, "I'm a courageous person.  I have a lot of courage.  Let me write that down."  This beautiful character evolved out of nothing but my just sitting there, being connected by watching and listening and reacting - then saying what came to me without thinking ahead. 

I showed up.  When things got tough, I stayed.  I got it.  I left feeling proud of myself.  I also left with a new idea.  Life itself is made up of 15 second scenes.  Every moment of every day I have choices.  I can make a move that changes my landscape or my feelings.  It might be as simple as sitting in a different room.  It might be big, like going out when I feel like staying in.  I can zigzag all I want.  I can stop what I am  doing and do something else.  I know we have responsibilities.  A lot of us have to work, and we have to pay bills etc...  but I learned this weekend how often in the course of one day I can do something different, think something different.  I haven't tried it out yet - but I am often uncomfortale with people I don't know.  What if I was listening, watching and reacting - thinking about them instead of being in my head?  What if when I'm walking down the street instead of thinking how much I miss Artie I watch and listen to what is happening all around me?

Not that I've got it now.  I still spent too much time in bed this morning and had one thing after another that didn't work the way it was supposed too.  However, I kept going.  What's my choice now?  What's my choice now?  Honestly, in a little bit it's going to be to lie down for a while.  That's not a wrong choice.  Remember the part where he gave me permision to fail.

The class was such a mirror for me of how to deal with grief.  I can't absorb it all at once.  15 seconds at a time - that I can take.  I stayed in the class even though I was uncomfortable - like I stay alive even though I'm uncomfortable.  I'm making better choices some times - some times I'm giving myself permission to fall apart, lie in bed and talk to Artie, or stare into space.  Being late for the class embarrassed me - and then I realized I didn't have to stay embarrassed.  I've decided to double check things since I know I'm not thinking clearly.

Tomorrow morning when I wake up I'm going to try to zig instead of my usual zag.  Set the alarm and actually get up.  I feel rushed a lot because if I get up late I don't have time to do everything I want to.  This living without Artie - something new to learn every day.  It's so hard to learn these things without him to help me.  I learned so much from him.  I also enjoyed sharing things with him.  Now I share them with you. 

Something to think about - or stop thinking about.  Not every 15 seconds - but the small choices we can make that will change our landscape - what we see - how we feel.  The teacher also said before he does a solo show he says - "I'm going to make mistakes.  That's okay."  He said he gets that conversation out of the way before the show so when it's over he doesn't have to waste time criticizing himself.  That was another interesting - freeing idea.  Every morning saying - today I am going to be imperfect.  Hooray for me not doing it right.  Then, at the end of the day I can think about the things I have done not the things I haven't.  Sometimes it's my old thing  - it's a bad old sad old day but do one thing today that I can say - THAT was a good thing for me. 

Okay.  Time for dinner and then the exciting job of cleaning up. I don't know, being positive always makes me laugh after a while!   I am getting a massage tonight.  That will be good. 

Try doing something different just for 15 seconds - or thinking something different just for fifteen seconds.  See how it feels.  Something just for you.  You deserve it. Especially now. xo

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Grief: Gratitude and Attitude

I'm sorry I haven't posted in such a long time.  Even if I don't write I do think of you all.

The good news is that I acted like a grown up. I decided instead of fighting and being sad about my daughter (who is pregnant with my first and probably only grandchild - Gwendolyn Ruth due in December) not moving east to live near me - to take action.  I rented a studio apartment 4 blocks from her house which will be easier and cheaper than a hotel.  I'd rather not go from coast to coast but she is my only close family and it is important to me to be near her. The apartment is over a frozen yogurt store where you take a cup and fill it with as many flavors, mix-ins and toppings as you want.  I better be careful or I will need two airplane seats instead of one!

I had a lot of fun being with her but one night we were sitting on her porch swing.  I put my head on her shoulder for a minute.  I started to cry.  I get massages and hugs from friends but all of a sudden I had this sense memory of how much I loved putting my head on Artie's shoulder.  I have stuffed animals and a cosy bed and his Yankee jacket but I miss him holding me.  I used to tell him that when he held me it was the only time I felt safe.  I know I'm safe, but I miss that feeling more than anything.  Just snuggling in all warm and loved and loving.  I could have left my head on my daughter's shoulder but I know she would have gotten uncomfortable so I sat up.  Sometimes I would hold on to Artie's shirt like a little girl.  It felt so good.  All those back rubs, and back scratches, and private jokes and shared stories.  The one that everyone talks about - I read something or see something and I want to discuss with him and I can't.

When I got back to NYC I started spending a lot of time in bed again and felt guilty until a good friend reminded me that I had been distracted in Seattle with my daughter and of course I would react to coming home again to the silence.  It just seems weird - even after two years now - to be living somewhere without Artie.  It seems weird to come home and not get that grin - that welcome - that hug - the love note he always taped to the door.  I'm not going to judge it but I decided to wear my wedding ring and his all the time - not just in the house.  I want to be married to my ghost husband.  I just do.  It was funny - a male friend said I will be more attractive to men if they think I'm not available! 

So, that's why I haven't posted.  Spent about three days doing the bare minimum.  Also, I'm not thinking clearly.  Went to a class today.  Looked at the time - 1:27.  Whew, I thought.  I made it 3 minutes early.  Nope.  The class started at 1 pm not 1:30.  I'm going to have to double check everything until my mind clears.

The house is starting to pile up with things.  However, I am scheduling classes for the fall and hoping that I can show up for performing more and writing.  I feel much better about myself when I am doing things but some days I can't.  I read posts on Facebook from people who stay in bed all day every day.  That's not what I want for my life.  For those of you who read the posts about the hero's journey - the call - and the refusal.  I know what my call is.  It's that my refusal is BIG BIG BIG right now. I like to post to try to help other folks who feel stuck - that's part of my Facebook life but haven't had the energy for that either. 

On August 22nd I'm going to Michigan to see a friend and then to Denver to see two friends - one of whom is battling cancer.  I have to look at it as a summer of connecting with people.  How do I motivate myself to do things when I'm home alone?  Writing.  Practicing stories and other things to perform.   Still working on that one.  I did talk to Nina Gilberti who is working on a documentary on homeless veterans called When Jane and Johnny Come Marching Homeless.  I want to help her with it.  She is amazing.  She is as grateful for a contribution of $5 as she is for a larger one.  She is an editor at the TV show Criminal Minds where I had a set visit in January with my daughter.  When I contacted her she remembered me because of my daughter's tattoos!   Doing those two things today - talking to Nina and going to an improv class - I think - gave me the energy to post.  The more I stay in bed the more I stay in bed.  It's the same old story - when I force myself to move I get some momentum going.

Artie would understand - does understand either way.  I am so grateful for all of you who have and are supporting me through the ups and downs of all of this.  I never look at previous posts as you know - I still have in the back of my mind to do some kind of book chronicling this crazy ride.  I also have the DVD of my solo show which I have to give to the teacher of my weekend class.  Let's see if I can get my nerve up! 

I'm working on a story for something called RISK in November and the theme is family.  I didn't have loving parents,  Artie was the only person to really take care of me.  By that I mean full time.  My friends and daughter love me and take care of me - but with Artie I was always number one.  I want part of the story to be what family is.  Artie is still my family even though he is dead.  A new baby coming into the world.  Everyone who reads this blog is family.  I always try to put several stories into one - we'll see what I can do with this one.

This is nothing to do with the above - but I have been meaning to address it for awhile.  Some people don't treat the death of a pet as seriously as the death of a person.  I don't agree with that.  We all have our special loves and our own burdens.  I have a lot of respect for the grief people feel when their pet dies.  Even though you can get a new pet easier than you can a new husband :) - the truth is that new pet doesn't take away the sadness of the death of the pet that has died.  When my husband's dog died he never got another one.  When my daughter's dog died she got a new dog but she still misses the dog that died and cries over him.  I think it's important to take each person's grief and each person's journey seriously.  I'm a very judgemental person sometimes - but I never judge the amount of someone's grief or the way they grieve.  I share what I learn because I think we all have a special light - a gift to give to the world.  It's important not to let our grief make our light go out. However, it's also okay to be honest about the struggle.

It was funny - I told my daughter she should count how many times I talk about Artie every day.  She said she'd have to get a clicker!  Too bad talkiing about Artie isn't aerobic exercise.  I'd be one skinny lady!!

Take care of yourselves.  Let's help each other make our lights shine so brightly that our loved ones - wherever they are - see them twinkling.  xo

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Grief: A New Life and The Missing Person

It's odd.  I'm here in Seattle with my daughter buying a crib and a stroller that holds a car seat.  Gone are the days when you could let your child bounce up and down unrestrained in the car!  Buying cute clothes.  Meeting her friends.  Feeling happy at being a grandmother for the first - and probably only time.  The miracle of seeing the baby move around in the sonogram.  New Life.  Feeling happy that my daughter who had multiple problems (including drug addiction) is sober and and living a lovely life with good friends in a nice house.  I am so proud of her.  Feeling sad that she lives so far away from me.  Trying to figure out how I will combine my life in NYC with a new little sweetheart in Seattle.  My daughter says she will move east but all her actions say she is staying in Seattle (decorating the nursery etc...).  I'm going to be here a month around her due date and wonder how I will stay sane without all my NYC distractions.  It would be silly to pack Artie's slippers to put them next to the bed for just a month!  I always remember to be grateful that I have a daughter.  I know too many people whose children have died not to do that.

So...there is the same story I type over and over again.  I wake up in the morning holding a Yankee jacket and feel sad and stuck and then when I am lucky I get up and do lovely things.  I talk about Artie a lot.  I wonder if I will ever stop doing that.  My daughter is very patient with then endless  Artie this and Artie that.  A grandbaby that he will not be here to love.  Not in person anyway - in spirit for sure.  So much to share with him and I do but always with that question mark.  I hear him say he is with me but is he?  I am so limited.  I want a face and a voice.  You could all write it for me.  All of us wishing for this one person to come back - or hoping that some day soon we will be together.  The grand child messes with that.  I want so much to be with Artie - but I also want to be a good and loving granny - and I can't do that if I'm not here.  That means really being HERE, not being here and wishing I was somewhere else.

It is always a puzzle.  I wish that as I get to the end of a post I could say - NOW - I have figured it out and here is the answer.  Not me.  I know I don't like perky positive and I don't like using his death as an excuse for being paralyzed so still looking for that point where I can be me.  Thinking a little about NY and if I can write more, work on my stories more or if I will just crawl into my own bed and turn on the DVD player.

If anyone figures it out - let me know.  :)   I have to get dressed.  My daughter is on her way to the hotel.  Wishing you all a way to miss the folks we miss without letting the sadness get in the way of having happy days and nights.  That's the real puzzle.  Holding both.  Being sad and lonely and happy and excited at the same time - without my head spinning around like some horror film creation.  Artie was such a comfort to me (even if I did scream at him some times!!) - so that's part of it too.  How to exist in the world without this loving man to hold me and tell me that everything will be okay.  Also, selfishly missing getting my back scratched or the simple thing of walking into the house and seeing his eyes light up and his smile and getting my big hug.  See...I talk about him all the time, think about him all the time.  Well, most of the time.  Thank you for listening to me do it. I really have to get dressed.  xo

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Grief: Taking My Grief to Seattle

Yup.  Have Artie's Yankee Jacket with me.  Had a miserable time at the airport last night - on a rumor that there would be a storm in NY all flights were diverted to Virginia where there actually was a thunderstorm - so the planes refueled and couldn't leave.  At least I got out - about 5 hours late.  I surprised myself by telling the gate agent she did a good job instead of growling at her.  Have to practice that more - seeing things from the way others see them.

Love being with my daughter.  Lots of mixed feelings.  She is so proud of her house - and it is beautiful but every time I compliment her and smile I think is she digging in or is she moving?  It's like with Artie's death part of me accepts that she and my grandchild to be will live on the west coast - and the other part of me says No No No.  I am so much better than being two than at being 60!  The other bit is the memories.  She has furniture from the house that Artie and I shared.  She has beautiful roses growing in our garden.  We used to have beautiful roses.  She sold the car I drove when Artie and I were married - I don't need it in NYC but it is another piece gone.  Keep your eye on the prize, Jan.  Look to the future not the past.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can - but only if I keep clinging on to the Yankee jacket and believing that Artie's spirit is with me.  I think I should talk about him less after two years and then on I go...Artie this, Artie that.  I miss that man!!

Did some posting on a FB site called Depression.  There is so much hurt out there.  It is the only site I have seen folks post incredibly cruel things.  I know it's probably part of their illness but I can't decide if I should keep trying to reach folks and take the hits and block people - or if I should avoid it.  It's like do I want to do stand up comedy or tell stories that reach people?  Maybe the answer is alway a bit of this, a bit of that.  I wish there was less suffering in the world.  I wish people were kinder to each other.  How to hold both - the good connections, the kindness, communities of light and support and courage - and the folks that out of pain or just plain meanness want to make everyone as miserable as they are - or worse - the true crimes that are committed on a daily basis.

How to hold it all - and with out Artie.  My daughter rubbed my neck for a few minutes - and I petted her dog Lily even though I knew it would make me sneeze!  How much I miss having Artie pet me - hold me - rub my neck.

So many paths.  So many ways of finding peace and so many folks can't that kind find any of the paths.  Me - I stay on the path for a while - wander off into the woods - come back on to the path - get lost - get found.

I am rambling and my dinner is getting cold.  Love from Seattle - to you in hot humid places I blow a cool breeze to you and hope it gets there.   xo