Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Grief: If I Stay In Bed Nothing Will Happen

I was doing that this morning.  Staying in bed.  I was all cosy under the covers, wearing my husband's Yankee jacket, holding the teddy bear he gave me.  I wanted to stay there.  I always want to stay there.  I thought, "If I stay in bed nothing will happen."  When I think that I always think - nothing bad will happen.  I won't have to be awake to the fact that Artie is dead.  How can that be surprising after almost three years?  My mind isn't surprised but my body still is.  Sometimes I'll bump up against one of my multitude of stuffed animals that covers the space where he should be and think for a second it's him.  My body holds his memory in a different way than my mind.  It misses his touch.  I miss the way he held me and I used to hold his shirt the way my granddaughter Gwendy has just started grabbing her Mommy's shirt.. 

The world can be hurtful.  Walking through the airport they were playing, "Lean on Me".  I only let myself be sad for a moment. Artie and I always leaned on each other. I remembered us being in an audience swaying together with our arms around each other as we sang along with whoever was singing that song.  I was able to roll my memories back to that time and feel the joy instead of the sadness.  However, life is full of real disappointments and hurts and decisions. I liked it better when Artie was here in the flesh to talk things out with.  Not that we always agreed.  We were both very independent and sometimes our disagreements involved shouting.  Loud shouting!   However, a bad moment with Artie was so much better than the best moment without him.

Then, still curled under the covers, eyes closed - wanting to go back to sleep for another ten minutes, another half hour, another day - it was suddenly clear to me.  If I stay in bed nothing good will happen either.  That's an okay every once in a while thing.  I haven't reached the place where I never have what I call bad old sad old days.  However, I have a rule that I can only stay in the house one day in a row.  Even if I only go to the drugstore for five minutes, I have to go out and be part of the world.  If nothing happens there is no point in my still being alive.

I remind myself once again how much my husband loved life and how often he dealt with his problems by isolating.  Sometimes I would drag him out of the house to something he didn't want to go to and then he would thank me because he had such a good time.  When he got in that isolating place I would ask him what he wanted to be alive FOR.  Now I ask myself that same question.  He's where he is doing whatever he's supposed to do there.  If there is no there it doesn't matter.  When I die I won't know it.  I need to know that he is with me and we will be together again.  If that isn't true, I'll find out soon enough.  What stories will I have to tell him when I get there if I stay in bed all the time? 

It's not about having a specific time to move on, start over, begin living.  If you are breathing you are living.  If you are reading this, I assume that you are breathing.  The question then becomes not when will I begin living - we never stopped - but what will I do with my time while I'm here. People will say, (me too), I have good times but I'm not living or I haven't moved on.  I disagree with people who say that you have to.  Some people don't like the idea that I am content with my sadness.  Some people don't like it when I say it is difficult but I don't mind being married to a dead man.  I made a joke the other day that if I do fall in love and marry again I will be a bigamist.  Yet Artie used to say loving me was like breathing.  Loving him is still like breathing for me.  They go together.  I miss him and being without him here phsyically is lonely.  That's okay.  Well, it's not okay - but it's the way it is.  I can yell out, "Come back!" as often as I want.  He can't.  The Artie I loved is gone - it's ashes.  The Artie I love now if what my senses tell me is real - is consciousness, is spirit - but different in a way I'm not given the power to understand.  I can love him and be fully alive.  I'm not there yet but I keep trying.

I wrote this a long time ago but it bears repeating, for me, every day.  Go where life is.  When I don't feel alive I often go somewhere where life is happening.  It seeps in my pores and I forget the sad parts for a while.  It's not a fake smile.  I hate the idea of fake smiles. If you let a smile be your umbrella when it rains you are going to get soaking wet.  That's the idea that so many people miss.  When I'm laughing, I'm happy.  When I'm smiling, something is giving me joy. The sadness and the joy can exist together.  It's my job to emotionally and physically find increasing moments of joy and productivity.  I've said this often, I'm shifting the balance. 

I have to choose on a daily basis - sometimes on a minute to minute basis - whether I have a life where nothing happens or a life where something happens.  If I practice what I preach;  I have to be gentle with myself and forgive my failings when I fail - but I also have to push myself to get moving; to do at least one thing every day that I am proud of.  A small thing, a big thing.  Tell a random stranger, maybe someone at the check out counter at the grocery store, that they have beautiful hair or you like their earrings - watch their eyes light up. 

Why bother now?  That's the question that hurts.  Sometimes it can feel like too much to bother when the person we love so much is dead.  The answer I came upon today is, because it will make me feel better and because if Artie still had that dazzling smile he would be flashing it at me.  "You go girl!!"  That's what he would be saying.  "I know it's difficult for you and that makes me doubly proud."  That's what he would be saying.  If I can't do it for me today, maybe I can still do it for him.

So...make something happen!   Make your something happen.  Your something is important.  I know it is because if you weren't important you wouldn't still be here.  Oh dear, that means I better shut off the computer and make something happen myself.  Wish me luck.  xo

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Grief: Wanted: Dead or Alive

I read the title and thought, "Who am I talking about?"  I meant it to be about me but I also want my husband to be my husband - dead or alive.

Me.  I woke up this morning feeling that when Artie died I died.  I'm like a car with a motor that you think will never start so you need to push and push and push and then it starts.  Once I got in gear, there I went doing a lot of things I have been avoiding for days. 

Like a hamster on a creaky wheel that hops off and runs someplace interesting full of green grass and other happy hamsters only to wake up back on the wheel.

Ah well.

This is what Aretha Franklin said about Whitney Houston. We don't need to wonder where she is.  She is one step higher.  She has completed her soul journey and is in the land of the living.  We are in the land of the dying.  What an interesting idea.  We who think of our selves as living are in an earthbound world where death happens every day.  If you believe in life after death - that is where living really happens.  I don't know. 

I can't remember if I have written about this before - so forgive me if my old brain is having a relapse - but the most important thing she said is "Remember the hits and forgive the misses."  For ourselves and those we love who are no longer with us - why are we spending so much time thinking of the misses?  I would be so much happier if I thought about what I've done right, what Artie and I did right, what all my friends do right. I do seem to have stopped yelling at random strangers on the street (a NYC kind of freedom because no one pays any attention to you,)   If I ask, "What have I done today that I like?" - won't I feel better at the end of the day?  That's what I have tried to do.  At least one thing every day that I can be proud of.  Even if it is something small. 

There is someone on Facebook who thinks she has a solution for all grieving people.  I don't.  I think there are many teachers and friends.  I think there are many paths.  The image that came to my mind was if life is a garden then I collect seeds from all over the place to plant in my garden.  No one else can do it for me.  They can help, but ultimately I have to plant the seeds and then tend them.  When the flowers and herbs and succulents grow I have to give myself the will to admire and enjoy their beauty instead of pulling them out by their roots and throw them on the ground because I am angry Artie isn't here to share them with me.  Anyway, who am I to know if he is here sharing things with me or not.  I don't have that knowledge.  I have the feeling but not the knowledge.

I'm going on a short overnight trip to see a friend.  She is very loving and spiritual and has a great sense of humor.  The seeds she gives me to plant grow into rather large trees.  The kind of trees that can stand up to any kind of storm.  Laughing is good.  Crying is good too.  I don't know if this is the land of the living or of the dying.  It is the land of let's do the best we can to make our dead proud of us.

Not giving up.  That's the one thing I do every day. I keep breathing.  Isn't that easy?  If you are breathing that means you haven't given up.  You have all accomplished step one.  It's up to you to figure out the other steps you have to take.  Me, I'm about to get on a plane.  How magical is that.  A big metal thing that can fly in the air.  Imagine someone seeing one 300 years ago.  Impossible, they would say.  So, maybe today I will find something impossible to do.  Like living without Artie and allowing the joyful moments to increase and get closer together.  I thought the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass said she did six impossible things before breakfast.  She didn't - she said she believes six impossible things before breakfast.  But...maybe if I believe them I can do them.  Not before breakfast tho.  I'm not a morning person.  For me, maybe before the sunset.   xo

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Grief: Who Am I Now?

I was going to do a podcast; telling stories and interviewing interesting people I know.  The man who was supposed to be producing it is lovely.  However, even though he has good intentions his follow through was very poor.  I have done this before.  Hired someone to do something who is not, for whatever reason, capable of doing the job.  I care about them and let things go on and on.  This time I didn't.  I decided not to do the podcast (like a radio show only downloaded from the internet).  I decided this in two months instead of after a year or more.

I have always wanted to be a writer.  I was accepted into Bread Loaf, a writer's conference that is very difficult to get into.  You get to be mentored by famous published writers.  I was accepted in 2009.  Then Artie was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  I had to cancel.  He died that summer.  He was what is called my first reader.  Whenever I was writing (even an e-mail that was too snarky!) I gave it to him to read and comment on.  He loved my writing and encouraged me.  He cheered me up when I got rejection slips.  When he died, except for the blog, I stopped writing. 

I got a brochure a couple of months ago from Bread Loaf.  The same writer, Thomas Mallon, that I wanted to work with that dying summer, is teaching there again.  It was time to try again.  I had to write what I want to get out of the experience if I am accepted.  I had to go back to my manuscript.  It is a story about a young feisty woman out of her time who marries a Puritan man and comes over on the Mayflower. Eventually she falls in love with an Indian and runs away from the settlement to be with him. (There is actually historical evidence of a woman doing that.)  It's good.  I don't know if I will get accepted to Bread Loaf this time but the process reminded me that I have always wanted to be a writer. 

I have talked about writing a book on grief: part memoir, part techniques for surviving, part poetry and metaphor, and part journal so people who buy it can write their own story next to mine.  I have 19 pages. It's time to write some more.

Making decisions without talking them over with Artie is difficult.  I'm lucky to have a lot of people to talk with, and I do. None of them are Artie.  He understood me in a way no one else can.  I understood him too.  I'm proud of myself that I made a good decision to spend time writing, helping people when I can, and nurturing relationships.  My daughter and grandbaby just left.  The apartment is quiet without them. However, that is the balance I want to try to achieve.  I was glad to spend a lot of time with them when they were here.  Now that they have left it is time to do other things.

I have a photo of Artie in a frame.  In another frame next to it I have a picture of my daughter Erin and my grandbaby Gwendolyn.  I stood in the silent apartment looking at the pictures.  I said, "Hello my little family.  I love you."  My dead husband who feels so alive, and my very alive daughter and brand new 2 month old granddaughter. 

It's hard to figure out who I am now that Artie is dead.  When I was out walking I looked up - I always feel that when I hear him it comes from up and to the right and is outside of my mind (but maybe I am delusional!)  I said, "Thank you."  He said, "I've been trying to tell you not to do the podcast for a while."  I said, "I know, but it's not that easy to hear you when you're dead!"  I don't think I said it out loud - but if I did, it's NYC - no one would care!  

It's hard to make decisions now that Artie is dead.  How many times can one person say "I miss you.  I miss you.  I miss you."  An infinite number of times.  However, I'm still here.  Like my grandbaby I'm learning.  I'm flailing my arms and legs making noises.  I'm learning to walk and stumbling and getting up again. Sometimes I walk very quickly in the wrong direction and have to backtrack and start again.  I'm learning to talk and saying the wrong thing and then figuring it out. 

So many people out there.  Trying to find their way.  Getting lost - then found.  I don't think I've said this in a while.  An army of grief warriors marching together to make our lives have meaning and joy until we are together again - hopefully we will be together again - with the ones we love.  Sometimes that meaning and joy is with a brand new love - sometimes it is in the way we are solitary in our togetherness.  The important thing is no matter the number of meltdowns, the days of sorrow which come, that we remember that we don't need to start over.  We have wonderful memories and things our loved ones have taught us to learn from and build on.  Do you remember that old Elvis Presley song, "Are you lonesome tonight?"  I am but - and this is sillier still - I have the teddy bear that Artie gave me.  I love stuffed animals.  They don't die. 

I hope some day I will write that I got into Bread Loaf, and some day later that I have finished my books.  Who are you now?  What is it you can do?  However big, however small. I want to do it do in honor of Artie - and I guess - how did I get this far? -  in honor of me too.   xo

Friday, February 17, 2012

Grief: As Time Goes By

I was going to call this aftershock.  The day after a "date" is sometimes worse for me than the day itself.  I make plans for that day to buffer the feeling but then the next day comes and what then?  I'm still here.  Still doing the best I can.

Someone on a FB page talked about the negative loop of loss.  Why call it negative?  Why not make it a positive.  There's that old song line, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."  Is is bad that I'm still resisting the pressure to let go, move on, forget?  Maybe.  I don't know.  I only know that I'm trying to make my loop of loss positive.  I love Artie.  He loves me.  I miss him terribly.  What else?  I can do all kinds of things to make his death something that inspires me to honor our love by doing more all the time.  I won't deny how I feel.  I work hard at not getting locked into sadness at the same time respecting my sadness, my grief. Hello grief.  Welcome.  I'm going to spend some time with you and then I'm going to go out and play.  That feels real to me. 

Artie used to sing "As Time Goes By" in my ear and we would dance.  And when two lovers woo...they still say I love you...on that you can matter what the future time goes by.  Time is going by and I still - no matter what the future brings - say "I love you."   How could I not? 

William Shatner's doing a one man show on Broadway.  His last wife, who suffered from alcoholism,  died tragically by drowning in their pool.  His current wife's husband died of lung cancer.  He says they met sharing "grief and a love for horses".  They have been married now for 12 years.  It's possible.  It's always possible.  For me, it will happen if and when it happens. If it doesn't happen I will continue to find ways to be content with what I create for myself.

My little granddaughter Gwendy blue eyes grabs my finger and holds on.  It feels like love to me, but it is a reflex action.  Our first little reflex action is to grab and hold on tight.  Yet, she grows and changes every day.  Artie's spirit is like my finger is to her.  I grab and hold on tight.  Yet I grow and change every day.  It feels like love to me.  Is it a reflex action?  I don't know. 

Seems like today I am full of questions and short on answers.  That's okay.  I kept walking past Radio City Music Hall seeing Aretha Franklin's name on the marquee.  Yesterday I went to Ticketmaster for a single seat and managed to miraculously get one in the third row.  A single seat.  I won't be going alone.  Artie loved Aretha Franklin.  I'm going with a dead man.  He's probably busy doing other things but who knows - maybe where he is he still loves to hear her sing. 

I've made my grief a public thing but in a lot of ways it's a private thing.  People will look at me and think I am sitting in the theater alone.  I know I won't be alone, anywhere, any more.  At the same time I know that I will be alone everywhere, no matter how many people I am with.  That is the puzzlement of grief. 

My third wedding anniversay, my third birthday, my third Valentine's Day since Artie died.  It didn't get easier, it got harder.  I'm still here.   That's the important thing. Searching for ways to remind myself I'm still alive and use that time in the best way.  You can all come to hear Aretha sing with me if you want.  I'll sit by myself and no one will know I'm a crowd!   I hope each of you finds a song to sing today that brings a smile - and if it brings tears - how many teardrops make a rainbow?  xo

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Grief: Valentine's Day Cards From A Dead Man

Funny thing, reading about folks dating and getting engaged and remarried.  I feel like it all happens in a parallel universe.  I'm supposed to be living in the present not the past.  Tra la la.  I took out several Valentine's Day cards from Artie and put them on the counter as if he had just left them.  Am I desusional if I'm being delusional on purpose?  I'll be glad when today is over. 

I am lucky to have been so loved - to love and be loved back - even now - I think.  When I doubt that he still loves me from wherever he is I hear him say, "Oh ye of little faith!" 

Had a lovely time in Seattle with my little family.  My daughter is in Boston at the moment looking for a house to move in to to be closer to me.  My granddaughter Gwendolyn has grown and changed a lot in only a couple of weeks.  I was holding her and looking into her big blue eyes.  I started to cry.  This strange combination of loving her, loving my daughter, loving my friends and not having Artie in person to share it with.  Do you all ever get tired of me whining about that?  He probably does.  He would say - Get out there girl and enjoy yourself!!

I have taken a shower and washed my hair.  I put in all the towels that were on the bathroom floor mopping up the water that flooded over the top of the toilet into the washing machine.  Not a very romantic way to spend Valentine's Day but at least productive.

My best friend Marty is here with me.  She is probably going to have an unwanted divorce.  I'm glad Artie only left because he had to, because his body was too sick to stay.  I wish you could make people who are living understand how precious every day with someone is.  I never understood that.  Even though Artie was older than I was I never really believed that there would come a time when there would not be another day.  I was writing an e-mail and I turned to Marty to help me edit it.  Sometimes I get overemotional and need to tone down my writing.  I always ran things by Artie.  Hey, honey - what do you think of this?  Hey, honey - will you hold me?  Hey, honey - I just read the funniest thing.  Hey, honey - isn't it said that Whitney Houston died.  Hey honey - if you weren't dead when I said Hey, honey - you would be here. 

I'm so proud of us that we stayed married through good times and bad.  I'm so proud of us that we let our love hold us together even when we were arguing.  We would have a bad fight and then say, "Who were those people and how did they get into our house?" 

There was a line in something where the person said, "The past is my future."  I don't feel that way about the rest of my life but I still feel that way about my marriage.  Sometimes I feel silly.  Take those wedding rings off (his and mine) I tell myself.  I don't.  I like wearing them. 

I don't know what I'm going to do with the rest of the day.  There's a Folk Art Museum Marty might like to go to (she'll be going back to Tucson on Thursday).  Part of me wants to practice what I preach - get dressed - get out - be alive.  The other part wants to let Marty keep reading on the sofa while I curl back into bed and feel sorry for myself.  I'll get dressed - I can do that part.  Don't tell anyone but I ate the cupcakes I bought for today last night.  If I go out I can get more - since I decided I'd give up sugar again after Valentine's Day. 

Every second is a new choice.  Every second is a chance to do something different - or not. 

It doesn't even have to be Valentine's Day.  It can be Tuesday.  My heart is sad and lonely though.  It wouldn't be honest to say anything else.  I am sad and lonely today.  What else can I be?  Maybe I can be funny and goofy and silly and play a little.  If I followed other people's advice maybe I'd be the one spending the time with a new love.  Yet, I'm still in love with my love.  It's so weird.  If there is a life after this life part of me wants to be able to say, "I was faithful to you even after you died."  I know I don't have to be.  He's dead and I'm still alive.  Tra la la.

What choices can you make today?  My granddaughter is too little to know what Valentine's Day is but soon she will know.  How can I be a Granny who delights in getting stuffed bears with hearts for her little sweet self without missing what I would have gotten from my husband?  I have a year to learn. 

I'm out of words of wisdom.  To all of you who are missing someone today - someone you want to share a cup of tea with, cuddle with, share a joke with - let's join hands and hearts and get through this together.  Let's think what we can do that would make those who love us laugh if they were still here.  Let's try it.  Let's be alive. xo

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Grief: Many Pathways For Grief

I received an e-mail from someone who nine months after a very long marriage had found someone else.  He said that even though his wife was much loved he wanted to have romance and affection and had sought it out.  He wished the same for me.  Finding a new partner is not one of my priorities.  I'm not against it but most men my age are married, gay or interested in someone younger.  Artie was special in such a way that it would be difficult for someone to step in.  Am I against folks finding someone new?  Of course not.  I'm glad for anyone who finds what they are looking for.  That's the drum I keep banging.  There aren't really stages of grief that apply to everyone.  There is no wrong or right way to grieve.  Even if the pain is overwhelming and you are not functioning it's not wrong.  What it is, in that case, is something to be gentle with and then examined to see how - since you are still alive - you can let life begin to flow through you again instead of around you.  I believe our loved ones would want us all to live our lives fully.  How we get there and what our goals are - that's as individual as we are. 

When I look for support I look for folks who accept me for the way I am. My friends allow me to be in pain - to be snarky - to be joyful.  They - as Artie used to say - buy the whole package.  My husband was a recovering alcoholic and there is a saying, "Find someone who has what you want and ask them how they got it."  In NLP they call it modelling.  You can look, for example, at someone who is a champion golfer and model what they do.  For some people the model for grief is to put on a happy face and deny their feelings.  That's not a good model for me.  For some people the model of grief is that it should end in six months or year.  That's not a good model for me.  For some people the model of grief is that they need to quickly replace the person who has died.  That's not a good model for me.  However, I don't have any problem with the way those people are dealing with their grief. I expect them to give me the same respect I give them. 

This is what Barbara Sinatra says in her book about her feelings after her husband Frank Sinatra died:  "I had more than I could possibly need, yet I would have traded it all in a heartbeat for just one more day with my dearest love...Life had to go on and I was busier than ever with charitable causes...A hummingbird suddenly appeared on the terrace of my Los Angeles apartment...Living in the penthouse, I had never before seen a hummingbird that high up, and I was astounded.  Now, whenever I think of Frank and want some sign from know that he loves me, he sends a hummingbird or two to lift my heart.  Not that I'm unhappy---far from it.  Fortunately I like being alone and have always enjoyed my own company...It has never once occured to me to get married again.  Anyway, where would I go after Sinatra?"

The book was published in 2011.  I don't know anything about Barbara Sinatra now - but her model is my model.  Artie is my Sinatra.  He was a force of nature.  With all the imperfections in our marriage - the fights - the misunderstanding - we were lovers true and solid.  We understood each other perfectly.  Once I said (in a lovely little self pity mood) "I want someone to love me."  Artie said, "Someone?"  My reply had to be what is still the truth, "I want you to love me."  He looked at me, "I couldn't not love you.  It's like breathing."  He's not breathing any more but I feel his love as if he were. 

When a person or a pet dies (some people don't like to compare pets to people but I know from my daughter and others that losing a pet can be incredibly painful and the grief is the same) you have the right to grieve however you choose without being categorized as having "complicated grief" or "morbid grief".  It's a whole topic of its own but grief is not depression.  Grief can cause depression.  Last week I was depressed.  I could barely move.  I didn't care about anything.  Now - I'm back to grieving.  I'm willing to accept sadness and loneliness as part of my life.  I'm on my way back to Seattle to see my daughter and grandbaby again.  I'm excited about that.  Grandpa Artie will be with us in spirit.  He loves Gwendy too.  I know he does.

I'm still working on ways to be more active, to have less paralyzing days.  I'm spending Valentine's Day with my best woman friend.  Who knows if we will laugh or cry.  Probably both. 

For me it's about keeping it real.  Who am I if I'm not willing to be myself?  How will I know if you really like me if I don't let you know who I am?  You might not like me.  There have been people who have fallen away.  However, their leaving has made room for new people to come in.

Give yourselves a big hug for me.  I'm off to the airport in a couple of hours and of course I haven't finished packing.  Life keeps moving forward - jump in and join when you wish - step out and be an observer for a while if that is what you need to do.  The person who knows what you need and where you want to go is YOU.  xo

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Grief: Peeking My Head Out

Whew.  My sleep is off so I am tired all time.  I wake up every two hours like I was my own granddaughter.  Actually, Gwendolyn is sleeping better than I am.  Maybe I need a pacifier.

I have a training all weekend so will write more when it is over.  I am supposed to be depressed until Valentine's Day.  Guess what!  I had a happy day. Tra la.  Nice to be surprised by a happy day. May you all be surprised by happy days - and if not happy days - happy moments.  When they happen don't forget to notice them and store them up to use whenever you need them.

My daughter sent me a large picture of her with her daughter and her dog.  It says, "Happy Birthday, Grandma.  We love you!"  I put it and a large picture of Gwendy in the space that is my Artie shrine.  It has pictures of him and mementos.  It was huge when he first died, took up a whole counter.  It is smaller now. The pictures of my granddaughter and my little living, loving family turn it into that paradox of death and its sadnes and loneliness happening at the same time as love and life continues. If we can, this double knowledge gives us a sense of renewal; of being able to reinvent ourselves. It's the first thing I see when I walk into my apartment.  Can't help but smile.  It's nice to smile, even in the middle of a crying time.

Artie pictures and letters and ashes are also a paradox.  How his lack of phsyicality makes me despair.  How my memories and my knowledge of our continued love and his watching over me makes me light up with delight.  Live in de light.  Hmmm. 

Some things aren't fixable.  Artie can't come back in his physical form.  It's been a tough week leading up to my birthday/wedding anniversary that is now yesterday.  I appreciate those of you that reminded me that I told you to be gentle with yourself and I should do the same.  I was proud of myself that I kept all my previous commitments.  I even exercized three times last week - once on THAT day.  Ouch. 

There seemed an unusual amount of couples holding hands and laughing together.  Probably not.  Just me noticing them because the other half of my couple can't physically hold my hand any more.

I am tired and have another full day tomorrow.  I just didn't want to wait to say three wedding anniversaries without Artie is three too many.  For me, it didn't gentle down.  I was full of anger and tears - but also had happy and peaceful moments.  I'm doing the deal.  Living my life.  Grieving.  Taking time to fall apart.  Taking time to put the pieces back together. 

Maybe I'm not peeking my head out.  Maybe my black hole is really a trampoline.  I can use it to crawl into - but I can also use it to spring me higher and higher into a life that has life in it.

As the song says - I'm still here.  I can step into an imaginary time travel machine and see myself in the future - tomorrow, a month from now, a year from now having already learned more and more ways to find joy and purpose.  I come back to myself today with that knowledge I have learned in the future.  I can step into that same imaginary time travel machine and go into the future where Artie and I are tumbling around together wherever he is and I am with him in whatever form he is in.  I can take all those good feelings - what joy to be with him again without having to reconcile me being earthbound and him being released from his body - and bring them back to me now and hold those feelings in my heart - in my whole body.  I MISS him.  There is so much pain down here on earth - I want to stop it all.  Some things aren't fixable.  What is fixable is how I feel about them and how I act in the midst of what feels like a whirlwind. 

I'm still learning.  Wishing you love and that life turns into a Super Bowl not of just football players but a Super Bowl of all kinds of experiences.  I love you Artie.  Happy Anniversary.  I am always and forever your wifelet.  Like I often say, watch this space.  xo