I’m back, at least for a moment or two, and I’m going to write some general randomness, babble a bit, and there will probably be a tiny rant. Hopefully in there will be a lot of love, because I do have that for a group of people who have been completely amazing.
Saturday we had a wake for Jay. It was hands-down the best party I’ve been to in who knows how long. If I could choose a recent moment to live in, it would be there in Darrell’s kitchen, talking to friends, laughing, drinking a margarita, or it would be on the couch announcing to my friend Jonathan that I was moments away from hugging everyone and declaring my absolute love for them. In fact, there’s a ridiculous picture of me on that couch, and having never seen it, I feel it captures my goofiness and love. (Let’s hope that pans out for me, and isn’t something I wince at.)
I’ve always had anthem songs. It’s just me. Maybe it’s you, too, but in that moment I was returned to a song that is the most me when my world is right (and it’s usually more right than wrong), and it’s the me I haven’t been in a long while.
I managed to only have one moment where I started hyperventilating and tears trickled down my face, but I did it quietly in front of a group of people with a smile on my face and no one noticed. This may be a new skill Although, I did have to fight down the urge to go for a long walk – not being able to escape folks in the front yard was the only thing that stopped me. Damn you Johnny Cash. The song wasn’t on, only an instrumental version, but I could sense him singing it and each word of the lyrics stung briefly.
Sunday was our anniversary. Let me clarify a bit. This wasn’t the anniversary of our marriage, but the anniversary of when we started dating 17 years ago. While the nation mourns, I always remember that day as the one when we went to Magnolia Cafe, walked over to a park, and Jay told me he loved me for the first time. On that day I made big, life-changing decisions – decisions that hurt some people unintentionally. It was the day that kicked off what would be the happiest time of my life, and it was worth all of the anger I felt towards people for the years that followed (I’m just not cut from that “let it go” cloth – Elsa’s goofy little song would fall on my deaf ears. Girl, you let it go. I got this. I mean, just ask me about Jessica and the 3rd grade slumber party. Mmm hmm. I’m not letting that go either) It was also worth the sadness of the last couple of months. That day kicked off a time when I learned the true meaning of friendship – that my closest friends would form a phalanx to shield me whenever I needed protection; they’re amazing. It was the day I learned how wonderful love could be, and how strong (and in some cases weak) my friendships were.
It also kicked off our “Monthaversary” tradition, and not an 11th passed in the past 16+ years without the declaration of “Happy Monthaversary!!” In turn, it makes every 11th that has followed varying degrees of painful with yesterday having the potential to wreck me. My brother-in-law gets a big gigantic shout out here for heading that off by getting me outside, walking around, and then watching impossibly goofy movies. He is amazing and a truly great and kind guy (yes, you are).
Here’s where I meander over to my ranty bit. Feel free to hop off at this stop.
What happened with Jay was absolutely horrible; it’s the nature of death. Unfortunately, something I’ve learned from this experience is that people do not understand you if you’re not in a downward spiral. So, I’m going to be blunt.
- Some facts – I get out of the house. I started work a week later. I went back to the gym
- I don’t need meds. I don’t have the desire to hole up in a dark corner. Thank you for suggesting that, but I don’t need to not feel. Maybe that’s you. Feel free to get meds if so.
- Death is sad. It’s ok to be sad. I don’t choose to wallow in this feeling although I might tear up on occasion. You see I lost my best friend who also happened to be my husband. I lost someone I talked to daily. I lost someone who thought I was ok despite a list of flaws.
- Don’t tell me it’s not my fault. I know that. See, I learned a long time ago that I can’t actually control other people. It’s nice of you to say. It’s annoying when it gets re-emphasized over and over again when I’m not actually claiming responsibility.
- Don’t tell me I need to see a therapist or go to group therapy, because you feel like that’s what all people who suffered a loss must need. No, I don’t – at least not right now. Sweeping into my life during a tragedy when you don’t know me well doesn’t qualify you to judge my mental state. There are exactly five people I’d listen to on this subject. If you just paused and wondered “Is that me?” It’s not. Two of them are my family (blood or otherwise), two of them live together, and the last is a surprise – well, probably not to them. The day they put together an intervention is the day I’ll go, but right now they’re telling me I’m fine, and well… remember that phalanx? Don’t push it. They’re fierce. Also, they’re about to get punchy if they hear me say one more time, “yeah, she told me she didn’t think I had anyone to talk to, made the sad face, and got upset I wasn’t in therapy”.
- I was raised by a social worker and a big portion of our family friends were social workers. Plus, I’m lucky in that I naturally come with a pretty large tool kit for coping. Don’t assume I have no tools to work through grief.
- Do not ever tell me someone is not Jay. I am keenly aware of this, and I need exactly zero reminders. Also a fun couple of facts – therapists are not Jay. You are not Jay. So, if the point is to to suggest I’m trying to find a replacement, I can’t. No one can replace anyone else. Each friendship I have is unique. If the point is to suggest you or a therapist would be a better choice, well we’ll have to agree to disagree. My not sharing with you doesn’t mean I’m not talking to someone, I am. It doesn’t mean I don’t love or value your friendship, I do, but the fact of the matter is that different friends have different abilities. My phalanx was chosen for their unique skills. Thankfully the world is a big enough place that all types of friends are welcome, but don’t keep shoving your resume in my face when you can’t lift a shield, and don’t be jealous of those that can. They’re a highly specialized and elite group. They have their own standard they fly. (Well, they will now. Hey guys, can we work on that? You know who I’m asking. Maybe get the kids on it? They’re crazy creative. Maybe think of some theme music?) There can be a huge difference between empathizing and sympathizing. Thank you for thinking of me. Don’t push it.
- Don’t tell me that Jay’s choice had to be a relief or that he got to “leave the bullshit” behind. I am that bullshit. His family is that bullshit. Sam is that bullshit. Mind your face and the words that just dribbled out, and realize that the times I’ve needed to be in therapy have never been for sadness, but for anger. Also, there’s a short distance between me counting from 1-10 and breathing. Hope I chose to count to 100.
The non-ranty bit (a list):
- There are not enough numbers to enumerate all the great things individuals have done or said. You’re all part of my incredible tool kit that get me through each day. Your thoughts and kind words have been helpful. Thank you for thinking of me.
Now I suppose I should wrap this up. Did I mention this is babble? It’s kind of hard to put a neat bow on babble. Maybe pretend I said something here that ties it all together, and I’ll pretend I had a lot of margaritas, am giving you a big hug, and saying I love you guys. I LOVE YOU GUYS!