I had a lot of thoughts about blog posts for tonight. This has been a long week as I try to rebuild my life and
Nothing in my life has changed except there is one less person to help me. I am far from being the only person managing life on her own. There are millions of singletons, whether they have chosen to be single, are divorced or widowed, or whatever. Some of them have to manage their lives with kids.
I get it. I’m not asking for sympathy. I’m just trying to adjust to a “new normal.” That term really is meaningful, if cliche. I have to learn how to live alone and handle everything while also being in significant grief. I try to get things done and then am sidetracked by an ugly crying fit (oh, and there have been a few of those this week). Then I go work basketball or hockey to make an extra long day, and grief is so exhausting that just the normal day-to-day stuff is extra exhausting. I’m always tired and I still can’t go to bed early.
Tonight, though, I am just experiencing anger.
I am angry at Adam for leaving me.
I’m angry that the whole world can’t figure out how to deal with addiction and help people.
I’m angry that the world seems to have lost compassion in general.
I’m angry that I have to find paperwork to get anything done.
I’m angry that I need to sort through this paperwork and it would be helpful if I threw some away, but I can’t seem to throw them away. So the piles get bigger.
I’m angry I allowed him to do things that I knew nothing about. For instance, I’ve never bought a fucking cell phone. I don’t know anything about our plans. I don’t know how to use the FoodSaver.
I’m angry he didn’t write down all his 401K and stock information.
I’m angry I have had to search and search for paperwork for his business so I can access our money because he put OUR money in HIS business account.
I’m angry that it’s like no one has ever died because businesses are inept.
I’m angry he can’t help me take Bixby to the vet because Bixby is so protective of me there. It was better when Adam did it.
I’m angry he’s making me start over in life. He promised me he wouldn’t leave.
I’m angry I’ll never ever be the same person. I’ll never be 100% again. I can hope for 90%. That’s a shitty way to look at the next 40 years.
I’m angry that I keep saying “it’s not fair” like I’m a 5-year-old.
I’m angry I have to keep so much inside now.
I’m angry I have no passion for anything anymore.
I’m angry I have a cold and have to make my own chicken broth. And, I can’t really whine to anyone that I’m sick.
I’m just angry. Angry and sad.
But pitchers and catchers report in less than a month. So that’s something. I guess.
Well, I definitely get that whole thing about grief coming in waves now.
I thought I was on a good trajectory, but man did this week hit me hard. Many people asked what triggered it, but there isn’t a trigger; it just is. I had trouble getting out of bed again; I had breakdowns at work; I had to fight through crying through a basketball game I was working (and it wasn’t even a bad game!). I wanted friends to come to help me clean up; instead all I could manage was fried food and changing the bedsheets.
Maybe it’s because I’m having new realizations all the time. Among these revelations:
I realized while leaving work that my car was just about out of gas (one of the many things I don’t notice anymore). I thought about waiting to get home so I could go to King Sooper for the discount. Then, I realized I don’t shop anymore; I don’t have double points from Adam’s prescriptions. I can get gas anywhere I want for the same price. So, I went to Diamond Shamrock.
I never have to buy cabernet sauvignon if I don’t want to anymore.
All shows being recorded on the DVR are his. I just delete them, but I haven’t got the heart to cancel the series recordings (you know, in case he comes back and is pissed that I deleted every episode of every mediocre SyFy show).
I joined a closed Facebook group for the upcoming Star Wars Celebration. I wanted to see if it would help me make a decision on what to do with my four-day passes which have sold out (sell both? go alone and sell the other? find someone who loves Star Wars I could tolerate for four days?). All the group does is make me sad. Adam and I had the massive convention game down to a science. We bought a few items only and knew what was worth waiting in line for (and getting there when the doors open ain’t one of them).
I had to hire a dog walker in advance for those 12-hour days. I had relied on Adam.
I can now choose to watch horror movies 24/7, but I’ve sadly lost my taste for them now.
I think I can’t go to the grocery store anymore. I cry every single fucking time. This is no joke. Everything reminds me of Adam. King Sooper delivers, though, and it’s not like I need a lot. I could eat at school for every meal if I wanted to.
I think a lot about this Patton Oswalt quote: “Grief is an attack on life. It’s not a seducer. It’s an ambush or worse. It stands right out there and says: ‘The minute you try something, I’m waiting for you.’”
I went to a presentation today from a guy who focused on resilience. I’m sure it was great for the kids, still struggling with how to bounce back from poor grades, relationship breakups, not getting into their chosen college. I just wanted to laugh, and say to the guy “you asshole, until you lose a spouse, fuck your resilience advice. You have no fucking clue.”
For the last week, every time I go to the Gazette’s home page on my phone, I have seen the headline that says something like “Important People Colorado Springs Lost in 2016.”
I haven’t clicked on this post. After all, Adam isn’t on this list. But for me, he is the most important person that should be on this list. Of course, I get that he’s not on the list, but I get irritated just the same.
Many of you know how talented he was as a graphic designer. Maybe you hired him. You can see a lot of his work on his website, which is still live: gasgiantdesign.com. For the last three years, his top priority was updating this site, but he never got around to it.
Adam and I met because of graphic design. He worked at Gowdy Printcraft in town as a prepress operator with his friend Steve. He would do these wild designs for some of our Air Force Academy posters, and the guys and I would laugh and say “what was he smokin’?” Of course, I loved them because they were absolutely out of the norm for the academy.
When I left Air Force for U.S. Figure Skating, I brought Gowdy with me, and he worked magic on media guide covers. Eventually, it became clear to my co-workers that I was always “volunteering” to drop stuff off at Gowdy’s. I remember Dave distinctly pushing his chair back in his cubicle to look at me and say “Does this guy know you’re stalking him?”
When we started dating, I was probably one of the only people ever to religiously sign the conflict of interest form at figure skating every year. Adam moved on to work for a web design company and helped design an early version of the U.S. Figure Skating website. Later, when he decided to freelance, Amy Partain hired him to design SKATING magazine. Amy and I both loved his clean, white-space design. He won a Colorado Springs ADDY Award for his Marshall’s SkateFest poster, designed the logo for the Four Continents Championships, and created some beautiful layouts in the magazine.
He left freelancing to be the graphic designer at the USOC. In many ways, I look at the USOC job as the pivotal moment in his life. He loved the job, loved the people he worked with, and getting the chance to be in Beijing for 2008 and designing USA House was truly his proudest moment in life (after marrying me, right?).
But working for the USOC also had a dark side for him (doesn’t Olympic land have a dark side for all of us who have worked there?). He was hired by a guy who wanted Adam’s type of creativity and style, but I think his boss left in less than a year to take a major job overseas. His next boss was a “sweater vest” guy, and I don’t think he and Adam (and then a subsequent boss) ever clicked. For the first time in our life together, Adam developed sometimes debilitating anxiety from that job. He loved it; he hated it. And when he was part of the massive USOC layoffs in 2009, he was devastated, and his confidence was shattered.
Over the next eight years of his life, he ran Gas Giant Design and also taught at Pikes Peak Community College. He was overwhelmed with his first teaching job … unprepared and frazzled. But he was a natural teacher and grew to love working with students.
Side note: The original name of his company was Designature Graphics. He changed it to Gas Giant Design in honor of my dad, the “rocket scientist at JPL.” Adam learned a lot from my dad and grew to love the spacecrafts Dad worked on, learning all about them. So Gas Giant Design was sort of named after the Voyager, Galileo and Cassini crafts, but I always teased him that people would think his company name was about farts. He would just smirk at me with the look that said “maybe I named it after you.” True love that is.
Adam was my go-to design and computer expert. U.S. Figure Skating and FVS benefited from his expertise, often getting hours of free design work and problem solving. He wanted to help me when he could. He’s the one who found the answer to compress the photos on the fvs.edu homepage so they loaded quickly; he built most of the banners on the site.
His last project was for FVS. I am proud to say he is the one who put together two of the “All In” videos last year. Sure, our office had the idea and did the filming, but he spent hours lightening and adjusting the videos, editing sound, working with music and graphics. These videos were a huge success, and he was a big part of it.
Adam’s designs have been seen in athletic venues across the country (and the world if you count China!), he has helped bring in Annual Fund dollars for FVS … a school he loved because I loved it. If you follow U.S. Olympic sports, you probably have seen his designs in your lifetime, and you didn’t even know it. You might have the team pin or memory book he designed. He created Sky Sox media guides, worked on the military papers, and so much more.
I’m not sure he ever had the confidence in his abilities that he should have had. He was amazing. His Photoshop and Illustrator skills were second to none, and I have never, ever worked with a graphic designer with more attention to detail. He could mask anything!
He is a great loss to the Colorado Springs community. He had so much more to give.
At 1:45 a.m. exactly I woke up suddenly last night. There’s no particularly meaning to 1:45 a.m. It’s not like it was 3:15 in the Amityville Horror. But it was kind of horrific.
You see, I was awakened by sirens, but more disturbing, the chugging sound of a fire truck and paramedics heading up the hill. At first, I had that “where am I and who am I” feeling we get when awakened out of a deep sleep. Then my first thought was “Adam, where is he? Is he OK? They’re here for him, finally. It will be OK now.”
I thought maybe, just maybe, this trauma had passed. After all, it’s been more than two months since the last time the paramedics came to our door. It’s stupid, I know. Two months is hardly any time at all. So I was awake, reliving every moment of both 911 calls.
After the first 911 call, I was so relieved and thankful that the system worked the way it did. Adam had a seizure. For a long time, I couldn’t get the sound of the “seizure breath exhalation scream” out of my head. It mostly has faded now unless I think too hard. I remember the woman on the phone, how incredible she was to calm me down and make sure I was doing the right thing. He was out of the seizure by the time the paramedics arrived.
I was so stupid then. I knew it was a withdrawal seizure; I had stayed home that day from work because I had caught him drinking the day before. For the first time in my life I felt like I had handled it correctly. He was scared I would leave him. I held him and told him it was OK; we would work through it and keep trying. But he was fragile, and I wanted to stay with him that day so we could talk about next steps.
I thought it was just the first step on a withdrawal process again. That’s it. I thought “damn, I haven’t showered today and these firefighters in my house are hot.” Because I’m still 16.
I got Adam to agree to go to the hospital. As he was being packed in to the ambulance, our neighbor came out. I just gushed out, “Adam is an alcoholic. He had a withdrawal seizure.” I’ve never even gone over there to tell them he’s dead now. They were always so nice to our dogs; so patient with our lack of yard work. I think they had a son who was figure skater, so we had a connection. I should tell them. I can’t. I don’t want to cry like that.
I called Kathy to pick me up because I didn’t think I could drive. At the hospital, the ER doctor said “Why are you here? We have people who have seizures all the time and don’t come to the hospital.” I wanted to say “fuck you, asshole, if it was your wife, what would you do?”
The second and third times he went to the ER I didn’t call 911, and just took him in. Let me tell you this … call. Use the ambulance and the fast track into the doctor. It’s less stressful than seeing your husband collapse at the ER door.
The fourth time was in October. I couldn’t wake him up. When I did, he only talked to me in gibberish. I knew it was a severe H.E. episode. I didn’t know what to do. Give him his meds and wait it out? No, I called 911.
I had to leave him in bed to open the door when I heard the lumbering sound of the trucks. Suddenly, there were five people in my bedroom with clothes and bras strewn across the floor. Watching them go through the motions with Adam. Later, he told me it was so frustrating. He understood what was being asked and responded, and couldn’t get it when we didn’t understand.
Words again jumbled out as I spoke to a female paramedic. “We have end stage liver disease (yes, I used ‘we’), this is hepatic encephalopathy. I know it is. We’re going to be evaluated for a transplant next week. It’s going to be OK. This happens. This is normal. But I didn’t know if I should give him his medicine or he should go to the hospital.”
This woman knew what questions to ask me. She had some familiarity. I wish I knew who she was to say thank you.
Is this what PTSD is? To have a sound send you spiraling back downward?
I think everyone thinks I’m better now. I engage more. I argue at work. I laugh every once in awhile. I tell morbid jokes (which is the right of every widow). But it’s not that I’m better. I have “better” moments. I have “better” days. I made breakfast this morning. I am going to try to clean the house again today. No, really. At least I’m thinking about it. The Bix and I will go get cold and muddy at the park.
I have never been lonely in my entire life until now. I have certainly been alone but never lonely, but I sort of get loneliness now. I lived with Adam for 14 years. We spent lots of time apart because we had our own lives, but in the end, we were always there for each other. God, I hate saying I’m lonely. I feel so fucking pathetic. The one thing I never have been.
But what are you supposed to do when the worst things happens, and the person you always talk to about the worst things actually was the worst thing that happened. Try that on for a brilliant sentence, eh.
Tonight, I was invited to a meeting to share my story about Adam and our struggle with his addiction. I had actually made it all day without crying, which I sort of knew meant I was going to fucking lose it at the wrong time, but I kept it together (mostly*).
My friend who asked me to speak told me she considered me one of her angels. It doesn’t matter what I think of the term, but I was moved that our story could have an impact on her and her own struggles. I’ll take being anyone’s angel right now.
I believe I spoke well and touched on my important points, but truthfully, the people in the room gave more back to me than I could have given them. I know I opened up a moving discussion on addiction and compassion, with tears from other people as well, but in turn I found an outlet for all this love that seems so bottled up inside me.
Of all the grief memes people have sent me, the one that touched me the most is the one that says “Grief is just love with no place to go.” That’s exactly how it feels. When every day you used to be able to express love, share love, do something for someone you loved, and then that gets taken from you, it’s a sadness in your soul.
When you are in grief, suddenly it’s the opposite, you are only taking, which isn’t a bad thing because you need to take right now. I get that. But I want to give, and that’s why I agreed to speak, even though the already-bleeding wound of my heart would bleed some more.
You just gotta plow on sometimes.
I hope I can start giving more love again, but I might start and stop for awhile. I might give a little and then take about 10 times as much in return. I’m not even talking about romantic love, though I can only hope I could be so lucky to have a chapter two in my life (boys ARE cute after all) someday. Laugh at me all you want, call me a walking cliche … but I know it now … love is what makes it worth it … love is better than Kirk Gibson’s 1988 home run, than getting Admiral Piett’s autograph on our Star Wars poster, better than getting a photo with Katee Sackhoff with Adam, Paul and Michelle, and you guys, it’s even better than Michelle Kwan’s free skate at 2003 Worlds.
I look back now and see how Adam and I pushed each other to be better; he taught me patience; we walked each other through bouts of mental illness, learning how to deal with our issues even when fear seemed to overwhelm both of us. We encouraged each other because this life is fucking hard. Having someone next to you to face this shit sometimes is as good as it gets.
*I’m really hoping someone out there read “mostly” in Newt’s voice from Aliens.
Nostalgia, I expect, is a funny thing, different depending on what’s going on in your life.
For me today, nostalgia was just numb.
I needed to move. I grabbed my iPhone and headphones, and headed up Alpine Way for a simulated Huff n Puff Express. The ‘express’ term was originally coined by our neighbors, the Winnies, and it was the journey up the steep hill in the Village and down the other way.
Immediately, I realized my mistake. I have about five songs on my iPhone. There is no fucking cell service still here. In fucking 2016. So I walked around the neighborhood, passed the (most former) homes of the Steins, the Englishes, the Andersons, the Flemings, the Mays. I went up the “other” Dellmont, passed the Ealys (now an ugly shade of green), and over past the Robinsons. I thought, “the Robinson house now has a wrought-iron gate.” Then I was confused because there are two houses with long driveways. I couldn’t remember which one was theirs. This made me sad.
I tried walking up one of the ditches by the Robinsons. This was much harder than I remembered. I hoped the path would lead back down to my house. Alas, I met a fence with a homeless encampment on the other side. Thus, the bars on windows and wrought-iron gates.
I thought about being kids in the village … no fear of going anywhere, playing hide n seek in the cul-de-sac until the parents forced us in. There doesn’t seem to be as many good hiding places anymore. Maybe it’s just because I’m not small anymore. I look at kids now and think “yeah, have fun assholes, because life is going to suck. It just does. You will get an A-minus in a college class and throw up nine times outside of Lisa Johnson’s apartment at Stafford Gardens. You will lose that big game on a three-base error, but know it’s your fault because you let that bitch hit that pitch in the first place. You will get dumped. You will watch the Dodgers lose another playoff game. Your pets will die. Your dad will die. Then, to top it off, your husband will not win his addiction battle. He will die as well. So, go ahead and play tag now, because that game will be outlawed soon you special snowflake.”
I did all this while listening to Journey’s “Only the Young,” Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines,” Jimmy Eats World’s “The Middle” and Kippi Brannon’s “Daddy’s Little Girl.” These are the only songs I had, and I just listened to them over an over. I still do not know how the Jimmy Eats World song got on there. Oh, the damn U2 album that was put in everyone’s iTunes account was available, but fuck that shit.
I paused to look down at Little League fields. On April Lane, I thought about heading up to the very top. A few Christmases ago, Adam and I discovered the Rim of the Valley Trail. Yes, I have never been on it. We walked a mile on it to stunning Valley views.
Back at home, I wandered the house. Upstairs, I remembered the way Adam and I would have our laundry and clothes strewn everywhere; how we would start the night in the queen bed, but Adam would move to the couch half the time because a) too fucking close! or b) I’m snoring. We loved the shower, which had great pressure and would get extra hot.
I’d get out of the shower and Adam would have Star Trek:TNG on the TV while I got ready. Sometimes, he’d go down and talk to mom, make coffee. He learned to appreciate reading a good newspaper here … the L.A. Times.
We would think about what we wanted to do.Was it time to take the requisite beach trip and find a new brewery? Go to Hollywood for the Museum of Death? Sushi at Tori-Yen? Maybe this year we would have gone to the Harry Potter world at Universal Studios. We’d find a bar that looked cool, have a drink and just talk. Together all these years, and we never ran out of things to talk about. If a silence went too long, I’d say “want to get married?” Because our joke was that was the only reason people got married because a couple couldn’t stand the silence in a conversation.
I loved showing Adam L.A., just as much as he loved showing me Central City. We thought about moving back, but only if we could live by the beach. And we couldn’t afford that. Also, where would the dog be able to go?
I think if we had made it to retirement, we would have found a small shack somewhere near the beach. We didn’t need much. Just the Internet, cable, our pets, a big TV and a place to cook.
The newscaster just finished his report on the death of Debbie Reynolds, calling it “mind-boggling” that she died just one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher.
Hey, doofus, don’t go off your teleprompter. Only someone who has never experienced massive grief would ever think this was mind-boggling.
For me, it was not surprising. I have spoken about this before. Ms. Reynolds’ son said that his mother was under a lot of stress since her daughter’s death, and she “just wanted to be with her.”
Been there, done that. Sometimes still am there. I am so sorry for Ms. Reynolds’ loss, so sorry for her son and her granddaughter who are still living and now must grieve doubly. Are she and her daughter together in the afterlife? That’s nothing we can know. Trust me, if I thought death would mean Adam and I would be reunited, you would not be reading this blog.
There is a real phenomenon called the Widowhood Effect. Others have written about it more eloquently. Here’s the gist: one definitive study says that a widow or widower has a 66 percent greater chance of dying than a person with a living spouse in the first three months after a spouse’s death. This study only looked at people over 50, but the researchers (in this article at least) suggested that percentage may be greater with younger widows (jury is still out because there is less of a sample size).
Of course, the researchers also couldn’t account for what causes this increase.
Obviously, those researchers have never lost a spouse. Based on my own experience, this death can happen from any of the following:
Car accidents because we simply aren’t paying attention like we used to
Tripping on cords, stairs and pebbles
Bleeding to death from chewing on your cuticles too much
Dehydration due to tears; malnourishment due to not eating; obesity due to too many chips and pop-tarts
Leaving appliances on and dying in a house fire
Serious illnesses because we haven’t taken care of ourselves; been to the doctor; or given a flying fuck about ourselves
Broken-heart syndrome (I suspect this might more likely happen to older spouses, but it’s real. Read the link).
Although Ms. Reynolds had a stroke, I do not doubt it was related to broken-heart syndrome.
You know what lessens the chance of bereaved people dying?
“You” meaning friends, family and any support system available. This is why you can’t stop thinking about me and helping me … I NEED IT. I am thinking about Adam and my sadness just about every minute of every day. But you guys can help me move forward. You guys can keep me from being a statistic.
The fact is, Princess Leia was never a role model for me.
I didn’t grow up thinking I needed a female hero. I didn’t grow up thinking she was a maverick character; a hero who was unlike women who came before her.
I was all about Luke Skywalker. It’s just the way it is. I was boy crazy I think from birth, and I liked NICE guys. Han Solo, that rogue and scoundrel, wasn’t for me. I liked the fresh-faced farm boy. How apropo, huh? Because that’s what I got in Adam (although yes, I know he got into a wee bit of trouble in his youth).
The thing is about Princess Leia … I hadn’t grown up thinking girls and women couldn’t be heroes. In 1977, I think I still thought I could actually be a Los Angeles Dodger. My mom and dad taught me through their love, trust and support that I could do anything or be anything. I didn’t need Princess Leia as a hero for that. But many girls did, and I’m glad girls today have Jyn Erso and Rey.
I preferred male heroes anyway. It’s just the way I was. Luke instead of Leia, Hicks instead of Ripley, Rico instead of Dizzy, Jamie Lannister (yes, Jamie, at least book Jamie) instead of Arya, Star Lord instead of Gamora.
It wasn’t Princess Leia who I loved, it was Carrie Fisher. As I grew older, struggled with my own depression here and there, I admired her candid nature. I like to think that maybe I’m a little like her. I say what I want to say; I’ve always been open about my mental health struggles to those who asked. I went out in my life and tried to kick ass. I knew what I wanted and I got much of it, perhaps a little like Princess Leia. I like to think maybe that’s something that Adam loved about me. Who is that sent me a birthday card that once compared me to a Mack truck with an “I need a hug” sign on it? I sort of always relished in that.
In Orlando at Star Wars Celebration V in 2010, we waited a long time for autographs with Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. Ms. Fisher was pleasant and generous, and shook hands with each person; she looked them in the eye. We freaked out like Laura Linney in “Love Actually.”
That Celebration, we also reaffirmed our marriage vows in the Star Wars Commitment Chapel. How lucky were we that we got Steve Sansweet, the greatest SW fan and collector in the universe, as our officiant. Margie Halloran was our witness and took these photos for us.
With Carrie Fisher dying, a little of our passion in Star Wars dies. Sixty is too young, just as 43 is too young. Adam and Ms. Fisher both struggled with addiction. She conquered hers, and she has pushed to make mental illness an everyday topic. I like to think Adam may have conquered his at the end as well. I think of him as a success despite his death.
Show compassion for your friends and family with addiction and mental illness. Have courage in dealing with it. Make the lives of people like Adam and Ms. Fisher matter by passing on what they have taught us.
May the Force be with all of us, but selfishly, especially for me right now.
Somewhere, I read that losing a spouse is like losing your language. Suddenly, you have no one to speak it with.
I feel that way now while sitting in the Denver airport, people-watching while waiting to fly home for the holidays. I watch, and I want to roll my eyes at Adam, give him that knowing look as the rich blonde woman, dressed head to toe in pink headed to Sun Valley for a skiing holiday, thinks everyone wants to hear her rat dog bark in the terminal. I can see Adam’s face right now as she gets down on her knees in front of another dog to publicly coo.
I have no one to look at and share my language with. No more inside jokes, except those inside my head.
I watch couples who are together yet seem so distant. I wonder if that’s why I always spent so much time in the airport with Adam giving him kisses. The terminal often seems to be a place of coldness now; everyone on their phones, snapping at each other; too much carry-on luggage because god-forbid you fucking check it.
I have walked through the over crowded airport trying to keep a smile on my face today; saying “please,” “excuse me” and “thank you” despite having a veil of grief no one should experience. And yet I see wives exasperated with their husbands, yelling at their kids; frustration with gate agents.
Don’t get me wrong. I have done of all of this. In fact, I could be such a bitch that I was banned by Adam from being in eyesight of gate agents if we had flight trouble. I handled things badly while he could smooth talk us on to the next flight just by being him. He charmed everyone.
It’s just with death, it all seems so pointless now. I hope I can hold on to this feeling for a long time, the full realization that our pettiness is a waste of time. I suspect it won’t happen; that years from now I will be once again like the masses. I think that’s the way our brain works.
But for right now, I am sad for those who haven’t realized the full preciousness of what they have.
My wish for you … take a deep breath when you get frustrated this holiday season. It can be gone in an instant. It really can.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. I can’t remember what I’ve written and often the same things go around and around in my head.
My favorite horror movie is “The Descent,” and I have always had a favorite part. I wonder if it was some sort of foreshadowing that it was. Spoiler alert, but the movie starts with a woman losing her husband and child in a car crash.
Later she gets stuck in a cave. She panics, and her friend comes to help her. Her friend says “What are you so afraid of? The worst thing that could have happened to you has already happened, and you’re still here. This is just a poxy cave.”
That’s the thing. What am I afraid of? The books all say to face your fear and tackle it head on. But for awhile I couldn’t think of what scares me.
I’m not afraid of being alone. I’d just rather have Adam with me. But that’s not going to be, and the reality hits more as the shock wears off. For me, this is the worst possible thing to have happened to me. You can’t even try to imagine it. Don’t try. It’s depressing. It is often unreal still. I miss him. I miss him so much I can’t breathe sometimes. I shout all the platitudes, “Why me?” “Why him?” “Life isn’t fair.” And it doesn’t change a fucking thing. He’s just gone.
I’m afraid of not having joy in my life again. I’m afraid of this pain lasting forever, and I’m afraid of the pain going away. I’m afraid if the pain goes away, Adam goes away. Sometimes I can still feel his fingers, his hands. I can feel his hair, and his ears.
I went down to the basement with just my phone light. I shined it on boxes and books and papers. The last remnants of his life. What are these now? They are just things. I don’t feel like I have the authority to do anything with them because they are not mine. They are his.
When you have “things” taken from you, no doubt the grief is real for the loss. When you have all these “things” and it is the person taken from you, the realization of the worthlessness of “things” is overwhelming. “Things” serve as a reminder to a memory. And what about the “things” that were Adam before I was in his life? How do I ever make a decision on that? How do I pass on or throw away what was precious to him?
It’s haunting in the dark, with the dog by your side, to look at memories. To look at your own memories. It’s all that’s left.
Everybody dies. Everybody. You just don’t imagine it will be you. You just don’t imagine it will be your love. Even if you try, you can’t because you can push it away and think of other things. You think there’s always tomorrow. We all do.