Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Moving on

Today, I sent back the paperwork in which I accept the voluntary buyout that was offered at work.

This means that come the middle of April, I'll be unemployed for the first time since I was laid off in 2001, which led me to the job I'm leaving.

It's a big scary thing to walk away from a job with nothing lined up. But I know this is the right thing for me to do, even as scary as it is.

My life has been out of balance since the end of 2013, when we made the decision to try to find a clinical trial for Jay. I need to find my own balance now, without him and without this job that I long ago lost my joy for.

I'm still in the process of updating my resume and my LinkedIn, but very soon I'll be actively looking for local employment.

I'm hoping for a little bit of time off between leaving my current job and finding a new one, but not so much that I start to get panicky about money.

This change means I'm not going to get do to a lot of things I was hoping to do this year, like buying a convertible, and doing a lot of travel. I'm going to be in the position of having a lot of time and no spare money.

Let's see what I can do with all that time ...

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Do you think I'm sort of alive?

Very slowly, I'm picking up some important threads of the life I had before Jay.

Mostly this revolves around my eating habits. While Jay and I were together, we ate out for almost all lunches and dinners. Food was one of his greatest pleasures, and it was one that he lost whenever he was in chemo, so we chose to indulge that pleasure as much as we could while he could enjoy it.

But given that my addiction recovery program is based in food, that led to a lot of not-so-good eating and meal timing choices for me. I made it through without doing too much damage to the progress I'd made, but all that pleasure eating sometimes made things difficult.

I've had a lot of trouble getting back in the habit of cooking since Jay died, not the least because I'm now two years out of practice and was never a particularly good cook to start with.

But a couple of things have conspired to help get me back on track. The biggest thing is that I've been spending about half the week at my boyfriend's house, and his idea of meal timing and mine are way different. So it's become important for me to bring food with me that I can reheat whenever I'm ready to eat, which has nicely forced me back into cooking. I always arrive with my bag of food and take over the fridge.

So slowly, I'm recovering my cooking skill and finding a certain comfort zone with other people eating what I cook. This has long been an emotional issue for me - I'm extremely uncomfortable cooking for other people. But so far, the BF has been kind enough to eat what I've brought to share with little complaint (well, except for that lasagna that really didn't work out well - can't blame him for that!). So that's another step in the right direction.

And I can feel the difference. There's joy in my heart again, for so many reasons.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A motorcade of 'meant to be's', parades of beauty queens

It's been a tough couple of weeks on my grief journey.

It's been a year since we took Jay to Maryland for the clinical trial at NIH, as my Timehop app is relentless in reminding me.  Seeing those daily reminders of that experience has sent me right back into a grief spiral that bottomed out (I hope) with me sobbing at a pair of scenes in the movie Transcendence.

I'm still in that place of grief where I can't remember the good times. All I can remember are the hard times, the bad times, the scary times.  All the joy, the frankly ecstatic times - all erased from my mind, bleached into faded sepia scenes printed on shredded paper, barely visible, unable to be seen and comprehended.

I still have hope that this will pass, and that all the wonderful memories will come back, whether in a flood or in drips and drops over the passing of time.

The thing that concerns me the most about this is that I have the sneaking feeling that regaining those good memories is also the key to recovering some piece of my old snappy, snarky, witty self. She's still missing in action, and I still miss her.

So for now, I continue to grieve both losses.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Don't write me no more letters, my mailbox is full of bombs

Back at the beginning of the month, I ended one of the final rituals connected to the last year or so of Jay's life.

For anyone who doesn't already know, Jay used to have waist-length blond hair. You can get the idea from this picture of him:

This was long before I knew him, but it made me angry at the universe that chemo took his beautiful hair.

So somewhere along the line in 2013, I decided I was going to stick a finger in the eye of the universe and let my hair grow until he was either dead or had his hair back. At its longest in May, a few days before he died, it looked like this:

I got a trim then, which took a little bit of length off, enough to make me less crazy.

I didn't get it cut again until January 2nd, when it looked like this:

It was long enough again to make me crazy, and the whole purpose in keeping it long was utterly over. So I got it cut much shorter:

So the last visible bit of my grief is gone, the last sign in the world of my fight against the wishes of the universe is finally gone.

I'm glad to have my hair shorter, but it makes me sad, too, that my bit of magical thinking had no effect on the world.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hope, and hope

I'm feeling like I should write one of those year-in-summary posts. Don't ask me why - I'm not completely sure.

But I think this year can be summed up like this:
fear fear fear
letting go
pain grief pain grief pain pain pain

A friend said last night in chat that he wants to kick 2015's ass. I agreed. 2014 so thoroughly kicked my ass that I'd really like to be on the giving end of a year-long ass-kicking instead.

Onwards ...

Sunday, December 28, 2014

I never thought that life would find me laughing with the pale moon

I know I've been quiet here.  So here's a little catch-up catch-all ramble of a post, a little bit of everything.

I stopped doing my tracker posts because I was bored with them, and have been keeping track of those things privately.

My exercise program has gone to hell, but that's mostly because I've been spending very little time at home, and haven't yet quite figured out how to keep up with it where I've been staying.

Jay didn't have cable, and I don't either, so in all the time I've been in Portland up til now, I've spent almost zero time watching local news. I've seen so little local news that now that I'm getting to see it once in a while, I realize that my brain still expects to see Baltimore-related news. It was a profoundly surreal moment when that finally sunk in.

And Portland weather reports? Let's just say I've never seen anything as complicated as the weather we have here. There are so many zones and areas and whatnot. I wonder if the local meteorologists have to go through special training just to be able to talk sensibly about our weather.

I'm in the new- to early-settling-in stages of a relationship. I've been reluctant to talk about it, because the last time I talked about love, it fell apart in my hands. So here's fair warning that you may never hear about it again, and you probably won't know if that's because I'm being cautious or if it's over.

I feel like I've lost something of myself in losing Jay. I listen to recordings of conversations between me and Jay and friends, and wonder who that clever, funny woman with my voice is. I miss her, I miss being her.

I've been starting to think more seriously about where I want to move in Portland when my lease is up at the beginning of June. As much as I really really don't want to pack and move again, I know that living in Jay's house is not a viable long-term solution. I'm glad for the year I will have had here; it will have been a good transition for me from being with Jay to being here on my own.  But I need to move on, to shake things up again, so I don't root here where I'm not entirely comfortable being.

Recent events have taught me how easily I get hung up on not-knowing. This discovery is driving me a little bit crazy, as is the realization that I can't quite close the door completely.

The upcoming New Year has got me thinking about grief again. This will be my first New Year's Day since Jay died. That feels like it ought to be profound, but I'm not sure it is. We'll see how I feel on the day, especially since it will also be the 7 month anniversary of his death.

Life goes on.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Tracking for December 4

  • sleep: 8 hrs, solid
  • body movement:  n/a
  • contemplation:  morning pages; dharma reading
  • play:  watching movies
  • currently reading:  A College of Magics; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Paradise In Plain Sight