Tuesday, July 29, 2014

In dreams until my death I will wander on

In retrospect, the explanation for my sadness Sunday night is obvious: not only was Sunday the year anniversary of Jay Wake, but it was the 2-month anniversary of Jay's death.  I had just blanked both of them completely out of my mind.

So - two months on. I'm still struggling. Sometimes the struggles are big, sometimes they are moment-to-moment, sometimes they are small. Occasionally they threaten to crush me completely. But those moments are fewer as time passes. They're no less painful when they do happen, but they don't happen as often.

I've talked at great length with various people about the mystery of death, in the old-fashioned Christian sense of mystery.  It is literally something our minds are not designed to comprehend. We literally can't encompass it. It's bigger and deeper than we can grapple with.  Oddly enough, this is of great comfort to me, since it means all I have to do is accept, not to understand.

It's rare that I can give myself that kind of bye. This one is essential to my sanity.  It helps me cope with the impossibility of a life as large as Jay's having stopped.

It also helps me cope with never having felt like he's here in the house with me. I've never felt him in any way that I would give credence to. A couple of moments when I was half-asleep, but that's it.

I'm working to make sense of my life, the life I have now on the other side of this mystery. I doubt I'll ever make complete sense of it, but it would be nice to have a sense of the path I'm on. For now I'm just walking it without knowing anything of what lies ahead.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Where's that rock of ages when I need it most?

Feeling profoundly sad tonight.

I'm not even sure why - there's nothing I can point to that triggered this flow of emotion.  I'm just missing Jay, feeling lost, but mostly just feeling sad.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Where have you gone again, my sweet?

It's been another rough week.

I'm pretty clearly processing another big emotional load. My dreams are vivid, weird, and forgotten the moment I wake up. I'm constantly hungry, no matter what or how much I eat. I'm exhausted all the time. All of these are clear signs from my body that my mind is doing a ton of work.

Of course, I have no idea what in particular is being worked through, but I know from experience I should feel better once it's all done. That is to say, I know what I'm feeling, but I have no idea what specific thing is triggering all this processing.

I'm having a lot of weepy moments, as well as moments where the weight of my grief is borne in on me anew. I find myself wondering how on earth I'm supposed to go on without Jay.  I'm learning how to love someone who isn't here and who never will be here again.

So I'm just laying low, and stocking up the fridge with lots of things to eat. I listening to my body and giving it food and sleep whenever it needs them. I'm rolling with the waves of emotion, and the waves of numbness.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Catching up

It was a rough weekend. I'd been feeling physically off for a couple of days at the end of the week, and whatever it was landed with a vengeance Saturday morning, derailing my plans for brunch and for the Portland informal memorial for Jay.  I spent most of the morning living Jay's toilet-based lifestyle.

I would rather have had brunch.

* * *

I've been both unpacking the book boxes from the downstairs bathroom and moving the books off the brag shelf upstairs onto the shelves in the basement. I'm almost done with that project.  Then I can sort out which books need to go where, including family and the archives.  Then I can see what's left for friends.

* * *

There are a couple of pieces of furniture going to various family members, and once that's done, I can move the brag shelf a few inches over on its wall and borrow some muscle to move my sideboard into place in the dining room.  I've really missed that piece of furniture and it will be nice to have it reunited with the dining table, both of which lived in the kitchen in my Baltimore house.

* * *

I'm still having trouble sleeping, although it's mostly settled down to having trouble getting to sleep. Once I'm asleep, I do pretty well.  But even with a white noise generator running every night and a fan running on the warmer nights, I'm still apparently waiting to hear Jay. It wouldn't be so bad if I were one of those people who can run well on short sleep, but I need every minute of my 8+ hours per night.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Find the ashes here and there

There's been a lot of change around here this week.

Saturday brought a swap of dining room tables. I wanted mine back from Nancy (but was too shy to ask for it directly), and we discovered that Jay's would fit in Nancy's dining room if the leaf was removed. So, a swap was made.

I tried to find a picture of Jay's table in situ, but was unsuccessful.  It's almost impossible to search his Flickr for anything useful.  But here's a shot of the new table:
It fits perfectly in the space, much better than the old table did.

Sunday brought the purchase and delivery of a new sofa.  It was a bit of a struggle getting a sofa out of a flat-pack box and birthing it into something that could be comfortably sat upon, but I got it all together.

And here's a shot of the old sofa:
And the new one:

More and more the place feels like mine, but I'm afraid Jay's getting lost in the shuffle.  I'm trying to figure out ways to keep his energy in the house without feeling overwhelmed by it.

I'll figure it out eventually.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sleeping, or not sleeping, as the case may be

One of the things I've noticed about how things have changed since Jay died is that no matter how functional I am during the day, and no matter how careful I am with things like napping and daytime caffeine consumption, I always have trouble getting to sleep.

Tonight is turning out to be one of the best examples of that.

I'm exhausted, but I have no desire to go to sleep.

I think some of it is how difficult the nights of the last month of Jay's life were.  I spent them sleeping on the sofa across from him in the living room, needing to be able to awaken at a moment's notice if he needed care, which he did every night, even if it was just for me to walk him to and from the bathroom so he didn't fall.

On nights when he'd had a good night, I would come into the bedroom about 4 in the morning and sleep the last couple of hours on the bed.  Those mornings, I would wait to hear him call for me from the living room.

I think I'm still waiting to hear his voice calling me. So I can't sleep and when I do sleep, I don't sleep well.

I'm off to take something to help get me to sleep. Let's hope I can stay there well tonight.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Achievements unlocked

The house is almost completely mine now.

New/old dining room table, new sofa, all but one box unpacked. Closets rearranged, with a couple of exceptions, kitchen mostly arranged to my liking and with a mix of my stuff and Jay's stuff.

Walls slowly being populated with my art, or at least plans for same, in with a mix of Jay's stuff that I either love or am sentimentally attached to.

The hardest news this weekend was finding out that my mother is going into a nursing home. That combined with the moving of house stuff was tough.

Decent progress, unsettled emotions. Another day, another day of grief, another day of recovery.

One foot in front of the other.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

It takes a long time just to get this all straight

Up and down day.

Last night was tough. I stayed up as late as I could, somehow knowing it was going to be a bad night of sleep.  Then a stray thought as I was laying in bed started me crying. I wish I could say I cried myself to sleep, but I was awake for a long while after that. The night was full of weird dreams, including the first dream I can remember since Jay died where he appeared. It was not a pleasant dream.

I started today with a pedicure, which was a lovely bit of self-care.

After that, it was a bout of furniture moving with help from former housemate Nancy and another friend. We moved the sofa and two smaller pieces into the garage, and traded my former dining table (which had been in Nancy's house) for Jay's dining table (which is now in Nancy's house).

The sofa and the table swaps have me very tender-hearted at the moment. Both of them were good moves from a space and practicality angle, but were tough emotionally. Jay and I spent a lot of good quality time on that couch (no, not like that, you dirty-minded people), and many a lovely meal was had at that table.

But I spent Jay's last days sleeping on that couch and walking him to and from that table for his last meals.

So I have an Emotionally Complex Response (ECR) to both pieces of furniture. I'm both glad and sorry to see them go.

I'll go buy a new couch tomorrow and hopefully have it delivered sometime this week.

All of this will make the house more mine.

But that, of course, is another layer of ECR. Every step toward "house is mine" is a step that pushes Jay further out of the house.  I've never felt him in the house since he died, but I keep hoping to, and every change makes that feel less and less possible.

And all of this just emphasizes to me how lonely I feel. It's all a big circle, or spiral, or cycle, or something. Maybe it's just me standing here with one foot nailed to the ground, going round and round and round.

If I had a point for this post, I've lost it. And maybe that's the point - I feel lost and lonely again still.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Keeping on keeping on

Interesting day today. Had my usual Thursday therapy session, followed a little while later by a massage. Taking care of mind and body. If I'd actually gone to open meditation tonight, I could have taken care of soul, too.

* * *

I had the realization today that I am, in fact, getting to merge my household with Jay's, as I find places for my things among his things.  And I'm in the unusual position of getting to do that without any argument from the owner of the other things.  Truly, I would have gladly given that privilege up to keep Jay around longer.

* * *

We're having a heat wave, and I'm realizing just how soft I've gotten. It barely crawls into the 90s and I'm miserable and sweaty.  How did I ever survive in the Maryland heat?  Oregon heat is so much more civilized, but that doesn't make it any less hot.  I just hope the A/C holds up ...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

And down we go again

Feeling very lost and lonely tonight.

Coming out of a 4-day migraine, so that might account for some of it.  Starting to reply to some local OKCupid messages, too, so that might account for some more of it.

I'm having long passages of time where I almost feel normal, then I get hit with a wave of sadness that I can't turn to Jay and share that feeling.  I see a picture of him or read his words and miss him so terribly.

I keep moving forward, trying to make a life for myself, moment by moment, day by day. I know that all this effort will pay off in the long run, but right now it is painful and slow and halting.  I hate like crazy to learn how to do something new in the public eye, and even when I'm not writing about what I'm doing, that's what all of this feels like - new and awkward and off-putting and weird.

And as I was reading an advance reader copy of Last Plane to Heaven last night, I had the awful realization that when the book comes out, no one will ever have a signed copy of it.  That made me profoundly sad.

So just lost and lonely tonight, which will pass, as these things always do.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

I fell into a burning ring of fire

Very rough week.

This was a week of anger. Anger at myself for letting myself get so wholly caught up in a relationship that was clearly not going to end well. Anger at Jay for leaving me. Anger at the universe for judging Jay's life of so little worth that it was cut so short. Anger at various people for breaking boundaries.

And I learned lessons about proper setting of boundaries, and the relief that can come from that. That was unexpected.

My energy has been low this week, but I got out and did a few things anyway. Lunch dates and other things. I stayed in and did a few things, too, like getting closer to being finished with organizing the kitchen.

I'm struggling with a profound sense of loneliness, and with being on the edge of some sort of satori about the meaning of forever.

But mostly I'm just angry and sad and uninspired.

Let's see what this week brings.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Up to no good

Had an appointment this past Thursday to finalize my application for TSA Pre status.  When they opened it up to everyone a while back, I signed up, but then couldn't make an appointment because I was caring for Jay.  The appointment was a breeze - they verified my information and fingerprinted me, then scanned my passport.  In 3 weeks, I'll know if I qualify.

While I can't do much, if any, travel this year due to budgetary and time constraints, it will be nice to be in the fast lane through security once I can travel again.

* * *

I spent the Fourth of July night over at former housemate Nancy's house, soothing the dog as the neighborhood exploded in fireworks, and watching season 1 of Castle.  It was a lovely evening.

* * *

Laying low again today. I have a beastly headache that has no apparent cause, so I've dosed myself up appropriately and will probably spend the day doing a little house cleaning and watching Harry Potter.  Or I may read some Philip K. Dick - I'm wrestling with a story idea that has a lot in common with some of his identity paranoia works, and I'm thinking a  little inspiration is in order.

Might be too heavy for today, though.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Having forgotten what time off feels like

Am busy enjoying one of the few true days off I've had in ages.

More blogging tomorrow.

Enjoy your Fourth!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A couple of thoughts about time

Yesterday was the day of missed appointments. My poor therapist missed our appointment completely, having missed moving my date in their book.  And a contractor coming to do some work was never alerted to be here, and so was over an hour late from what would have been their original appointment.

As I said to a friend, I don't even have to be dating to be stood up. Maybe I should view it as good practice.

* * *

I'm now fully in the realm of electronic calendars.  It's so nice to enter something on my computer and have it show up on my phone, and vice versa.  One place for everything, where even I can't forget it, assuming I remember to enter it in the first place.

But I have to confess that I miss turning the pages of an old-fashioned paper calendar, looking at the pictures for each month, writing in the little squares, x-ing out the days as they pass if I'm waiting for a particular day to arrive.

It's kind of how I feel about physical books versus e-books.  I miss the smell and feel of a physical book, but it's so much easier to carry a device that can have hundreds of books on it. With that device, my arms don't ache from carrying the load, and my hands don't hurt from holding the book.

And now we're living in the future.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Exercising my intellect

Another change I'm going to make here - my habit of using lyrics for post titles is going to have to go, except for the big emotionally charged posts. I'm just too lazy to go hunting for lyrics every time I want to say something.

* * *

I finished reading a fascinating book over the weekend: Control of Nature by John McPhee. In it, he writes 3 essays on how man attempts extraordinary feats to make nature fit with the way humans live their lives: controlling the flow of the Mississippi, controlling lava flow of volcanoes in Iceland, and controlling rockfall and mudslides in Los Angeles.

What I found most amazing in this book was the naive belief that of course we can control nature. Nothing is out of our reach.  The sheer arrogance of this belief is staggering to me.  How we can think that we can control things we don't have the faintest understanding of is beyond me.

And when nature reclaims its own, won't we be surprised?

Currently I'm reading Blue Highways: A Journey Into America by William Least Heat-Moon.  It's a my-life's-not-working travelogue that reminds me of Neil Peart's Ghost Rider.  Of course, Blue Highways predates Peart's book by quite a bit, but I read Peart's book first, which is why the comparison works that way in my head.

It'll be interesting to see where this book goes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

And I'll be there to shine in your Japan

I'm sick of my own noise about grief. This is not to say that I'm going to stop writing about it, but it would be nice to have other parts of my life, and to talk about them here.  So my goal is to post something here every day, and get a better grip on where grief actually lives in my life.

So to that end - I went out after work yesterday to visit the Portland Japanese Garden.  The day was a little too warm and a little too bright, but the garden was lovely and not too terribly filled with tourists.

I was actually looking for a specific Japanese maple, one that I'd had a framed photo of on my walls in Baltimore, without ever realizing it was from Portland. I'm not sure I found that particular tree, but there were some lovely specimens.  Follow the link at the bottom to see my shots of them.

Mt. Hood was in full splendor:

Of course, there were koi - and they always make me think of the character Grandfather Trout in Little, Big, a character both Jay & I loved:

And there was zen:

A few more shots at the Flickr set.  I didn't take many pictures because the lighting really was all wrong.