Sunday, May 31, 2015

A year on

Tomorrow will mark a year since Jay died. That makes today the last day of my "official" year of mourning.

Of course, I know that doesn't mean that I'm done with grief. This month has shown me just how much grief work I have left to do. May has been a tough month, with my subconscious dragging me back through all the time in Maryland last year for the clinical trial and our time here in Portland after we came back from the trial. My dreams have been dark and weird, and I haven't had a good night's sleep in at least a month.

So a tough month to bookend a tough year, grief-wise.

I've spent this week reading my posts on his blog, finally having the time and emotional energy to read all the wonderful comments people left at the time.

I don't know where I go from here, except that every day I'm living my life and enjoying it. The act of moving out of Jay's house has freed something inside of me that was still locked down.

I will never stop missing Jay, and as I wander through his house packing my things, I constantly apologize to him for leaving him so completely.  I had a rare crying jag the other day when I discovered a necklace I'd forgotten I'd given him on my first visit to Portland, that he had tied to the side of his night table so it was near him always.

Tomorrow, the actual anniversary of Jay's death, I'll be heading to the coast for some time with a friend at Jay's favorite beach. It seems appropriate. Write the last chapter of that book, and move on.

Monday, May 25, 2015


We're rapidly coming up on the year anniversary of Jay's death, and I'm in the process of making one major change.

I'm moving out of Jay's house.

In retrospect, I've seen this change coming for a while. I'm been increasingly unhappy in that house, where he died and where I haven't quite been able to make a life for myself.  That space has just become the place I hide when I'm too tired to do anything else.

That's not healthy.

And I've never quite gotten over seeing Jay dead in what is now my living room.  That memory is not as fresh and painful as it was in the early days after his death, but even now it is difficult for me to walk through the door and not remember seeing him there dead.

I've wanted to move out almost since the day he died, but any number of things have kept me from fulfilling that desire. Now that my lease is almost up and I have a good place to land, I'm on my way out the door.

Friday, May 1, 2015

To hike through dangerous weather you need twilight eyes

So today it’s been eleven months since Jay died.

On the one hand, I’m far enough past the worst of the first of the grief that my life is mostly my own again. I’m deeply in love with a wonderful man. I’m taking a little time off before looking for a new job. I’m spending this weekend getting my addiction recovery program back on track, being re-inspired and renewed.

On the other hand, not a single day goes by that I don’t miss Jay. The grief isn’t sharp and new anymore, but it’s still present in my body, like a dull ache that simply will not go away. Every night in my dreams, I’m reliving the days of the clinical trial and the days after we brought him home. Needless to say, this means I’m not sleeping well.

The most concrete expression of this endless grief is that I’m consciously going through the house and removing the remaining bits of Jay’s life. 

Sometimes this activity ends in amusement and bemusement. I was cleaning out the bathroom a couple of weeks ago, and discovered that when I did the bathroom clean-out right after he died, I was apparently completely convinced that he was coming back. I saved his toothbrush and his shaver, along with a bunch of other things he would need when he came back.  That was something of a shock, to realize just how disconnected my thinking was from reality, in that time of strong grief.

Sometimes this activity ends in a room that simply works better than it did. I moved Jay’s work desk out of the boundary between the living and dining rooms and into what is now my creative space.  That took the last ghost of Jay out of those rooms and made them into much more livable space.

It’s a relief to be living in a physical expression of my emotionally moving on. The more it becomes my house, the less it hurts to live there. It’s still not a good place for me to be - nothing will change the fact that he died in my living room - but every change makes it more livable.

Now to get through the year anniversary. I have no expectations of that day - it may be exquisitely painful, or anticlimactic. Won’t know til we get there, like all the rest of life.