Visits of Comfort

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Written Nov 1:
It’s been a week now since I made the big move up to Ohio, to live near Mike. I’ve had a roller coaster of emotions going on. At this point I’m just feeling like it’s a miracle I’ve made it through one whole week. While I don’t have any reservations about my decision to move here, still I’m having anxiety and headaches pretty much daily. A lot of change always does this to me. This is the farthest by far that I have lived away from home, and the homesickness has already kicked in too. Feeling vulnerable doesn’t help things. Having grief wrapped up into it all doesn’t help things. Needing to find work still doesn’t help things. It hasn’t taken long for all of this to constrict around me and start creating anxiety. I’ve caught myself spiraling into my own thoughts and fears about all this newness. The irrational sort of stuff that doesn’t to any good to focus on. And for a time, this strong, resilient person that I am is worn down and overwhelmed too much to be so. I hate being in this state of overwhelm…

It’s not unlike grief itself. It makes you vulnerable. It takes your energy away and leaves you depleted, less able to function like you normally do. It creates limitations. It creates irrational stories in your mind. It gets your mind running rampant on you. In this sense, how similar my grief and the change of moving have felt.

I’ve wanted to be able to just enjoy this move, to open my heart to it and just let it all happen. To meet it all fearlessly and in a positive light. It’s clear though, it’s going to be a battle for me to relax and be able to trust. It is just how I am now after so much loss and so much painful change has happened in my life.

For the last few days at least, I have had a small break in the anxiety of it all. My best friend came up from Texas for a first visit Friday. It’s been so comforting to have her here, and so much fun. Halloween has been our holiday since Drew died, and so the plan was to celebrate it up here in a new way. She, Mike and I went out Friday night to the bar for a costume party – all dressed as pirates. We danced and enjoyed the night, and for a little while, I didn’t feel the anxiety or the fear or any of it. Yesterday, Mike chauffeured us around the area. He took us to a bunch of the best nature areas and parks. We saw old barns and waterfalls and gorges and lakes. With the fall leaves in full effect, it was nothing short of breathtaking. Getting to see it all for the first time with my best friend made it even more special. And watching Mike and her together, talking and laughing and getting along so well gave me such joy. Especially being that she has been my closest friend through all the years dating Drew and through his death and these years or surviving after. And now she not only approves of Mike, but she has gained a wonderful new friend in him too. For this new person in my world and my best friend to get along so flawlessly feels like the most comforting and beautiful full-circle kind of thing.

In an eerie way, these past few days, it has started to feel like things are exactly how they should be – despite how painfully we arrived at this point. Having her here and getting to see new sights with her has helped to switch my panic mode off some, and help me see this new adventure as just that – an adventure. A new and exciting journey that she and I will be going on together, even if from very far apart much of the time. It’s beginning to sink in, that things will be exciting, and new, and beautiful. Grief will still be here. But There will be new landscapes to explore… a whole new winter world soon unlike anything I have ever experienced in Texas. Sometimes, all you need is a good friend to remind you to shake off your fears and find the positive again.

Journal: When grief comes with you to run errands…

Today has been hard, my first day back in Dallas for the second try. I’ve been staying with Andrew’s family for the past month down in South/Central Texas. It’s been a rough day, but some good and some bad. Which is alright for a first day back in the city he and I called home together. Better than the last time I tried to come back here – which was so overwhelming I made it only 4 days before taking off back down to his folks’ place again.

Driving everywhere in Dallas brings up memories and sadness about all the things we will never do again. Places we used to eat, roads we drove down, I still cannot go to the movie theatre up the road where we always went. I passed the go-kart place this morning where we spent his last birthday. Somehow that one didn’t get me upset, I suppose because I remember how incredibly happy he was that day. I’d bought 2 unlimited passes and we spent the whole day being big kids together; Go-karting, drag racing, air hockey, video games, and drunk put-put golf (which is MUCH more fun than regular put-put). He must have thanked me 2 dozen times over the next few days and I remember he said it was one of the best birthday’s he’d ever had. That still makes me smile even now.


Andrew and I about to race some go-karts (I kicked his butt).

I had lunch this afternoon with one of my best friends, which was really nice. I got to see the art gallery that she works in and was totally inspired. I dream of one day owning my own small gallery or art studio. My heart sings whenever I enter into a space like that. We went to Panera after the gallery tour. Amazingly, I ate everything on my plate. That hasn’t happened in weeks. I was pretty astonished when I looked down and noticed an empty plate. Go me!

After that, i got myself to the doctor to get them to look at my wrist… I’ve been dealing with tendinitis for months now and its flared up pretty bad in the past week. Like just holding a dinner plate hurts. Not good. When they asked why I was there I had to stop myself from saying it was because my fiancé died. No, just there for my wrist. There’s nothing they can do for the other problem. Ugh. I ended up having to say it anyway as I explained to the Dr. it can’t be work related because I haven’t been at work for over a month. I didn’t want to tell her – she was a cold sort of person, and I knew I wouldn’t get much empathy out of her. I was right, but even though she wasn’t all warm-hearted about it, it still felt good to put it out there.

I hate that I never know when I’m going to start to plummet. Halfway through lunch with my friend, I just started going downhill. I could feel myself getting lost in the grief. I’m sure she could sense it too. I don’t know what to say in those moments because literally 5 minutes before I was laughing and having a good time, and nothing triggered it, it just is there. So I just sort of try to go on until I can get in the car and put on some music and cry it out. I hate that.

When it comes, I feel like the pain is all over my face. Today it decided to come in the middle of running errands. Awesome. I know people can sense it, and many times my eyes are puffy from a cry on the drive to wherever I am and I know they can see it. Awkward. I had to sit at the Wal-Mart this afternoon for 30 minutes waiting for my prescription. “30 Minutes? Are you kidding me? Do you have any IDEA how long that is when you’re on the verge of a breakdown in a public space?” So there I sat, checking emails and fiddling on my phone for what felt like 10 minutes. I looked at the time – 2 minutes had gone by. 2 minutes? Are you kidding me? *sigh* Then I posted a pity message on Facebook about my hatred of waiting alone at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has to be the loneliest place to be alone I think. It’s already depressing and drab, and no one is happy to be there… no one looks at each other or engages you. When you are alone there, its even worse. When you are alone there and have no one to go home to and are just buying meds and milk for yourself, its especially bad. Talk about a recipe for disastrous breakdowns.

My best friend Micaela called me not 10 seconds after my FB pity post. Thank. God. I know she probably didn’t even see the post either – she just happened to call when I needed her. Besties are good like that. I cried with her on the phone, sitting right there waiting for my prescription while people browsed the over-the-counter meds 5 feet in front of me. And because she was on the other end of the line, I didn’t care who heard me crying or what they heard me crying about. I’ve felt awkward all day dammit, It’s time I quit caring and let everyone else around me feel awkward instead. It’s an oddly good feeling by the way, to know that you are probably making everyone around you uncomfortable because you are authentically having a strong emotion in public – something we are taught never to do. It’s somehow satisfying and terribly liberating to know you’ve just said “the hell with it all” and given yourself the moment you need, no matter where you are or what’s going on.

After liberating the grief in the middle of the store like it wanted, I happily picked up my perscription – not even caring what the lady behind the counter thought of my still-red and teary eyes. I picked up a Starbucks frap on my way home, I have a cat curled up sleeping on either side of me and am watching Hot in Cleveland – my go-to show because there are no married people or perfect families or weddings, just four single girls with constantly rotating through bad relationships and lots of good laughs. A glass of pinot, I think, is in my near future too. How did we survive horrible life ocurrences before wine? Just sayin’…