30 Days, Meltdown, Love and Not Pregnant

20 Feb

I haven’t written for a while as things have been so hectic and I needed some time to process. So, we’ll take it by chronological order.

Day 30 was around the corner and we would be going to the cemetery to see the tombstone, followed by eating Indian and watching Life of Brian as she had specifically requested. The weekend before, J, E and I decided to go up North and basically do nothing in an awesome wooden cabin for 24 hours. I was a nervous wreck, and figured the rest would do me good, but rather than getting excited about the road trip, I was having another where-is-this-going meltdown about D.

Three months since we’d started dating, and I had already told him I loved him, and he hadn’t said it back. While I told myself I should give it time, I was beginning to wonder if, every time he says “this was fun” after sex, he actually means that fun is all that this can be. And that made me draw back to the extent that when I slipped and fell in the shower a couple of weeks ago and actually thought I had broken my arm (which thankfully I didn’t) I didn’t want him to come over, I preferred to be home alone than to see him. Because when you’re down, you only really want to be around people who love you. Not people who just think you’re fun.

So, this mini road trip would be just what I needed. A break from everything, with two of my favorite people by my side, people with whom love is simply not a question. And the trip gave me the guts to have the “where is this going” chat with D, knowing that if the talk went horribly and I felt like shit after, I’d have my friends there to remind me of what was really important. Oh, and it happened to be valentine’s weekend too. Coincidence?

Thursday arrived, the night before the trip, and D came over after I had put my boy down. I put on a dress, and got some Kasteel Rouge and cheese, and basically made sure everything was pretty. He came in and asked what the occasion was and I just gave him a kiss and smiled. And then as we were sitting down to munch and drink I dropped the bomb on him and said we needed to talk. He smiled, and said he’d figured. I said, I needed to know if this was going anywhere. And he asked, going where? I said that he knew I didn’t want to get married again, and that I wasn’t even sure I ever wanted to live with someone again, but that I was looking for companionship, for love, for more that just “fun”.

He said: “It’s still too soon for me to know where this is going. I know that you’re incredible and beautiful, and I’m attracted to you, and I love you, and this is fun, and I want it to continue, and I love you. I don’t know where –”

“Shut up, you’re ruining it.” I interrupted him and we kissed. “I didn’t know you loved me.”

He said, “Of course I love you.” And I wasn’t sure why he thought it was so obvious if he hadn’t said it to me before, but I took it without judgment and allowed myself to feel happy, relived and comforted.

Then I was very, very happy for 72 hours, which included the post-I-love-you-sex, and the he-loves-me-text to my friends, and the amazing 24 hours in a wooden cabin, watching Magic Mikw and drinking hot wine and unwinding with my friends.

I felt like I could rest, and resting felt good. During the whole time up North I didn’t think about day 30 or the cemetery or anything sad for that matter. I remembered M as I do all the time, but not in a bad way, not in a sad way either, more like in a it-just-feels-good-to-think-about-her way. Then the weekend was over and it was time to get back to reality.

Sunday was day 29, and it dawned on me that I would have to go to the cemetery and see the tombstone, and I felt this horrible, cold heavy feeling in my gut. I had a shitty day at work and my day was only saved by hanging out with my boy at home, cooking and doing puzzles and not thinking about tomorrow.

And then it was tomorrow.

I went to work, but I was only there physically.

And then I was off work and I stopped at the mall to buy underwear, which I needed desperately, in hopes that doing something useful would make me feel better, and it did, even though just a very little bit.

And then I was there, at the entrance. I went in. I hugged M’s dad who was very practical about things in his trunk that belonged to M, that he wanted us friends to have a look at. We went to see the tombstone, which was beautiful and unique and I think she would have liked it. Words were said, none of which really represented what M was to me. Her family spoke. They said some religious stuff that I couldn’t connect to and it was pretty much unbearable to be there. I just wanted to leave. Then A spoke, and said something funny about imagining M lying in bed with her eyes closed, waiting for us to leave, assuming she’s gone, so she could finally rest. He imagined her then opening her eyes as the door closed, and rolling them, as if to say, I thought they’d never leave. Everybody laughed and my laughter turned into uncontrollable sobbing. Because it was the way I will always remember her, cynical and humorous.

The Indian food was delicious but didn’t fill the void, and I made a video of everyone singing “always look at the bright side of life” at the end of the movie. Then I went home, and I felt relief that it was over. On Tuesday, D came over, and we ate my famous curry and we drank some beer and had sex and it was good. And it’s been better since.

What I realized yesterday though, was that in all this turmoil, I hadn’t realized I was 9 days late with my period. So, I took a test. And I’m not pregnant. Which is very, very good news.

That was a recap of the last couple of weeks, eventful, yeah, difficult, yeah, but you know what? I think the bottom line of the whole think is how much meaning and love I have in my life. It hurts, obviously, and it also comforts and soothes me. It’s awesome and it’s shitty all at the same time and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A Post about Grief and Comfort

6 Feb

Nearly two years ago, M called me at work at to tell me she was going to have a “port” installed. Right after we found out M was sick, she kind of disappeared. I don’t remember if it was for a few days that felt like forever or for a week, maybe even longer. I remember calling her and texting her and getting no answer. I knew from J she was going to have the port installed, to make treatments easier and avoid being constantly stuck with needles, but I couldn’t get a hold of her, and though I realized she probably needed some time alone to process the news, I really wanted to talk to her.

That day was a Tuesday, I think. I was still working part time at the school back then. My boy was maybe seven months old, and was home with his babysitter. I had just gotten off work, when I saw her missed call and immediately called her back. It was 1:30 pm. “I was worried about you.” was the first thing I said. She answered matter-of-factly: “I’m having the port installed today. Can you come?” I answered, “Of course.” And hung up. I had an hour and a half to find someone who could be with my boy that afternoon. I literally called everyone I knew, and finally found an arrangement as I drove to the hospital.

She was scared to death, and her fear fed my fear. Sitting there in the waiting room, I realized what was about to happen, I realized that we were in it for a long haul. The nurse asked her something and M answered that she was going to need chemo for the rest of her life. The nurse said, “I’m sure that’s not true. You have to be optimistic. People have recovered, even in your situation.” I believed her. Even though she had no idea what M’s situation was.

Then she went in and was sedated, heavily, because the first dose they gave her didn’t put her down. Jesus, that seems all too familiar. I don’t think I’ve written here about the end. How she wanted to sleep, and the vast quantities of morphine she’d been given just wouldn’t do it.

By the time she got out a couple of other friends had gotten there. I don’t remember who, I was so out of it, and at the same time I was playing my role of “having it together” so vigorously that I couldn’t feel anything. Did she need something? Maybe some water? Maybe another funny story about my boy to pass the time? Smile, I told myself. Don’t look scared. She needs you to be strong.

By the time I got home I was exhausted. My sister had left everything she was doing, and taken a cab to my old apartment to be with my boy and BD had picked him up in the evening, so I was alone. I sat on the sofa and texted SG, whom I was seeing then. I said, “I know we said we’d meet tonight, but I’m really out of it. I’m sad and tired. Maybe you can just come over and hang out.” He said, “Get dressed, I’m picking you up in 20 minutes.” And I said, “No, you don’t understand. I want to stay in.” And he said, “No, you don’t understand, we’re going out.” I was too tired to argue. So I got dressed.

He took me to an eatery, run by an outstanding chef, whom M despised by the way, for being an arrogant prick, which is true but doesn’t make the food any less incredible. In this place, you can eat the most delicious things you could ever imagine stuffed into a sandwich and served with beer. The place was busy and colorful. The food was delicious. The music was oriental and loud. The beer was cold and satisfying. I think we even did a shot of Arak. I was sitting there with a man who cared enough about me to force me to come out and remember life. And when we came home we took our clothes off and literally did not stop fucking until I couldn’t remember my name. That night I realized that I didn’t always know what was good for me.

Sometimes, looking back at my relationship with SG, I tend to discredit what we had. I say things to myself like, he was my first after the breakup, I didn’t know any better, he was just a kid, he lived with his parents for christ’s sake, I knew from the start it wasn’t going anywhere. But none of that changes the fact that SG was perfect for me at the time that I met him.

It’s all about grief and comfort. I was grieving when I met SG. Grieving the loss of my husband, father of my son, the loss of my family as I had always imagined it would be. SG was a source of comfort. He loved me, almost instantly. And it wasn’t just saying words. He really went out of him way numerous times to please me, comfort me, to show me he cared. He took me to the opera, and cooked for me, and talked about books with me to the wee hours of the night, and he’d go down on me for twenty minutes straight, and tell me repetedly how beautiful and deserving I was, and he held me really tightly when I cried, so tightly that it felt like he was going to crush me. And he accepted it when I broke up with him twice to get back together with BD, he said he couldn’t stand between me and my family.

I’m not reminiscing here. It’s been long enough ago that I don’t miss him anymore. I’m just thankful that I got to have that comfort in my life at that time. And I’m thankful for all the amazing sources of comfort that I have in my life today.

My son, who makes me feel loved, like no one else.

My friends, who have been through a lot of shit with me, who I can always call to rant or just do shots with while hanging laundry (yes, that happened).

My co-workers, who appreciate me, who understand what I’m going through or at least make a sincere effort to.

D, for being a sorce of comfort to me these days. For going back to that eatery with me last night and listening to the story about M’s port and SG and for saying about seven times how amazing the cauliflower was, and not just to please me, because he really loved it. And silly as it may sound, it really made me happy that he appreciated it, because that place is special to me, not just because of the food.

And finally, me, for being kinder to myself than I have been in the past, for having a better notion of what I want and deserve, for being aware of mistakes that I’ve made, for forgiving myself, for knowing that I will never again be wandering dark streets at 5 am looking for my car after having had only semi-protected sex with a first date that I didn’t even like (yes, that happened too).

Me, for knowing I deserve better. Me, for thinking good things of myself, most of the time. Me, for doing it on my own. Me for knowing when to stop doing it on my own and ask for help. Me, for leaning on the people that I love and trust.

Grief has a place in my life, especially these days. But exactly three weeks ago, I left M’s bedside at the hospital for the last time, and I’d told her that we’d all be fine. I said she didn’t need to worry about us. And it was true. We have many sources of comfort in our lives, and they allow us to experience grief, to fall apart, and to get back up again, and pick up the pieces, and carry on.

18 Days Without You

2 Feb

I really wanted to talk to you since yesterday. First, because BD and I had our last meeting with the lawyer and I wanted to tell you about the agreement. That it’s fair. Lately I haven’t been doing very well financially. I’ve been constantly chasing payments for rent, daycare, spending more than I’m making. The settlement money will help me regain some balance financially. I know you were worried for me. 

Then, last night, after my boy was in bed, I watched Castle. I haven’t watched a show in bed since things got really crappy, the last time around, a couple of months, maybe three months ago. And I wanted to tell you that episode 13 of the 7th season, was really good. You’d have liked it. Castle starts working as a P.I. and Beckett and him are racing to try and crack a case. It’s silly and cute. I’m really glad you got me hooked on it, it’s such a feel good show. 

Oh, and listen to this, last week, a kid at my school drew a picture of Katniss Everdeen holding a bow and arrow in art class, and he wrote “The Hungry Games” under it. We had a two-hour long teacher’s meeting in the art room, and I was sitting right across from it, and couldn’t get over it. You would have cracked up. 

Every time something happens, I want to tell you. It’s the big things, like the man I’m seeing and how things are going with him, and how he’s made me realize that I do want a future with a man beside me, someone I can share my life with, and not just on my night off. It’s the little things, like how I made vegetable soup and added bay leaves and a couple of kumquats to give it a citrusy aroma. 

Lately I’d been seeing a lot of you. You’d been quiet. And I’d been talking a lot to fill the void. I’ve gotten used to telling you everything, even the stuff that doesn’t matter. I’ve gotten used to thinking up things I could tell you, even at times when we saw each other every day. And now you’re gone, not even three weeks, and already I’m bursting with stories to tell you. How I was listening to Living on a Payer Friday morning, remembering you, and my boy said: “Turn that off. I don’t like it.” And I said: “It’s staying on,” So assertively, that he let it go. 

I want to tell you how hard it is not to tell you stuff anymore, like how much it sucks that you’re not around. 

January 22nd Again

22 Jan

Despite the circumstances, I am noting this day: January 22nd. The day I chose to mark my rebirth. It was on this day, exactly two years ago, that I stopped grieving BD’s sudden departure. That I realized that BD’s leaving did not break up my family, that my son and I were an entire, complete unit, and that we didn’t need him to live with us in order to complete us.

M stood there beside me, cheering me on, coming over to cook comfort food and drink and talk, reminding me how much love I already had in my life, enough to fill up all the cracks that BD had left in my heart. Other friends were there too. I was blessed, and am blessed to have a close circle of friends who stand by me at times like this.

That was a loss. This is a loss. Is it strange or inappropriate to compare the two? I guess so. The loss of my family as I’d dreamed that it would be. The loss of a friendship that I always imagined would last a lifetime.

If she were here, I bet she would remember the date, even though probably I’d only mentioned it to her a couple of times. She’s celebrate it with me. She’d cheer me on. She’d tell me I’m strong (she always said that, and it wasn’t always true, but I accepted the vote of confidence.) She’d tell me that like before, I will eventually stop grieving. I will remember the good. I will be happy again.

But at this very moment it doesn’t feel like I will ever stop missing her, that I will ever stop grieving, that I will ever accept her loss.

Sleep well. Sweet Dreams. I love you.

17 Jan

I sat beside you, and looked at your eyes, almost entirely closed, and listened for a while to your heavy, steady breathing. I said, “It’s me.” And I thought I could feel you breathing more heavilly, and I imagined that you could hear me.

“I’ve been thinking about you. And not sad thoughts, happy thoughts. You are constantly in my mind. Everything reminds me of you. Things I eat and wonder if you would approve. Clinking glasses with friends and looking them straight in the eye, as you would. A song you like on the radio. A stupid thing someone says that deserves an eye-roll. You are present in my thougts, in my everyday life.

I wanted you to know that I’m OK. We’re all OK. You don’t have to worry about us. We’re taking good care of eachother. Even your father. Even your brother. They’ll be OK. They have people they love taking care of them. And J, she’s going to be OK too. E and I will look after her, I promise.

And I’m OK. I got the divorce agreement and it’s fair. I know you were worried for me.

I hope you’re sleeping well, and having sweet dreams, and remembering all the wonderful places you’ve visited, and all the delicous foods you’ve tasted, and all the people who love you, and always will.

It was a gift to have you in all of our lives.”

I paused and closed my eyes.

“And I’m going to read that book by Terry Prachett you recommended, Small Gods. E gave it to me. It’s about time I got to know Terry Prachett.”

I was silent for about ten minutes. And I imagined that your breathing became slower. And I was certain you couldn’t hear me any longer. I said, “Sleep well. Sweet dreams. I love you.”

And a couple of hours later I got the call.

And you were gone.

3 am Insecurity

2 Jan

I point out that he says ‘fun’ a lot. Like, that I’m fun. That the date was fun. That its was fun spending the night together.

He laughs and said, “because it is”.

And I say, “OK. I’m not going to push it.”

But then it’s dark, and we’re spooning, and it feels possible to say more.

“I’m asking because, a while ago, I asked you what you wanted out of life. And you said: a good relationship with my girls. To be happy. To have fun. And it made me think.”

“You have a good memory.”

“I remember because I was surprised that you didn’t say a relationship, or love.”

“Well…” Pause. “You know, my breakup is still recent. I feel like I just got out of a relationship, and it wasn’t a good one. I’m still celebrating being out. It’s way too soon for me to think about a new relationship.” Pause. “I mean, this is a relationship, you and I. That came out wrong. I mean getting married again, or living together. I’m not sure I want that.”

“I’m not sure I want that either.” I say. “But when I stroll in the park with my boy, and I see a couple having a picnic or playing with their children, it makes me wish to have someone to share family moments with. It makes me wish that someday, my family will not just be my boy and I.”

“I get that. I think some day I will want that too.”

“There are different models today. It’s hard for me to think about living with someone again. Maybe it’ll happen some day, maybe not. Maybe having pancakes for breakfast on a Saturday morning, and drinking coffee as the kids play, is the type of family I’ll have in the future.”

“That sounds nice, actually. That sounds really nice.”

Quiet. I close my eyes and begin drifting away.

“Come here.” He kisses me, running his hand through my hair. “This is really good.”

“I think so too.”

Quiet.

“Am I freaking you out with this talk?”

“No.”

Quiet.

“I just got out of a very painful breakup. There are scars, you know? I need to let them heal before I can think about letting someone new so deeply into my life.”

“I get that. I talk about things sometimes, because I have a vision of the things that I want. But I will be very, very careful before my son meets anyone I’m seeing. It’s not something I will take lightly or want to do any time soon.”

“Of course.”

“But listen, regardless of marriage, or living together, or saturday morning pancakes, or whatever… I am developing feelings for you. That’s just the way it is with me. It’s how I work.”

Quiet.

“Now hold me, I’m feeling exposed and vulnerable.” We laugh. He holds me.

“This really is good, zayka.” He says, and kisses me. “You don’t have to worry or be nervous about it. It’s good.”

“You were talking before about scars. You have yours. Well, I have mine.”

“What are yours?”

“To be into someone, and not know that all along he’s not into me. To be blissfully ignorant. That’s my scar.”

Now he is holdning my shoulders, and looking straight into my eyes. “Listen, I think you’re amazing. I’m so happy with you. I like your personality. I like talking to you. I’m attracted to you. I want to get to know you more. I want to spend time with you.”

“Thank you.” I say. It feels like all I can ask for.

“Now you hold me. I’m feeling exposed and vulnerable.” We laugh, holding one another in the darkness. And for a moment everything seems to be in its right place.

Neither Here Nor There

1 Jan

It was Sunday that I said goodbye to her. Not really goodbye, only almost, because she is still here, but will have no visitors. I miss her so badly. I want to grieve her loss. But she is not really fully gone. Sleepy, under the influence of vast quantities of morphine (vast enough, I keep hoping), she’s neither here nor there, and so are the people who love her. If she were gone, there’d be a funeral, I’d be skipping work to sit at home and cry, people would ask me “how’s your friend” and I’d whisper she’s gone and break down. It would feel OK to break down. It would feel a duty to break down. It would feel respectful to break down. 

It does not feel OK. It does not feel a duty. It does not feel respectful. It feels like weakness. It feels like an inconvenience to everyone who’s counting on me to keep a stiff upper lip. 

December 31st. Class field trip to the dessert. Seventy rowdy children screaming and shouting with joy. I put on my happiest face. I made it thought the day heroically. Got back in the evening and picked my Boy up from the babysitter’s. Supermarket (because milk and eggs still need to be bought). Shower (because, you know). Bed time stories, back patting. I sat in my dirty kitchen eating pasta and thought about 2014. Jesus Christ, what a year.

Here’s a recap: I don’t need no man. Maybe I do. Getting back together with BD. Breaking up with BD. Getting used to M’s cancer and its routines. Deciding to move. Meeting A  and chatting for two weeks. Moving. Sleeping with A on first date. Dating. Boyfriend. I love you? Potty-training. Talking! New Day care. Becoming beighbors with one of my closest friends. End of the school year, report cards & play. Cancer getting worse. Three magical days in Budapest. Breaking up with A. War. Sirens, shelters, hooking up with BD. Trying to get back together. Surgery. Montessori training. Writing Papers. Trying to break up with BD. Promotion. More Sirens. Trying to break up with BD. War over. New school year. Excitement. Exhaustion. Breaking up with BD. Liberation. Wanting to date. Cancer getting worse. Meeting a guy. Magical evening playing music at the park. Rushing too quickly to like him. Getting disappointed. Cancer getting worse. Attempting to date. Cancer getting way, way worse. Lonely. Depressed. Hitting rock bottom. Morning after pill. Wanting to never date again. Cancer steadily getting worse. Talking to boys online and scaring them off by telling them my friend is dying. Meeting a man who doesn’t scare easy. First date. Second date. First kiss. Fuck you cancer. Third date. Fourth date. Sex. Fifth date. Boyfriend. Telling M all about him. This can’t be the end of you. I love you. Freaking out. Pulling myself together. I love him. Freaking out. Pulling myself together. Hospice. Fuck-shit-stack. Parent teacher conferences. I can’t, I can’t, I must, I will. Seeing M every day. Saying goodbye. Saying goodbye again. This time goodbye for real. Falling apart. Pulling myself together. No more visits. Missing M like crazy. Allowing D to comfort me. Knowing she’s still with us. Falling apart. Not able to pull myself together.

Limbo is a bad place for me to be. It’s a bad place for anyone, but me especially. I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.      

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