Tag Archives: comfort

A Beautiful Cup of Sun and a Moment of OK

7 Mar

Some things I wanted to tell you, M:

Well, first, D told me he loved me, and since then things have been pretty sweet with us. We haven’t said it again, but we’ve been much closer, acting more like a couple, having fun and sex, and holding each other, and saying stuff like I’m crazy about you and basically enjoying one another. We have these inside jokes going on now, that I know you’d appreciate. And he’s totally up for watching cheesy late 80’s – early 90’s romantic comedies with me and judging everyone but secretly enjoying them. We had a ball with Mystic Pizza and we watched Groundhog’s Day last week, which I’m sure you’d approve of. In the middle of the movie he actually said, “They don’t make movies like this anymore”.

Other than that, I wanted to tell you that we’re going to Santorini in the spring! J, E, G and me. We’ve already bought tickets and everything. End of April. And it’s going to be amazing. My birthday comes up before that, and this year I’ve decided to throw a party, with drinks, music and dancing.  Remember that year, when you first moved to the city, you got all your friends together at a small bar downtown and got really shitfaced? You repeated that tradition in the years to come but that first time was so much fun.

This morning it was hot, way hotter than it should be this time of year and I wore a new skirt I got at that boutique you like, the one I can never go into without spending a fortune because everything is so beautiful. It’s green with white polka dots and little brown-goldish feathers. I wore it with black tights and a black tank top and it looked awesome. I went into town to meet J for coffee at a place that opened up rather recently, when you weren’t drinking much coffee anymore. I love that place. You enter it and are immediately overwhelmed with a craving for the warmth and comfort of a morning’s first cup, and it makes no difference if it’s actually your third.

I sat there with J and we chatted. She told me about a new guy she started to chat with online. As I looked at her I saw a giddiness that I hadn’t seen in a very long time and I asked myself if it’s been that long since we’ve been happy that we might not recognize it when we felt it again. But I totally recognized it. A spark of beautiful around-the-cornerness, anticipation of good things that may be coming. Obviously, shitty things will always be coming too. But I think we know now to look for the good, we’ve learned that we need to embrace it – NOW – because who knows what will happen tomorrow.

As I sat there in the sun, with J, drinking coffee, munching on an oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookie, I felt it. The sun, the warmth, the air standing still, my shoulders and feet bare in my tank top and flip-flops, the ice cream parlor nearby, the people riding their bikes, J’s smile, it felt like it was OK somehow. My first instinct was to jump up and say that it isn’t, defending your memory means I need to grieve you, still and forever.

But no. Instead here I am, telling you about the things that are good, the stuff that works out. I promised you we’d be alright, and I wanted you to know that we sat in the sun and smiled and drank coffee today, talking about boys, planning a party and a trip to Santorini.

It’s been 49 days without you. I miss you so much. Horribly, terribly, devastatingly, enormously, outrageously. I will always miss you. It surprises me that despite that, I am able to allow a glimpse of lightheartedness in, through my exposed toes, in desperate need of a pedicure, through my bare shoulders, soaking up the sun. It wasn’t escapism this morning with J, it was simply good.

Advertisements

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.

The C Word: Compassion, not Cunt.

26 Dec

At 16:55 on Wednesday I arrived at daycare, just in time to pick up my boy. But he wasn’t there. And that’s because my mother had gotten confused, picked him up and took him to his dad’s, which she was supposed to do on Thursday. BD rose to the occasion, thankfully, left work and took our son to his apartment. So I had a spontanious free night, and I spent it working, doing laundry, cooking, learning new Russian phrases, and inviting D to spend the night with me, when he got off work at midnight.

But a couple of hours into my sudden freedom, I became extremely gloomy. It was nothing specific, it was the whole of it, this thing called life, which sometimes presents a bit more of a challenge than I feel I can handle. I stared into nothing for about half an hour. There was something sharp pinching me in my gut, hurting me physically, whispering all sorts of forgotten phrases into my ear: you’ll never get through this; you’re not strong enough; you’re not good enough; you don’t deserve any better; you’ve made too many mistakes which cannot be corrected and finally, the untilmate you’ll die an old spinster (and you’re allergic to cats too, you’ll make a horrible cat lady).

Snap out of it! I imagined myself slapping me accross the face.

And then something wonderful happened, something that made me realize how much I’d evolved in the last year. I felt compassion towards myself, and for once, I was able to be kind to myself. It is, objectively, a hard time for me, I thought. And I am entitled to my ups and downs. I’ve been through bad times, and I always get through. I’m stronger than I give myself credit for, but even the strongest have moments of weekness.

The first thing I did, was text my principle and tell him I wasn’t feeling well and needed to take the morning off the following day. I never miss work if I can help it. I’m the kind of teacher who comes to school with a stomach flu and infects everyone because she’s too much of a workaholic and a control freak to stay at home and let a sub teach her class. But this was neccessary. I took a long hot shower, wore comfy pajamas and made myself tea. And already, my mood had begun to improve.

Then I texted D: Hey, I know we’d said you’d come over tonight. But I just wanted to give you a heads up that I’ve been walking around with a dark cloud hovering over my head all day. I’d love to see you, but don’t bet on me being too much fun tonight. He texted back immediately: Of course I’m coming. You don’t have to be or do anything. I’ll just come give you a hug, and if you want, I’ll stay. Then he added: You should go to sleep, I’ll wake you when I get there.

And that’s what I did. I fell asleep at once. And when I woke up he was knocking on the door. He came in and hugged me. We stood there for a long time, holding each other. Then he stripped down to his T and boxers and pulled me into bed. There was no sex, just hugging and chatting, and kissing for a long time, after which we both fell asleep.

The extent to which I felt comforted, got me thinking about compassion. It’s easy for me to feel compassion towards my son. Everything is always forgiven and forgotten. He will forever be loved and contained. The other day though, my mother began crying in the middle of a conversation we were having and I found myself telling her off: “You can’t cry now. This is MY thing. You have no right to cry about this. You’re supposed to strong for me.” (Not me at my most compassionate, clearly.) I don’t know why I couldn’t show my mother the same compassion that I show my son every day, even when he is throwing cerial at me because it’s not the right kind, or the right bowl or the right spoon. I should have been kinder to my mom.

D may not say I love you, but he is able to show compassion towards me, to be comforting and to not expect anything of me when I’ve got nothing to give. It’s not the L word, but it has weight.

More remarkably, I’ve learned this week that I have he ability to be compassionate towards myself. To put judgment asside and be kind to myself at times like this, when kindness is all that is really neccessary.