So one of the myriad things I miss about living my life with Chris is watching tv with him.  During the week, we watched tv more than we probably should have, but it was what we did.  We came home and raced to the couch to cuddle and relax.  Our last night together this is what we did. 

We loved discovering new shows and watching them together.  Making jokes about them and silly traditions around them.  It makes me so sad to watch our shows alone.  It makes me sad to start watching a new show and not share it with him. 

It seems so silly to me intellectually, but my heart hurts over it. It highlights the loneliness that is now my constant companion.

I can’t talk to him about how Lily is finally pregnant on How I Met your Mother or talk about the crazy season finale of Castle.  Some shows, like West Wing, I will never be able to watch again without Chris. 

I guess the good thing to take from this would be to not watch so much tv.  That hasn’t taken yet, I can’t handle the quiet of the house, so I leave the tv on most of the time. 

I would give anything to be laying on the couch with him right now.  Watching Franklin and Bash for the first time.  Spooning.  Talking about whether we like it or not.  How Mark Paul Gossler will always be Zach Morris.  I would give anything to have that back.

As the days continue and I get closer to the anniversary of Chris’s death, I can feel my anxiety going through the roof. It is a little over a month away and I am not sure I can handle it.  I don’t want it to come.

Everything about spring.  The weather, the birds chirping, the smell, the sunshine, reminds of the time Chris died and it makes me feel sick.   I find I have to do my breathing exercises more often.  I find the days and hours harder to get through.  I find my nights are more fitful.  

I am reliving the day he died and the days afterwards more and more.  They are harder now, as I know what it all means.  At the time I was in too much shock to understand. But now I do.  I know what all of the moments of the day mean, and now the pain is at its worst. 

Everytime the phone rings, my heart races taking me back to when I got the phone call from the hospital, waiting for something else awful to happen.

I don’t think I will make it through the next month.  The dread and pain are so great. It often feels like too much.  How much pain can one person suffer?

How will I spend that day?  How could I find a way to possibly spend that day.  I want to do something that marks the day that stands up says this day sucks, but we love Chris.  I kind of want to do a memorial service, something religious and that would give me the chance to eulogize Chris, which I haven’t been able to since then.  But I don’t feel like I have any energy or sanity really to plan anything.

Those of you who have survived the first year anniversary, do you have any advice?

My sexy husband coaching basketball

Hi Baby,

I miss you so much.  March Madness has started and it is painful without you.  I am lonely.  I have hung out with friends, but I am lonely for you.

This was always something we looked forward to. I remember our first tournament together, when we were just friends.  We were watching

games in a bar and you could cut the sexual tension with  knife.  I wanted to be with you so badly. I loved you then.  You were handsome and smart, caring, selfless. 

I wish I could go back to that time.  I would give anything to have our relationship ahead of us instead of behind us. I wish I had pictures from that time, but I don’t.   I would relive our 5 years together over and over again until it was time for me to die too.

I love you so much baby.  You made me so happy. I knew  you did, but now that I have lost it, I can feel it so greatly.

I miss your enthusiasm for the games, filling out brackets, talking about the games, and making fun of me for yelling at refs.  Who is going to do that now?  And then take me to bed and hold me afterwards. 

I miss my best friend.  My partner in crime.

I love you. I love you. I love you.  A thousand times I love you.

When will be reunited so this wound can be healed?  Not soon enough.

Your wife,

M

Relationships of Choice

March 13, 2011

I dreamt about Chris last night. I don’t dream about him often.  I think I have dreamed about him 10 time since he has died. 

Chris was alive in my dream. They had managed to save him/bring him back.  I was standing next to him behind a car, we were getting something from the trunk and I asked him to promise me to go to the doctor.  It seemed like in the dream he had survived for a couple of months and he hadn’t gone back to the doctor to get checked out. 

He was resistant, very resistant to going to the doctor (way more so than he ever was in real life).  I had to beg and plead to try to convince him that he needed to go to the doctor, that I needed him to live so he needed to be well.  He got angry at me.  He didn’t want to talk about it or deal with it.  I had to get his doctor to surprise us in the parking lot for him to listen.  That is all I remember.  No comforting affection or words of love.

This theme of Chris being saved and me trying to convince him that he is still sick is what most of my Chris dreams have been about.  I guess it is my subconscious trying to fulfill its need to tell Chris he was sick, since I didn’t get to while he was alive.  Assuage my guilt for being his wife and not knowing he was dying and trying to save him.  I have all of the words or warning and love and support and concern that I never got to express, so now I have to through dreams.

He never wants to hear it.  He doesn’t care, he gets angry at me.  He doesn’t want to be around me in these dreams. It’s like he doesn’t care if he dies again.  Actually I have had a few dreams where he does in fact die over and over again. 

I don’t get the feeling he loves me, misses me, or wants to be with me.  So where does that leave us? A marriage is a relationship of choice.  Our relationship lasted for 4 years because we chose each other every day to be the most important person in each others lives.  So now what?  We can’t choose each other anymore.  Does he still love me?  Am I still important to him?  Does our relationship still exist?  Or is it just one-sided on my part? 

If I were his sister or his mother or his daughter, or even the mother of his children, I am not sure I would feel this way.  Our relationship would be permanent, not based on choice.  I would always be his sister/mother/daughter or our kids would always be his kids. 

Partly because my dreams are generally so negative and Chris seems angry at me and he doesn’t want to be around me, I am not as confident of his love.  I don’t feel like I am the most important person in his life (existence?) and it hurts.  On top of missing him, feeling like he has moved on and abandoned me makes it worse.

I hate these dreams, the feelings of my despair, desperation, love  and his of annoyance, anger, and emotional withdrawal linger. 

Where does all of this leave me?  Sitting by myself on a Sunday morning, writing this post.

Ugly emotions

January 25, 2011

There are a lot of ugly emotions associated with grief and I have been overwhelmed by them this past week.  It is draining to try to handle them the way I want to: acknowledge them, experience them, and try not to be consumed by them.  

Another of my friends got engaged this weekend.  I hate that it upsets me so much but it does.  There are so many complex emotions surrounding these types of situations that it is overwhelming.  It causes me pain, because I remember that happy time in my life and know I will never be there again.  Even if I do fall in love again and remarry (the main word being IF) it will never be as exciting and wonderful as the first time around.  I am too different.  I will never be that carefree.  It reminds me of all the plans and hopes I had with Chris which have now died with him.  Honestly it makes me want to give up.  It takes me back to those very dark first months, where there wasn’t a moment I didn’t beg God and Chris to take me away.  I don’t feel that way all the time now, only when I am at my worst.

This pain makes it hard for me to be happy for my friends.  I guess it isn’t that I am not happy for them, but its hard to be excited. It’s hard to listen to it, to pretend I don’t want to pull all my hair out. It’s hard to watch as others’ lives go on and live a life like what I wanted with Chris, while I struggle to find a reason to live.  Its hard and I hate it.  I hate that I have to work to rejoice with my friends in their happiness.  They did it for me when Chris and I were engaged and then married, even when their lives were not ideal.  It is a struggle and it is exhausting.  It is only going to continue given the phase of life I am in.  Late 20s and early 30s is all about engagements, marriage, buying houses, and having babies. I was a part of that, now I am not, nor will I be. 

But I try my best.

When I feel that deep pain from the reminders of a life I will never have now, I get angry.  Very angry.  And I find that I am mostly angry at Chris.  Whether it is fair or irrational or whatever, it is overwhelming. It is unfair that I have to do this without him. It is unfair that I will never have one wedding anniversary with him, much less the 50 we hoped for. I am fucking angry at him for leaving me .  If he showed up on our doorstep, I would punch him and throw things at him for putting me through this.  He was supposed to be with me until I was old and gray, not leave me when I was 28 to try to care about my life again, to try to live without him. 

I was perfectly fine before him.  Independent and happy, traveling and hanging out with friends and family.  Then he came along and he showed me a new kind of happy, a kind of joy that can not be felt without him. He persuaded me to give up my independent ways and I adjusted to a partnership and planned a future. I could never go back and he left me before we really got to enjoy it. 

Sometimes I think I would have been better off never meeting him.  The pain and devastation of his death far outweighs the joy of our time together right now.  Maybe if we had been married for longer and had kids, I wouldn’t feel this way. But I sometimes wish he would have left me alone.  I know it’s not fair to him, as he doesn’t deserve it and didn’t “do it on purpose” , but the emotions are there and I have to feel them.

I know many widows don’t like to say this, in many circles being this angry at the deceased is sacrilege.  I am not proud of it, he was an amazing man and loved me more than I deserved, but I am angry.  And he is the one bearing the brunt.  But he can, because he is in Heaven now and he loves me.

Another part of the struggle.  This is where I should do my metta meditation exercises right? 

I am a work in progress.

Stranger

January 8, 2011

I look at the people in these pictures and I dont’ know who they are. 

On a hay-ride

Faint echos of laughter, kisses, jokes float in my mind, but it is like watching a movie.

Abstractly I remember being with Chris and the things we did but I don’t feel like I remember his presence.  What it was like to have him around.  His laugh.  What he would say about things.  Do I even know him anymore?  My brain seems to have pushed him out in order to survive.

In some ways I am grateful.  I have realized that my brain knows what it is doing and how much I can handle.  Clearly I can’t handle much.  Those few moments where I fully realize and feel the loss of Chris (my Chris, the man who would wag his tail like a dog when I got home from work) is dead, gone forever and it makes me sick. The pain is so great I nearly vomit. 

It also makes me heartbroken to think that our love, our marriage, the beautiful intimacy of two people who love each other above all else, can be wiped away so easily.  It makes me scream at the injustice. 

But maybe it is more than just my brain, maybe its me.  I have changed so much, been through so much, felt so much on my own and not with Chris.  This version of me isn’t settled and happy and loved, she hasn’t known the amazing feeling of coming home to your soul mate.  She has grown, gained strengthened, grieved deeply, and become her own soul mate. 

How can my old life with Chris seem real after all of this?  It doesn’t.  Chris is not my flesh and blood

I love you

husband, he is a memory.  Maybe that is what it is, it is merely my adjustment from Chris as a person to a memory.

I guess this is where mindfulness would come in handy.  Just let it be what it will be. 

****

Baby,

I love you.  Our life was torn apart and we have gone our separate ways.  Even though you feel distant and unreal, I chose to love you everyday, as I promised on the day we got married.

I love you,

M

Baby,

It is Christmas and it is cold and dark.  I spent last night with your family and it made me so sad to know that they don’t get to have you for Christmas anymore, they don’t get to have me either, as I am not really me anymore. 

 We sat around the table that I remember from when we were first dating and I was so nervous and wanted them to like me. I kept expecting you to walk around the corner and sit next to me, kiss me and joke around with the rest of us.

I went to your grave today.  I don’t go as often as I should, or maybe I go to often.  I hate that you are there alone in the cold.  Every time I go I hate to leave you.  I know in spirit you aren’t there, but I am desperate to be close to you, and the body I loved the hands, eyes, hair, arms, back, feet are there.

I wander through my day seeking you out, but can’t find you.  I email you, I write you, I write here.  I talk to you, I listen to the old message I have that use to make me laugh but now makes me cry.  I walk around the house from room to room, touch your things, putting on your clothes, looking at pictures, avoiding pictures.  My urge to be with you is limitless, instinctual, and can never be satisfied.

How am I going to get through tomorrow and the day after.  My first Christmas without you.  We only got 4 Christmases together, two while dating, one engaged, one married. What is worse is all the Christmases we will never have.  We will never get to watch our little ones have their first Christmas and stay up late to build gifts for them.  It weighs so heavily on my heart; I don’t have the words to express it.

I wish I had something positive and uplifting to say, some wonderful Christmas message. But I don’t.  All I have is my undying love for you, my handsome husband, my sexy beast. 

I love you forever,

M

Chris napping with our first tree in 2008

Pride

December 15, 2010

At our rehearsal dinner October 2009

For any of you widows out there, you probably know how many thoughts run through your head as you grieve.  The continual change of mood, thought and emotion can be overwhelming, especially as many of these emotions can be very complicated.  I have tried to find ways to look at Chris’s life with positive thoughts.  Not long after Chris’s birthday, as I was in a moment of fully understanding and acknowledging that Chris is gone for the rest of my life, that his life is over, that all has been decided, I tried to focus on my role in his life and on how he may have looked at it.  I know I made him happy, so happy he said the night before he died he never wanted to leave me and wanted to be with me forever, and I want to take pride in that.  Pride in the fact that he got to be happy until the last moments of his life because I loved him so much.  Not many people get to have that.

It is of course easier said than done.  It is a tough pill to swallow.  I would much rather spend the rest of my life making him happy liked I vowed to do on our wedding day. But I don’t get that choice.  I don’t get to make him food he loves, I don’t get to make him laugh so hard he cries, I don’t get to rub his neck and shoulders when they hurt, I don’t get to give him children.  It is the worst feeling anyone could ever feel and words don’t do it justice.  But when it threatens to consume me, I try to focus on what I did get to do.  I got to give Chris the happiest day of his life (so he told me), our wedding day. I got to give him 4 years of wonderful memories, laughter, and love.  I got to support the things he loved and make them important to me.  I got to be a loving girlfriend, fiancée, wife and make him feel like the most important person in the world.  I got to create a home for him that he never wanted to leave.  I got to strenghten his faith.  I got to give him a love that was unconditional, limitless, and is stronger than death and I am proud.

A letter to my husband

December 1, 2010

This is a letter I started to write Chris to post on his birthday, and then I chickened out.   But emboldened by other bloggers’ courage, I am posting it. 

Hi Baby,

It is your birthday.  It has been over six months since you died.  I can’t believe you left me. 

It was one of the hardest mornings, not waking up next to you and being the first person to tell you Happy Birthday!  The house was quiet.  No sounds of your snoring, no sounds of your big feet padding across the floor (I really miss your feet, how strange, I never really thought about your feet before, but I miss them), no sounds of your coffee maker going off, no sounds of your sleepy voice telling me to stay in bed.  What a change from last year. 

I hate not being able to force you to celebrate your birthday. I hate not being able to fuss over you and give you gifts you treasure.  Last year I got you the compass watch you loved so much.  I hate living without you. It is the winter to our summer.

When I was in church today, where we had your funeral, I cried for the whole hour.  But I remembered a long ago conversation, where we talked abstractly about death.  I revealed my fear of it, the not knowing the nothingness.  You talked of your fear for leaving people behind.  As always, thinking of others above yourself.  You said that you didn’t want to leave the people you loved and wanted them to be taken care of, protected, and ok.  Well as I remembered that, I decided the best birthday gift I could give you is to be ok, or at least try to be ok.  

I love you with all my heart and just wish to be with you.

Your wife,

M