I just read the ‘Dumb Shit List’ by foreverlovedforevermissed and it brought back memories of all the times we’ve compared notes by phone. I am proud that you are helping other people deal with mourning and death issues…and with the many people who, for lack of knowing what to say, make such insensitive comments. Love you, Nene.
—  — Alberto’s mother, Hilda

This man was my hero. I looked up to him all my childhood and watched every show/movie/interview he was on. He impacted my life so much that my doctor would sit me down every year and give me a speech about how dangerous snakes are because he knew I would pick one up! The day he died was the worst day of my life, even to this day. I miss him terribly and cry every time I think about him and how great he was. I will always love Steve. He was my hero, and he still is. #RIP #steveirwin #thecrocodilehunter

It’s been too long since I’ve visited you Dad and I’m sorry ): But I just want to leave you a loving reminder that I love and miss you so much. You have no idea how much I dream and wish that you were still here with us today. <3 #RIP #foreverlovedforevermissed

This is grief.

It is not pretty. It is not the romanticized version of loss you see in movies; of finding the hidden meaning for why this happened.

It is ugly.
It is the depths of sadness you never imagined possible.
It is snotty.
It is howling.
It is crying. Every. Single. Day.
It is guilty. Guilt at yourself for not doing more to save your loved one. Guilt for being alive. Guilt for moving forward.
It is uncomfortable.
It is all consuming.
It is awkward conversations.
It is not being able to leave your house, or spend time with people you love, or do things you once enjoyed.
It is wishing it had been you.
It is dark thoughts.
It is mourning for the life you don’t get to have anymore, and the life your loved one has lost.
It is hating trivial shit.
It is exhausting.
It is waiting for a finish line that will never come.
It is triggers.
It is some ok days and lots of terrible days.
It is the price of love.
It is missing and longing for what you have lost.
It is so many memories that can sometimes bring solace, but sometimes bring immense pain.
It is slowing trying to pick up the pieces of your shattered life and keep moving forward even when you don’t see any point in a life without your loved one.

This is grief. This is hard. This is something you’d never wish on anyone.

Dumb Sh*% People Say

Inspired by the chapter of the same title of Tre Miller Rodriguez book “Splitting the Difference: A heart-shaped memoir” (tumblr: whiteelephantintheroom)

Although I am grateful to have very understanding friends who have been great support and I have been lucky enough to not yet be told to “get over it” which I’ve been horrified to hear isn’t that uncommon to be told when your grieving, I have had a few comments that have taken me aback that I thought I’d share.

  • 3 days after the accident: Merry Christmas!
  • 9 days after the accident: Happy New Year! Wishing you and your family a happy new year for 2014!!
  • 11 days after: Try to relax. Chat soon, and don’t forget we have the rest of that TV series to finish.
  • Around a month after: My mother in law recently lost her husband and has been having ups and downs too. After 61 years of marriage I think she just intensely misses her husband.
  • A month after: Keep being awesome
  • A month after: I just broke my ankle so I’m cooped up inside feeling the fomo [fear of missing out] of everyone enjoying Australia day
  • 2 months: I hope you’re finding some normalcy again
  • 2 months: [from HR personal of my work] If you are unable to return to work by XX date we will have no choice but to terminate your employment [yes actually used those words]. You would be eligible for rehire and you would be provided the same consideration as all other applicants.
  • 3 months: Hope all is well and life is starting to resemble something normal for you.
  • 3 months: I’m sorry to hear that it has been so tough for you
  • 3 months: I miss my gossip buddy so if you’re even in the mood to hear me talk about my own personal dramas let me know
  • 3 months: Have you ever thought of it from this angle.. From what I hear he was a truly good person. Maybe so good that God whisked him away to a higher place.
  • 3.5 months: You’re doing remarkably well for only just over 3 months in (see recent post about said comment)

Although not nearly as shocking as some of the things Tre experienced (it’s still early I may get some doozies later on), I still just find that people don’t really think sometimes. I completely get that most people have no idea what to say and I’ve let these types of comments wash over me a little bit more, I know they don’t know how it affects me and are usually trying to be supportive. And thankfully I’ve had way more positive experiences than negative during this difficult time. But really, just pause for a second before you open your mouth or write a message of support. Please!

I don't understand

How are you just a memory?
Why are you just a memory?

I don’t understand
Why are you not here?

My heart is so broken. I miss you so much. I just can’t compute that you’re not here anymore. It just doesn’t make sense. It can’t be real.

I need your touch, I need your voice, I need your companionship. I need you.

I’m really struggling and need you to come back now please. I hope wherever you are you’re safe and not in any pain. I know you’d hate to see me like this but it’s hard to keep going when a part of my heart has been left behind.

I love you so much.

Forever loved, forever missed xoxo

I have had a tear free weekend! Am now up to 8 days of no tears, and the first three tear free days strung together!

I had a friend visit me who I haven’t seen for almost two years, and the weekend was filled with laughter, meaningful conversation and lots and lots of food!!

I got to see and do things I’d wanted to do in my new city but hadn’t wanted to do by myself.

I’m glad my friend is so decisive and just decided to book the weekend in. Although she had no expectations for what we’d do and was mentally prepared to sit and watch movies with me crying if need be, her coming actually forced me to plan fun things and get out of the house.

I think this picture sums up how I felt this weekend. I am having another friend visit next weekend and hope to feel like this again then. It feels good to be happy for a while.

Fading

I feel like I’m starting to forget what your touch feels like… and I hate it. I don’t want to ever forget. Why can’t you come back one last time so I can make sure I remember all the little details to keep with me forever.

I didn’t have any warning. I didn’t know the last time I saw you would be it. I didn’t take note of every tiny action, thought and feeling…. and now those that I did have are fading, against my wishes, and I hate it.

A small gesture

This week I’ve changed the way I walk to work. On this new path for the last three mornings I have seen a man sleeping next to the bridge I walk over. It breaks my heart, so today I decided to do a random raok, not one that falls on the monthly anniversary of James death.

After work I went to the supermarket in my building and made a little care package including apples, bananas, protein bars, tuna and snickers bars.

Then on the way home I left it beside where he sleeps, in an area he has made his home, next to his drying socks. I was a little worried what to say if he was there, but he wasn’t around so I just left it tied up in a plastic bag with my little note indicating the act was done in loving memory of James.

It’s not much, but I wanted to do something that might make a small difference.

I sure hope he gets it.

He isn't here

I’m acutely aware that there are many many people in this world who are doing it tougher than me.

Homelessness, war zones, natural disasters, systemic poverty, health epidemics and violence…. the list goes on.

But it still doesn’t make it easier to face losing your love and your future.

All I can think is how can it be possible
that I can do my job, live a full life, laugh and be happy when he isn’t here? I am just constantly hit with the fact that he isn’t here, he isn’t here, he isn’t here. And each time I always have the fleeting thought… I wish it had been me instead. I wish he was still here instead of me.

My counselor has said I need to squash those thoughts when they arise so they don’t pull me into a depressive spiral and I’m better at that now, but that doesn’t stop the thoughts entering in the first place. I wish we could trade places. He was just so perfect. It should have been me :(

256 days

Today was the fourth day in this journey where I haven’t cried. That is 4 days without tears out of the last 256 days.

4 days out of 8 and a half months since I lost you.

I’m not going to feel guilt over not crying today. I feel like I had a productive day at work and although I thought about you constantly throughout the day I managed to not be overwhelmed by it.

I need to take the days as they come and be ok with feeling ok as I know there well be more waves that will come and I need to have the energy and will to weather that storm when it hits.

You can shed tears that he is gone
or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he’s gone
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what he’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

—  Edited version of “She is gone” by David Harkins

Every time I see a new photo of him I just stare at his studley face. We used to call him studley mc man man.

And I stare into his beautiful eyes, but then I am taken back to the day, back to the moment that I was asked over the phone by the police to ID him and they asked me what color eyes he had… in my shocked state I’d laughed and said we always joked that we never knew what color his eyes were… sometimes blue and sometimes green. How the fuck I could have joked at a time like that is beyond me.

And my tortured mind imagines him in the hospital rushed into emergency. By himself. And then I conjure images of him in a morgue, cold and alone with someone checking what color his eyes are.

And I cry and I cry.

That word

Dead. I hate that word. I can’t bring myself to say it. Or Died. Don’t like that either.

Instead I say, since the accident, he’s not here anymore, he’s gone, since I lost him
etc.

I am also acutely aware how often these words are thrown around in every day conversation:

My phone is dead
This cake is to die for
I’m dying of laughter
I’m so unfit I almost died

Each time I hear it, I flinch. I don’t say anything to anyone, I just wish these words weren’t so common.

I need to get more comfortable with that word. It is true. James is dead. Urgh I just hate seeing it in writing or hearing it. It’s just so final :(

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