Blackbird

Did you guys see the video of the guy singing “Blackbird” to his son in the NICU, after his wife died in childbirth?  The son died shortly thereafter.  I tried to watch the video but only made it about 30 seconds before I had to stop it to avoid crying.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day flow of our little lives, but something I realized after Matt died is that there has always been grief and tragedy everywhere.  It’s all over the place.  And it breaks your heart but somehow, at the same time, it also is a thread connecting all of humanity…which can be such a beautiful and encouraging thing.  Grief and sorrow can make you retreat within yourself and build up walls to guard against more grief and sorrow…or, if you let it, it seems to me that it can make you more tender and open by realizing that you are not the first person nor the last to have your heart completely and utterly broken.

Anyway, just a thought.

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WSPD

Apparently today is World Suicide Prevention Day.  This is bringing up emotions not because of the suggested candle-lighting tonight around 8pm, but more because of an email I got this morning from the survivors of suicide forum which I joined last year.  The email was asking for volunteers to spend an hour on the forum, responding to more recent survivors and trying to give them what we needed while we were at that point in our grieving – which distills down to understanding and hope. 

So, I went to the website to sign up, since this seemed like something I could definitely do.  When I got there and started reading through some of the recent entries though, I was struck with the image of reading them as if I was on the shore watching the writer flailing in the choppy waters, trying to pull themselves toward the shore but not getting anywhere.  

Side-note: vacationing in Ocracoke several years ago, my family was swimming in the ocean (or in the sound?) and accidentally discovered what a “rip tide” is.  Siblings and cousins were all in the water playing, with several parents/aunts/uncles looking on from the shore.  At some point one of the younger kids figured out that, try as they might, they could not swim back to the shore – and once the adults realized this, chaos ensued.  I do not remember being scared until Joel, who was nearby, latched onto me — all the while kicking and thrashing and freaking out and doing everything he knew, as a small child, to do to keep his head above water.  As the oldest kid there, I hadn’t needed help getting back to the shore, but once I was working to keep both myself AND Joel afloat, I started to get scared.  He kept pulling me under, and I didn’t think that I could carry both of us back.  I remember feeling very much out of control and frightened – especially since he was feeling about a million times more out of control and frightened than I was.  Thankfully, an uncle came and took Joel so that I was able to focus on getting myself back to shore – no biggie once Joel was gone.

I mention that experience to say that looking at those entries this morning reminded me of how I felt in the water at Ocracoke.  These people who are just now writing about how they’ve recently lost a loved one to suicide are kicking and screaming and thrashing and freaking out just like Joel did, and for the same basic reasons – they feel out of control (because the illusion that you have any control over another person’s body and mind is hard to shake) and frightened, and they don’t know how/if/when they’ll be getting back to solid ground.

Not only do they remind me of Joel on that day, but feelings that I have about being on the forum are reminding me of myself that day too; the thought of getting “back in the water” to try to help them out is a little bit scary for me.  I’m not afraid of floundering, and maybe “afraid” is not even the right word for me to be using.  I’m hesitant though.  I’m nervous about the emotions and memories that will inevitably come up again if I really engage with someone in the forum.  Even if I can throw someone a life jacket, I can’t pull them to the shore.  I can help them to stay afloat, but that’s all, and it takes so much more energy to stay afloat than it does to drown.  

I think I’m still going to volunteer to go over to the forum for an hour, but it’s going to have to be an hour after work, when I don’t have to worry about my calm, professional front.  I don’t want to avoid doing things – especially potentially helpful things – because I am scared or nervous.  That’s not a good way to go through life at all. 

Anyway, wanted to write about it instead of just ignoring my initial thoughts and feelings.  I’m trying to address my life head-on.

Matt’s birthday, 2014

I felt like doing some musing this morning. 

Today, Matt would have been 30.  It’s odd to me how distant he feels (and is) — and yet, when I go through Facebook and look at his pictures (which, I’ll note, is not usually a great idea unless I’m feeling masochistic) I can easily remember the way he felt and sounded and smelled.  

I’m still young and am learning so many things about life.  One of those things is that as I get older, I look back on past chapters in my life almost like they are from a different lifetime.  I remember different events and people like they were characters in a movie I used to watch over and over again.  They become more impersonal as time passes – relics and souvenirs of a long-gone vacation, instead of active forces influencing who I am right now.

I remember swearing to always keep Matt’s influence in my present, and I know that even if I am not conscious of it now, he is still there and will always be there.  I suppose most life transitions are not as drastic as this one, and if pain is a catalyst for change then living through a spouse’s suicide is taking the fast train.  It’s impossible to be the same person as before, when your world is up-ended and shattered.  

But I like the person I’m turning into.  Maybe it would have happened eventually, but maybe not.  It took something huge for me to have an inkling of an understanding of death and mortality, and of how one person’s life can affect so many other people’s lives (without trying, without realizing, without even caring).  Knowing Matt and experiencing everything that I have with/because of him has made me want to live as good of a life as I can.  To honor him, yes, but also because I know that I’m lucky.  I am not depressed.  I am not blighted.  I am lovable, and I do my best to love myself.  I’m grateful.

The part of me that wishes I could hold onto Matt will probably never leave, and I don’t know that I want that part to leave for good anyway.  I know that I can’t hold onto him — he’s gone, he’s never coming back of course, and that’s OK.  Because it has to be, because it is.  And I’m OK, because I want to be.  Matt loved me and wanted me to be happy, even if he couldn’t figure out how to make himself happy.  And that’s the direction I want to go in my life.  

missing

Ugh. was re-organizing my wallet and found one of those pictures from our marriage party at the Brewhouse, October 2010. When I say “found,” I mean I’ve had it in the pocket meant for a driver’s license, so it’s not exactly hidden.

It continues to be so very annoying and disruptive to allow this kind of thing to affect me — especially in the middle of the day while I’m at work, which is where it generally happens. Perhaps because I’m less distracted at work? I don’t know.

If I felt like a broken record complaining about all of this last year, I really feel like one now. Which is part of why I haven’t blogged as much lately; I just don’t really have anything new to say.

Also,

May 31st was the 2 year anniversary of my having to take Matt to the ER for the first time. I was going to blog about it, but ended up staying busy all day and it slipped my mind. This is an entry from June 4th 2012, though.

*************************

My husband, the man who has been sharing my bed and home and life for the past five years, is in a psychiatric hospital after trying to kill himself four days ago.

I need an outlet for my thoughts and feelings – one that can handle more honesty than my in-laws or parents or friends can or should. Not that I necessarily want to even have to face all that honesty by myself, but I feel like I shouldn’t deny or ignore the realities of my thoughts and feelings.

I don’t feel like going over all the details of what happened on Thursday, and I don’t think all the details are important anyway.

I’m crying less. I guess that’s good, though it doesn’t mean that I feel any less sad, lonely, desperate, or depressed than before. It just means that sobbing so much gives me a headache and dehydrates me. And there’s no one around to rub my back and neck anymore when they hurt, so I might as well try to avoid things that make them ache more.

My biggest, biggest, biggest fear is that he’ll feel the same when he comes home, and try to kill himself again like he promised he would over and over on the day I drove him to the ER. I don’t think he’ll make his goal of 10 days since I doubt they’ll release him from the hospital before then, but I’m sure he can lengthen the deadline as needed. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to tell when he starts feeling this way again, since he’s so adept at pretending that he’s fine when he’s anything but. And I, in my utter foolishness, pretend that he actually is fine, since I don’t want to face the reality of the pain and horror that’s underneath his façade. But my oblivion doesn’t help anything. I keep telling myself that none of this is my fault………but a little voice in the back of my head also keeps whispering that maybe if I had been more dedicated to helping him stay focused on being healthy, maybe we wouldn’t be here right now.

I can’t imagine losing my husband. That’s a lie – I can imagine it, and it’s the most horrible thing I’ve ever imagined. So much worse than giving up my baby for adoption. At least she’s alive and happy and I can feel good about that decision. If I was to lose my husband…. How do people cope with that kind of loss??? I’m having a hard time motivating myself to do the mundane but necessary things in life as it is – how much worse would it be if I didn’t have the hope of getting my husband back???

Surprisingly, I’m doing a pretty good job of not taking his suicide attempt personally. I know that it’s the abuse that is making him hopelessly depressed, and the drugs his psychiatrist has been randomly prescribing haven’t helped. I know that it’s not me. But this also makes me feel helpless to help him at all. All I can do is go visit him every day, as much as he will let me, and let him know that I love him and will not abandon him (as he has expected me to do ever since we got together). I can prove him wrong. But I can’t make that help him feel better. I hope that it will…but I have no control over his brain chemistry.

I feel pretty useless overall right now. I don’t even know how to make myself feel better – let alone him. Everything that I do, everywhere that I go, something reminds me of him and makes my heart ache with missing him. I’ve been trying to avoid being home by myself, but I can’t get away from missing him.

Should I be blogging right now?

I’m having a weepy morning at work. I don’t feel like I’m good at this job yet — and I’m definitely not enjoying it. I should not be blogging right now; I should be calling people to try to get them to buy more stuff from me. I just don’t care about making money – I mean, as long as I have enough. I don’t care about making extra money. I would like it so much if I didn’t feel like my soul was being anesthetized every day at work by the muted colors and the fluorescent lights.

I have felt lacking in the friends department lately. I know that it’s my responsibility to make sure that I’m socially fulfilled, but it’s hard sometimes. Missing Matt is hard, too. Every time something isn’t ideal, I miss him. Every time I feel needy but don’t want to take that out on my friends, I miss him. Every time I don’t have something planned for after work on a weekday, I miss him.

Dawn posted a song on my FB wall a week ago or so, and the chorus says “It’s gonna be alright.” I was thinking about this yesterday… and you know, seems like serenity might come from being able to redefine “alright.” (Yeah yeah, I’m spelling it the way I want to spell it today.) When it comes down to it, we all die. Life on earth does not last forever. I can accept and be at peace with the knowledge that “alright” means that I’m going to die but my life can still be good. I just need to re-adjust my attitude about what “alright” entails.

Easier said that done.

questions, I guess

How is it that I can get off the phone after speaking with a promising account, and just want to crawl under my desk and cry after hanging up? I’m so cheerful and friendly on the phone, and the whole facade felt like it just crashed down after that last call.

Why is it so hard for me to feel stable all the time? Is it because I’m used to feeling stable, and I’m caught off-guard when my emotions don’t seem to want me to control them?

I want to be excited about something. Is it hard for me to get excited about things because I don’t like doing things? Or because I put too strict of a definition on things that “should” excite me? Or because I don’t go looking for excitement?

I want to spend more time in the woods. Wouldn’t it be awesome to spend as much time in the woods as I do in an office? Yep.

Easter Monday

I miss Matt so much today.

It’s a gorgeous spring morning, and god damn I just wish Matt was here. For as much as I can and do enjoy the life I now I have, man sometimes it still just doesn’t seem to compare to life before.

Right after he died, I remember thinking that I need to create new memories with places/things I only associated with Matt, and I’m still doing that. Cooked a bunch yesterday and had a couple of people over…and it was just full of reminders that Matt wasn’t there. I wish it made sense for me to get mad at him and to cry about him. Both of those things are just so pointless because in the back of my mind, the outcome I’m wanting is just for Matt to be back and to apologize. Which, obviously, will never ever happen.

But……I have to be productive and get to work. I wish Matt was still alive. I wish I could text him about my day and look forward to being with him at night. Will this ever go away?

Lousy Smarch Weather

I guess it isn’t Smarch yet. But I hate coming up with titles.

I’ve started a new entry every morning so far this week, but keep deleting them because I realize half-way through the first paragraph that I don’t actually have anything to say. I’m giving it another shot this Wednesday morning, though.

Last weekend was simply wonderful. On Friday, I got a massage. Saturday I got up and went to Hidden Lakes – it was a GORGEOUS day for it. I think I’ve mentioned, but solo hiking is the best thing ever.

hidden lakes winter

hidden lakes winter ii

After, I ended up hanging out with Ryan. Oh, also spent a good chunk of time cleaning up the house on Saturday. Sunday was spent mostly luxuriating in the sunshine. It was a lovely weekend.

I think the time change and the sun coming out has made me feel moody the last couple of days, though. The weather change is energizing and exciting, and it makes me remember what it used to feel like to be able to look forward to going home to Matt and hanging out with him all evening. Lovely weather is infinitely more lovely when you’re able to share it with someone you love, and the fact that Matt is gone is hitting home (again). I wish I could stop thinking about him. On the other hand, I wish I never had to stop thinking about him. It’s conflicting.

I was telling someone about Woodland’s (amazing Indian restaurant) and almost started to cry when I remembered how often we used to go there. I haven’t been after giving blood in such a long time. God damn I miss Matt.