Monday, 19 February 2018

Grief is like a long term relationship

In a long term relationship you don't stay the same as a couple. You go through phases and changes and you learn, grow, take a step back, three steps forward. You just never stay the same. I guess that is how they can work- it's not boring and it just grows deeper and deeper. If you are lucky like I was it grows better and better as it grows deeper.  Grief is like a long term relationship. It changes, it doesn't stay the same. Thank god for that! I was reading a post from a newly bereaved and it had shock written all through it, she didn't know she was in shock poor thing. She was questioning everything, why she couldn't cry, how guilty she felt about that, how long it would be like this when the pain would start and stop. I remember being there, I wanted to reach through the social media barrier and just hold her and cry with her. I remember when I questioned everything. I remembered when I wanted and needed to know how it was going to be. How if I only had those answers it would make it all okay. Those answers never come to you, instead you live to them.

Recently I felt like my grief story was changing a bit. I was thinking of Terry less. I put one picture of him away. I felt like I will "succeed" in my grief for him, whatever the hell that is. It just felt like You're getting there. You can remember and not cry, you can remember and just cry a bit. You can think and not feel guilt or abandonment or numb or the need to run to something else. You aren't yearning for a dream of him. You know he is dead and what that means for you now.

And I came into my quiet lonely apartment this afternoon and I felt it again. Three steps backwards into grief. Run - don't feel it; feel it - don't run. There is always a choice. And way up on the top shelf I spied his clothes I had kept. In my incorrect poor memories of early days I thought I had let go of this stuff. But I hadn't, a part of that shocked women kept key important items she'd want to have later. His black hat with the small red rose, the hat he had when I met him and he wore all over our travels in BC when we were a young free couple. The shirt I gave him for Christmas, that fit him so well and he looked so handsome in, one item of clothing I bought him that he actually liked. And the tie he had bought for his business schooling when we were smack in the middle of our toughest shittiest years struggling with debt and kids and feeling most apart.  And I knew I had to smell these, and have them on my body, and remember when he did and imagine what these meant to him. I had to feel what they mean to me now. And it felt okay. Grief spiraling deeper, changing, getting better but still here like a long time married couple.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Valentine's day

After he died the first valentines day was brutal. That in your face red hearts and lovers all over social media slapped me hard. That day had meaning again and was painful and unwelcome. I turned my social media off that year and the next two. I felt cynicism and bitterness every time I glanced in a store window. I walled my heart off further. It emphasized my singlehood my lonesomeness my "one" ness, my grief. It's not easy for widows or widowers, for those alone, those trying to find a love or companion, for those who are unhappily coupled.

It was of course a special day when we were young and in love. I remember the red lingerie, the dinners out, the cards and kisses and special highlighting of love and all things related. I felt included in a day that emphasized love. As we matured and our love grew deeper and more wise we understood as a couple the need to celebrate a day of love was yes there but not essential to publicly display anymore. We lived it the other 364 days and didn't need an over priced supper and night out in a snow storm to prove it to the world.  There was always a card and an acknowledgement that we were still each other's valentine but the hoopla went by the wayside.

My attitude toward this day has changed a bit more this year as I find myself in the 4th year without my valentine. I see it as a day to reach out and say I love you to those I love - and there are many- and I can do that. Happy valentines day Jeremy, Sam, Candice, Mary, Michael, Matt, Andrew, Terra, Melanie, Jeff, Molly, Rupert, Cindy, Pam, Patrick, Carolyn, Tom, Greg, Matthew, Steven, Mom, Dad, Pax, Cindy, Karen, Kelly, Cheryl, Paige, Kevin.... all you future loves... all those I have forgotten that I still love. I acknowledge you all today publicly and feel that love I have for you everyday of the year as well.

But let's also see Valentines day for what it is. This picture says what it is. This card was hanging on my apartment door when I came home from a great meal of love with my friends. From afar it looked like the real thing and I thought someone had put it there for me. It looked like the ones we used to find in school in a brown paper bag on our desks and you hoped to find one from your secret crush - remember that? Back when the popular people got way more than those who weren't- when the rules were different and everyone didn't have to give everyone in the class a valentine. I saw this and thought wow did I get a valentine? Then I saw it. I laughed out loud. Yup this is what valentines day is all about. It's a business, the business of love. Fuck off - my love isn't for sale.

So, I will not ignore social media today. Instead I will send out a warm thought when I see couples publicly declare love for each other, even if I don't have that love right now I will let myself feel yours. I will acknowledge that today I have romance in my life. I have those I love in my life. I have hope for my future. I have beauteous memories of past valentines days. Time has dulled the slap from all the red hearts assaulting me. Today it's better and that is something.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

A day I gave birth

My twins. I remember the pregnancy, all the excitement and hoopla and the food I ate to make them grow and be healthy. The housekeeper we hired for 6 weeks while I remained on bed rest so they would not be born too soon. The books I read, the culture I submersed myself into so I would know how to be mother to "multiples". Terry with me every step of the way. I still remember telling him the results of the ultrasound that I had gotten from the doctor. I called him home sat him down and said guess what? I said it was good news, he guessed we'd won a lotto. I told him it was twins he said oh my god and kinda fell back down on the couch. In my last trimester I got so big, I was a circus when I walked into a room. Luckily I went three weeks early. They were 6'13 and 6'3 pounds. I had a c section not the natural childbirth I dreamed and hoped for but they were safe and beautiful and I was a mother of three.

It's all a dream now, they are 32 today. Life is funny this way - you forget things that were your whole world at one time. Years separate you from all that emotion and love and busyness. What was once everything is no more. My girls have their own lives but are still part of mine. I love that. But where did all that energy Terry and I invested go? I guess it went into shaping them and who they are today.  I still am left wondering where the memories go though. I have only snippets. Their beautiful white gold hair. Candice's beautiful smile - just for me I felt. Sam sucking her finger and rubbing her other fingers against the soft pink ribbon on her blanket. Rocking in the chair. Always rocking. Their baby talk with each other, their pink coats.

They are beautiful strong, happy vibrant gorgeous women not these babies we had in 1986. Those little girls, preteens and teenagers we raised in our rented houses on Kaye Street, Gloria Court, Bruce Drive and Aspen Cresent. That was then and this is now. And it's their birthday today and I love them so.

But I still miss them, I miss all my babies. I miss the memories I've forgotten and the ones I am  forgetting.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

So..... it's fucking true after all

Crazy but true. When you come to a realization that seemed so obvious in the first place. I am not a dumb person, I have a few degrees to prove I got some smarts on the intellect scale. The kind that gets you good jobs that sustain you in a level of comfort that many might envy. I get that, I got that.  But in other areas I have been a little slow on the uptake. Relationships for one. Now that I find myself back into them. Don't get me wrong, I learned plenty in my 34 year relationship with Terry. You don't go down the roads we did and not fucking find yourself and some hard ass lessons to boot. You just don't. But as I have said before in earlier blogs. Sussey you are not in Kansas anymore. I am learning a whole new set of lessons here.

You know what is really quite funny about learning? How some things can't be taught by others, how we have to come to it on our own. By that I mean, no matter how much I natter away at a student and try to take different approaches to a problem or concept I am trying to teach them, some just can't see it. The insight it missing. It is as plain as day for me, I will say that again. It is plain as day for me. And the pupil is absolutely in the dark. They just don't get what we see right in front of them. And that is okay. When the pupil is ready they will learn. The right teacher will come along or perhaps even an old teacher they know will turn that light on for them and they will see.

It happened the other night with me. My dear sweet friend pointed out something I had not seen. It was a very simple thing, it was so obvious when she noted it- all I could think was well fuck look at that in plain sight- can't deny that now can we? Yet previous to this moment in time I had not seen it at all. But I do now. And this wasn't what she pointed out but it got me to this---- happiness is a choice. Do you know what an absolute tear jerking- gut dropping- fall to the floor- relief that is to know and learn and embrace? It's not you, or you, or it, or that, or this or none of that or too much of this--rather it's what I say it is, happiness is what I define it is. It is what I choose it to be. These might just look like silly words to you right now. I know in the past this did to me. Before I really got it!!! No seriously not to beat a dead horse but listen I'll say it again---  before I really got it. Hah ha I just want to run up to a roof top and shout it because it's like a huge secret I was let in on that I want to share (because I am a generous person that way and want you too to feel this kind of joy) but I won't, because I also know you'll just look at the nut and say what the fuck is she talking about? Maybe she is manic and we should call someone? The recipients within earshot of my crazy revelation would not hear what I am saying. Because this is the kind of knowing you have to come to quietly on your own. But I do so want to share it.

If you can live in each moment and choose to let that moment be one of happiness and joy, then you are choosing happiness- no matter what is in that moment. It could be shitty weather on a photo shoot, it could be walking to work tired when you want to stay home in your jammies, it could be fully immersing yourself into something you know is one day not going to be there, but doing it anyway. Living totally for that time and place and experience and choosing to happy about it despite it's transience.  As the song I love goes "did someone tell you that life was not all lies? All your friends, and your family, your gunna lose eventually". So act like it, seriously......  act like it.
Choosing to be happy, to me this means you are not waiting for it to come from some other source-- a bottle, another human being, a deity, a job, wealth, a ghost to return. Instead you are the captain of our own destiny, soul master of your own fate. There is no one directing me to do something, there is no one waiting for me to do or not do, there is no one to watch as I fuck up. There is no one. There is me and what I want. And I want to be happy. So I am putting on my party hat and my silly grin just like my Paxie and I am going to do just that.

I choose happiness.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

If I could soar

If I could soar
it would be to you
on your holy mission
of eternal perfection
I'd entwine us in perpetuity

If I could cry perfectly 
it would bring you back to me
in the everydayness of us
 I falter in my mourning for you
 I misstep, and you slip my grasp

I am but a thought left of you
in the days that linger here in January
this frozen month of hangovers
I look for you over frozen lakes
The cold air bites my fingers instead

I plod through the dreariness of 
another winter of my discontent
more ingrained than years 1, 2, 3,
it's in my cells now, my mitochondria
I want you gone, I want you here forever

You never knew did you ?
how much of you was me
how I soared with you
how grounded I've become without
 a flightless mourning bird cooing

If I could soar
I would repair this ache
this return journey to sadness
where she heads for another fall
instead I'd ride the high currents with you

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Once she realized (advanced dating 401)

The saying goes something like this; the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over  and expecting a different result. I get it. Move on. It might be uncomfortable to move on when you oh...have a good reason not to...have a moral high ground you don't want to step down from...feel sadness and grief in the moving on. But move on you must.  Sometimes if it ain't working it's simply because it's broke, it just can't be fixed. So move on.

I have had to swallow a lot since Terry died. I did not want to be alone, I do not like the feeling of loneliness, I loved the intricacies and intimacies of a long marriage too much. The cycles it went through, the coming to love someone deeper and deeper through hard times. The knowing and rewards only you and your partner felt and reaped from the going through it instead of abandoning it when it got tough. This I feel is not rare, many live long married lives and know what I am talking about, but I believe in today's world as it evolves and moves forward it's less common now. New people I meet don't know this. I equate it with trends like young people not believing in God or going to church anymore, or connecting with people through an online medium rather than a face to face meeting. How young people won't answer a knock on their door from a friend if it wasn't prearranged through a text. Trends that are not bad in and of themselves but the context and meaning and consequences behind it have ramifications for relationship.

Relationship. I can have a place for relationship again. Once I realized this I had a decision to make. Back out and embrace oneness or dabble in new relationships- I chose to dabble, never mind the fact that I didn't know a fucking thing about new relationships. I stayed alone for the first two years after Terry died, so impacted by his death I had no room for anything in my heart save grief and mourning for him. I had a heart full only for that, for my ghost. It was almost two years ago now that I made a decision to date again. It has been a long learning journey since. One of mostly huge disappointment sadly. Yet, there has been some good, the good being I have learned more about myself, about what I like, what I don't like, what I will put up with and what I won't, what I will change, what I won't. Does it balance out? Is it worth it?    No.        Not yet anyway.

I will never have a relationship like I had with Terry, even if one day I fall in love with a swell guy and we marry or live happily ever after (hahah), I will still never ever have that again. I get that now. I realize how wonderful it was to have that, how rare, how that changed me for the better, how that shaped who I was, how bloody blessed I was in life to have all that beauty and mystery and love. But I do not have that anymore.  That is over. So again I ask myself are the lessons I am learning in the new dating world balancing out? NO. The scales were tipped way too far in my favor for way too long, just more hard lessons for me I fear.

These last two years have made me examine reality versus fantasy. Just like the previous two years of intense grief, it has thus far been filled with lessons in disillusionment and disenchantment. And I am a pretty quick study, no flies on me, I got them. Lessons like don't settle, be authentic, the "one" isn't out there, stop looking for him you had that- you had that Sussey.  Other lessons I am finding out (or attracting???) are that men love to talk about themselves and we are perceived only as their sounding board, women's stories don't matter. Active listeners do not exist. Men care about what you can do for them, not what we can do together. Women are "whores" if they ask for it, "frigid" if they withhold, on the other hand men are "virile" and "macho" if they ask for it, "sensitive" and "shy" if they withhold. Women are "pushy" or "domineering" if they know what they want and go for it. Men are "confident" and "self reliant" if they know what they want and go for it. Men are from Mars women from Venus.

So what do you do about this once you realize? Well hopefully you learn, you take that knowledge and make changes in your behaviour and your ideas and you move forward differently. These are my ideas about it all and how I will move forward.  Advanced dating 401.

1) Expect nothing, say that again because it's really important Sussey, expect NOTHING. You won't be disappointed.  My god how true is that.
2) When a guy says "ask me anything" it's not because he is an open book, it's because he wants to talk about himself. Incessantly. Does he ask anything about you? If not, move on- he never will.
3) Never pay for a man's meal, dutch all the way. Don't let him pay for yours either, set the equality boundaries early.
4) Never text or call a man first, they get the idea you want them more than you really do, they use it against you by saying you are too needy or showing you that you are too needy by withholding intimacy. 
5) When they say friends with benefits, perhaps just perhaps the benefits there are something to consider. Non emotional attachment and sex- what is not to like there? Is it worse than emotional attachment and sex? Which hurts more when it ends?
6) Angry men can't hide that, men who want too much can't hide that, men who lie can't hide it, men who fear intimacy can't fake it, they will give you many hints you just need to actively listen for them. Never expect that any of them will change- move on.
7) Sometimes the lesson to be learned from a relationship is not yours, it is only for the partner you are with.
87) Date, date date, have fun, long term relationships are probably a thing of the past. For me at least I am starting to believe this is true.
9) Be yourself, and never ever change for someone, being yourself shortens the period of time it takes them to get to know what you are really all about, thus shortening the breakup time if they can't handle who that is.
10) Maybe being alone is worth the effort that that will take to feel, maybe, just maybe it will be less painful than these past two years.

I know these could be interpreted in many ways. Too bad, it's my journey and my lessons here. These are ideas I learned to consider- a window I am looking out of into my new life. More on my path perhaps? Maybe? Maybe not? But again they are my lessons. And the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

So was it worth it?  My answer is still a resounding No! Not worth the effort, at least that is how I feel today. And here is the real golden lesson folks - if I had put in the effort these last two years in feeling the pain of loneliness - the uncomfortableness of going out to a movie alone, dinner alone, cooking supper for myself alone, crying through the feelings of that without any crutches- then I could say it would have been so much more worth it. I would not be saying no I would be saying yes. Get out the cookbook Sussey, book that reservation at a restaurant of YOUR choice. And yes people told me, but that is for another blog. You learn what you are supposed to learn when you are supposed to learn it. The teacher appears when the pupil is ready.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Wait for it

It is so hard to wait. At least for me it is and I think this is one of my life lessons. I still have so much to learn here. "Patience is a virtue", "all good things come to those who wait", "great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance". I have heard them all, I pause, take them in and then move on to my desired destination- whatever that tends to be at any given moment. I have tried to analyze the lack of this virtue in my life, to reason why I am such an impatient person sometimes and I can't get to the bottom of it. I can only say perhaps I am frightened I will miss out on an opportunity, I will not get to my intended target and it will slip from my grasp- what will?  well- something I love, need, want, must have, can't live without, think I can't live without- it will disappear.  That is as close as I can get to the heart of this for now. That may be it, or it may be bullshit. I just can't figure it all the way through yet, that is why it is still one of my life lessons waiting to be learned.

So this need to wait for "it" is very painful for me. So I try to practice mindfulness when the need to be impatient or the torture of waiting for something is upon me. I try try try to live in the moment. When I can do this, even though I am feeling the angst of impatience tearing my soul, it is then that I am most virtuous. I know that, I know it to be oh so true, so why is it so hard to do then? Beats me. I'm human, I have faults, I'm far from perfect. It's okay, no one is.

Today I was feeling very very impatient, and very restless in my soul. I woke that way, part of it has to do with weekends and how they have changed since Terry has died, part of it has to do with not enough hours in the day to do all I have pressing on me, all I want to do, and all I should do, part of it is knowing truths I am not ready to admit to myself yet, and part of it remains a mystery. So I went for a walk in the woods. I took my Pax and I headed out just as the dawn was breaking. I was intentional in my exercise of mindfulness every moment of the walk. I felt the snow and ice below the icers on my boots as they gripped the ground keeping me upright and safe. I felt the wind and snow hit my face, the camera bouncing on my chest with each step. I noticed Pax's smile as he ran to and fro and back to me to say a silent "oh thanks mom I love it here". I noticed the frozen lake, the squirrel sitting calmly on the branch in the tree, the chickadee way up high in the tree, the crow cawing on the ice. I felt each footstep with intention. With total utter intention.

And still- I wait, I want, I feel impatience. I have much to learn and I am not sure I will live long enough to learn it all, and that has to be okay for now.