Friday, October 29, 2010


Just thought I'd check in and say hi. I've been hesitant to write because most of what's going through my head is the same old stuff; missing Mr. B, punctuated by a fair amount of magical thinking, throbbing sinuses, garment-rending, and even a little surreptitious ululating. It's keeping me pretty preoccupied but I'm sure reading about that shit gets old real quick.

So I'll just sum it up this way: Yep, it still sucks. But I'm going to work (almost) every day and I'm taking care of business. I'm even keeping up with the dishes, which is an amazing development. But enough of that.

I do have something fun for you, so this trip won't be a total loss. I just found this pic on my cell phone. I snapped it in the parking lot of the funeral home when my Girl Posse and I went to pick up Mr. B's ashes.

Isn't it awesome? We laughed our asses off. Of course there was a tinge of hysteria in it, but it was great comic relief. We spent way too much time wondering if it was meant to convey "embalm you," or perhaps the nickname of a school of mortuary science, "Embalm U." The jury's still out.

While I'm at it, here's another good one from that day. Here's the bag they gave me to transport the box of his mortal remains.

What in the hell am I supposed to do with it now? It's too nice to just throw out, but I can't quite see myself using it as a gift bag... or maybe I could, in the right circumstance. I do know some folks with Significant Birthdays (meaning divisible by five) coming up. Hmmm...

OK, enough with the gallows humor. Next time I'll tell you whether I decided to start NaNoWriMo 2010 on Monday. It would suck to break a two year winning streak, but that will depend on whether I can stop ululating long enough to think up a story.

Oh, and have a lovely, sugar-filled Halloween. I'm not handing out candy, but that might not be enough to stop a bag of peanut M&Ms from finding its way into my house.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

If I hadn't...

If I hadn't decided to stay home today to do some long overdue yard work before taking Young Son to the orthodontist...

If I hadn't decided to take Sweetie for a walk (which I haven't been doing lately...)

If I hadn't decided to go a different way than usual (around the high school instead of around the community college...)

If I hadn't noticed the kid down the street staring up into the sky, shielding his eyes...

I would never have seen two HUGE, gorgeous bald eagles circling the high school. They spent a good five minutes casing the joint before heading off. They were spectacular! We do have them around here but this is the first time I've seen them in the "city". (I suppose technically it's a city but it's really a big town.)

Today is a beautiful fall day, probably the last one we'll have for awhile. Tomorrow we're expecting the first in a series of rainstorms, which are currently lined up across the Pacific Ocean like the cars of a freaking freight train, headed right at us.

But today was perfect, and today I saw two gi-normous, splendid bald eagles.

Thanks, Universe. I needed that.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


It's been really interesting, over the past few weeks, watching myself go back and forth from left-brain to right-brain mode; from thinking to feeling, from rational to emotional, and back again. I can't seem to inhabit both halves of my head at the same time -- it's pretty either-or. I don't quite hear an audible click when the switch occurs, but I haven't really listened for it.

As long as I'm in left-brain, thinking mode, I can make phone calls to close out accounts, fill out paperwork, and talk to people about all sorts of practical, day-to-day matters. I can even go to work and get things done.

Somehow, the universe smiled at me and I ended up in thinking mode for most of Mr. B's memorial service Sunday. It worked out pretty well; I was able to get everything set up at the church, make it through the service without looking like I'd been beat with a baseball bat -- I'm not exactly a delicate weeper -- and meet and greet many, many people Mr. B had told me about but never had a chance to introduce me to. It was good day, full of sharing and laughter and stuff like that.

But when my right brain kicks in, usually when I'm tired or driving in the car (WTF is up with that, BTW?), I am reduced to a huge ball of raw, writhing Feel-eens.

Last night I was pulling the photos of Mr. B off the boards we set up at the service, and it hit me upside the head like a large, wet carp: I still love him like a crazy person. I still have an awful, ridiculous crush on him. I fell in love with his high school picture, the one with the serious bed-head. I fell in love with the picture of him in his late teens, playing with his two young nephews, and again with the picture of him standing on the ice in the Arctic in his 30s. I fell in love with the picture he had taken of himself with his cat, probably for an online dating profile after his divorce in his early 40s. It was brutal, falling in love over and over again with that man I can't ever have. What's even worse, I did have him for just a little bit, then I lost him.

It hurts like all shades of holy hell.

In Feel-een mode, I can't stop my eyes from filling up at random, highly inopportune times. My social filters don't work right. I find myself over-sharing (shocked - I know!) details about the less-than-optimal parts of our relationship. Don't know why I do it, other than maybe I want someone to tell me it's not my fault.

What I want is for him to tell me it's not my fault.

I feel shitty about things I wish I had done differently. I wish I had been more assertive with him about getting a sample in to the doctor when he started coughing up 'stuff' over a year ago. But... our quiet, passive Mr. B was blessed with a huge 'Don't Boss Me' button and I tried really hard to respect that. It was a huge challenge, because I am such a mom. Such a nag. I wanted to do better, be more mature. So I didn't push.

Now I find myself whispering "I love you. I'm so sorry, baby," over and over into the pillow that was under his head when he died. Yeah, I kept the pillow. I sleep with it. I even safety-pinned the pillowcase on so I won't get confused and throw it in the wash.

Shut up. At least I no longer sit around with the box of his ashes on my lap.

If I'm lucky, I'll be back in left-brain mode tomorrow. I'll get things accomplished. Maybe even get some groceries in the house and do Poop Patrol. Got to get as much shit done as I can, before the switch flicks back and I end up back in the exquisite hellhole of unrequited love.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

When words fail

I've heard from a few people in the last few days who confess that they wanted to call/write me earlier, but they just didn't know what to say.

I just want to go on the record as saying I totally get it. I, too, am a member of that club. I am unilaterally lousy at expressing my condolences to folks, to the point of sometimes (gulp) not even sending a card because I was so blocked on what to say. Anything I could come up with seemed completely inadequate and trite.

What's worse, even now I am having trouble playing my part in this... whatever it is. As I've been calling around to cancel accounts and such, the well-trained service rep invariably says something suitable like "I'm so sorry for your loss." All I can come up with is "Thanks. Yeah, it really sucks." There's usually a few seconds of silence after that.

I don't think that's quite what they're expecting from me, but it's all I got.

So, fellow members of the "Ummm...." Club, now that I'm on the receiving end, I can state with authority that it really doesn't matter what you say. Even a bald "I'm sorry, I don't know what to say" works just fine. Who knew it could be so simple?

Another thing I've learned is that sometimes, in lieu of flowers, people send delicious FOOD GIFT BASKETS! How cool, right? I had no idea. I've received a few now and they've been such wonderful treats that I'm stealing the idea.

So there's just a few of the valuable life lessons I've learned so far. All I can say is that by the time I get through this particular Personal Growth Opportunity I'd better fucking glow with wisdom. Just sayin'.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


What if I don't want to get over it? What if I don't ever want to get to the point where it's OK that he's gone? It's not OK, and it'll never be OK. 'Cause it isn't. It's just fucking wrong, on all levels.

That's what my Inner Brat* is saying today.

She pops up from time to time, crossing her arms over her chest, pouting and stomping her feet. She whines a lot. She balks at things that any normal adult would handle without a second thought. (Key word there is "adult".) She's the reason I couldn't change a toilet paper roll for the first fifteen (twenty?) years of my first marriage.

I am not making that up. Yeah, she's got issues.

We've been working on them, especially over the past four years since my first marriage ended. We've made progress. It was hard, trying to sort through old shit while jumping into a new relationship almost before the ink on the divorce decree was dry, but we continued to hack away at the stack and even made some small progress.

However, she's not handling this latest crisis very well. I realized the other day that legally I am no longer married. Talk about a bitch slap! I think that's what got her all riled up.

One thing my Dear Counselor told me recently is that I need to listen to her. She's a valid (albeit slightly dysfunctional) part of me, and she needs to have her voice heard. She needs to be reassured. However, I have to admit, this time I think she may be on to something. I'm not sure this hurt can be soothed with a few pats on the back and pints of Ben & Jerry's. Although that never hurts.

Rest assured that Grownup Me knows that all the comforting things my dear friends IRL and in Cyberspace are saying are absolutely correct: Time will pass and pain will fade. Things will get sorted out and I'll find my way to the New Normal, rev. 4.0.

But it still won't be OK that he's gone. It will never be OK. And right now I can't imagine ever being OK with it.

* See the photo, top left sidebar? Yeah, that's her.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What it's like

So it's been a week already. I've discovered that losing Mr. B has been a lot like getting dumped -- and dumped hard -- except I can't be mad at him or key his car or anything. All I can do is FEEL, and feel the feelings about my feelings. It's freaking exhausting.

Evil Twin coined the term "Emotional Whack-a-Mole" and that pretty much sums it up. I'll be at the store or sitting at the hairstylists and all of a sudden, POW!! An emotional mole pops out of the Mr. B-shaped hole and knocks me on my ass.

Pretty soon I'll have to go back to work and such, but right now all I want to do is sit here and stare into space and drink Diet Coke and occasionally eat toast. As long as I'm in my little Cone of Silence, removed from Real Life, the emo-moles stay pretty quiet.

I have made some small progress, though: I no longer feel compelled to hold the box of his ashes on my lap all day. Seriously, I did that the first few days after I picked it up and it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. I do still talk to it sometimes, but don't tell anyone, OK?