Friday, April 29, 2011

my life in your hands

Seizing my life in your hands, you thrashed it clean
On the savage rocks of Eternal Mind.
How its colours bled, until they grew white!
You smile and sit back; I dry in your sun.

- Rumi


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

something in the air

is it spring? Something in the air? Yesterday I exchanged eye contact and smiles with a handsome man at the coffee shop where matt and I met. I had such an intense reaction to my own reaction, I needed to drive around until the panic stopped. Back there again today, same man came in, talked with an acquaintance of matt's and mine, and we shared a couple of cross-the-room smiles. I didn't feel the panic, so I figured yesterday was a fluke. Honestly, it felt like one of those times Matt "borrowed" a body to check up on me, to use someone else's eyes to look at me.

However, said handsome man came over to my table today and asked if he could join me. Um. I thought he meant because I was sitting at a big table and maybe he just needed a place to sit. Yes. I know. I am not so quick on the uptake. Anyway. He introduced himself. Have I mentioned before how much I hate small talk? Loathe it. Bad at it. Don't do it. But I did answer - evade - those 20 questions style questions someone asks when they want to get to know you. It was Immensely Awkward. Immensely.     Immensely.

There were huge awkward lags while I made decisions about whether to answer certain questions. The truth is, there is no small talk question that does not have "matt died" as an answer. What I do for work, if I have kids, do I come to this cafe often.... I had to keep censoring myself, cut myself off from answering things. My path is intensely personal to me. So here's this random person asking me innocent, inquisitive questions (which is an odd experience for me, widowhood notwithstanding), and I feel like I am a nervous ticking time-bomb, like I should come with warning signs: tread carefully here friend, you may think you are getting to know her, but you are mistaken. And, she could start crying at any time.

Now - imagine the scene here, my people:  the man is nervous. I am nervous. Underneath the understandable meeting new person nerves, there is a whole other freak out going on. I am freaking out on so many levels all at once, while trying to avoid mentioning anything that would lead directly into "my husband..." anything, which would then lead to a question about my husband, which would then lead to very personal information shared, and any number of reactions. I think Jackie wrote in a post awhile ago about the weirdness of leaving out whole chunks of existence - I can either make myself uncomfortable, or I can make them uncomfortable, or I can make all of us uncomfortable. Great.

It was bizarre. He left, amicably. I had a friend sitting next to me, next table over, and as soon as handsome man left, I looked at my friend and burst into tears. We both said "that was awkward" at the same time. He handed me a glass of water and a napkin, because I was already crying hard. Wow. Awkward on so very many levels. Like - why am I even giving this so much energy? Why is there any response in me at all? Who the heck is this person using my face to smile at some man built like the man I still love? And WHY did I have such a visceral reaction to this person yesterday? Seriously folks - had the man simply walked up to me and held out his hand and said "we are going on an adventure," in my mind at least, I would have gone. Instantly. Realizing that some part of my being responded that way upset me so intensely. It was made worse today, in that I "followed through" with - talking. This widowhood shit sucks.

It took me a good couple of hours to calm down from the internal panic and insane mind loop I went into about weird new lives, what just happened, what that meant about matt and I that I could actually flirt with someone else, and you know - general insane panic. Insane panic.

So, coming home, I open up the computer to find that Janine has written about this very thing today, and I can see from the title of Dan's post that something is going on over there too. So maybe it is just something in the air. I don't have any place to put it yet, for me, so I am going with "awkward" and "feeling very uncomfortable."


(if you don't know this movie already, the reference will be quite lost on you.
I can't encourage you to see it; it is definitely on the Not For Widows movie list.)


Monday, April 25, 2011


I need to make things. Can I make you something?

I don't have any photos of collages I have made for people with their own images, and I only have a couple of other collages digitally accessible, but I will say I'm good at them. Well. I'm a good channel for them.

I do collages the "old" way - with tiny little scissors and bits of paper - not digitally. Can I make you one? With your own images, which you can either regular mail to me or send me digital files. I'll enlarge, reduce, flip them around, and add other images I have to make you a 6x10-ish custom collage. Yes, images of you and your love, your family, special places. I won't necessarily use all of your images, just whatever asks to be in there.

I need a reason to clean off the art table.
I need a reason to make beautiful things.

Can I make you something?

If you'd like a collage, leave me a comment.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I don't know that I feel like writing anything. I've been sitting here too long already.

I love what Gillian wrote - that we are, right now, a Saturday people. I am most definitely Saturday.

A saturday person in a good friday world, trying to hold on to easter.
(my heathen-buddhist-sufi-christian-jewish-quantum physics-something easter)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Do you all know the spoon theory?

It's on my mind right now, back from tea with a friend. It was exhausting. Being out in the world of people and crowds, the loaded question of "how are you, really?" and the energy necessary to either answer or evade that question. How answering the question feels like small-talk about death, or "how I spend my grieving moments: the sound bite." Knowing that if the question isn't asked, or the subject discussed, it is there anyway, the color and context of everything.

Nothing is pure or normal anymore; everything is a reaction to or a response to or an outcome of. I feel defined and fenced in. And while it may be true - in fact, this does define me right now, and all actions come through this, I would just rather not feel like I face it everywhere, that anyone and everyone is along for this trip with me, expecting access to personal details and decisions, wanting to hear how I am, or silently giving that "knowing nod," or doing that ~because of in reaction to as an outcome of ~ assessment of my every move that I often only imagine and also often happens.

It is always always present, effort-full in acknowledging or avoiding. It takes energy to give a safe-for-in-public answer to an intimate question. It takes effort to simply nod and shrug when someone asks how I am and it is not the time or place to answer. It takes effort to appreciate the asking while also not feeling like discussing it right at that particular moment. It takes effort to evade the question when the answer is intimate and personal and really not appropriate to the level of relationship with the asker. It takes HUGE amounts of energy to explain to someone why everything takes so much energy and effort.

I think, as I get "better," I return to my pre-death/pre-trauma state of being more and more private. Certainly, early on I had no choice or thought in the matter. I cried everywhere. I welcomed and accepted comfort anywhere. There was much less talking. I feel like people who were present for those early days now expect a continued intimacy and a front row seat, though their attendance has been spotty at best, and we were not close before this event.  I assume maybe it is a bit confusing for them to have been so close at impact but not be given access now. To those people, I want to say - just because you have seen intimate things does not make us intimate. We did not have a moment "together;" you were near me when I had a moment. That's not just a semantic difference. And it takes so many spoons to tell you that. It takes so many spoons to not tell you that.

I have less to say now, to the general public, to casual friends, to family. You take the most intimate and personal thing that has ever happened to me and I am just supposed to discuss it. Describe it. Continue to give every detail to both the ones who genuinely care and the ones who are rubbernecking tire kickers. I have no interest in giving a blow by blow, or in talking things to pieces. I cannot possibly Sum Up this experience for you in a few sentences. My life with matt, my life with god, my life with me - really not casual topics of discussion, up for discussion. However, I also have no real non-death related items to talk about, to offer to the conversation, so there is that.

I can listen, that's alright. Though I am listening with that death filter on - I can't take it off either - and that costs me some spoons. Not many, but some. I am more frustrated with the entire situation, how heavy and draining everything is, than I am frustrated with any actual people. No one is doing anything "wrong." Given that asking is tiring, and not asking is tiring, it really is hard to be near me at all. Knowing that is tiring. Preparing for social times, getting through social times, recovering from social times, wondering if a "simple" trip to the grocery store will result in a social interaction requiring the energy necessary to deflect, ignore, or answer "the question" - it all takes spoons. I am not rich in spoons. Knowing that costs me some spoons.

This is sounding so negative. I remind myself, now that I am back home with my own tea in my own quiet space, that there are a couple of people who do not ask for blow by blows of my internal process, who recognize and respect that this is deeply personal, who are able to hang out without "IT" lingering in the air quite so heavily. There are a couple of people who can have whole discussions not about this without it feeling obvious that we are not talking about it, and for whom entire conversations do not come to a grinding, "poignant" halt when one of us mentions matt's name, thus prompting a detour into "so how are you really?" All is not lost. I am not so completely drained and exhausted after time with them; the preparation and recovery is much less. It still takes spoons, but not the whole bunch. I'm not at a place where interactions with people tend to replenish any spoons, but not taking so many counts as a Plus.

Given that I am not so much on the sharing of details on intimate things, the irony of writing a blog is not lost on me. The way I think of it, not having to explain why things cost so many spoons: priceless.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

92, or 21+5

All day long, a little burro labours, sometimes
with heavy loads on her back and sometimes just with worries
about things that bother only

And worries, as we know, can be more exhausting
than physical labour.
Once in a while, a kind monk comes
to her stable and brings
a pear, but more
than that,
he looks into the burro’s eyes and touches her ears
and for a few seconds the burro is free
and even seems to laugh,
because love does
Love frees.

~ Meister Eckhart


Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Hey babe -

I can play a recording of a song sparrow on the computer and the outside birds sing back. And I finally found the bird attached to that song I didn't know - a white throated sparrow. So exciting! To me. And I can't tell you. I can't get out the computer as we are trying to head off somewhere, and want you just to hear it, hold on just a second, I want to show you something cool. I know more of the birds in our backyard, and I can get them to sing for me.

But you aren't here to tell.

And I'm just supposed to live?


Monday, April 11, 2011

the cup of your life

The wine of divine grace is limitless:
All limits come only from the faults of the cup.
Moonlight floods the whole sky from horizon to horizon;
How much it can fill your room depends on its windows.
Grant a great dignity, my friend, to the cup of your life;
Love has designed it to hold His eternal wine.

- Jalal-ud-Din Rumi


Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Someone posted their myers-briggs type on facebook, which made me go look mine up again. I found it actually very comforting to remember, or to be reminded, to see my basic temperament printed out - I guess just that I'm not making it up when I say I'm not "like" a lot of people. INFJ, as the description says "is quite rare, less than 3% of the population." (I assume they mean western population. Who else spends their time researching and figuring out who does what and like how?)

I have been told for much of my life that I'm "different." Sometimes as a "what's wrong with you?" thing, and sometimes as a "you are very special" type thing. Wrong or special because I am different from whoever is calling me different.

For Matt, I was different because I was like him. I was special because we were the same. We weren't being "different," we were being ourselves. When one of the three percent finds and loves another of an equally rare percentage - well, let me just say that now I have to stop typing because I'm crying too much. Even though it is unusual for someone of my "type" to acknowledge that out loud.


Monday, April 4, 2011

book review

Not the tombstone kind of review...
More of a book recommendation.

So far (pg 53 out of 195), "About Grief" by Ron Marasco and Brian Shuff is fantastic. And I am super hard to please. There are already lots of great lines I could quote to you, but won't, namely because of this:

there is a whole paragraph on grief anvils (which I usually call landmines) wherein the authors state that "someone should really devise a movie rating system for grieving people" and that "you really ought to do a little research before you just head off to see a movie."

Even outside of that unintentional and unknowing acknowledgment of my services, this is a book I would send to all of you, if I could buy that many books and I knew all of your addresses.

ps - C - I have the PPL copy, but I'll be done with it soon.