Wednesday, January 27, 2010
This is me. 'Dan, in real time.'
Yesterday's post was meant to be humorous, but of course had a message to relate. I find myself in an emotional state that feels like it is here to stay for awhile. The initial three months of my grieving process were quite difficult. I spent many days throughout that time in tears, and feeling like my world was at an end. There were times that I wished my life to be over. Yes, it was that painful. For those who might be new visitors to my blog, I have been a widower for the past four months.
In the last few weeks my experience has begun to change. I find that I am in a less acute state, but definitely still feeling that my mourning, sadness, is chronic. It feels like a deeper sense of depression. I do have some happy times, and can laugh with friends and the kids, but in between I can honestly say that I am definitely feeling very sad.
I think about Michael continuously. I miss him in a very significant way. I know that he is gone, and I accept that I cannot change that. What I also can't change is my love for him. That love didn't die with him. It lives on, and until enough time passes, my feelings will remain the same. I know that eventually I will learn to love him in a different way, but for now I would rather just say that I still actively love him. I still look for him instinctively. When something happens with the kids I immediately think that I should tell Mike. It is still difficult to sleep alone, something that will take a long time to get used to.
I am becoming a bit comfortable with the state of my emotions. Sadness feels right. I don't expect that to change for quite some time. I love(d) my husband/partner very much. I talk to him at night, and keep a candle lit for him whenever I am in our bedroom. I miss his touch, both sexually and non-sexually. Grief is an odd experience for me as a sexual person. There are periods where sex is the last thing from my mind, and there are times when I feel compelled by it. Mostly I miss making love to Michael. I miss the intimacy that two lovers share, and the joy that it provides.
If you visited our bedroom you would think that Michael was still here. His bathrobe is where he left it, his toothbrush next to mine. I find much comfort in seeing his things next to mine. I wear one of his t-shirts to bed each night, and cling to his pillow. I have started to stack some of my books on his bedside table, which tells me that I am slowly taking up some of his space. I don't think he would mind.
I keep Michael's ashes on the book shelf in our room. Around the urn I have a collection of various small treasures that were important to us, and several small gifts that my son Remy brings home from the local flea market.
I occasionally spray some of Michael's favorite cologne into the closet or bedroom, and give it time to settle. It's just another way of soothing my senses. At times when I can't fall asleep I may get out of bed and begin going through his things for the hundredth time. I like to hold his things in my hand, especially things like his watch, a pen he used or his Sudoku book. I have an electronic frame that contains many images of us and our friends and family. Most of the time I have the frame set to an image of him that I took in Puerto Vallarta during our honeymoon. I love looking at this image. It makes me smile and feel loved. I see his eyes sparkling with delight, knowing he was looking directly at me.
I have many happy memories of Michael. The memories are of both pre-cancer, and post-cancer. Michael had a brain tumor, which in the end caused him problems with memory and movement. I love all those times. There was joy from the moment I met him at Badlands, a gay dance club, to the early morning that he died. I know this sounds strange. The moment that his life ended I began howling in pain. But up until that moment, I was consumed by love. It was such an honor to take care of him. He depended so much on me, and gave me so much trust. I love him for that. The way I see it, he gave me so much. So much love, so much joy.
Michael fully embraced being a parent. I loved when he started referring to 'my kids' as 'our kids.' Having been a single parent for so many years was difficult. I never imagined that being a parent was going to be as much work as it has been. I loved being able to share the experience with Michael, and the kids loved having two parents, two fathers to turn to. Michael and I were a nice balance to each other, and the kids benefited greatly from his influence.
I'm finding that I don't enjoy the things I used to enjoy with Michael. Maybe in time I will return to them. For now, I don't really find too much enjoyment in anything. I suppose it is part of still feeling numb from this whole experience. I tend to do a lot of sitting, thinking, writing and reading. Time can go by, hours at times, and I don't feel bored. I just sit with my feelings, and it feels right. Time moves very slowly for me. I like it this way. I haven't been spending too much time with meditation in a formal way, but I am being very mindful of what I am experiencing.
The best gift that Michael gave me was this computer. It is constantly before me. It has given me the opportunity to express myself in ways I knew were there, but needed the right time or outlet. I come home from work each day, and the first thing I want to do is write a new post for this blog. I never know what I am going to write about, and I try not to put too much thought into it before I sit down to write. I truly enjoy reading the comments left here, or on Facebook, from those that read my blog. And while I enjoy reading the comments, I try to not let the comments influence what I write. I also don't give too much thought about who is reading my blog. This is the best way for me to feel complete freedom of expression.
When you read my blog, keep in mind that it is what I am thinking, or feeling in the moment. Sometimes I write specifically about what my day to day life is like, as in today's post. Other times I may use creative license to express the tone of my experience rather than the specifics. To get a true sense of me, you would need to step back, read many posts, then reflect on the tone of my words. I very much look at my writing as my art form. It is open to interpretation. I like when people mention that they read it, and offer their perspective, or their own experience. What I may not want to discuss is the specifics of what I wrote about. I would rather not focus on small details, rather look at the themes.
Try not to feel offended if my thoughts or experiences don't match your own, or what you think of as your experience of me doesn't match what you read. When I sit down to write, I write for me. I write what I need to express. It may makes sense to you, or it may not. I also write for those, like me, who are grieving. Unless you have lost your husband, wife, partner or spouse, please don't tell me you know what I am going through. While you may have experienced a similar loss, or you may feel that you understand my loss, you don't. This is not meant to sound rude, it is just meant to clarify how I experience my loss. Before losing Michael I thought I understood what this would feel like. I now know that I only understood a small part of it. If you think I am grieving the wrong way, or getting stuck, then please keep those thoughts to yourself. I appreciate your concern, but trying to put your perceived understanding onto my experience, is not helpful.
Remember the name given to my blog, Dan, in real time. It is about me, written by me, for me. I write in the present. This is what is really happening for me. I try to keep it real. I don't want to hide what I am going through. I don't want to sugar coat it, and I don't want to over dramatize it. I do, however, take creative license in the way I express myself at times.
I now identify as a widower. It best describes how I now experience myself. I don't feel single, and I am slowly losing my previous feeling of being married. This doesn't mean that I won't change this in the future, it is just where I find myself at this time. I know a lot of people don't like labels, but for me they sometimes help us cut to the chase. If I tell you that I am a gay widower, it spares me from having to go into more detail than I want to at the time.
In many ways I am now an open book. I like living my life this way. I know that it is not for everyone, but it is the experience I wish to have at this time. I am walking through this experience for all to see. It is my hope that my experience will offer others just that, hope, and for others, understanding.
There, I have said a lot. This is me. I offer myself for your observation.