Thursday, March 4, 2010

Who's The Tough Guy Now?

And the tough guys tumble
Originally uploaded by
andrey dias

Well, I have to report that last night was as painful as I suspected it would be. In fact it was worse.

I'm not exactly sure why I had such a difficult night. Of course my day was simply awful, so why not my night. Actually my day yesterday wasn't really awful, it was mostly exhausting and emotional. I really did have fun trying to make my way to pick up my son, and the two of us did enjoy our attempt to get home, fighting the elements.

I think the likely culprit for my emotions is that I am almost a week away from the 6 month anniversary of Michael's death. I just finished writing an email to a fellow widow who also recently lost her husband to a brain tumor. I was saying that last night was the most painful I have had in a very long time. The intensity of my grief was similar to that of the first few months. It was the type of pain that I wish I didn't have to endure, yet part of me welcomes it.

Feeling these intense emotions, feeling Michael's absence with such physical pain, feels like ongoing proof of his existence. As I got into bed last night I was immediately consumed by the agony of my loss. I couldn't lie down. I cried and cried into my pillow, sitting and rocking on my bed. Soon I was doubled over in pain, wondering if I was going to make myself sick. This went on for such a long time. For a moment I didn't know what to do. It was as if I was experiencing this for the first time. Then I got out of bed and grabbed my laptop. I needed to see if anyone had posted on my blog, or anyone had posted a new entry on their blog. I needed to know that someone was awake. When I looked at my earlier post I found that there was a comment from my daughter. It said that she was awake in her room if I needed her. I'm probably the worst when it comes to seeking help or support. This should come as no surprise, as I am a man. It makes me remember something Michael said to me a couple of weeks before he died. At that point I was having to help him walk, help him eat, help him bathe and help him in and out of bed. One night he pulled me close to him and said, "you know, you're not so tough. When I get better I'm going to take you to a wrestling ring and show you who's stronger." I said, "bring it on."

Try as I may to change, change does not come easily.

As I wrote yesterday, I received a letter from one of Michael's friends. This friend is always so sweet in the way he takes time to share his thoughts and memories of Michael in cards or letters. In last nights letter he was sharing with me a phone call Michael had made to him about 4 years ago. It was a call from Michael on a Sunday in April. In fact I know the exact day, it was Sunday, April 22, 2006. How do I know this? It was the day after Michael and I met. He had picked up the phone to call his friend Thomas, and to tell him of meeting a new guy at Badlands (a gay bar in SF.) He told Thomas that he really liked this guy, and that he was looking forward to getting to know him better. Well, we got to know each other better. In fact, we got to love each other.

I am so appreciative to Thomas for sharing this memory with me. Yes, it opened a flood gate of grief, but it was evidence, once again, that Michael was here. It marked history. It marked history in the time line of my life with Michael. Our time line was short, but our time was filled with so much joy, and so much pain. So much passion, and so much frustration. It was easy to love him, and sometimes difficult to live with him. Actually, it was probably more difficult for him to live with me. I had so much to give him, yet needed so much in return. We grew quite a bit together.

But where was I? I was doubled over in pain. I was needing support. I was needing to not feel so alone. I put my computer to the side. I walked upstairs from my bedroom, and stood in the middle of the kitchen, telling myself it was okay to take my daughter up on her offer of support. And yet, I stood there feeling like I shouldn't need this. I am the parent. Why is it so hard to accept help? Someone was telling me to move forward, that I didn't always need to be so strong, so I took the next step.

I ended up lying down with my daughter, talking, crying and laughing. I really appreciate, and love her. This life of mine has felt very painful, but it definitely has it's blessings.


  1. It felt really good for you to come to me for my help. it is definetly a change in roles. i love you.

  2. A few parts of that post gave me goosebumps. Arianne sounds like a beautiful person - a real tribute to her Dads.

    Six months can be so rough on many it seems. It took me a bit to figure it out, but I was quite a mess in the time leading up to that mark.

    I'm thinking of you as it approaches. . .

  3. Dan, I'm so glad that you have your daughter and sons to talk to. Sometimes I wonder how different it might have been if we had had children. Perhaps I would not have felt so alone while caring for Don and now as I carry on without him. Anyhow, I'm glad that you are being so well supported by your family.

  4. Dan, your daughter can help you in a way no one else can. my own daughter has taken on a bit of that role, as much as i allow her, and she draws her own strength from it. Arianne seems so much like my own Erienne. i love the name similarities.

    i remember the 6 month milestone. it fell 6 days before my daughter's wedding. each milestone that passes will be something you will learn from. if you have to get through it on your knees or laying down, you have the love and support of so many in your life that i think you only need to think it and someone will reach out to you.

    you are a blessing to this earth. you are a blessing to all who knew Michael. you are a blessing to your children, to Michael's family but most of all you are a blessing to Michael himself. such a love, such a connection is never lost. never be sorry for tears. they are evidence of how much you love, something some people never learn how to give.

  5. I am coming up on 8 months, in one more week. This month has been awful. During a very fitful nap last week, a song I have not heard in probably 15+ years came into my mind, and I took it as coming from Matt. It flashed in my mind again as I read your post today - the song "If" by bread.

  6. I'm so glad you were able to reach out to your daughter for support. I think, as parents, we always feel the need to be strong for our kids. But since Austin died I've noticed that when I'm able to let down my guard and let my sons be strong for me, it is so comforting and empowering for them. Maybe it's like a gift we give our children, no matter how old they are. As long as it doesn't overwhelm them, providing comfort is such a great opportunity for a child to be given. Maybe it's one of those small, wish we never had to experience, gifts that grief gives us.

    May you find some peace today, Dan.
    Love Deb

  7. You have a wonderful daughter.