Sunday, September 19, 2010

Late Night Panic / Archaeological Find

Book light

Earlier in the week the chain to my urn necklace broke. I tried to fix it, but the rope chain is far too intricate to repair. I had put it on the shelf next to Michael's urn, thinking that I would get around to replacing the chain.

Tonight when I came up to my room I realized that I was needing to prepare for my first day on the new job. I began looking through my clothing, making sure I had something to wear. Not knowing the atmosphere of the office, I decided I better play it kind of conservative, and wear a long sleeve dress shirt, covering my various tattoos. When I pictured myself getting ready for work I realized that I needed my urn necklace.

I started going through all of my things, desperately looking for an alternate chain to use. I still haven't unpacked many of our things, as I decided only to open the boxes that had essentials. When I couldn't find what I needed I made another last minute attempt to repair the chain. Logic told me this was impossible, but try to tell that to a crazy man, and it is of little help. After 30 minutes of frustrating attempts at repairing the chain I was back on my quest to find another chain. I knew that I had others, and I new the Michael had a couple that he wore. But where in the hell did I put them?

I began looking through some of the boxes that were easily accessible. I found all kinds of things, but not any chains. I began to panic. Really panic. I could feel myself starting to hyperventilate. Isn't this crazy? I stopped myself, and calmed down. Then I started my ridiculous search once again. This time I found myself in tears.

Now really Dan, is this behavior necessary?

I have never been one to need objects such as this to keep me grounded, or together. I know that I keep Michael close in my heart, so is it really necessary to keep him hanging around my neck? In the middle of this my daughter called to check in with me. Of course I lied, and said I was fine when she inquired about how I was doing. I told her that I was trying to find a replacement chain, and was having no luck, but completely washed over the emotional reaction I was having at the time. I think she sensed that my mind was focused on finding a chain, and she ended her call short.

I reopened another box, and began searching through all the small things that used to go into our bedside tables. This was a big mistake. More tears. Why the hell do I do this? I began looking at all the little things that made up our life together. So many of the things I found have not crossed my mind in such a long time. They are things that we used, needed, as a couple, that I don't need now that I am by myself. One in particular was a book light. I used to do a lot of reading. I used to stay up very late into the night reading while Michael slept. I no longer read much at all. I have given up this pleasure. If I do decide to read at night, there is nobody around to disturb. I no longer have need for a book light.

I feel so tormented by all of this. It's almost like my room has become a bit of an archaeological site. The more I dig, the more I find these artifacts from a past life. These artifacts were once useful tools that benefited a marriage. Today they have no use. They are no longer connected to the place where they are found. I won't throw them away, as they are reminders of a life once lived. They speak of how two individuals lived as a couple, moving about in cooperation. They serve as a reminder of how each person was sensitive to the needs of the other. They tell me that this couple loved each other, and that their life together had meaning.

In the end I put the broken urn necklace back on the book shelf. I will look for a replacement chain tomorrow. Maybe it's a time to re-examine the need to wear such a necklace. Is this just one more way that I am holding on too firmly to the past? For now, I needed something to soothe me. I went back to the bookshelf, picked up my wedding ring, and placed it back on my ring finger. I must admit, it feels lovely to have it back on. It feels at home there. I just don't know if it is the right way to meet new people tomorrow. I may just be setting myself up for assumptions about my life that I may not wish to have there later. Perhaps I will transfer it to my other hand in the morning, or perhaps it will find itself back on the bookshelf before I leave.

For now, I am feeling calmer.


  1. I have a couple of boxes of stuff that are like emotional land mines for me. I have not spent time looking inside of them for that very reason. One is the box of contents out of the drawer of the little table that was next to the recliner chair where Don spent most of his time sleeping and resting for the final few months he was alive. I saved every little scrap of paper that was in it, but I can't really look through it yet - so I just save it until I can.

    Furious searches are familiar to me though. Also, just getting frustrated to the point of tears. Not so much now, but last winter. Very calm old me could go right off my stick over certain things. Now, it's better. I'm more like my old self. Last year, I felt practically psychotic at times. I think this is yet another stupid stage of grief. Good thing it went away as it was kind of horrible.

    Good luck with your first day at the new job. I hope it goes well. I'm sure it will be a little strange and seem like a very long day (why do new jobs always seem to be three times longer than usual??) -- but I hope it is a good one nonetheless. Take care.

  2. Dan, first of all, congrats on your first day at your new job. It is another step on your new path through this world.

    Your post made me recall something I stumbled upon the other day. I have taken up a new hobby (geocaching) after finding Wade's really old handheld GPS unit. It is a little something to occupy my time and honestly, get me out of the house. While becoming familiar with the GPS unit, I realized that I could download the locations into the unit, only if I had a cable. Wade was known for keeping the original box for everything. And I remembered seeing this box in his closet not too long ago. However, when I opened it, I was so overcome with surprise at its actual contents that I almost fell to the ground. In this box was the boutonniere from our wedding as well as one for two of his daughters' weddings and a couple of others he wore during other family weddings. All perfectly preserved.

    I have also worn my wedding ring a few times. It still fits and feels so good, just like it is supposed to be there.

    Hugs to you.

  3. The exact same thing happened to me with the book light! No need for that anymore, wah, tears. Crap. There are lots of items that hit home like that. I still wear my wedding & engagement rings on the left ring finger. They still feel so right, and have been there for so many years. I'm happy that they keep me feeling a little removed from the world. Friends see them, know I'm not actually married, but must assume if I am wearing them they mean SOMETHING, and leave me alone, and anybody new would just assume, married. So that is good I guess. A little shield against inquiry. Don't know if it'll be a level of healing, an interest in showing a different face to the world, or what, that will make me change, but haven't felt any impetus, so..haven't. I was wearing Jeff's wedding ring on a chain around my neck for months, but now I have the tattoo on my chest in the same spot so it feels redundant. Taking that gold band off his finger was one of the hardest things I ever did, though.

    Interested to hear where your ring ended up for work today.

  4. Ooh, and thank goodness the chain broke when you had a chance to notice, and the urn necklace didn't fall off and get lost somewhere!

  5. You know, I got up during the night, and put my wedding ring back next to Michael's. I just felt like that is where it belongs. I too wore Michael's ring for awhile, doubling them both up on my ring finger.

    Tonight I had the presence of mind to think of a place where I might have put Michael's chains/necklaces. And lo and behold, there I found not only his, but mine as well. After some careful work, the urn is back around my neck. I couldn't be more pleased, and more at peace.

  6. First, congratulations on the new job! Hope it's going well. I'm glad you found a new chain for the urn necklace.

    I can totally identify with that emotional panic when you felt you needed to wear it and couldn't. A friend of mine offered many months ago to buy me cremation jewelry; I accepted the offer and chose a bracelet with an infinity symbol that holds a small amount of ashes. However... The offered item has never actually materialized, and I kept putting off buying something for myself because I thought she'd probably present me with her gift as soon as I did. The first trip I took by plane, so I couldn't take the urn with me, I was extremely upset because I didn't have any way to take a piece of him with me.