Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Accepting Loss

Yesterday evening as I returned home from visiting my parents, and ending a long full day, I ascended the stairs that lead to my bedroom. I was looking for a nice end to a nice day. What I discovered was that I was awash with further loss.

This home that I am renting has been problem after problem. Just a couple of weeks ago I woke up to a flood of water in my bathroom due to a leak from the roof. Last night I discovered another.

What I thought was a safe place, in the corner of the room, is where I stacked up some of my unpacked moving boxes that encased some things of importance to me. In these boxes were photo albums, legal documents, notes written by Michael, a family bible that belonged to Michael's deceased aunt, and the journal I kept during his last month of life. I found these items floating in water. It's as if the universe were playing a cruel joke on me. "Lets take his prized possessions, and set them to ruin. Let's see how he manages with further loss. Let's remind him, a year later, that there is still so much loss to endure."

Immediately my worries went to my wedding album, which I had carefully placed in a sturdy box prior to placing it in the storage box. I found the sturdy box, floating in water, completely soaked. I carefully opened the box, and lifted the wedding album with the care you would take with a newborn child. Fortunately for me, there was little damage to it. I carefully dried it off, and set it aside for further air drying. Unfortunate for me, the bible didn't fare so well, nor did all the folders that contained some of Michael's last writings. My hospice time journal appears to be drying fairly well. It is obviously warped, as are all the other items retrieved from the boxes, but not completely lost.

I didn't allow this to throw me off course. I did cry some tears for fear of losing our wedding album, then followed with tears of joy when I felt that it would be okay. Coming home tonight from work I went directly up to my room to see how these things were faring. Unfortunately some items will now need to be let go.

I guess you could say I am trying to be a "Big Boy" about all of this. I am trying my best to not get pulled under. I am telling myself that these items are not him, and they will have less meaning with time. Yet these small objects, obviously chosen by me to be kept after our move, are now teaching me another lesson in loss, and in letting go.

Today would have been our second wedding anniversary. Last year at this time I was a shattered, numb, and broken man. Michael had only been dead one month, and I was on the eve of having to celebrate our first wedding anniversary without him. The day was not completely sorrowful, as a few of Michael's friends brought dinner over, and we all enjoyed a piece of our wedding cake which had been placed on ice for a year. That night as I descended down to my bedroom I decided that if I was going to make it through this painful loss, then I was going to need to write about it. I needed to have an outlet where I could write my thoughts and feelings, without any filter. It had to be real.

On this day, October 19, 2010 I sit here, having lost another year. Yet what a year it has been. To be honest, I didn't think I would make it. There were those nights when I was painfully sick with grief. There were times when I was down on my knees, or flat on my back, crying out in anguish. There were those nights when reading the comments from others gave me the courage I needed to commit to another day. There were also some very dark times when I needed to make a choice as to the importance of my own life. Having been there, I now understand how someone can find themselves in a place where life doesn't seem worth living. I was there. I didn't want to live. I wanted to be dead.

Yes, this is harsh. Yet it is my truth. How do you spend your whole adult life wanting, and searching for that perfect person, only to have him taken away so soon? That was what life did to me. In response, I didn't think I wanted to be a part of life. I wanted out.

I'm sitting here, 500 miles away from San Francisco, the city and the home that I loved. Yet I am here because I could not create my future in that same place. I needed to break free, and to challenge myself to create something new. Perhaps that is why I was so stunned yesterday as I signed my life away. I was somewhere new. I had accepted loss and was making a choice to live, and to enjoy the life that I have. As the Kanji symbols on my arm say, Acceptance of Fate and Happy with that Fate. What does this mean?

I am choosing to accept the fate I was given. After all, this is my life, and although I ultimately can't control the outcome, I can certainly change the way I respond to it. In spite of my fate, I am choosing to seek happiness.

One Year...since starting this blog.

Two Years...since exchanging those vows.

Three Years...since knowing the direction life was taking me.

One day...at a time. I move forward, embracing change.

Accepting Loss


  1. jesus, I hate when the universe uses a freaking sledge hammer.


  2. I'm sorry for all the shit that comes your way but I'm so proud of you for handling it "like a big boy :) " I love you Dan. You continue to inspire me, and often you make me smile. I've even been known to laugh out loud when reading your posts. You are such a gift to so many of us out here. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. Michael would be so proud of you and I know you two would have had a beautiful celebration of your second anniversary. Sending you a big hug.

    Love Deb

  3. My heart was breaking as I was reading of what happened to your treasured keepsakes. I was at work and tearing up so I decided to read the rest when I got home . . . .

    I am so glad you have seen the importance of your life - you are important to a great many people.

    Much love to you,

  4. One day at a time, footstep by footstep.
    I'm sorry for the crap that keeps happening. But thank you for this post, it made me cry.
    And smile.
    Thinking of you .... and Michael.

  5. I want to thank all of you for stopping by to read, and then to leave me a comment. Today has been harder than I ever expected. No need to figure out why it just is, or just was.

    What I do gain from it though is how wonderfully supportive people can be. I believe in the inherent goodness of people, and today confirms it.

    Love you all.


  6. Oh, Dan... :(

    I'm so angry at the Universe right now. You didn't need further loss... I didn't need the car accident that happened the day after I returned to California, my car totaled and my computer (in the trunk) smashed. Seriously? Haven't we had ENOUGH to deal with?! Can we just catch a break?