Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lust is in the air, everywhere I look around...

Dr. Frank Spinelli - Your Gay Doctor on the Feast of Fools podcast

It's late, and I should be heading off to bed. Unfortunately, I have slipped back into an old behavior of just staying up very late. I mean, very late. My work at the office is quite slow this week, and because I only have one week left at the job, I'm not getting any new assignments. That said, there is really less need for rest and sleep, so just stay up!

I have also been aware of dreaming a lot this week. The crazy thing is, my dreams have been coming true. I have always been a bit of a dream interpreter for friends, so it's usually quite easy for me to look at the content, or mood, of the dream, and understand what it is I might be working through. Yet, this week has been quite different. I was even sharing one dream with my youngest son a few days ago, then by the end of the night I pointed out to him how it actually came true. It was a very strange feeling, but not one that I feel a need to analyze further.

For those that don't know, I will be starting a new job soon. Last year I flew down to San Diego and interviewed with the Superior Court to work as a custody mediator. It is something I really wanted to do, it pays well, and I honestly believe that I have much to offer them. The openings at the time were a bit far from where I planned to settle, so I let them know that it was not my preference to work so far from home. Fortunately for me, someone recently retired from their downtown court house, and they offered me the job. I've done all the preliminary finger prints, medical exam, and mandatory drug test, and am now just waiting for all the results to come in so they can give me my start date. The funny thing is, I've been kind of stressed about the drug test. Why? I have never used drugs. I think that I am still in a very vulnerable place in my grief. Having this job dangled in front of me, which is my "brass ring," is making me worry that some kind of fluke will occur, and I will lose what I am expecting to get.

Along with this job process, I did have an interesting moment, or two, while having my employment physical. I was being run through the various stations at this employment health care facility, while in the corner of my eye I could see this very good looking doctor. I just smiled, and thought, I hope I get assigned to him! Well, maybe I was also a bit nervous, as I didn't know how thorough this exam would be, and do I want to get undressed in front of this very cute doctor while I begin fantasizing about our future life together?

There I was, sitting on the exam table, all clothing remaining on. It was just a quick perfunctory exam, but throughout it I kept catching him catching my eye. He would smile, then look away. At one point he asked if I suffered from any hernias, such as abdominal, or groin. What! No. No such problem. Again, I sensed a bit of bashfulness on his part, which made me go weak in the knees. I may be making this part up, but I think he actually asked me once again if I was worried about a hernia. For a moment there I was tempted. Of course, now that you mention it, I was kind of worried about a hernia. Maybe I need to lie back on the table while you palpitate my abdomen. Or, maybe there is something wrong with my groin. Oh dear me, where those my trousers that just hit the floor?

Okay, so I can be a bit naughty. Well, to be honest I can be a bit of a perv. Tomorrow I have to return to have my TB test read. Of course we expect that it will be positive, as I was exposed to TB about 18 years ago, and took INH for a year. But, because I didn't have my medical record of it, the kind, and concerned, and good looking, young doctor said we should just go ahead and do the test. In my fantasy, he has been quite worried about me since yesterday. He is wondering if he should break a boundary, and call to check in with me. Looking at my arm right now, well, it's quite red, and raised. Fuck. I really didn't want to go get an X-ray of my chest, but I"m sure that is where this is headed. But, I'm almost positive that this man of integrity, and nice bedside manner, will take it upon himself to see that I am okay after having to stare at the ever growing red raised area at the test site of my arm.

Okay, I'm also a bit of a nut. Yes, I know when I am truly losing it. But, look at where I am. I am fantasizing about another man. I am allowing myself to get lost in the idea that there could be romance in my future. Not likely with this cute doctor, as he is probably at home with his wife and kids right this minute. I'm sure I created all of this up in my head.

But maybe I am wrong. Maybe it's the beginning of my next romantic adventure!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Special Day

Close-up of fluted champagne glass ready for celebrating

Five years ago. Standing in the middle of a nightclub, listening to the pulsating music. An awkward tall guy came up to me, "If you don't start moving you hips people will think you are straight." I smile, even laugh a bit, and he moved back across the room.

It takes me a couple of more songs to realize that this was the guy's lame attempt at flirting with me. I seen him standing by the dance floor, looking my way. I smile again, walk across the floor, and say, "Well, I don't see you dancing either."

Well, as the old saying goes, we danced the night away, and never stopped.

Michael and I loved to dance, and we loved to flirt with each other. We hired a dance instructor to help us choreograph our "first dance" at our wedding, and there were many nights when we danced to his favorite Bette Midler song in our kitchen. These are all such precious memories.

This was the night that we always celebrated as our anniversary. We would always go out for a romantic dinner together. My favorite evening was one spent at a cute little french restaurant the Michael was eager to try. It had about seven courses, each with a special wine pairing. This was the year before his tumor arrived. There wasn't much that I enjoyed on the menu, but Michael was so enjoying his meal, and wine, that I just smiled and laughed throughout the whole evening. He was like a child in a candy store.

Michael loved nice things, and enjoyed "doing it up." I enjoyed "doing him." Okay, probably too much information.

Remembering this day, and it's significance, makes me feel good. I'm in a good place right now, and I'm feeling like all signs are telling me to keep taking big steps forward. I'm determined, and committed, to living the life that Michael wanted for me. One where I am happy, and one where I am loved.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Birthday

Birthday candles!

Wasn't planning on posting anything today, but here I am.

My day went well enough. The nice folks at work had a cake for me and a fellow worker who share the same birthday. From that point on I was on a marathon of appointments throughout the county. It was very busy, and very tiring. I couldn't wait to get home, throw off my work duds, and put on a big over sized shirt (Michael's of course) and a pair of shorts.

Other than a quick run out for dinner with my son Remy, I have been sitting here reading email, the many wonderful greetings that only Facebook can provide for, and staring at the silent television screen. I was doing okay most of the time, then it hit, the tears.

For some reason I kept telling myself not to cry today. I felt like I had to have a happy day, sans tears, to some how prove to everyone that I'm not wallowing in my grief. I'm not quite sure why I give myself these messages, as no one else is telling me this. I suppose we are always our own worse enemies, right?

Anyway, I finally gave myself permission to cry, which I did very easily. I only needed a few minutes, then stopped to catch my breath. Just then, the phone rings. I don't ordinarily answer the phone when having one of these moments, but this call was needed. It was Michael's mother. If anyone was going to understand, it was her. Sure enough, she said I sounded like she usually feels. We laughed, and joked about lying about our age. I promised to say I was 39 so she could then claim a younger age as well. It was a very nice, and fun, conversation. I feel much more connected as a result, and can spend the rest of the evening in a better state.

Thank you Barbara for your call. Thank you for your continued love and support.

Thank you to all my friends and family that reached out to me today.

Thank you Michael for your love. I miss you more and more each day, but hold your smile in my heart, which keeps it beating.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Visiting Familiar Territory.

681 - now I am in (relatively) familiar territory

I just arrived back from a visit with my parents. I decided to take the afternoon off from work, and make the two hour trip to have dinner with them. It was a very nice visit, but one that seemed to be pushing my emotional buttons now and then.

Being in my new home, and in my new city of San Diego, has buffered me from always having to face ghosts of my time with Michael. I needed to deal with my grief internally, and lessen the blow of the constant reminders of where we used to be. Visiting my parents, on the other hand, is filled with reminders of where we would sleep, sit, or dine, during our visits. It's also very odd to be sitting there, watching my parents go through some of the situations that I did with Michael during his illness. My mother is quite ill, and due to her pain medication, doesn't always have clear control of her thoughts. At one point she was sitting where Michael always sat in their living room, then struggled to get up to her walker, with my father right behind her. She suddenly had the presence of mind to make a joke about the indignity of being ill, and some of the unfortunate changes that go along with it. I found myself laugh, then tear up, as it was as if Michael was right there doing the same. Then as they walked down the hall toward their bedroom I thought to myself that this is not how life is supposed to be. I'm not supposed to be watching my elderly folks going through a stage that I have already passed through.

I was glad to have the living room to myself for a short time, as it allowed me to feel what I was feeling, then to regroup. When they did return, I felt comfortable to share some of this with them. It's a conversation that my father and I often have, as we have both been in the role of caretaker for our spouses for quite some time. It's also always nice that he ends these types of conversations reminding me of how much they loved Michael, and how much they think of him each day as well.

As I drove closer and closer to San Diego, I began to feel a bit of optimism. It was an odd sense of optimism in that I was missing Michael's presence in my life, yet also feeling so much appreciation for having him for the time that I did. It was also a reminder of how far I have come in my grief. I now have a new environment, where I can find solitude if I choose, and also a strong social group that keeps me busy with invitations to lunch or weekend dinners. I'm in a good place, and I appreciate that.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just continuing the walk.

He Walks in Streams of Light

Time for a check in.

My social life here in San Diego is beginning to take off. I'm spending more and more time with the crowd from work. I really clicked with this group, and feel so comfortable with each of them. I also get to see a new friend, who recently lost her child, during these gatherings. Sometimes I can talk to her about her grief, other times there is just that unspoken acknowledgement that we share with our eyes. I'm being taken out to lunch by some other new friends later in the week, which I have been really looking forward to. It's nice to find kindred spirits where you decide to lay your hat.

I think that this current change in my social life in a combination of some very special people that have chosen to go out of their way to engage me. It's also because I have come out of my self imposed hibernation. I really think is was a necessary part of my grieving journey, and I feel so much stronger as a direct result of it.

I did notice today though, that in between these fun, and supportive, connections, I have a tendency to slip into my depression, but not for long, and not as deep. When I can step back at look at this whole grief experience, I find that it is so fascinating. I have definitely had times in my life when I was sad, anxious, hurt, and so on, but never have I had those gut feelings that go along with such periods last this long. It's like having a chronic condition. You treat it, you try to sedate it, or you try to manage the pain, and yet, it is always there.

No new insight really, just my current level of awareness.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Unexpected Visitors

Circle of friends.

This has definitely been a week of social connections. It's that old saying, when it rains, it pours. Well, in the past I may have used this line to convey that I had been crying a lot, but I am pleased to say that it has been a time of pouring love, and interaction with friends.

Friday I posted a stupid April Fools joke on my Facebook account. I wrote that things were not working out for me, and I was taking my 12 year old, and moving to a meditation center in Thailand. I even went so far as to research a place where I could actually go, and that had programing for children. Well, most assumed, or perhaps, hoped, it was a joke. But, a good amount of friends began asking about a going away party. Some panicked, especially my new friends here in San Diego. I think they felt somewhat betrayed. Hey, we have really come to care about you Dan, don't leave us!

I was quick to let my local friends know that it was a joke, but I tell you, I have received a fair amount of teasing at the office all week because of this. At this point I am seriously thinking of planning a trip to the very place I joked about. I think it would be a good way to get myself back on the spiritual quest that I began this past summer.

Anyway, because of the alarm that was sent out on Friday, I got a quick request to join some friends at a local hangout. I met them for food and drinks, and had a really great time. The next night I hosted a gathering at my home for several more friends. We cooked, drank, laughed, and cried. It was a lovely evening. It gave me an opportunity to share my home for the first time. It also gave me an opportunity to connect to a couple who recently lost a child. I had a truly intimate moment, standing in my bedroom, my hand on Michael's urn, sharing with the young mother about how our pain is part of the healing process.

As this week has gone on I have received two calls from old friends in San Francisco, wanting to catch up with me. They are both planning on a visit next month, which really makes me happy. I also got invited out for a birthday lunch by a few new friends I have made in the community of which I work. One, also someone single, extended herself further by letting me know that she is always looking for someone to dine with, or to do fun things in the city. She told me never to hesitate to call, even if it is very last minute, as she loves to do things on the fly. This was a great thing to hear, as I had been thinking about asking the same of her.

I must also say that since my first day on the new job, I was blessed with the most amazing office mate. And even though I have since been transferred to a different floor in the building, she has continued to go out of her way to connect with me, and make many of these social gatherings happen. I have quickly grown to love and cherish my friendship with her.

So what am I trying to say tonight?

I am blessed. Truly blessed. Something is changing around me. I am coming out of hibernation, and as I poke my head out, I see that I am not alone. There are people there, willing, and wanting, to be a part of my life. There is no regret, okay, maybe there is, but I know that I needed to go through this dark and lonely period that the past few months have been. I needed the quiet time to mourn further, and to let things fall into place. This is not to say that everything will suddenly be rosy, but I do feel that I will no longer be allowed to completely withdraw again.

I can honestly say that I am happy at this moment. I woke up this morning, not having slept too long, or too well. I woke up with an odd feeling that I had a visitor last night. You see, I don't remember my dreams. I used to be quite a vivid dreamer. Ever since Michael died, I can only remember two dreams. That's it. There are no pictures, words, or symbols that I can recall being a part of my sleep last night, but there is a feeling, a feeling that he was there. I remember lying in bed, not being able to sleep. I kept asking Michael to come visit me. I really wanted to see him, or feel him again. I remember wishing I could have lovely dreams of us together, yet it has never happened. I don't know how it happened, or what happened, or if it happened. I only know that he was there, and that is lovely for me.