It’s not about me anymore

Today is the 9th anniversary of JM’s death.

I’m not going to post on Facebook to remind people of this date like I have in the past. I felt a kind of duty to remind others before, but it definitely was a duty that I wanted. I wanted to be the one to say, ‘hey, don’t ever forget him, don’t forget what happened today.’ I knew others missed him and would appreciate it, yes. But I also made it about me – I reminded people how I suffered, how I was changed, how I will always be changed.

But what kind of message is that? There is no good in that message. It’s selfish. ‘Don’t forget what happened to me on this day’ was my message. I want my message to be positive and worthwhile. My experience needs to be worth something.

Maybe I couldn’t see it before, I couldn’t let go of the pain of my experience, of the thing that made me feel different than my peers. I didn’t want to. I carried it as a shield – It allowed me to hold some parts of myself as untouchable. And it also blinded me from the message I now know is the only one I want to send on this day:

Try to remember, every day, to love your people more openly, more freely, even more fiercely than you think you can. Stretch yourself. And then tell them and show them, and continue to do so. Not because you have nothing to lose, quite the opposite. Anyone and anything can be lost at any moment. You don’t want to regret not loving as much as you could.

So do the work you need to do to get to the place where you can give and receive love. Where it doesn’t send you running. Take risks and reach out. Tolerate being uncomfortable expressing yourself if you aren’t used to doing that.

It’s good to remember that love, for however long or short a time, is worth it.

 

Slogging forward

I figured I would start to write my progress here, since the whole blog began with this journey six months after JM died and I escaped my life by moving to Spain.

I am doing everything I can to move through this, I want to get through. I know I cannot go around or run away without it eventually catching me and then hitting me with more intensity than ever. Do not want that! I can’t even handle this much.

My sorrow is so displaced. I panic when I think of letting go of this other relationship even though it is clearly over and probably never really was anything real to begin with. The idea is too frightening. It’s as if I need SOMETHING, anything, to mentally fall back on, however delusional. So I am clinging to the last strands of hope with this other relationship while frantically looking for another (I can’t help myself). This is my distraction. Being all alone with nothing is too frightening and too empty feeling.

I truly want to let this go, I want all these feelings for this other person to end, I want to be done with it completely, I want the indifference that he feels. I want my emotions to be in proportion with what is actually happening in my life. But I can’t force it. Maybe this is the catalyst to move me through these emotions. Maybe I am so far removed that I needed something to trigger them, some loss and rejection that really, really hurts to bring them all to the surface.

I sure wish it wasn’t this guy though. I wish it were someone I cared less about. Someone who would let me down more gently, to let it be in part my decision. Either that, or that he would be clear with me that it is totally over and done, instead of leaving me crumbs, so I can delete every bit of him from my life and let go. Because I totally get his indifference. I have and am acting the exact same way with other lovers in my life. I know how little I really think about them and how at first I gave them lots of attention and thought about future plans with them (albeit with far less intensity than I did with this current obsession). And that is what kills me, because I know exactly how little importance I am to him.

I’ve written sooo many paragraphs of what I want to say to him. How I will tell him that I am saying goodbye and these are the reasons. That helps a little. I have actually sent a few of them and he counters with some crumb of hope and I can’t let go. And the worst is that I know he is not for me. Like it wouldn’t last because of being in different stages of life to be honest. For some damn reason I think this is serving a purpose. A terrible, painfully out of proportion purpose.

I feel no different than yesterday. I am fighting contacting him and feel a stab of panic when I see he is online. I know if I wrote something he would respond, I could have a little jolt of dopamine when he pays me some attention. I could prolong the inevitable a little longer.

I’ll cry over this again today, multiple times. This is what the last month has been like. More than a month, because even when we were in contact every day I still had this panicky feeling that he would leave. Because I knew it was wrong, I chose him for a reason. I just don’t quite understand why I am creating this situation again.

Meanwhile, I am trying to put one foot in front of the other to make other things happen in my life. It is hard to concentrate but progress is being made in some areas. I closed on my house sale in Rhode Island and got the place partially ready to rent. I got all my paperwork and switched things into my name. All in a fog, and with zero sense of accomplishment or excitement. A year ago all this would have thrilled me. It all feels empty now, but I will benefit from it and someday maybe I can even feel happy or satisfied with this. So I guess in some areas of my life I am slogging forward.

 

 

 

Free falling

It’s been a couple of months now, and the giddy freedom of being single has worn off and, early as it is, I am looking for some kind of relationship. Well, let me correct that: I was never intentionally looking that I was aware of, but I fell very quickly for someone. Someone inappropriate, of course: Single but emotionally unavailable (though he came on very strong at first), very far away, much younger than me…actually, I was starting to cling to someone else of the EXACT same description (though a less exciting person and thus not nearly as intense) until this guy came along. So it was bound to happen, whether it was with this guy or someone else…

Long story short, after meeting and communicating and lots of future talk and dreaming together, I was revved up about a new and exciting future. Ready for it and ready for it to happen TOMORROW. Then of course came his retreat and my chasing him (which was bound to happen for how fast and furious I was going – I would have done the same had the positions been reversed). And then came lots of anxiety and tears on my part. Lots. Like way, way out of proportion.

Cut to: Me turning into a total, complete emotional wreck. Leaving public situations to go cry. Waking myself up sobbing in the middle of the night. Feeling total, complete despair and fear. Like the rug had completely been pulled out from under me and I have nothing to look forward to and no direction. Feeling totally alone and lost. What does this resemble? Oh yeah. This is triggering everything I went through–or perhaps did not go through–eight years ago today…

So the floodgates have been opened. Evidently because six of the last seven years I have been in a safe relationship. Safe, in that I was somewhat emotionally detached and safe in that I knew he would never, ever leave me. And that let me keep all those emotions and feelings of loss in check.

I am here in Rhode Island with my family. Afraid to return to Barcelona and be alone. Feeling like this will never end, will never lessen in intensity. Dealing with my misplaced feelings of loss because they make more sense this way, pining for and crying over someone else. But if I really think about my sadness over the loss of this potential partner, potential future and new exciting life, I am brought back to the core of where this is all coming from.

I am focused on the near future and the current person that I miss, but I see how I am also reliving my loss of JM eight years ago. There are many parallels, it’s like I am recreating the entire situation anew. I’m now suddenly alone and missing someone I can’t have. My future plans are there no longer. There is nothing keeping me in the place I am living, nothing keeping me anywhere and my interest in everything is forced at the moment, to just keep myself doing things, putting one foot in front of the other, even if it is a circle I am going in. Why would I do this? Why would I recreate the same situation? I don’t yet fully understand.

So I will try to focus on the good things that are coming, or will come out of this:

  • I am forced to reach out to my friends and family, who have been responsive and wonderful. Better than wonderful. I am being shown a lot of love and kindness right now.
  • I am feeling things intensely. I am surprised at how strongly I can feel for another person. I had forgotten. It is now extremely painful, but I’m alive.
  • I started therapy again to work through some of these emotions and physical reactions that are happening to me. Perhaps I will come out the other side more whole. Or a better person, or happier, or something. I don’t know what yet but it can’t be worse.
  • I’ve see that I was looking for someone else to fix this for me, to give me direction. Which I always denied but was exactly what I was doing. So maybe I can try to stop that, or at least step back from that a little.

I am still free falling, I have no idea how or where I will land. But I will eventually. I know that logically, but my insides are not yet convinced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A note to John-Mark

Dear JM,

Three days ago was the sixth anniversary of your death. It is strange to realize this, but you’ve now been dead longer than I knew you–we met in May of 2003 and you died in May of 2008. You were only in my life for five years, but I’m happy for all of them, even the tough ones.

You were tall, good looking, outgoing, educated, eloquent, charming and ridiculously smart. Things come pretty easily to people like you. I used to be resentful that things came to you so easily, because it never allowed you to learn how to work hard (and hence you didn’t know how to when circumstances called on some focus and hard work). Now I just smile and am grateful that I got to witness such a clever brain at work on a daily basis.

JM, I’m still laughing at you rocking your shoulders back and forth looking like such a white dude when dancing. I know you didn’t care at all. That was the thing about you, you weren’t shy and didn’t care about looking stupid — you never did look stupid though, you could pull off being an expert at anything – you just pretended like you were skilled in whatever it was and people lined up to follow you like little ducklings following a mama duck.

I’ll never forget the night when the neighbors across the street had yet another loud after-party at 3am on a week night. The thumping music woke me, even while wearing earplugs. You, of course, were fuming and marched straight across the street in a rage. You strode up to their front door and pounded on that thing until some drunk idiot opened it and saw all 6’3″ of you standing there, dressed in a green plaid robe and galoshes (it must have been raining that night). I could hear you yelling from the bedroom, and then the music went quite. You came back and said that after you finished chewing them out and the music stopped, someone quipped “nice robe” as you turned to head back home. We laughed our heads off about that. Later, after you were gone and one of those degenerate neighbors reached out to me, I learned that it was that night that you were dubbed “angry robe guy”. You would have loved that.

You always knew exactly what to do when I hurt myself. Whether I had broken a bone in a crash, or just skinned my knee when the dog yanked me off a the seat of some crappy little scooter I was using to make her run, you always knew if I needed medical attention or just a hug. You weren’t a worrier at all but you knew when to show concern.

I learned a lot from you, JM. Yes, you told me all kinds of facts and trivia about everything under the sun, but I learned more by the example you set (both good and bad!), though maybe those lessons will be for another post. At any rate, know that I still and will always carry those lessons with me. Thank you.

Me

5 years.

I had a dream last month where JM appeared. He appears in my dreams every 6 weeks or so.

The usual scenario is that he is suddenly alive and back in my life. I’m surprised because I know he is dead, so obviously I am rather unprepared for such an event. I always have to choose between my current life and my former life, between our marriage and my current relationship. The dream ends with me feeling trapped.

This last dream, however, ended differently. In it, I was angry at him for something–probably for suddenly returning in my life after being dead–but instead of being rather nonchalant about my anger, he embraced me. It was the most vivid experience I can ever remember dreaming. I could feel exactly how tall he was by where my face fit into his chest, and how long his arms wrapping around me were. I felt safe and calm in this warm hug. I woke up smelling him and still feeling that embrace.

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Four years and a day…

Whenever the end of April rolls around, I start feeling uneasy and wonder why. Then May hits and I remember and I dread the passing of May 10.

I am a day late here in recognizing that four years ago yesterday we lost John-Mark. I wanted to write yesterday, but I got as far as posting a photo and a note on Facebook before being taken down by a virus that made it hurt to even lay down. He got a lot of love on that FB post, so I don’t feel quite so bad for not getting this up in time. Thank you everyone for recognizing him on FB.

It’s hard to think that another year has passed, technology has developed,and things have happened in the world that JM would have loved to have witnessed. The US killing Osama Bin Laden springs to mind-man that would have made him happy. Or the creation of the iPad, or BMW entering World Superbike with his friend heading the team, or a million other things to do with his friends.

I was going to write some self indulgent things here but I’ll leave them. This here is for you John-Mark. Miss you and your humor, your talent, your towering height, your ultra-stubbornness, your fierce loyalty, your love for animals, your naivety that you hid so well because you were so smart, your curiosity, your love of knowledge, your power of debate, your charm and how comfortable you made the people around you feel.

 

Three Years.

It was an afternoon in late May of 2003, and I had some quasi work meeting someone else had arranged at the motorcycle dealership JM was managing. I was observing him closely for the first time, in profile, while he looked at his work computer in his little office at Spectrum Motorsports. He played with the tidy soul patch he kept under his lip and peered through his stylish glasses. He leaned forward in his chair, presumably to relieve the sciatica from a bulging disc he was suffering from those days. And just as he leaned forward, it was as if he suddenly started to sparkle, and I realized what a good looking man I was having a meeting with.

We kept talking business, but for the remainder of the meeting an additional agenda snuck its way into my side of the conversation. I could see he was responding to it, so I kept it up, trying to impress him with my bike knowledge and experience. I’m sure to an outsider I sounded a fool, but I know now that he did not care; he was viewing me through the other side of the sparkly lens.

It took one full month for him to ask me on a date. Ten months later, we snuck off to the county offices and were married.

And then, just after our fourth wedding anniversary, he died. That was three years ago today.

A lot of stuff happened in between. And presumably, I am still processing some of it because I still dream of John-Mark weekly. Or rather, he is in my dreams weekly, they are not necessarily about him.

In these dreams I am back in my old life in San Diego, in my old house, and JM is is always there. He, and my life, are as they were and whatever is happening in the dream, in  my life, is just taking place as normal. Sometimes I am mad at him, sometimes we are traveling somewhere, sometimes we are talking. I never think to ask him questions because while I am dreaming, everything is as it was and I don’t realize he is gone and that in my waking life I am living in Spain and in another relationship. My dreaming life hasn’t yet caught up to my waking life. Or maybe my dreaming life is pulling me back to try to resolve all that can never be resolved between us.

And it never truly can be. Oh sure, I can come to terms with things and let things go or “get over it” as some idiots like to offer as (useless) advice. But I’ll never know who he was on his way to becoming or what dreams he would achieve. I’ll never know how the story above was supposed to play out…

So I will appreciate what I have now. Everything and every friend and every family member and person in my life. And know that I am not alone in missing him.