Apparently, according to the anonymous comment on the last entry, I'm being way too damn hard on myself. I disagree, in that I'm just out here on my board, surfing the waves of grief, (coming up on) 8 months without the woman I loved most in the world. And at the end of the month, one day shy of his wedding anniversary, 7 months without my dad. That's just a basic fact. Yeah, I feel badly that they're gone. I mourn for their passing, and for the forced change their absence makes in my life. I watch old video and feel like I'm watching someone else's life, because my life now is fundamentally different. And it fucking hurts.
But I don't feel like I beat myself up about it. I don't feel like I go particularly hard on myself. My dad and I were on GREAT terms when he died. And I gave Samantha the best transition a wife could hope for - if she had to go at all. There were no issues outstanding between my dad and me, nor were there any between Sam and me. Except for the fact that they were both way too young to die and it's not bloody fair. But that's MY feeling, because I am left here to pick up the pieces. They're doing just fine, wherever they are.
There's nothing I particularly want to do about it, except feel the feelings and address the issues now, so I don't have to rehash it in a shrink's office ten years down the road when my kids have disowned me and I'm on my third rebound marriage. I'm very clear on the whole not-stuffing-your-feelings-into-a-little-ball thing.
If anything, I'm overindulgent with myself. My whole existence has reverted to that of a selfish 16 year old - the universe revolves around ME and MY shit, my daily routine, my schedule. I easily slide into self-pity or emotional loner mode, neglect basic chores or errands, and become passive in relationships (or vanish altogether when it's too painful to face others). I engage in retail therapy when I really shouldn't (and guys don't buy shoes or a new outfit - we buy big-ticket electronics and computer hardware).
It is what it is. And as long as we have a warm meal together at night and the kids make it to school with clean clothes on and their hair occasionally brushed, it's all good.
There is a basic truth in all this grief: The only way out is through. And if I can make it through Christmas and New Year's Eve, then I will just have a few major anniversaries to worry about (Sam's birthday, Dad's birthday, Sam's death, Dad's death) then the first year will be done and after that the anniversaries hold less and less power over your emotional state.
And now for some less depressing - and gosh darn it, even uplifting - news. We put up the Christmas tree. Or rather, my stepmom helped the kids put up the tree while I was watching Thomas Jefferson and John Adams debate in Tukwila on Wednesday night. We decorated it last night, including ornaments from our first years of marriage, the kids' first ornaments, and the pair of little teddy bears we always tied at the top of the tree. Kayleigh is going to take Samantha's stocking with the unicorn on it. Tyler is sticking with the needlepoint one Sam made for him when he was a baby. There are already some gifts under the tree, and the living room is full of white kitchen trash bags filled with old clothes and toys for charity.
The other bit of good news is that I got behind a camera for the first time in years yesterday, and it felt really good. My friend David Choi, with whom I co-founded Next2Nothing Studios, contracted me to operate the DV cam at a Holland America corporate video shoot. David is one of the most generous people I've ever known, and simply the opportunity to frame a shot and say, "camera's rolling" was a blessing in my current circumstance. We met at the N2N studio in Ballard at about Noon, where Dave had matching N2N shirts for us - very pro. We went over the expectations of the shoot, the game plan, etc. This was a pivotal moment for Dave's operation, because he's a little fish and wants to swim with the sharks, so the more pro we looked, the better N2N looks in the eyes of the folks at HAL.
To sum up, we rocked the joint. Hauled the gear to HAL HQ close to downtown Seattle, set up in a big paneled conference room with a china cabinet and beautiful art deco cruise posters from Holland America's 130+ years in the biz. The CEO of Holland America came in at 2PM, Sheila did her makeup magic, Phil set lights, Jason rigged the audio, I pushed the little red button, and Dave directed. We did several takes with the guy reading from a big prompter board and just ad-libbing (which Dave definitely preferred). We were broken down and out of there by 3:15. And, more importantly, the folks at Holland America liked what we did.
It feels good to be back in the biz and making new connections again.
Gonna hang with Caleb, Ron and the kids tonight, eat pizza and watch movies. Tomorrow, I'm taking the kiddos to the Narnia film, and Sunday I'm supposed to go into Brian's studio to lay down more guide tracks for Sam's tribute CD project. Somewhere in there I have to fit a coffee date. And now, to the gym - this fat ain't gonna burn itself. And we're having pizza tonight, fer cryin' out loud!