Thursday, April 19, 2007

Dancing With Tears in My Eyes

Yeah, WTF?? I've been having the most surreal week. After all that numbness last week with the anniversaries of both Matt's and Sam's deaths, this week I find myself spacey and more than a little melancholy. I know what this is, but I think maybe subconsciously I don't want it to be so.

I'm letting go.

I read my entries from this time last year and I can't believe this is the same guy (because it really isn't). I look at pictures from five, ten, twenty years ago - there was Samantha, there I was with her. There we were together. But it's bloody surreal because that is SOOOO not my life anymore. It's a whole other world. I still get a daily dose of Samantha just by looking at my kids, but she's no longer there, fully physical and present in my life anymore, and as long as there are no magic wands or time travel machines, that's just The Way It Is (TM). I can't will her back or cry her into existence, and honestly at this point, those fantasies of it all being just a big hospital mistake and any moment I'll get a call to come pick her up because she misses me terribly are far behind me.

A widow friend of mine whose age, story and timeline are very similar to my own said it was like a launching pad. It's like you finally realize that there's stuff you want and need to do in life, and grief is not a great facilitator of said "stuff". So, although you will always, always, ALWAYS carry with you a piece of your spouse or other loved one in your heart and occasionally take it out to look at like an old photo, maybe have a good cry over, it's not cluttering the floor and making it impossible to move without stubbing your toe. It's okay. YOU'RE okay, and it's alright to be happy again. The good days now outnumber the bad. You can wake up (perhaps in the bed and/or home the two of you shared) and be okay to face the world with a positive attitude.

I think my friend's departure from our support group has something to do with it. We share a bizarre set of circumstances in our lives, and have a supportive, understanding friendship. And she is ready to leave the group and move forward in the best way. I think I was waiting for her to get to that point out of some big brother instinct of wanting to know she would be okay, or perhaps was kind of using her situation as a mile marker for myself (her husband died about 4 months before Samantha). In any case, I'm feeling really... what's the word... autonomous... capable... independent...


I will stay with my Gilda's group until the 2 year marker for my dad's death at the end of May, then I too will leave the nest and fly on my own (in a huge flock of other capable, independent birds).

If you were a teenager in the 1980s, you know where the title of today's post comes from. It was probably British new wave group Ultravox's biggest hit in the US. I used to have the Best of Ultravox (as well as a bunch of their regular albums) on CD before the fire. So I recently picked up another compilation reissue from EMI (it sounds GREAT, by the way), popped it in the car stereo, and proceeded to sing along at the top of my lungs. Very cathartic, let me tell you. It's a good way to exorcise all the pent up energy from another wave of skin hunger (and not wanting to jump on Craigslist for a quick hook-up - not my bag anymore, baby).

Dancing with tears in my eyes
Weeping for the memory of a life gone by
Dancing with tears in my eyes
Living out a memory of a love that died

It's five and I'm driving home again
It's hard to believe that it's my last time
The man on the wireless cries again
It's over, it's over

It's late and I'm with my love alone
We drink to forget the coming storm
We love to the sound of our favourite song
Over and over

It's time and we're in each others arms
It's time but I don't think we really care

- Ultravox

See, a year ago those words would have meant something completely different to me. Now they are much more positive. The tears don't factor as much as the dancing. It's only the pangs of forward movement and letting go. It hurts a bit, but it's okay.

It's really okay.

It's okay and I feel good.


Ali said...

I really like the launching pad analogy. Realizing that the grief will just go along with you - and being ok with that, rather than gluing you to one spot in the past, allows you to launch and hopefully soar.

And Ultravox? Ahhhh, sweet memories of youth....


Juls said...

I'm new to the widow thing. I have been avoiding the support groups feeling:
(1) that I have no time for it,
(2) that I don't want to be pained by other's stories.

Then here I was, today, googling for blogs of parents who are widows. I guess I wanted to know that it works out (somehow), although it is for me. It's just so fresh, and hard.

D@mn Cancer.

tbone said...

Thanks Ali. I think the analogy is most apt, which is why I stole it from my friend. :) Actually I was trying to pick the right word in the middle of group one night, and she offered "launching pad". So we were of a mind anyway.

Juls, I am very sorry to hear about your loss. Yes, it is absolutely crappy MOST of the time in the first year, and even through some of the second. But it DOES get a bit easier to compartmentalize and deal with the waves as they come.

Please feel free to email me privately for any reason. I would be happy to talk to you about the world of widdahood - I don't have all the answers, but I have traveled a similar path. Mentoring is a big component of my own healing process, and folks like Lisa and Ali have been immensely helpful to me. I would love to be able to return the favor.

My dad actually had one of those rubber bracelets that said FUCK CANCER. I think anyone who has dealt with the disease or who has lost a loved one is entitled to a little strategic profanity. But I'll toast to your greeting as well. :)

D@mn Cancer indeed.

tbone said...

Heh. I should probably pu my email where my mouth is...


Anonymous said...

(pet the Todd)

I know it doesn't make anything better or help, but for what it's worth, I'm so proud of you. :)