Empty Spaces

I’ve been trying to be strong for everyone else through this, while I think they are trying to be strong for me. It’s an endless cycle. No one wants to talk about it, but it’s always on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

I always wondered how people move on after their other half dies. I don’t think I understand it. Today, I’m not even sure what’s going on today. In every breath that I take, every time my eyes lose focus, every time I go looking for something, I am just over come with sadness and grief.

Today I found a picture that Kelsie was trying to surprise me with. Well I guess maybe it’s more of a painting that she was filling in with color. Then I saw our white board, exclaiming our excitement to be going to California and wishing each other a happy anniversary. Then I thought about how nothing is right, nothing feels the same, and ultimately how empty and alone I am feeling.

I go to bed every night feeling that way. Crawling into our bed in my new home, without you curling into me so that we can both fall asleep. I think about how Atlas just doesn’t understand why she sees your mom and your brother, but she can’t see you or Juneau. She tries to help. She brings me a tennis ball whenever she thinks I’m getting a bit too lost in my head and forces me to play with her. All I can think about though is how everything has changed and not for the better. I think of the spaces you used to occupy and are now empty. I look to the kitchen and the couch when I come home out of pure habit, wishing, hoping and praying that you’ll be there and I am still in a nightmare of a coma. You’re not. All the spaces you once occupied are now empty.

My bed, the kitchen, the shower, Atlas’ momma, my fiancée, the space in my heart that I only opened for you, the person who took care of me when I was too busy to take care of myself. They are all empty spaces, never to be filled again.

They say that time heals all wounds, that time will make the pain of missing you fade. So far all I have found is that time is making it worse. Every day without hearing your voice, texting you, coming home to you, kissing you, hugging you, and going to bed with you is just that much harder.

I miss you more and more every day LP, and I’m still trying to figure everything out, but I just don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to heal my non physical wounds, I don’t know how to move forward, and I don’t know how to make the pain of missing you calm down, even just a little bit.

I’m like the version of Batman we saw between the Joker and Bane. I’m still here. I’m still functioning. I’m just not me. I’m just not strong. I’m just not whole.

I have to hope that our theory of life and death holds true. Reincarnation follows Newton’s laws. You have to be out there somewhere and one day I will find you again. Our souls will find each other. They found each other in this life and they will find each other in the next and any life there after.

Rest easy Robin and say hi to Zac, Grandma and Grandma. Until we meet again.

Coming Out

A little shake up from what I have been posting about recently, but in honor of National Coming Out Day yesterday I thought I would share my truth.

I haven’t thought about this in years. It’s been 9 years since I came out to my friends and maybe 6 since I came out publicly. I was 16 when I came out to my closest friends, it was the scariest thing I have ever felt that I had to do. Let me back up a little bit, I’ll tell you about my first coming out, not the nice pretty one I had when I was 16.

I first tried to come out to my parents when I was about 12. They told me no. Quite literally they both told me that no I wasn’t gay, I just hadn’t met the right person yet and I wasn’t able to make that decision so young. Let me explain something from a psychology background. Sexual orientation and gender identity or innate, you are born that way. You don’t choose anything. The only thing you decide or choose to do is share your truth. When I was 12 I didn’t have that understanding yet, DOMA was still a thing, LGBTQ hate crimes, not being able to marry, being cast aside, increased suicides amongst LGBTQ teens, and a whole host of other things that made LGBTQ persons seconds class citizens. I buried who I was, for years I pretended that I was someone I’m not. My parents didn’t kick me out, they didn’t tell me they didn’t love me, all in all my first coming out was not as bad as it could have been, but it still wasn’t what I needed. At 12 I had no understanding of psychology, I had no really understanding of biology, I had no really understanding of what it was that I was deciding to share other than it was my truth.

At 14 while living my lie, I did what any girl trying to be straight does; I got a boyfriend. Actually I had 3 in total until I came out. What I leave out is that I was sexually assaulted during this time period. That’s only important because while I was being treated for the PTSD that followed, many of the doctors tried to claim that I wasn’t gay. No they tried to claim that my assault made me think that I was, but I was really straight. Keep in mind I’ve understood that I was different since I was a little girl trying to fit in with all the boys.

At 16 I told my closest friends, they could not have cared less, only joking as long as I wasn’t interested in them, they still loved me for who I was then. I didn’t tell my parents this time. At 16 I was being harassed by schoolmates, I almost moved to a new part of the states because of it. I missed over 100 days of school between my junior and senior year, I still graduated an honors student, with IB certificates in 3 classes, as a varsity athlete. I was fortunate.

At 19 I had my first girlfriend, my father said that I might still find a nice man to settle down with. My mother went to pride that year.

At 25 I got engaged to the woman I loved more than anything in this world. My mother still goes to pride, my father joined her this year and helped coordinate an area wide group to march under his company’s banner. My aunt agreed to officiate the wedding, my dad was to give me away, my cousins were to be my best men, my mother in law helped us plan the whole thing. I bought us a honeymoon to Mexico, with plans for a second one to go to Harry Potter World, we picked a venue, color scheme, music and were working on menus. On July 8, 2018 we celebrated two years together, with plans to marry on March 1, 2019.

At 25 my fiancée died.

I never came out to my parents again officially after age 12. I think they and my whole family have finally come to the conclusion that as long as I am happy they are happy. I’ve never brought it up again. If they knew their rejection still crept into my mind they would hate themselves.

I don’t blame my parents. Looking back I think part of them reacted out of fear. That doesn’t excuse their behavior, but it explains it. Their actions since then work to smooth it over. They prove every day that they love and support me.

Took for Granted

I never really new what I had until it was (temporarily) taken from me. I’m in somewhat of a unique situation where I am considered disabled, but I have a light at the end of the tunnel that so many people I have met in these last 3 months don’t have. Let me explain. The rehabilitation center that I go to specializes in helping persons who have suffered from a stroke or being paralyzed due to one reason or another. These people don’t have the same light at the end of their tunnel as I do. Maybe one day they will get 80% function back into the effected body part(s), me I know that in a few months my arm will be back to near 100%, my leg the same if not better than before, and my brain well my brain who knows that could take years. I think it’s easy to look on it now and realize just how much I took for granted with my ableism. I mean I could drive, I could do mundane tasks, I didn’t have to worry about anything.

I really started thinking about this the other day; I was finally able to wash my hair, like for real with both hands instead of a modified one handed attempt. I can now get myself dressed, in clothes that fit, by myself. So many things that up to this point I was able to do without thinking twice. Now it takes more effort than I care to admit to, to complete any activity of daily living, complicated even more by the fact that I do not have an in home care giver.

I can look at this a hundred different ways and still recognize that I took my ableism for granted, but that doesn’t mean that I overlooked the difficulties that others face. Now though, I can empathize and sympathize because I feel it and it sucks. If this was my permanent new normal I’m sure that, like many of the people I have met in the last three months, I would adapt. I just don’t have to adapt long term. I’ve learned how to put my socks on, to pull up my pants, to button them one handed, to clasp my bra, to brush my teeth, to finally be able to shave, to wash my hair, drive a car, walk my dog, attempt to cook. I’ve relearned all of these things and the inner strength it took to do so surprised even me.

I think, I know, we take our ableism for granted every single day in even the most mundane tasks, but I also think that our society has such a stigma surrounding those that are impacted in various ways around their disabilities. We often only focus on the physical impacts or differences, we overlook the emotional or mental differences. We overlook the perseverance or resilience it takes some one to work towards overcoming these hurdles and make a new normal for themselves.

Did anyone else ever stop to think, maybe those who are perceived as disabled are actually the more abled. The ingenuity, the abstract thinking the grit and determination it takes to complete a task, it would put an able bodied person to shame, but that is simply because they don’t have to think about completing a task, they don’t have to think about doing a different way, or coming up with a new way to get something done.

My accident may have left it’s permanent scars, but the strength and resilience it has helped me develop is second to none. I never want to go through this pain again, but now I know that I can, and I will come out stronger on the other side because of it.

Racing Thoughts

Not being able to work, because of the injuries I sustained in the car accident, has been both a blessing and curse. It’s been nearly 3 months and I estimate another 3 before I can return to work. This gives me almost too much time to think, to reflect and ponder aimlessly on every detail of my life that I can remember from the last few years.

There is some quote about how words cut deeper than sticks or stones ever could and leave more painful scars. Right now, in this moment, with all that I have gone through, I think that I finally understand what that means. A little perspective, in my life I have had two knee surgeries as a result of playing soccer and now 4ish years later it’s not even something that I think about. More recently, the car accident, I broke my nose, my orbit, a rib, my leg, and shattered my humerus and elbow. Fighting through this is cake, it’s what I was raised to do; fight until it’s over and not a moment sooner. My right arm is little more than a glorified paperweight at this point, it’s held together by screws, plates and nothing short of a thousand prayers that I get function back again. I’ll always have a 12 inch scar running down my arm, but one day I’ll barely remember that my arm was shattered. The physical scars will almost always fade away in one way or another.

Let’s talk about the emotional scars I carry. My fiancée was killed immediately in the accident, I have no memory of the 10 days after, the thoughts, the feelings and the most recent memories that I have of Kelsie. Not without having to strain my memory to think of any bit I can get to. I can feel how much she loved me, how much she wanted a life with me, the kids we will never have, the life we had roughly planned out. I know all of these things, I will carry them with me forever, because it’s all that I have left.

What has been bothering me the most is that through all of this no one has seen me cry, no one has seen me break down, no one has been on the receiving end of my rage that I keep bottled up inside always on the verge of coming out. And yet my brain can only remember being told that I’m not a good person, that I’m too negative and a whole host of other things attacking my character. I get up every morning and I fight to take my next breath, I fight to keep going, and if I didn’t still wear my engagement ring no one would ever know that my other half, my better half, died before we could have a life.

Life is about more than just surviving

But sometimes you have to learn how to survive again before you can live.

It almost shames me that that attack on who I am clouds my mind when all I should be doing is grieving and focusing on healing physically. Do I get sad sometimes, of course, the human who was to be my wife 7 months after her funeral is gone, but no one will ever know how I really feel, no one will ever see me break unless I want them to. No one is 100% all the time, I’m no exception, but what I can tell you is that now no one sees anything but the mask of my being 100%. That’s not fair to me.

It’s okay to not be okay

Kelsie taught me that, after working for months to break through and repair the damage done by your words. It’s not healthy to perfectly okay all the time.

I love you and miss you everyday little penguin. It’s been 2.5 months and it still hasn’t gotten any easier to not have you by my side.