More than Surviving

When in Rome you don’t expect to have your world get thrown off its axis just when you get it back on. When in Rome you don’t expect to get hit with the feelings and reminders that you didn’t get married last month and you won’t be leaving for you first honeymoon in 2 weeks. You really don’t expect to get a call confirming that you two of you will be flying to Mexico and staying in a beach front condo, like you had been planning. When in Rome you don’t necessarily expect to have to have that conversation with yet another person who somehow doesn’t know. When in Rome you don’t expect to be sitting in a train, next to your would be mother in law and brother in law holding in tears because it’s just another reminder. When in Rome you don’t expect to turn to your blog in order to be able to talk about feelings you’ve been content letting wash over you but not control you for the last 9 months. When in Rome you don’t expect that wound to be reopened again after it just started to finally begin healing. When in Rome you don’t wish to be home rather than here. You expect to be able to enjoy yourself, to smile, to laugh, to eat good food, to see new places, to experience a part of history you have only ever read about. Maybe it’s perspective. At the end of the day I am still healing from that loss. Maybe I will always be trying to heal from it in one way or another. Maybe I will never truly be okay, but I can learn again what it means to be okay when I’m not okay. I mean how hard can that be when I spent 23 years of my life that way. I’m surviving, and maybe life should be about more than just surviving, but right now, right now that’s where I am at in my healing process and that is okay for now. Maybe sometimes you need to be able to survive, to be okay with surviving so that you can get to the part that leads to more than that. One day. One day I will get there again, but that’s not today and that’s okay.

Have You Ever?

Have you ever had a moment where you think about what you would say to someone if they ever asked you “if you could be anywhere right now; past, present, future, whatever. Where would you be? It’s kind of like being asked if you could take your dream vacation, describe it.

When Kelsie was still here, our most dreaded household chore was laundry. Like, we avoided it as often as possible. We finally sorted out that if she washed it, I would fold it because I was particular about whatever it is she thought I was particular about, probably socks. Now though I have to do all of it. But, like laundry is all fun and games until it has to be folded and put away. Which would explain the two loads I just dumped onto my bed so that I would be forced to finally fold them.

I started thinking about what I would give to have Kelsie alive, with me, in our old bedroom, folding laundry and helping me put it away. Actually, what I would give just to have her alive period. I don’t care about the wedding, or really anything. What I would give just to be able to have more of those boring, mundane moments. Whether it was just holding hands in the car, laying in bed before we fell asleep, sitting on the deck drinking coffee before we had to shower and get ready for church, walking the dogs, cooking together, or even just watching hockey and drinking cider after a shitty day at work.

Have you ever thought about what you would give to hear a loved one say “I love you” one last time after they have already passed? I have, but I don’t think I could ever give enough. Just for one more “I love you.” Just for one more hug. Just for one more dimpled smile. Just for one more look into those poop brown eyes. Just, for one more.

I wonder, have you ever…

The Difference of a Year

If you had asked me last year, or even 6 months ago, what I thought this Christmas would look like you might think it was an alternate universe.

If you had asked me prior to the middle of July I would have told you about my plans to attend Christmas Eve mass, I would have told you about the amazing time I thought I would have with my future in-laws, I would tell you how amazing it is to wake up with the woman I loved in my arms, I would tell you about opening presents with them, I would tell you about the fun we had going back and forth as we opened presents and the easy banter. If you had asked me a year ago about this Christmas I would have told you of my excitement around celebrating the holiday, my last holiday as a federally defined single and all the emotions that came with that. If you had asked me, I would have told you how I would spend the day just trying to make her smile and laugh just because that was enough of a gift to me. I’d have told you about our lazy day before we had to split from everyone and be with my family. I’d have told you about our first official Christmas living together. I’d have told you a lot of things.

And if I had told you those things you would never believe me when I spoke of this year’s Christmas instead.

This year, this year for Christmas I no longer had her, I couldn’t hear her laugh, I couldn’t see her smile, and I didn’t wake up with her or spend it with her family while trying to avoid my own for as long as possible. No, instead I would tell you about being irritated, I would tell you that I was crushed by grief, so much so I spent most of the day reminding myself that I needed to breath and that I couldn’t break down crying, no matter how much I wanted to. No, I would tell you how I went to a Methodist Christmas Eve service and as nice as it was I just wanted to be at mass. I would tell you how I spent it with my own family, and while it’s nice, my heart longs for a different place, for different people. I’d tell you how I couldn’t even button my own shirt at first, I’d tell you about the pain that comes with wearing this vest and this watch. I’d tell you that I’m thankful my scars have healed well enough that I no longer look like the bride of Frankenstein. I’d tell you how much I miss the way things used to be, I’d tell you that my only wish for this Christmas was to have Kelsie back in any way that was possible.

I’d tell you how much difference a year makes.

Neuropsychology

The thing about neurology, that they don’t tell you about, is that they don’t always know what or how much of something can be impacted by trauma. They can guess based on what is presented to them, but they also don’t always know how to fix something that is “mental” as opposed to physical. I mean how can they understand that while I’m missing 10 days of my life following the accident, I can remember some people, I can remember some events, but there are so many more that I just can’t. So many more people and events that go back further than the 10 days that I’m missing. It was supposed to be “just” retrograde amnesia. It was only supposed to be those 10 days while my brain was trying to protect me from the hurt that was losing my soulmate, my other half, my future wife, the mother to our future children, the person I was supposed to grow old with, the only person in my life who was able to show me a life past the 27 years I had always envisioned for myself.

I can’t always comprehend what I’m missing and when. I don’t remember those I dated before Kelsie. It’s almost like my brain has rewired itself to protect me from more than just the pain of losing Kelsie. I know there were three people before Kelsie. I’m sure there were more, but I’ve only discovered three and yet I can’t remember anything about them, I barely recall their names, my emotions, my anything to do with them. Sometimes I wish I could. Not because I want the pain of the memories, but because I crave the normalcy. The normalcy that was my life with Kelsie.

To anyone who reads this, I am sorry. I am sorry that I can’t give you more than the nothing I have in my brain when it comes to memories. I’m sorry that I can’t remember you. I’m sorry for who I was and for what you thought I would become. I’m sorry that, probably by my own hand, you are not allowed to see the person who I have become. I’m sorry that I’ve grown enough to want to apologize for who I was and what I did. I can’t blame it on anything other than where I was at in my life and now I have changed, a lot. Maybe for better, maybe for worse, but I can’t judge myself.

You know, I played soccer for nearly 20 years of my life. I don’t remember it. I know I did because of the memories on my Facebook, I know I did because I can imagine it being true whenever I watch a match. I know deep in my heart I miss it, but I don’t remember the feeling of actually playing and I unfortunately never will again. I watch matches on tv and those where I graduated from. I can’t help but want to move on reflex when I see something happen and I know I could have made the save, I could have been better, but I will never have that chance again. I don’t know what hurts worse: not remembering people and events, or knowing that I’ll never have that adrenaline rush again, the adrenaline rush that can only come from making a post to post save, or saving a PK. I think they both suck. I miss the friendships, I miss the sense of serenity of being able to play and just block everything out for 90 minutes.

I miss the life I used to have. I miss not having a care in the world, I miss waking up with her in my arms, I miss eating dinner together every day, I miss having someone to talk to, someone who didn’t judge or force decisions, but rather having someone who would listen and understand that while in the moment nothing is okay, but the reassurance that in the end it would be. That we would work it out together and that I would come out stronger on the other side.

I’m sorry….

Thoughts and Questions

I think one of the hardest things about all of this is that anytime a thought or a question comes to my head I turn to the right and want to share it with you to get your input. I mean, fuck, I did it 15 times today at least.

I was flipping through Amazon movies today and I remembered that for some class I took this past spring I had to do a case study on Precious which was annoying in and of itself, but I also had to pay for it. Now it’s just included in Prime. I just wanted to look over at you and say “is this for fucking real?”

I was watching Pitch Perfect 3….again, I mean let’s be honest we both know that I watch musicals when I’m upset for any reason, I think your death is reason enough to be upset. Anyway I was watching it again today and I had this insane thought about the way in which Fat Amy kind of struts around and how it reminded me the way one of our coworkers walks. While it should have been funny all I could do was cry because I know it would have laughed you off our bed.

Then I turned on Manchester By the Sea in a last ditch effort to help me sleep, but I couldn’t remember if we ever finished this movie. I still don’t have the answer, but I know it was a movie we had wanted to see at Criterion. I was watching and I was trying to figure out a movie that we had seen, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Got to love brain damage and memory loss. All I could remember was that it was some movie, no idea who was in it, but that we had watched it and the main guy was getting rowdy with his friends late at night and his wife kicked them all out. He left the house to run to the store and the house caught fire with the kids inside. You’d have filled in the gaps for me, without even thinking about it, it would have become your mission to figure out the movie for me.

Then I started thinking about how somehow my shit luck this last half of the year turned into me getting the flu. The flu for the first time in 12 years. How last year when I got sick my parents were able to just order some stuff Target to help me get better. They didn’t have to worry about me being all alone, or that I didn’t have anyone to take care of me because you were here, you’d have held my hair and sweatshirt strings back as I endlessly puked into the trashcan, or that I couldn’t even drive myself to Patient First and had to find a ride to get me there.

Then though, then I thought about how all of this could have been different if we were never in that wreck, or if I had been able to shield you in some way. Well in that case I wouldn’t really be in this mess. I mean sure you’d have probably been in critical condition, maybe even have some permanent damage or something and me I’d have probably been in the exact same position I’m in now except maybe one less arm attached to my body. We’d have probably had to move back in with your Ma, which I don’t think either of us would have been upset about. I mean it’s 10 minutes from my rehab place, which I guess would have instead been our rehab place, but I still would have been the youngest there ya old fart. Everything would be so much different if you were just still here. If I could have done something to protect you from whatever even happened to you.

You know your ma told me not to have any guilt about surviving. I don’t remember telling her that I was, but I’m sure I did somewhere in the beginning. Some days it’s really hard not to feel guilty, I mean how do you not feel guilty when you feel almost slighted, like my fiancée died and I was sitting right next to her. I wasn’t circling a drain, closeish, but I wasn’t, but it almost feels like I was dropped into a fucking toilet and God forget to just pull the lever to flush.

I’ll unpack that another day.

How.

Sometimes I sit and think about how lucky I am to still be alive. Sometimes I think of all the things I would do just to have you back. You know I almost wish that I could trade all my injuries, maybe even for worse ones, just to have you back again.

How is it that I’m still alive and you, the light of so many of our worlds is gone? How is it that you died, and all I have is a scarred face, and a lot of broken bones? How did God, our God, think that it was time to call you home? How could he take you from me, from us and leave this massive hole inside all of us? How could God give us this and think we could handle it? He doesn’t give us any more than we can handle, but I think this time he might have made an error, but God doesn’t make errors, God doesn’t make mistakes. How do I live every day with this hole in my chest? How do I function every day with out being able to text you, call you, or come home to you every night?

I have all of these questions, but so far no answers.

How has it already been 4 months with out you and how in the hell am I still standing or functioning and not constantly curled in a ball crying for you? How, just how did this all happen? Better yet, why?

I miss you penguin.

All Souls

I usually don’t acknowledge this time of year. Let’s be real, I never really understood the magnitude of it. I never really got what All Souls Day and El Dia de los Muertos really meant or how to react to it. I never had a reason to. I never had a reason to understand until this year. Until I lost my other half, the person who helped me see a future for myself that didn’t end at age 27.

Maybe I’m wrong in my own understanding, but I don’t see today as a day of mourning. I see it as a day of celebration, a day to celebrate the lives of those we have lost. So today I celebrated. I honored Kelsie and the life she lived and the life that we built together. At the end of the day I didn’t do anything special though. No, I watched Kelsie’s favorite show: Grey’s Anatomy, I listened to some of her favorite music: Disturbed, In This Moment etc. I played with Atlas and I accepted my emotions for what they are. I embraced them, something I never do, but that Kelsie encouraged me to learn how to do. I cried, I laughed and I prayed. Oddly enough I think the most important thing I did today was eat. I usually only eat once a day if we are lucky, once every other day is my norm. I couldn’t think of any other way to honor Kelsie’s memory than by doing the things I know would have made her happy and proud of me; I ate, I embraced my emotions and I remembered as much as I could about my life with Kelsie.

All Souls

I usually don’t acknowledge this time of year. Let’s be real, I never really understood the magnitude of it. I never really got what All Souls Day and El Dia de los Muertos really meant or how to react to it. I never had a reason to. I never had a reason to understand until this year. Until I lost my other half, the person who helped me see a future for myself that didn’t end at age 27.

Maybe I’m wrong in my own understanding, but I don’t see today as a day of mourning. I see it as a day of celebration, a day to celebrate the lives of those we have lost. So today I celebrated. I honored Kelsie and the life she lived and the life that we built together. At the end of the day I didn’t do anything special though. No, I watched Kelsie’s favorite show: Grey’s Anatomy, I listened to some of her favorite music: Disturbed, In This Moment etc. I played with Atlas and I accepted my emotions for what they are. I embraced them, something I never do, but that Kelsie encouraged me to learn how to do. I cried, I laughed and I prayed. Oddly enough I think the most important thing I did today was eat. I usually only eat once a day if we are lucky, once every other day is my norm. I couldn’t think of any other way to honor Kelsie’s memory than by doing the things I know would have made her happy and proud of me; I ate, I embraced my emotions and I remembered as much as I could about my life with Kelsie.

Halloween

For the last two years, this year excluded, I spent my Halloween at my in-laws home handing out candy to the cutest little kids, I would be buried under a blanket sitting in a camping chair, in some half assed costume, I think last year I wore a Batman onesie, drinking ace pineapple cider and just laughing and talking my night away as sugar high kids came up for more. I don’t think I have a true hatred for Halloween, not in the same way I hate Christmas, Valentines Day, and my birthday. I don’t think that I ever will. Which, for me, is strange to say. Kelsie and her ma loved handing out candy and seeing all the little kids. I thought this year would be hard for me to take part in the festivities. I was wrong. Everything I did last night was for Kelsie. It got me thinking. I could allow her death to drive me to hate so many days, so many special days, but that’s not what she would want. We had a mutual hatred for Valentine’s Day, I hate Christmas, but should I really let her death define me? If I do, at the rate I am going there won’t be any days left in a year for me to enjoy. That, that I can honestly say would probably piss Kelsie off more than anything. All she ever wanted for anyone, me especially was to be happy, to enjoy my life and to find a purpose.

So last night, I didn’t let my grief dictate my path. I let myself be guided by her. I let myself celebrate and be happy for probably the first time in nearly 4 months and that was probably more painful than waking up and being told she was dead. Friends picked me up, friends bought me sushi and tots, friends let me wear a half assed costume, friends danced with me on the sidewalk to some awful Halloween music, friends made me feel normal being excited to see little kids dressed up in way too cute outfits, friends let me feel normal again, and friends talked to me like I was normal.

If you read further back in my posts, you know I went through some shit in high school, you know that as a teenager I learned a lot of things. One of the things that I think sticks out the most was that I learned how to cope. I learned so many coping skills for various situations. I never learned how to cope with grief, but I learned how to cope with wanting to die, with losing a part of myself I could never get back. I never learned how to cope with grief or loss, but I learned how to cope with losing a part of myself and that’s what I’m doing now. I’m coping with the loss of half of my being. So that’s what I’ll do, I’ll cope with having lost the future I envisioned, I’ll cope with having lost my other half, I’ll simply cope.

I think I’ve said this before to someone, but the best and only way I know how to do that is to live outside of myself. To rely on others to help pick me back up when I fall. I have to live my life the way Kelsie would have wanted. I’ll finish school, I’ll get my licensure, hell maybe I will get another degree, I’ll try to be happy, I’ll open my home to others, I won’t pass judgement for I know not what others are going through, I’ll simply live my life in her image and hope that when my time comes to join her again, I’ll be remembered for having lived my life and treating others the way Kelsie helped teach me to these last couple of years.

Nothing is the same, Kelsie is gone, but I don’t have to stop living. I can’t stop living. Maybe I haven’t grieved properly, maybe I haven’t grieved at all, but grieving comes at my pace and no one else’s. There will always be a Kelsie sized whole in my heart, in my bed and in my life, I can’t change that no matter how much I wish to.

In this life and in the next I’ll always be hers. One day we will get our happy ending. Until that day, I’ll miss her with every breath I take, every night I fall asleep alone and every time Atlas misses her momma.

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.