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.

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.

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.

10 Seconds

Hey Little Pengüino,

I don’t know why today is so much harder than all the others, maybe because I’m starting to feel everything again. My arm fucking hurts and my leg feels like it’s going to give out, but all I keep thinking about is the support, love and unwavering devotion you would have given me if you were still here.

I’m sitting on our deck, drinking my first cup of coffee in 5 weeks and all I can think about is all the times we used to do the same on our mornings off, or the dinners we would eat when it was nice enough. Atlas I don’t think knows what to do, she keeps going to her spot to look out, but she is just so lost; she misses you and Juneau, she misses her momma.

Everyday I think about how I am supposed to move forward, not the actual moving forward, but like how am I even supposed to comprehend the possibility of even doing that? We never really thought we had that many friends, but let me tell you in times of need those who think the most of you show up and holy shit have they. I don’t know how you would feel about Jack Jack coming back into my life since he left, but surprisingly he’s the one I can count on most. He understands in a way my parents and our co-workers can’t. He doesn’t sympathize with my loss, but like your mom he gets it and is perfectly content just letting me talk about you as we knew you and as I knew you, to let me talk about religion and how I don’t know how I am ever going to be able to move forward without you, to have the future we planned. He understands that I lost sight of my future, but doesn’t try to force me to find it again. With my luck I will live a very long life and not see you again until I’m old, you took the white lighter from me, you weren’t supposed to do that, we were supposed to throw it over a cliff together and live another 50 birthdays together surrounded by Isaac and Riley’s children, our grandchildren.

You were it for me LP, you showed me a love I never thought I was worthy of, you showed me a future I could never have dreamed for myself, and you gave me a life I never want to let go of. How do I move forward, not on, but forward from that? Maybe time will tell, maybe it won’t. Just know that I still love you with all that I have and all that I am. You are my sun, my moon, and my stars. When I am called home I hope that you are the one to meet me at the door.

Until I hold you again,

Koala