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How to Grieve the Living

I had a conversation recently, one of many, rooted in pain and with no purpose other than empathetic venting. We know that grief comes from many places and for many reasons, but grieving someone or something that still exists has a unique set of challenges. Loss is something that can change who you are, how you live, your future actions and how you see yourself. Grief from death is tragic, and bears the same consequences, but there is one defining difference. When someone you love passes away- they didn’t chose to leave you.

The platitudes are shared among the living and the dead in grief- “give it time”, “they are in a better place” , “you are better off without them”, “it wasn’t meant to be”, “god has a plan”, etc. They have the same effect. When someone dies though, the pain comes from never seeing their face, their smile, their smell fades as does the sound of their voice. With the living it is the thought of seeing their face, hearing their voice or their laughter as they share a joke with someone else that brings the pain. How do you grieve someone that is very much living?

Stage 1: Fuck you and Me. The break up, the last fight, that final door slam that ends in an angry eruption of tears and breaking photo frames of couple selfies. I know that anger is a common grief stage but this is not the kind of anger that causes you to doubt your religion. Its anger that turns you into someone you are not. This alter ego comes out and turns into a combination of the Hulk/Rocky/Columbo. You stalk facebook, search the internet, interrogate neighbors, friends and family and then you think about how to be destructive in a way that will cause your ex the same pain you are in. Living grief anger is cold, calculated and revenge based. So different from being angry at God for taking away a loved one. And the revenge usually has a name, or several depending on how attractive you are and how active. Because unlike with death, mourning a breakup is a sign of weakness, a sign that you are the victim. But moving on and under/over someone new- that shows you never really cared at all. Fuck them and you.

Stage 2: The Jokes on You. The anger slows down and the breathing begins. This stage has a part A and a part B. In Part A you focus on blaming everyone and everything. The ex’s new partner is the worst human being alive- they sell children and eat puppies for dinner- that kind of horrible. They took your ex away because they are really a sex demon with mind control drugs. Not truly but you get the point and then part B hits-and you realize that someone you loved for so long would rather be with a puppy eating demon than with  you. And suddenly all the giggles you had at making fun of that other person and posting meme’s about broke ho’s on facebook lose their comedic appeal. Because in the eyes of someone you loved- thats a better choice than being with you. And you aren’t laughing anymore because you just realized that the joke is on you.

Stage 3: The 3 am memory loss. TV, radio, text messages, facebook video reminders- suddenly they are everywhere you look. No one ever thinks “thats the song that was playing when he/she was being an asshole”. But when enough time has passed with the activities of the first 2 stages- the memory loss occurs. You forget all the anger and pain that happened during the relationship. Instead you see an Omaha Steak ad or a new episode of Bobs Burgers and you think of the good moments. And the worst, the absolute worst is when you wake up from a dream about a good moment and its 3 am and you have hours to cry and think about what is wrong with you. Because what the fuck else can you do at 3 am? That is when you think about who they are laying in bed with at that time and why its not you. It doesn’t matter how many people say you are better off, you would give anything to be the you before , with them, than the broken mess of you now. Because at 3 am you forget it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.

Stage 4: Biomechanical Emotions. You move, you laugh, you operate the buttons controlling emotion with the efficiency of a Japanese condo. You navigate through avoiding anything that could trigger a memory and try to be normal. You take pictures of your eyes in the rearview mirror to see if its obvious that there is a tiny naked person in there driving the shell thats you. Then that little naked survivor starts finding a few fig leaves and eats an apple and becomes faced with choices. You start noticing that there is a you that didn’t exist until now. That could be good and it could be bad, but its something, its someone new. This is when you start shutting down the machine and seeing who the new you could be. More human, less mechanical, living in grief but living.

Stage 5: Swimming with the fishes. So many fishes in the sea, plenty of them. The first time you go fishing you assume they are all b(ass)es. You search intently for a stripe or marking that tells you they are the same as the last fish that gave you food poisoning. You convince yourself that its there like a woman trying to conceive staring at her 5th pregnancy test of the night. Its not all about finding that fish, you can eat other food. Its about testing who you are now, its about not letting the past define you. Its about embracing the suck, and god does it suck at first. You fell in love before, you will again but not the same because its never the same. When you see them, hear them, it will still hurt, just less. You stop wasting time on being angry and sad and letting someone else drive your emotions. Because in the end, its not about the fish- its about the swimming.

My stages may not be yours, they may not be anyone else’s but mine. Grieving the living is a unique pain that no one can navigate for you. The hardest thing to accept is that someone else made a choice for themselves that profoundly affects you. That choice is theirs, how you move on from it- is yours. I choose to swim and fish and at 3 am I know who Im laying awake with and for me, that has made all the difference.

 

 

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Easternstar Ramblings..June 23rd

I know its been a couple days since I posted on this thread. Sometimes the present day diverts attention from the past reverie. I find it is a good time to forget the now and remember the then. 

I know its been a couple days since I posted on this thread. Sometimes the present day diverts attention from the past reverie. I find it is a good time to forget the now and remember the then.

One of my favorite parts of talking with Matthew was the planning. When I was a child I could spend hours doing Barbie’s hair, changing her clothes, setting up the scene but then I never really cared what happened next. In much the same way, we planned our lives and our dreams. Can you imagine that? Being able to talk in terms of what if’s and keep building on them? It was an adult version of getting Barbie ready for a date that never happened.

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Sexual healing is an afternoon delight

Sex is one of my favorite topics. If you want to discuss the pro’s and cons of penis size, what toys to try out for beginners, how important a safe word can be or just brag about what a good thing you have- I am open to all of it. Ironically though, I wasn’t always so open minded. In fact, when I was a child/young teenager, I had the perception that in order to have sex, you needed to wear special clothing. What! How did I ever get that bizarre idea? From television of course. I remember watching something on tv in which two teenagers were talking about having sex and one asked the other ” did you bring the outfits”, when the response was no then it was decided to not have sex. I have no fucking idea what that interaction was really about, I only know the misconception that I was left with for years.

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But you didn’t tell me to….

Today I read a post on facebook, one of those illustrated cartoons, that has stayed with me all day. I thought about it while I walked the aisles of the grocery store trying to plan out the next couple weeks of menus. I thought about it while I tried to mentally rearrange the recipes to get the most out of the ingredients. And I thought about it while I was paying for the food. I wasn’t angry, just in a contemplative mood and I found myself talking to the eggplant about its possible uses before quickly looking around to see if anyone noticed.

So what was the article about? The division of duties in a relationship. I know, I know, women think they do it all, men think they don’t get enough credit for what they do, and everyone ends up frustrated.

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Shared Conversations…hiding…

I stopped writing last night at a specific point for a specific reason. I was hiding from the truth that comes with the next part of the conversation.  The truth that I am no further than I was 13 years ago in how I view myself.

I stopped writing last night at a specific point for a specific reason. I was hiding from the truth that comes with the next part of the conversation.  The truth that I am no further than I was 13 years ago in how I view myself. If you ask me what I feel about my progress and where I am in my life I will tell you that I have a good career, I have friends, family, relationships and hobbies. If I want to impress you I will portray all those things in 4K Ultra HD by saying : I am a manager, I live in a home with a hot tub, I write and paint and I have an active social life and strong family support. All truth, all shiny glossy truth. Flake off some of the paint and see that I want more from my job, I live with 3 cats and a mortgage I struggle to pay, and a good weekend is getting laundry caught up and playing rock band. Last night I left off with Matthew sharing some insights in the arrangements of words across different languages.

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Side Chick or Wifey

Earlier this year I traveled to Guyana on business. I had an amazing trip, met wonderful people, and left with a silver cross, a hat and a couple new terms to add to my lingo. Side chick and wifey. Im not saying that these terms are specific to Guyana, just that I learned about the concept while there. But hey, it is the Caribbean right 🙂

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Shared Conversations..10 days left and word play

Even now, 13 years later, to read what we wrote and remember who I was then and what I was going through, is painful. But its tolerable, its an examination of a wound thats healed and a scar thats fading.

There are just 10 days left before AIM is gone and I have not had any luck.  I have performed google searches, reached out to strangers on Facebook and checked AIM constantly (under crysmarie80) in case he signed on. Will I stop looking after December 15th? I haven’t decided yet. I have been sharing our conversations and I am not even finished with the first day of the archives that I have. I have carried these printed conversations with me for 13 years. Through countless moves, relationships, house cleanings etc I have kept them safe. I have held them many times and thought about just letting them go into the trash but I was never able to.

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Once upon an Easternstar7…

13 years ago on AOL instant messenger I met a man who helped me through the dark time that I was in. I want to know who he was and have one more conversation before AIM shuts down on 12/15/17.

With the news that AOL instant messenger is going away on 12/15/17, it brought up memories of a very pivotal time in my life. When I was in my early twenties, I found myself going through a difficult divorce and moving from California back home to WV to stay with grandmother. During this time period, I was heartbroken, dealing with family issues, I had no job or money and really found myself at rock bottom in a lot of ways. I suffered from insomnia and if you have ever found yourself at a rough place in your life, being awake at 3 a.m. is its own challenge. I have always felt that in those hours after midnight every self-doubt magnifies and hope cowers in an unseen corner of your mind. During one particularly rough evening I found myself online looking through online chat rooms. This was back in the days of dial up and when AOL ruled the internet. I can remember hearing the cadence of dial tones and hearing the “welcome” that confirmed I was finally online and ready to go. I met someone in a chat room that night that changed the course of my life when I needed it the most.

I say someone, because throughout the years of conversation, the personal information that I had was vague. I can only imagine how odd that may sound in today’s world of catfishing and online horror stories. But at that point in my life, it was what gave me a reason to get up in the morning when I felt like I had none. A voice, a friend, a confidant, someone to talk during the nights when everything hurt so much that I couldn’t breathe through the tears. It didn’t matter that I never met him, or had his phone number or address, it mattered that he listened, that he gave me hope and in turn confidence to move on. We talked through the computer, he watched me via webcam and we shared the parts of ourselves that people usually hide from each other. Looking back, it doesn’t matter who he was in real life because online, he was everything I needed when I needed it most.

I have our conversations printed out from a one month period from June-July in 2004. I am going to be transcribing them to share not because it’s a love story, it’s really not. But for me it’s an example of how important words are, what we can do online, and how much this changed my life. In the meantime, I have always wondered who he really was and if I would ever know the truth. I will share the details that I know and ask that it be shared so that maybe, somehow, we can have one last conversation before AOL instant messenger and that part of my life is gone forever.

Here is what I know about him, I am going to share this list and posting on every social media outlet that I can. Please pass it along and hopefully, I will finally get a chance to thank the person that helped me through so much.

The name he gave was Matthew, he was from Connecticut, he was a pilot and at one time talked about attending the Phoenix Aviation school in florida. He said that he had visited Japan. He was 28-30 in 2004 so would be in early to mid forties. His mother was from Spain, he shared the same name as his father but his dad was not in the picture. I know he had several brothers and one passed away early 2004. He was mechanical and could work on cars and engines of all types. He had a stunt kite that he liked to fly. He loves the color white when it comes clothes and decorations. He went to college for social sciences and had taken ballroom dancing lessons. He used 2 screen names on aim- easternstar7 and dscrtstar7.

I still believe in unicorns.

When I was a little girl, I collected unicorns. I loved the whimsy, the spiral horns, the winged version and the ones that were just as grounded as I. I loved that they were beautiful and romantic and represented all the good things that could happen in life. I believed in love and happily every after and that grandmothers smelled like warm cookies. Then life happened and for years I quit thinking that such things were possible. I put away the idea of fantasy along with Santa Claus and the tooth fairy.

I fell in love, got cheated on, got divorced and had my share of life experiences. My parents got divorced, I fell in love again and again got my heartbroken. I lost grandparents, friends and family throughout the years and watched everyone around me have children. In other words, life happened. I let it happen to me, around me, and thought that I didn’t need to believe in fantasies for things to be good. But for me, for my personal goals, I was wrong.

Do I believe that there really is a magical horse with a horn? No. Do I believe that you need fantasy and grand romantic gestures and slow dancing in the rain in your life to be happy? For me and my life, yes I do. I believe sometimes you have to wiggle your toes and put yourself out there to find the fantasy that gives you that secret smile to get through your day. So Im not going to chide myself for wanting more and for being a romantic at heart. Im not going to settle for a horse, I want a unicorn.

Symphony Sunday

Have you ever had a truly wonderful day? Where everything went as planned, the day was full of breathtaking visuals, perfectly timed jokes and at the end you felt like you were walking on air? If you haven’t experience such a day then let me recommend a way for you to do so in the Pittsburgh area- the symphony. Its more than just the symphony, its an entire day of experiences.  My father and I have attended twice this year, once in February and again this past weekend.

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Lets talk trust.

Trust. The hardest thing to give-  I will hand over love, respect, kindness, but trust requires higher security level clearance.

Trust. The hardest thing to give-  I will hand over love, respect, kindness, but trust requires higher security level clearance. There are levels of trust as well, think of it as raccoon city and you are trying to get the source code for the queen of the hive. It requires sacrifice, perseverance and dedication. And if you think you have it, think again. If you don’t answer quick enough or your answer seems shady then I’m quick to turn red queen and off with your head.

I don’t trust people to understand my point of view. I assume that they make assumptions of a faulty nature while my own remain sound. I don’t trust anyone to do things the way that I feel they need to be done. Is that because I trust my directions but not the comprehension ability of the other party? Or is a lack of trust a manifestation of my own self doubts. Thats a heady thought.

Sometimes I consider all the times in a day that I am forced to trust strangers and I wonder why I bother to hold on so tightly. After all, I trust that the driver on the highway is competent because the state gave then a license. So I must trust that the state knows what they are doing. I trust that the people making my food at restaurants washed their hands or are wearing gloves. I trust my employer to pay me on time, my doctor to know what he is talking about and I trust the people I confide in.

Lack of truth=lack of trust.

 

No matter how bad the action, or how scary the consequences, telling the truth will keep the trust. In relationships- romantic, business, family- before you can be yourself, before you can fully let someone in- you have to trust. For me, scarier words have never been written.