Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Agony of De-Grief

After looking at the date on my last blog, I realized I had not written in so long. Partly because I fell in love. When I'm in love I tend to set the pen down. Perhaps that's ironic since the old poets wrote scores of love poems when enraptured by another. But I write when I'm thrust face to face with my demons, and writing becomes a torch out of the tunnel out of that scary mess.
That said, the last three months have led me back to the pen. Part of me is still reeling from the unexpected death of my father. He was 66 and my best friend. Our relationship was complicated at best. We argued, we laughed, and we were like siblings. And I hate that I can't call him anymore when I cook Italian food. It was a habit I'd started in my twenties--mince some garlic, call my dad. "Hey, guess what I'm making?"
The man I fell in love with helped sell my father's Cadillac, which was a blessing, and he was a wonderful distraction all through the summer and early fall. Even now I find myself waking to thoughts of this man, who was once the boy I fell in love when I was nine and tagged along with my aunt Linda on a summer day on the south side of Binghamton to a friend's apartment. This boy had bushy red hair and freckles, and he oozed coolness, like Fonzie. He told me my first dirty joke. Weeks later I would see him again at PAL camp and became shy around him. Why would a cool boy, two years older, give me the time of day?
But here I was, thirty-five years later, dating this man whom I had fallen in love with when he was a boy. And he loved me back. As grown ups, we seemed to have rescued each other. Almost everyone was behind us being a couple. (there's always haters, right?) But could we could sustain a relationship 3000 miles away? He lived in New York and I lived in Idaho. He had never been married. I had an eight-year-old son and two grown daughters. I visited him in August. He visited me in October. I visited him in November. And then he said, The long distance didn't work for him.
And just as quickly and passionately as the relationship began, it ended. And the high I floated on from July through October dropped me to the ground like a skydiver without a parachute.
I returned to my job, my three kids, two dogs, and a bunny. My best friends Jackie and Jean Paul had me over for Christmas. All I wanted to do was hide in bed under the covers. But they forced me to get out and come over and be around people who love me like family. So, now I am mourning my father being gone and losing the boy and the man I love. It gets better day after day. We all now how grieving works. The only thing that helps you heal is talking about it. And time.