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05 January 2008 @ 10:54 pm
I ran into a statue shaped a little like Heather today. I love how muscley she is around the arms. I have decided that I might go talk to this statue when I need advice from Heather. Although really, since Heather was so opinionated it's not like I ever had to wonder, or have to wonder now, what she would say about something.

26 November 2007 @ 03:06 am
I am at Maura's house tonight, and went to bed at 9 PM because I was exhausted from spending the night at my sister's house (it was really fun, but I didn't sleep much the previous night) and so I woke up at 2 am. I seldom have any problems sleeping, but I have to leave to catch a bus back to New York at 5 am anyway, so I just got up.

When I sleep in Maura's guest room/office I can't help but think of the nights I spent there with Heather, good moments mostly, because we were traveling (to France, and then to NOLOSE) and because Maura's apartment has great heat, and she was warm enough and I was warm enough. We slept with our shirts off at least one night, which was very rare for us and if I close my eyes I can almost remember the way our skin felt together. It's been more than nine months. Still it seems unfathomable to me that someone with whom I was skin to skin can be gone forever. It should seem like the contact should have somehow kept her here, like somehow her heart beating against my back, her arms wrapped around my middle, would be something even cancer couldn't rip apart.

I was paging through Borrowed Time by Paul Monette yesterday. More than any of his other books, it details the loss of his partner (and for chrissake practically every other person in his life) but it has a tone of desperate hope, of how life, as he describes it--between the bombs dropping--can be almost absurdly beautiful. I feel this sometimes, especially on a sunny day and I look up and think "man how lucky we are to live in world where our sky is so blue."

Paul writes that shortly after his partner's diagnosis,  a friend told him "Fight to seize the day. Call someone worse off than you. Engage."

I do have good days now, even a bunch in a row, but when a bad day wells up, almost always unexpectedly, this is a good reminder.

I have so much to be thankful for. My best friend of ten years is asleep and well in the next room. A great place to live. Awesome friends. Supportive (if oftentimes strange and rather crazy) family. Physical affection. And I now officially make my living making people laugh, a childhood dream and my heart's desire.

So I guess even if 3:37 AM is a little early to start, I will fight to seize today.
20 November 2007 @ 08:41 pm
Recent grief thought #1: When the very kind  anarqueso helped us take down our Christmas tree last year, I cried. Heather patted me on the head and promised "we'll have lots more holidays together." Pudding Day happened less than four weeks later. What holidays? Like President's Day for chissakes?

Recent grief thought #2. I am going to a bereavement group at the gay center and I feel a fierce affection and connection for my Fellow Sad People people. As I suspected, most of them cry on the subway too.

Recent grief thought #3. The aforementioned Fellow Sad People all went to a diner last night after Sad People Group. We were kind of loud and we laughed a lot, actually.  They all report experiences of random aching sadness the timing of which they can never predict. This makes me feel less weird, which my grief counselor of course calls "normalization" and I call a big relief.
Recent grief thought #4. I am having such a moment of random aching sadness. Self care, blah blah, meaning in life blah blah, constancy of purpose blah blah, sometimes every bit of me is screaming 'I WANT HER BACK."
08 October 2007 @ 10:28 am
This is National Cry Spontaneously Everywhere All the Time Week

To celebrate I am crying spontaneously, everywhere, all the time.
06 October 2007 @ 11:36 am
I was telling someone the other day that I have something called cry-o-lepsy. Like I'm absolutely fine, or fine-ish, marching along minding my own business and all of the sudden--I'm crying, with absolutely no warning.

I suppose the good news is that I'm fine, or fine-ish or at least finer when I am not crying, which is an improvement from all day wanting to crawl out of my skin sadness. Even when I wake up and have that "oh, Heather's not here and she never will be" feeling, I am able to poke a little fun at myself and  say  "well and you still are, so get on with things."

Just now I was in the elevator with a woman and probably her grandmother. They had the same good natured teasing interaction I had with my grandma, and all of a sudden, from nowhere, tears. 
26 September 2007 @ 10:10 am
For reasons not completely clear to me, the only thing that comes remotely emotionally close--qualitatively if not quantitatively--to losing Heather was my experience of leaving the convent.

Of course, in some ways my experience with Heather represented a lovely "redo" of my convent experience. That is:


Me: Hey, I wanna dedicate my life to service.
God: Awesome.
Me: (jumping in with both feet)
God: Aw you suck, go away.


Me: Hey I wanna dedicate my life to service.
Heather: Awesome (although I did have to beg a little and send her 30 nekkid pictures)
Me: (Jumping in with both feet)
Heather: Hey, this is awesome! (jumps in with both feet, even though she has--as she said-- one in the grave)

Not that there weren't some real obstacles for both Heather and I to overcome in our relationship and not that I/we didn't get frustrated sometimes. But the outcome was beautiful.

Anyway, today while I was doing laundry, there was some kind of washer snafu, and my clothes didn't spin dry so I had to wring them by hand before I put them in the dryer. And this reminded me of the Missionaries of Charity and how even the oldest sisters could wring clothes so well they would only need to be on the line for a hot minute in order to be completely dry. This, thanks to a lifetime of hand washing everything. Everything.

Years ago this would have been a sad/regretful memory, but now it just makes me smile. Which gives me hope that one day I will feel that way about my memories of Heather.
26 September 2007 @ 06:13 am
Yesterday I went to a support group at Friends Indeed. You may recall that I tried a couple of times to go there and each time wanted to kick someone in the head.  I found it annoyingly condescending.

I tried again yesterday because 1. Their groups are so easy access. You just walk in and sit down. 2. It fit in perfectly with my schedule. 3. The place where the groups are held is quiet and peaceful.

For some reason, I felt totally differently about how the group was run and the process. It's a strange format still (run without crosstalk, but the group facilitator gives a fair amount of actual advice) but yesterday it was helpful.

I know the Portland hospice didn't send out invites for their grief group until 4 months after the death; they explained that before that people are usually too raw to "absorb the group experience." I'm not completely sure what that means, but perhaps this is related.
12 September 2007 @ 11:59 am
...my myspace profile to "single" rather than "in a relationship."

Someone on the youngwidow's listserv I'm on said "I'm not single, I'm just in a relationship with someone who isn't physically present."

Uh, yeah, I've done some long distance flings in my time, but this is just TOO long distance for me.

Not that I'm looking to, or ready to, date. anyone other than myself.

But I am ready to have my space profile reflect reality.

Well, more or less reality, since myspace insists on the "single/in a relationship" binary, with a tokenish/slight condescending "swinger" option.
29 August 2007 @ 03:15 pm
I am sometimes not so brilliant.

In a conversation with technodyke about how hard this stupid grief process is, and how much I feel like it is wearing on me, I said "Yeah, maybe I should just do everything I can to make this first year easier."

To her credit, she didn't say "uh yeah, duh, no shit sherlock." Instead, she just nodded and said "Yes that sounds like a good idea."

I don't think it ever occurred to me in exactly those terms before. And yes, I am sure probably everyone reading this post has already said it to me in one way or another.  It seems obvious right? Going through a rough time= don't make choices that make it rougher. But I guess I'm afraid that if I make it too easy on myself, I won't be able to get my shit together when I need to.  I'm afraid of losing opportunities. And yeah, I'm afraid of people thinking I'm a wimp. This is a fear I thought I had outgrown, but , regression in times of stress and all that.

Anyway, obviously there are some choices that might make it easier short term (like using crystal meth) but would be a disaster long term. Not to worry, that's not what I am talking about.  I'm talking about just adding more fun and pleasure to my life. Sometimes that pleasure might be some kind of "serve the world" kinda stuff, but maybe not. On February 13, 2008 I'll reconsider this plan.

To celebrate, I bought a used copy of "The Hedonist's Handbook" at Powells' in the PDX airport. And then when I got home I put away a bunch of stuff. Heather's stuff. Pictures, her cell phone, her glasses,  the cruxifix she was wearing when she died (it was mine, leftover from the nun days).

I feel ever so slightly disloyal, but mostly relieved. I'll get the stuff out when it makes me happy. For right now it just makes me sad in my own space, and that's not working for me.
20 August 2007 @ 01:48 pm
Yesterday, on a tip off from my friend R*, T* and I went by the place that Heather and I shared in Portland. I had thought when Heather was alive that maybe one day I could turn it into an alternative performance space, but as soon as Heather was gone it became very obvious to me that was simply not emotionally possible. For me anyway.

Anyway, our old homestead IS an alternative performance space now. It is called Rerarato, which seems to be a made up word

The folks who are running it weren't around, so we just poked around the outside for a bit. And took pictures of course.

Oh and I love that the same haybales Heather and I picked up from a fall festival almost  a year ago are still outside. Still sitting by the side door, still with a coffee cup being used as an ashtray.