I've been silent, which is rude. It's just hard to talk (or more accurately, type) about this stuff and it seems terribly self-indulgent. I don't much want to be rude. I also am wrestling with a sadness that I just can't shake...like, ever. It's constant. It has weight. So, while self-indulgent doesn't appeal I'm hoping that maybe if I share what's going on I might be able to offload some of it.
We had a lovely memorial for Jill on March 6th out at Stages Theatre Company. Sandy and the posse at Stages were so generous and, given Jill's history there, the venue had to be Stages. Leslie Ball led the ceremonies and was, as she was at our wedding, perfect. Jake took us through a couple of songs Jill loved and turned them into wonderful and appropriate celebrations of Jill's spirit. We are truly grateful for all of the folks who joined us for that, for all of you who made a donation to Stages on behalf of Jill, and to everyone who has been reaching out to me and to the girls via social channels with your thoughts and prayers.
And then it was time to figure out what being alive was gonna look like.
The answer is...and for God's sake, don't freak out and read too much into this...it sucks. Like, alot. There are so many things that are different and most of them are bad. I've had relationships end before. Even if I didn't want them to end, if the other person wanted it to, it was over. This great love I had with Jill didn't end. It just stopped. She's gone. But I'm still here. And I"m not done.
There are things that you think will be hard, and they are. Those are the relatively easy ones. The harder part, at least for me, are the moments where a big ass wave breaks over me and its triggered by something trivial or I don't even know what triggers it. It's sniper fire...you don't know when it's coming or where it's coming from, just that it's coming. Makes me a little edgy.
Here's what I'm talking about...
- Coming across Jill's wedding ring, which had gotten to the point where it hurt her to wear. Putting it back in the box I brought it home in. Closing it off in a drawer. Feeling like I had somehow deflated and that I've not been able to re-inflate fully since then.
- Being the airhead that I am, not packing enough shirts on my first trip since going back to work. This is not a new or even rare phenomenon. It's how I get most of my clothes. Going to a mall and buying one to get me through the next day. I used to talk to Jill every night when I was on the road. So, I guess it's predictable that I'd have a random thought flash through my head, "she's gonna give me so much shit about this when I talk to her tonight". Walking the length of the mall to get back to my car crying like hell and feeling really stupid.
- About a month after Jill died, finally getting to the stuff we'd put on our front porch when we were making room for hospice and nurses aids and converting the living room to my bedroom. One of those things was a suitcase Jill had been using as we bounced between treatments in Arizona and Minnesota. Kim opened up the suitcase. There were a few things of Jill's in it. They carried her scent. Our little dog Caya woke up from a dead sleep and went charging over to inspect more closely. Jill was her main human. She was the one Caya followed around and was most devoted to. She picked up that smell and tried to herd me to the door. I'm convinced to go find her lady. She was pacing and spinning in circles and crying at me. She kept crying the rest of the day.
- Going to a wedding. Hearing the words "until death do us part". Realizing on some cognitive level that the contract is now broken. That I'm not married to her anymore. But I am. I'm still married. In my head, in my heart, in every fiber of my being, I'm still married to her. Even though, technically, I'm not.
- Waking up April 23rd and realizing that the day before was the first day since January 17th, the day the doctors told us there was nothing we could do for Jill but "make her comfortable", that I hadn't cried once. Then fearing that meant she was slipping away from me somehow and I haven't stopped crying since.
- Sitting in Margaritaville in Hollywood, FL having taken the first bite of a very unfortunate "Shrimp Trio". The band segued into a version of Marley's Three Little Birds - a favorite of Jill's and one of the songs Jake made so memorable at her memorial. Feeling the tears start to come, throwing money on the table, running out down to the beach. Sitting there for four hours until I could stop shaking.
I'm trying like hell to put on a happy face. Trying to work on acceptance. Trying to work on being truly grateful for the beauty of my ten years with Jill instead of saying I am and being devastated that her time with us has stopped. It's not working. I think what's required here is patience and acceptance. I've never been worth a damn at either.