Three months ago, today, since my sweetuh died. Three months. Feels like longer. Feels like shorter. Feels like...I guess it feels like hard things like this are supposed to feel.
Am I doing better...
Had another one of those milestone things yesterday. As I wade through this post-Jill world part of the challenge is figuring out how to move ahead while not letting go while not letting trivial things, or seemingly trivial things, control me. I don't think I care to grade myself on that progress but instead just give myself points for attendance.
When I met Jill my hair was long. She liked it. I liked that she liked it. I've never been the dude who is awesomely good looking no matter what style he's rocking. I've never been close. Given that, if you have good hair, you work it.
Life and job intervened, hair cut short, and I figured my rock'n'roll look was gone for good. Last fall, when Jill took a bad turn, that smile of hers that...Christ, was everything good in the world...that smile was more and more rare. At that time my hair was long-ish and I was planning on cutting it down. But, I'd sit next to her on her bed and she'd reach up and run her fingers through it and she'd smile. She'd say, "it's getting too long. You need to cut it." But she'd be smiling up at me and playing with it and I knew I wasn't about to change it.
So it grew and grew and looked worse and worse and started annoying the hell out of me. When someone you love is dying slowly you think all the big heavy thoughts that you always imagined you would. You run through the where will I live, what will I do, where will I go, how do we pay tribute, how do we remember her...all that kind of stuff. But you can't think of things like that all the time. So smaller stuff pings the radar - I gotta get a new mattress, what is that thing she's got hanging on the wall in the office and do I have to keep it, my sandals are really old, I can finally get my haircut.
Be careful with those. There are little murders hiding in the mundane.
I got a new mattress.
I didn't touch the thing on the wall.
I'll get new sandals soon.
I've been trying for 3 months to cut my hair.
The first three attempts, I never made it out of the car. I'd sit in the parking lot unsuccessfully fighting off tears. That was upsetting but private. Attempts 4 & 5 I made it into the place. That was worse. I couldn't even do the overly friendly check-in ritual and had to beat a hasty retreat back to the safety of the car with some baffled and slightly appalled receptionist back at the desk wondering what the hell just happened.
I was running out of places to run out of. Also, I had a pretty significant hair problem. I have big thick hair. It can look good long but you have to commit to it. It has to get long enough that the weight of it pulls it down. Up until that point, especially in humid summer months, it expands ever outward. I'd hit a point where my head appeared to be 3x wider than it was long. Rectangle Head. This is not an identity you want. By my estimate, I had a couple of months of Rectangle Head left before it hit the right length. The rectangle would continue to expand outward until then. I'd make Hammerhead Sharks jealous. They would view me as a weird mutation but definitely a kindred spirit.
I scaled back. I'd inadvertently made it a binary. Let it keep growing or cut it all off. Maybe that was too much. Maybe if I just tried to prune the tree a bit instead of cutting it down it wouldn't feel like such a betrayal. Again, we're well past the point where Jill would have been telling me to cut it. This is me hanging on to something as a way of hanging on to her. I get that. Doesn't make it any easier.
The logistics of death are daunting and maddening. That said, I have proven to be far more efficient and facile with decision making in regards to big probate related things and big life event related decisions. Deciding on things like hair length or moving a piece of furniture, that she placed and that she picked out... My God the amount of time I'll spin and spin and spin on those and the amount of emotional trauma I will inflict on myself in the process.
Made an appointment. Got past the check-in. Told the dude to whittle it down and shape it but not hack it off. He liked that, more fun for him. Was doing generally okay until he asked me about what we should do with the hair hanging down over my face. Felt the wave coming. Knew that the only thing worse than sitting through it would be bailing out with a half-cut head of hair. This was not somehow deeply Jill specific. There isn't some particular connection to my bangs that is riddled with meaning and emotional minefields. It's just another instance of the emotional sniper fire of this chapter of my life.
The stylist was very good and very nice. I pretended I wasn't crying and he did a great job of pretending he didn't see it. I didn't explain. He didn't ask. Closest we got was him asking "you alright", and me choking out a "yep, keep going".
There is a tragic aftermath to this story. It's one I've encountered before. I'm a low-dollar, high-volume assembly line kinda haircut guy. I go places with the word "Cuts" prominently featured in the name. The rip and flip and 20 minutes and $20 later, you're good. In the rare instances when I go to a salon, a real salon, and blow somewhere north of an hour and $100 I've walked away thinking the same thing every time.
My hair looks exactly the same as when I walked in.