Welcome To Midnight

As 2017 draws to a close, it’s a time of great reflection. I’ve always been one to do the whole ‘out with the old, in with the new’ while congratulating myself on continuing this journey.  This time last year, I was curled up on the couch listening to Chris’s dad and him exchange stories.  I was worried about my own health, never in a million years imagining that 2017 would see Chris taken from my life.

I’m going to be honest – this is the night I’ve dreaded the most.  Something about going into a new year without him was scary.  It’s like some part of me just wants to stay here, because maybe staying in this year will somhow bring him closer.  It’s silly thoughts, just as the thoughts of ‘he’s just in the next room’ are silly.  He isn’t here, but that’s okay.  He would want me to face this new year head on.

The past couple of weeks have been surprisingly kind to me.  I’m spending New Years in West Virginia of all places.  I’m being social and actually really looking forward to the ball drop as 2017 fades into a memory.  A very strong memroy, but a memory nevertheless.  I will welcome 2018 with open arms, thankful for what I have learned and for those who have been placed in my life.  I look forward to this new year, cautiously hoping that it is kind.  I welcome Midnight and all that it brings.

To read more about the premise behind Welcome To Midnight, visit TWLOHA

 

Waiting For The End

If you learn anything about me outside of Chris from this blog, please learn that music is my life force.  There are so many times that I’m unable to come up with an explanation to how i feel and music steps in.  In this particular season of life – “Waiting For The End” by Linkin Park has become an anthem of sorts.

I didn’t listen to them for a while after Chris’s death.  Chester passed so soon after Chris and it was such a punch in the gut sometimes.  Listening to this band that helped describe my battle with mental illness (see ‘Numb’ and ‘Heavy’) and knowing they were missing a large part as well.

However, as with most things, I did finally listen to them a month ago.  I despised ‘Waiting For The End’ when it first came out.  I have no idea why, but I did.  However, my return to Linkin Park involved this song, and it has been played daily since listening.

What was left when that fire was gone?
I thought it felt right but that right was wrong
All caught up in the eye of the storm
And trying to figure out what it’s like moving on
And I don’t even know what kind of things I said
My mouth kept moving and my mind went dead
So I’m picking up the pieces, now where to begin
The hardest part of ending is starting again

I’m not saying Chris was wrong because gods knows he wasn’t.  However, the belief that this relationship was going to do me for years to come was wrong.  That I was going to wake up to him when I’m 40 and make breakfast and then go on an adventure.  I got just under 2 years of that.  I am thankful for that time.

I’ve been stuck, and that’s to be expected.  I woke up on July 14 expecting to go to the animal shelter later that day and pick up a dog.  I walked into that ER with him expecting them to say they don’t know whats wrong.  I then changed that belief to quickly ‘he’s going to have heart surgery but we’ll get through this.’  Then finally, my reality became life without Chris.  So it’s natural that, given the circumstances and the fact that he was my person, I’ve been in a rut.

However, I am coming to terms with the knowledge that he would want me happy.  That it’s not wrong to laugh hard at other peoples jokes or enjoy the company of others.  That its okay to find people attractive.  I’m not disrespecting him by continuing to live my life.

So here, at the close of 2017, I’m choosing to look forward.  Picking up the pieces of what was my life and intertwining them into what my life is now and what it will be.  The hardest part of this is starting again – but he would want me to.  Even better, I want to.

I know what it takes to move on.

And I will do so.  He always said he admired my perseverance.  While the hardest part of ending is starting again, I welcome it with open arms and believe that better days are ahead.

2018.  Please be kind.

Christmas Memories

In our entire time of knowing each other, I can only think of one time Chris raised his voice to me. Facebook reminded me it was on this date last year. It’s, amusingly, something I’ve sort of looked forward to because the memory is so strong. The memory is all thanks to a little movie known as Elf.

I love Elf. Since it’s release, it’s been my ‘most see’ movie. Yet I never owned it. So when chris and I started talking about our movies to watch Christmas Eve, I kept bugging him. “We could rent Elf ” or “We should go home and watch Elf” was said countless times. After I’m sure what was 3+ hours of this, he raised his voice and told me to stop and be quiet. I cried. The look in his eyes while he hugged me from that is the look I miss. This ‘I’ll take care if you.’ I couldn’t understand why I just got scolded (though I did shortly) I just knew I wanted to go home.

We got home and he had me close my eyes and placed this in my hand. I then did my normal “I’m so excited”‘ squeal and jump. He kissed me and told me to learn patience (still working on that one.)

Chris wasn’t big on Christmas but he was big on me so we exchanged gifts and went to Christmas Eve service. We didn’t have time to make any traditions, as last Christmas was the only one we got together. But I am thankful for that one year of memories. So that whenever I see Elf, I can think of the only time I thought I’d made Chris angry. And the laughter after.

And so it continues.

Life, and so, death. Death managed to stay away from my thoughts for a while. Other than my Grandmother in 2009, I spent the first 24 years of my life not understanding. Then 2015 came. My grandfather passed. It was silent following that but man did that hurt. Chris would end up finding me crying somewhere missing Papaw so badly.

Then this summer hit.

  1. Chris
  2. Mamaw
  3. Aunt Freda

All within a month of each other. But life continued, until today.

E passed. My other strong Viking man. I’m in shock. It’s not nearly as bad as in July but it’s there. The ‘This can’t be happening. He’s coming over next weekend maybe?’

My heart is once again broken. It wasn’t even remotely okay before but it’s shattered even more. This is the part of life that no one can ever really prepare you for. Even experience can’t take away the sting. Death is a cruel mistress.

I could literally go my whole life without seeing : hearing the word ‘aneurysm’ and still hear it too soon.

Yet I find it is more in my life after this. After Chris. I don’t like using the word ‘triggered’ since it’s become such a huge way for people to make fun of those who do struggle – but it is. A word is a trigger for me.

It puts me back in the moment it happened. The moment life completely changed. The word makes me twitch and on the worst days immediately makes me cry. Today is obviously one of the worst days for that word specifically.

So here I am, 11:19 in the morning, after seeing the word, crying. Not heaving but tears streaming down my face because I miss him and I despise this thing that took him from me. This thing that I keep praying didn’t hurt him.

I still spend a lot of time praying that whatever form he’s in that he doesn’t hurt. All I want is him safe and that’s all I’ve ever wanted since he walked into my life.

If I can keep telling myself that this, him being gone, means he’s at peace or happy or some sort of good something – then I can keep facing this stupid word.

Practical vs Sentimental

I hold onto cards and notes from people for long amounts of time.  I like having those lines of written word to go back to.  Since my grandfathers death in 2015, I’ve held onto more than cards.  Everything has potential sentimental value and I tend to treat it as such.  I don’t hoard things, but it takes me quite some time to let things go.

It’ll be 5 months tomorrow.  I don’t sit there and countdown the hours or minutes anymore.  However, I am aware of time.  I am aware that for the past 3 months Chris’s phone has sat in the drawer unused.  For the first couple of months I used it to access documents he had stored.  Those, as well as needed passwords, have all been stored in other places  However, since late October it hasn’t been used.  This led me to offer his phone to my best friend, on the conditions that it wasn’t ever sold or given away and that a case was kept on it.

I was okay with that, until I turned it back on.  I still am okay with it, but it’s just.. panicking a bit.  I lost my wedding/engagement rings on my recent last minute trip so as of right now i feel like my earrings and necklace are the only things I have left that was his.  That doesn’t even make sense as the phone wasn’t given to me, it was his.

I didn’t think I’d be this person, holding onto everything.  When all i’m left with is his physical items left behind, it makes it harder.  5 months ago at this time he was on that phone with Chase complaining because they couldn’t update my name on my credit card yet.  My name still isn’t updated on it.

Baby steps.  I keep telling myself that.  The phone isn’t going to a stranger.  It’s going to someone who I’ve known longer than Chris.  Chris would have already sold it to get the new iPhone.  I just need to keep telling myself this, that it’s okay to move on with life.  That while things do hold sentimentality, holding onto them won’t bring him back.  Nothing can bring him back.  What is left are the memories imprinted on my mind and seared on my heart.

So in this ongoing battle of practical vs sentimental, I think starting with giving things to those he adored is a good way to start.

I constantly tell people to share anything and everything that reminds them of Chris with me. I think some are afraid it will hurt too much if they share with me. Chances are something shared may make me tear up, and hurt for a bit, but it’s normally because I miss him. I always miss him though.

This conversation had been shared with me right after Chris passed, but on Thursday when the tears were already coming it added. That is fine, it was needed. It is needed.

Chris was safe for so many different reasons. His mental health was something I envied but it made him safe when my mind was in a dark place. When I say he’s safe, that is usually what I meant. He was home and my brain knew that. It knew that it was safe to be ‘crazy.’

He was also safe physically as the text shows. I am a nervous person by nature. I jump easy. Yet I knew I was safe. He used to tell me if someone kidnapped me to tell them that he would find them and they better wish I was still alive. His mental health also came into play there because he wasn’t quick to anger. We had played so many scenarios of ‘of this happens, you do this.’

I know I ramble so many times. My mind is constantly this vast area of sorting through feelings and life. This weekend had been missing my safe place. The physical and emotional safe spot. The one I could always rely on.

I just need to keep reminding myself he is still protecting me. He taught me how to take care of myself and raised my self confidence so much. He isn’t completely gone. He never is and never will be. As long as I keep remembering that.