Fourteen Months

Fourteen Months

I thought after the one year post that I would stop writing these kind of updates. Grief seemed like something I could wrap up with a neat bow – one year of feelings summed up eloquently with words and then set away in a little box. Of course the truth is a lot more complicated. Life is messy. Relationships, with both the living and the dead, doubly so.

This summer has been a rough one for me. Some causes were obvious. The one year mark was such a huge looming line in the sand, that I didn’t quite know what to do with myself once I crossed it. Shortly after in July, I saw most of Tim’s extended family at a funeral. It was both the first funeral I’d been to since Tim passed away, and the first time since his memorial that I saw 95% of his family. Standing in the back of my room with my arms folded over my back dress, I listened to Tim’s uncle give a perfect eulogy. He’s a tall, intellectual icon of Mississippi with the kind of southern drawl you rarely hear these days. I imagine he sounded like William Faulkner, if Faulkner was kind. I heard every word he spoke as if it were spoken about Tim, and when the speech concluded I slunk outside and sobbed in the perfectly landscaped bushes in the front yard.

Grief like that is something I normally keep at bay. If I let it rise too high or too often, I feel like I’m drowning. The waves get too high, and I don’t even want to swim anymore.

These pictures have nothing to do with the content, but they are cute animals to lift the mood.
These pictures have nothing to do with the content, but they are cute animals to lift the mood.

Most days aren’t like that though. I’ve spent most days of my summer spending time with friends with my mood ranging from mildly depressed to highly irritable. Some of my coping mechanisms, like extrovert social fun time, alcohol and ponies have stopped helping me as much. My fuse has been abnormally short, and patience thin… which doesn’t bode well to using ponies as therapy since I end up just getting frustrated at the ponies.

The writing has suffered too. My empty blog mocks me, You can’t write about horses right now because you’re doing terrible with them. You can’t write about some of the things that are annoying you, because I’m not that kind of blog. You can’t write about how you feel, because it’s the same shit different day. You’re annoyed at how you feel, don’t you think everyone else is too? So mostly I’ve left the blog neglected in the hottest months of Texas. My book isn’t faring much better. I breezed through rough drafts of three chapters, and find myself left with content that is physically and emotionally hard for me to put down on the paper. Often I forget how much I remember about the last two weeks of Tim’s death. They’re demons I keep locked away most of the time, but when I start to write down the truth I can hear them growling at me. I know I need to confront things to move the book forward, but then the waves of grief start rising again and I shut my computer in a hurry.

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A few weeks ago I got struck with a head cold, and was forced to spend quiet time in my house healing by myself. There were no friends to keep me company, because they valued their immune system. There were no glasses of wine or cocktails to put a comfortable haze in my brain, because I try not to make a habit of drinking when I can’t breathe out my nose. It was just me, my thoughts and my dogs.

I watched the 2015 animated version of The Little Prince, and I sobbed. I finally admitted to myself that I was lonely. I opened my computer to start writing the chapter, and I sobbed. I finally admitted to myself that I was lonely not really because I’m single, but because I missed my husband who was actually a stand up guy that loved me more than anything else on earth.

Months ago I cleaned out my desk at work and found a note from a florist.

Sorry for ruining your sleep. I love you. Tim

He sent them towards the beginning of his massive spiral downward. He’d been up all night working and using (though I didn’t know it), and I kept waking up to check on him and try to get him to calm down and come to bed. The next morning I was exhausted and livid, since this wasn’t the first time he kept me up all night with his mad scientist shenanigans and the situation had me weary. He sent me flowers at work to apologize, and I had no idea how much more weary I would become.

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Fourteen months out, I’m still weary. I’ve spent the better part of a year being passively angry at Tim for what he put me through. In that anecdote above, I focused on the using instead of the flowers. The more time that passes, the more I think about the person he was before the drugs and the depression. That person is a hard one to live without. I miss that person.

It’s been raining for over a week here and the weather is starting to humor us by dropping ever so slightly in temperature. I’m not upset at the rain, and I’m not sad to say goodbye to summer. It would be easy to think I wasted too many days lately depressed or annoyed, but everything I go through brings me closer to where I’m going. I still don’t know where that is, but I’m working on my sea legs.

24 thoughts on “Fourteen Months

  1. This:

    “It would be easy to think I wasted too many days lately depressed or annoyed, but everything I go through brings me closer to where I’m going. I still don’t know where that is, but I’m working on my sea legs.”

    Damn girl. That’s it right there. That strikes me to the core. The word for me lately has been tenacity and that’s it right there. (also, have you read any Brene Brown? – just curious because it sounds like her).

  2. Grief is like that- it refuses be boxed in and will find it’s way out like all fundamental states of being (sorry, not trying to mystical but emotion? mood? state? couldn’t figure out the correct word for the concept). I’m glad that wrote about it. You are very wise to let this unfold as it will and not try to force it.

  3. Accepting and processing all of the emotions that go along with trauma is ridiculously hard. I don’t have comparable life experience, but I’m still your friend and I’ll support you as best I can. 🙂

  4. No matter what it is you are writing about, you are a fine excellent writer. I will enjoy reading about whatever you write about. Keep the blog coming please! I would love to hear about your progress with Roman. I bet you’d write a great blog, even if your goal for that day was a nice trot!

  5. Whatever you write about on this blog, I always look forward to your posts and read each and every one. You are one of the most talented writer’s I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and your honest emotions are so raw, that your posts always really resonate with me. I’m always grateful for the little life reminders you give me <3

  6. What you’re still processing and healing from and grieving is no small thing. Your experience and writings are relevant and important. I continue to enjoy your writing. Especially when I get down about my own writing, our challenges are very different, but it’s nice to have other writers to watch and be inspired by.

  7. I don’t have any words of wisdom other than to say, don’t let the blog stress you out. Write if you want to – and know that when you do, the words that you put on paper are so inspiring, so soul-wrenching, that I am always awed at your gift at language.

  8. The journey is rough, the roughest. Years from now it will get easier, and I’m sorry that day isn’t today. I think you should be able to write whatever you want to write, write something vague or not vague, or something completely full of anger, or sadness. Maybe you don’t do it here, but there is definitely a place somewhere for it.

  9. So sorry you have to go through this, but thank you for writing so openly about it. I don’t know if it helps you at all to know that your writing helps other people struggling, but it does. Keep trudging on.

  10. I lost my husband 18 months ago and what you are saying is how I feel! I don’t really. think it gets better the grief just gets farther apart! A lot of regrets on my part and the bottim line is I just miss him!!!

  11. I don’t have much to add. Grief is one of those things that you wish would just be over, but it never truly is. Sending cyber hugs your way <3

  12. I wish I had words of wisdom that would magically make it better, but I don’t. Just know you’ve got a whole tribe sending love your way no matter what.

  13. Another well written post Lauren. You have a way with words that many of us just don’t. Write what you choose here. Nobody said this absolutely has to be a horse only blog. My own blog has also sat idle for months and been all over the board in content lately. It happens. Ifyou’re just not in the mood with the ponies, just take a day off with them. Let them hand graze while you appreciate the joy and peace they bring to your life. And then kiss those fuzzy noses and stuff their face full of cookies. Hugs to you and the horses

  14. Forgive him. What he got caught up in is as deadly as cancer and as difficult to fight. Then you have the social shame that goes with it, and it’s hard to ask for help. There are so many people who lose that fight every day.

    Nothing that’s worth the grief can be wrapped up in a neat bow. Tim was worth it.

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