Coping and Existing and All That Jazz

Coping and Existing and All That Jazz

I write this blog for a lot of reasons, admittedly some of them selfish, but I knew posting about Tim’s death would be something I needed to do for myself. I did not expect the sheer amount of condolences, support and love I received from it yesterday.

My phone, e-mail and Facebook blew up for hours and hours and hours. I cried a lot over all your comments and well wishes, because part of me is mourning the fact that there is so much love for a person who is now gone from the physical world. The other part of me is emotionally overwhelmed, but in a good way.

Plus I just cry a lot these days. It’s like my new super power.

In the hours after his death, a lot of people told me one minute or day at a time. It’s a cliche we’ve all heard before, but it really is true. I couldn’t eat or sleep. When I did sleep, I have had multiple dreams that he got up and was back with us. Waking up was like losing him all over again.

But it happens less frequently, and it gets better.

My dad was with me over the weekend, and nudged me out of the house each day. He’d be all like, “Let’s go to that nice seafood restaurant the three of us went to last year!” and I’d be all “Meh. Food. Wutevs.” We went anyway, and I picked something that I knew past Lauren enjoyed but current Lauren couldn’t imagine eating.

However, when the waiter brings you Lobster cheddar grits… it’s hard to turn down Lobster cheddar grits. You eat them, because they’re fucking delicious.

So I realized that I needed to just put something in front of me, and eat a little even if I didn’t feel like it.

I alternate between functioning well, cry-talking and uncontrollably sobbing. It’s actually kind of funny, because when I’m functioning well I feel a little guilty over it. I think “No, that’s stupid. Don’t feel guilty! It’s okay to not cry all the time!” and I congratulate myself for being so self aware. Then something happens that takes me off guard and it’s back to uncontrollably sobbing again.

I also rage stabbed a giant exercise ball with a sharp knife. I highly recommend this.

There is a lot happening and a lot that has happened. When I told Jen J what happened Friday, she mentioned that I shouldn’t feel the need to keep up the blog during this time. I don’t feel the need to, but I also love writing. I’m going to have to process this somehow, and there is comfort in the routine of writing and posting. Welcome aboard the 30 year old widow train. It’s going to be a theme for a while.

Some quick final notes before I go today…

No one should worry about me quitting riding or keeping Simon. Simon stays. He will help me get through this.

I am planning a memorial for Tim this Thursday evening. Obviously no one was prepared for this, and Tim never had any romantic ideas about death. He would tell you it was a ‘dirt nap’, so didn’t leave me with much instruction. I choose to remember him with a casual gathering of friends in our local park. When I saw the options at the funeral home, I knew how much he would hate it.. so we’re going the non-traditional route. He wasn’t a super traditional guy. It’s fitting.

For the whole “in lieu of flowers” thing, I have chosen Austin Pets Alive as a charity to take any donations in his honor. Dogs always brought him great joy, and mine are helping me so much right now.

Thank you again for every comment. I can’t express accurately what they meant to me.

60 thoughts on “Coping and Existing and All That Jazz

  1. The dreams will be the hardest to deal with. More so than saying goodbye, because as you said, every time you wake up, its like you are losing him again.

    But they will fade, and months or years from now, when you have them again (because I will tell you, they never truly go away), it will be more of a comfort than a constant heartbreak. It will be like he is visiting you to say “I’m ok. I don’t hurt anymore. Be happy and live your life.”

    Stay strong, stab a few more exercise balls, throw things, cry uncontrollably, and continue to eat delicious lobster cheddar grits.

    We all love you Lauren and you are one hell of a strong woman.

  2. It’s clear that you love writing – your post yesterday was so well written. Shocking to read, but so articulate. Post about whatever you want, whenever you want to, and all of us will be here for you. And if you don’t feel like posting, that’s OK, too. We’ll be here waiting. But maybe just let us know you’re OK once in a while 🙂

  3. You are such an eloquent writer, and it’s evident that it’s something you love to do. This blog is yours, and ultimately something you do for yourself. Whatever you want to do with it, we’ll all understand and support you in. -hugs-

  4. I’m so in awe of your strength. Despite your hurt and despair you’ve still kept your humor. And your YOU. Obviously if it’s too hard, don’t write the blog. But if it feels right, we readers all want to be here to support you. Sending you some virtual lobster cheddar grits, and all my best thoughts.

  5. Girl, you do whatever you need to do. Write, don’t write, ride, brush your pony for 3 hours, YOU know yourself and what you need. You’ve got infinite love pouring your way <3

  6. More love and hugs from over here. Try not to feel guilty about ANY of the things… whatever feels right for now, do that. Including stabbing exercise balls!

  7. I have been thinking about you day and night and have cried at the thought of the pain you are going through. You are such a strong woman, and as you know we are all here for you if you need us. I know Simon will take care of you.

  8. Writing is so, so therapeutic. So good for helping to process difficult things. We’re all here reading along, praying along, hugging you from far away. Crying along with you, too. It’s wonderful that you are honoring Tim by doing things the way he’d want them done. Love you!! You can do this, one minute at a time.

  9. Like the others have mentioned, I’m in awe of your strength. Dreams can be weird – my Dad died suddenly when I was 14 and dreamed about him all the time for years and still have the occasional dream now (I’m 40!) and the dream is always the same – he is helping me take care of the horses I had as a kid. Very weird, but they have become comforting instead of alarming/frustrating/sad.

    I like that you have planned a non-traditional memorial – sounds like the right thing to do. Also – grieving is so personal – there is no right or wrong way – you just have to do what works for you.

    Sending another virtual hug – know that there a many of us out here in the world thinking of you in this difficult time.

  10. It’s obvious that writing is a cathartic process for you, and it’s a testament to both your strength and your love for him that you do so. So glad you have Simon, your furbabies and your family there with you to get through this time- sending you all the best!

  11. *hugs* You’re going to be riding the grief roller coaster for a while. That’s ok. It’s normal. It fucking sucks, but it’s normal. Minute by minute you will find a *new* normal. Those minutes will stretch to hours, and it will get a little bit smoother.

  12. Rage stabbing an exercise ball sounds fantastic. Lobster cheddar grits?! Um hello, why haven’t I heard of those!!!! Between my southern mother and my coastal father I feel like I should have been more aware!

    Thinking about you often. So happy to hear the dogs are there for you… **hugs**

  13. Sending big hugs. It sounds like you have a great support system (two-legged and four-legged). You’ve been in my thoughts and prayers in this last 24 hours.

  14. Grief is such a personal thing. If writing makes you feel better, than do it! If stabbing an excercise ball helps – go for it (great idea actually…) Even if you are strong it is ok to lean on people for support and to have random crying jags. The memorial you have planned sounds lovely and just right. You are continually in my thoughts and prayers. <3

  15. My dad has been gone for a little over a year now and I still have dreams, random breakdowns, etc. and his death was “expected” since he had ALS. I still can’t write about my dad without losing my marbles. I was in tears writing a simple instagram Father’s day post thingy, so I don’t think I can be super eloquent elsewhere without a complete breakdown. If you can write about it (whether or not it is for an audience) I recommend that you do. This is still a goal for me. My worst fear is forgetting the details.

    I can also completely understand the feeling guilty because you feel like you can cope for a minute. That minute is so confusing, but they will become hours and days and the guilt will fade and you’ll realize that Tim wanted you to be strong without feeling guilty.

    For the next few days my best recommendation is to a) take naps with your pups and b) watch some ridiculous form of television. Mine was the Mindy Project. Wrapping yourself in an insane story elsewhere is helpful to dodge reality when absolutely necessary.

  16. i’ve been thinking about you nonstop since reading your last post last night. and i’m in awe of your openness in what you’re going through and how you’re coping. please let us know if there is any way at all that we can help make your life easier now, or in a week, or in a couple months – whatever. i’m here for you!

  17. I second Susan’s comment, this post and yesterday’s post were so clearly articulate and heartbreaking. It is clear that you love writing and you do a damn good job of it even in the face of such emotional turmoil.

    Do whatever makes you happy, whether it’s riding, writing, eating chedder lobster grits (I don’t even like lobster and it sounds fucking amazing), or maybe you can wreak havoc on a yoga studio and TAKE DOWN ALL THE EXERCISE BALLS. I’m glad you dad was with you over the weekend and I hope that you can continue to surround yourself with family and loved ones.

  18. Lauren, I’m heartbroken for you as I read about your husband. There’s nothing to say other than I’ll be thinking of you and sending good thoughts your way.

  19. What you are going through makes me so sad for you, I really hope time hurries for you so some of the pain can heal. I have not lost a spouse but I have lost animals I have had for almost 20 years and I agree the dreams are the worst. It really is like losing them all over again, night after night. Try to find yourself a new normal and know that we are here for your support. Until then, kill ALL exercise balls!

  20. That was really beautifully written. I’m glad you’re going to keep writing the blog, I’m all aboard. I hope it continues to give you some comfort knowing we’re all here for you even if it’s from many states away. Never even crossed my mind that you wouldn’t keep Simon! Horses are wonderful healers. As are dogs. Your dad sounds like a gem. Please keep taking care of yourself. Big hugs.

  21. We are all here for you Lauren. I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through but I have been thinking of you constantly since yesterday and want to let you know that I am here for you. I know I am a complete stranger but if you need someone to chat with please don’t hesitate.

  22. I can’t get over your strength. You are amazing.
    Don’t feel guilty. It’s ok to keep moving forward and it’s also ok to cry. There’s no need to justify anything or explain yourself to anyone. Everyone grieves differently and is entitled to do so. Take as much time as you need and don’t let others dictate what’s ‘normal’. Do whatever you need to feel like you again.
    We’re all here for you. Love and hugs.

  23. You do whatever you need to do. If you need to write, write. If you need a break, take a break. You don’t need to justify anything to anyone. Simon will be there for you.

  24. The loss of my father was obviously very different than the loss of a husband but I totally understand the dreams, the guilt, the crying, and the struggle to get through the day. It is hard to accept when people tell you it will get better but it does. I only have a few horrible gut wrenching cry myself to sleep days every couple years now and the rest of the time I remind myself that my dad wouldn’t want me to be mopping around – I’m sure he would want you to be happy and live a full life – it’s hard to not feel bad but it does get better.

    I am happy to hear that you will be keeping Simon and can continue to ride. If there is anything else you need reach out. I know there are a bunch of fellow bloggers (near and far) that would love to help you in any way we can. (Hug)

  25. Thought of you all day yesterday. When my brother died unexpectedly, I felt guilty for any time that wasn’t spent mourning too but slowly realized it’s OK to do other things – that’s how normalcy will slowly creep back to you. Something that helped me is I always tried to think of what he’d want for me – which was to enjoy things! You’ve got SO much support and you’re such a strong person, I know you’ll keep truckin’ along <3 BTW rage stabbing an exercise ball sounds like a REALLY good idea I need to make a mental note of…

  26. hey girl you gotta do whatever it is you gotta do to help get you through this. Everyone grieves and processes things differently. Also, don’t be afraid to seek out the help of a professional if you need it.

  27. I know how I would react to B’s death if it occurs- part of me would be absolutely devastated and part of me would be kind of at peace about it because I know what he went through and I know that the struggle is finally over. So, I imagine part of coping is just that knowledge. I don’t think you should feel guilty for having those moments where you are coping well. You know he wouldn’t want you to stay stuck in this tragedy- I’m sure he would feel guilty enough for all of the pain he had already caused, and this as well. I know he’d want you to move on and have a happy and full life, and appreciated you sharing your life with him and loving him through everything. But don’t feel guilty for crying either! Totally appropriate and needed. He was obviously a great man and well loved. You’re doing him proud.

  28. I know its not the same, but I found solace in the routine when I put Carlos down. The routine helped me not fade into a depressive oblivion where I couldn’t function anymore. Your ability to be cognizant of the fact that you need to eat and do things regardless of if your current state says Meh is a testament to the fact that you will make a full recovery even if you are forever change by the events that happened. No room for self destruction in routine. You’ll be different forever. Things will be different forever. There is love and support all around you.

  29. Dear Lauren,

    Current Lauren is who you are right now – you are allowed to feel all the things, you are free to feel feel so much all at once. It’s all okay. Every last bit.

    The other thing you can do for yourself is to start seeing a therapist. Someone who works in grief counseling (but is licensed/certified/a psychotherapist) who can walk with you through all of this, for as long as you need. I can seek out references in your area if you like.

    In the midst of this trauma, please remind yourself to give Current Lauren all the grace. Just grace out the wazooo. And call on the people who can help you. We all want to help you somehow, however we can, please let us.

    hugs and hugs and sitting with you from Ohio.

  30. I am so sorry for your loss.
    When I lost a close family member a few years ago. I didn’t grieve. I kept myself busy until I finally lost it. Keep Simon close, he will help you heal.

  31. Echoing the compliments to your writing Lauren. Loving the “rage stabbing the exercise ball” detail. Sounds like a healthy outlet for the anger that you (very justifiably) have at suddenly finding yourself in this situation.

    Also seconding Sarah K’s (MyRedMare) advice ⇧ about therapy. From personal experience I can say that it can be super helpful for processing what’s happened in a healthy way.

    Thinking of you.

  32. I’ve been thinking about you a lot since yesterday too – one of the things that blogging a lot does is makes your readers feel like friends. I have always identified more with you than with a lot of other bloggers, and I think the world of you. So – all that said – I wish I could do more in a horrible time to help.

    When my dad died suddenly, I had similar reactions. Things were so strange, unreal, and I didn’t know how to handle it. Life was shockingly divided into Before and After. Even now, 20 years later at almost 40, I dream that he’s just been sick, or away, and he comes back.

    It’s okay to react however you react. Stabbity death to exercise balls, weeping, being perfectly sane for an hour … it’s all okay. Your family and I and all your friends will tell this to you when you forget, because you deserve every scrap of support we can offer.

    Grief is weird. It changes over time. Cope however you need to. <3

  33. I don’t like when people tell me I am strong and I will be ok. So I am going to tell you just be. Be whatever you feel that day, that hour, or that minute. ❤️

  34. Lauren, you mom and my mom were best friends. I am not sure but I think I met you once. I lost Pamela a little over a year ago and thought I was not going to be able to breathe again. I can tell you every day is just a fraction easier. 14 months have passed and I can listen to her beach music without crying – most of the time. I longed for the day that I could remember her without tears and only happiness. It will come. Baby steps and one day at a time. Occupy yourself with what you love to do and you will keep going forward. XOXO… much love to you !!!

  35. Reading Amy’s comment about hating it when people tell you to be strong and all that, I agree. I have recently been thru my own personal shitstorm and August 1 will be two years since it started. It is still not over for me, no matter how much I wish it was.

    I know what you mean about some days just bawling your eyes out. There are days when it seems like that is all you can do. Rage stabbing the exercise ball? Whatever works. Who am I to judge? Maybe I will try it too. Thanks for the tip!

    I love the line yesterday -I’m not ok, but I will be alright. You will get thru this and I’m glad your Dad was able to be there for you. Your writing is beautiful and it is also an outlet. Do what you need to do. Do what helps you cope. I won’t say I know what you’re going thru because I don’t, but I understand. (((((Hugs)))))

  36. Like everyone else has already said, write whatever you want; we’ll be here to support you, cry with you, laugh with you, and love you.

    Hugs to you, Lauren. Again, I wish I could do something to make this easier for you.

  37. My heart aches for you Lauren, I am truly sorry for your loss.
    Grief, reactions/emotions know no set pattern nor have they a time limit. You do what’s best for you and feel how you feel in any given moment.
    Share as much or as little as you want on your blog, it is your blog and we are all here to help you in anyway we can no matter how far away we may physically be.
    Animals are great sharers of our emotions, I am glad you have such wonderful companions (human & furry/four-legged) to help you through this difficult time

  38. Dads, dogs, lobster grits, and rage stabbings. I’ll be honest, you have one hell of a support system.

    Please keep writing. I know I’ll be here happily reading whatever you write, even if it’s a 5000 word treatise on proper hydration methods for sobbing.

  39. So glad you are going to keep posting so that we can keep supporting you!

    Simon will totally help you through this!

    We are here for you friend!!

  40. I haven’t stopped thinking about you – words seem so inadequate. I’m amazed by your strength and courage even if that’s not how you currently feel. I cannot even begin fathom what you are going through but please know my thoughts and prayers are with you. Many hugs to you!

  41. I haven’t stopped thinking about you and what you are going through – I can’t even put into words how my heart breaks for you.

    I admire your courage and strength to share your story and to keep us so close to you still. <3 You are a beautiful, strong woman and I don't want you to ever forget that.

  42. Rage stabbing an exercise ball is now on my list of things to do… But never feel guilty about crying or not crying. A comment above said, “Just be…” and that’s so true. Do what you need to do when you feel like you need to do it. <3

  43. it truly is one day at a time. there will be good days, good moments and pretty fucking overwhelming ones as well. My only advice is to listen to yourself. Make yourself do what you can and give yourself permission to not do things.

    I found that writing was an outlet and helped my grieving and I wasn’t going through what you are.

  44. I’m sitting in a hotel in Arkansas, with live music and a full bar, crying. I’m pretty sure people are staring but it’s ok by me. I admire you Lauren, for your bravery, and I’m thinking about you!

  45. My deepest sympathies to you and your family. Your grief will never be better…but it will become manageable. You are in my prayers.

  46. Your ability to write so coherently and beautifully in the immediate aftermath of events is amazing to me. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. Continued prayers for you.

  47. Fuck. Sorry, that’s the only word I thought, I’m not religious. Lauren, I read always, comment rarely, because I’m not keeping my own blog up to date. I just got caught up after a couple weeks. I didn’t understand your Heart Hurts one at first…I stopped part way through to make sure I didn’t miss that it was a book review or fiction project of yours…or something. I am so sorry. This shit happens to good people. I feel I know you because I read your thoughts almost daily; thoughts more honest than what most people will put out to their loved ones. That is to say, I don’t know you in person but feel I do know the kind of person you are. Because of that, my heart hurts for you. I’ve thought of you all night…I couldn’t comment right away. I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose someone to a problem you didn’t know existed until shortly before Tim’s death. Blessing and curse maybe. I’m a psychologist (not practicing clinical psych) and I’d say you are coping very well from what you’ve written. Those ups and downs from coping well to not at all are normal. It *is* ok and healthy to not be crying all the time, but it’s also normal to feel guilty for it. Those swings are part of the process. Sometime other people inadvertently make it worse by expecting us to conform to their idea of what someone in your situation should “act like.” It’s BS, but it’s a very real social mechanism that can complicate how we grieve and deal with loss. I think it is a good idea to talk to a professional, at least a couple times, to get the guilt for being okay/happy discussed as well as the other issues of grieving and really having little time to come to terms with what your husband was dealing with. You obviously have a good grasp that it wasn’t you, but it still might help to talk, vent, or ramble a time or two. Your blog peeps are always here. So glad to hear you have a solid support system. You aren’t just going to survive, you will thrive before too long.

  48. Lauren, my heart goes out to you. As many have already said, You are loved! Please know that if you need anything I’m more than happy to help. HUGS!

  49. Do whatever you need to do to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Be what you need to be to heal. I’ll be keeping you in my prayers.

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