Sunday, March 18, 2012

four days on my own

Last week I was alone. For three nights.
Something I haven't had to experience since I started dating Ryan. We have always been together.
But it was bound to happen... we couldn't always be at each other's side. So when Ryan got his new job I kind of expected us to be separated for his training. And indeed they took him away for a week.

I hated every minute of being alone.
Of course, I did as much as possible to keep myself entertained. I visited friends. I cleaned the house. I worked extra hours at school.
But my mind was preoccupied.
As much as I dislike being alone... I also dislike the fact that I can't handle being alone. I feel undone. And I feel sort of embarrassed. Mainly because people tend to think they always have the best advice by saying little sayings like "you can never be comfortable with someone else until you are comfortable with yourself" and "absence makes the heart grow fonder."
So, I guess I was supposed to embrace the loneliness?
I guess I am supposed to be ok with it?
Because I am strong?
Because I am ok with that?

It wasn't so bad at first.
I was doing fine. I did aid my sleep with anxiety medication to calm my thoughts... and thanks to the amazing technology we now live with this day and age I was able to video chat with Ryan every night. He was literally the last thing I saw and heard before I fell asleep at night. It made things so much better.

I often think about what it would be like if I could video chat with John in Heaven. 
The things that would be said. The way his eyes would light up and the corners of his mouth pull back to make a smile... the things that I have longed to see for almost two years now. And to hear that laugh again. Oh, yes. That laugh. Who could resist it?? That laugh that was like a song.... and contagious as hell. 

All was going well... I was making it and I was actually starting to feel proud of myself.
And then I get a phone call on Wednesday night from my associate director from last year telling me that one of our students at my former school had died. He committed suicide.
I was floored.
And then all the pride I had felt for being able to be on my own... drained away.
I was in need.
I was upset. And crying. And letting my mind flood with dark thoughts that I desperately wanted to get rid of. There was nothing I feared more than that darkness. That lingering darkness of death and loss.
And it was haunting.
My mind went to thoughts of him
And of his poor, distraught family.
And of finding him.
And of him dead.

And then I freaked out because Ryan was in Jacksonville and I was here.
And I had to comfort MYSELF.
No one was there to comfort me.
And I couldn't find anyone to come over.
I had to figure it out.
I had to self soothe.
And THAT was the bigger task... getting MYSELF to calm the fuck down.
I told Ryan immediately... and then told him I needed a chance to calm down.
I took a shower.
Not a bath (as I usually do) but a really freakin' HOT shower.
And then I did something I do not do enough... I prayed.

I do NOT mean to not pray.
It's not on purpose.
I tend to forget.
And fall asleep.
I suck.

But I sure did pray that night.
No one was home. It was just me, Lily, Cecilia, and God. And so I prayed very loud and very intensely. I prayed for the child's soul. And his poor, grieving family. The people left behind to suffer. The ones I could truly relate to. (except the suicide part...)
I prayed for peace.
Over and over.
Peace for them.
Peace for myself.
I prayed for calm.
I prayed for grace.

And as I got out of the steam... I tried to turn my thoughts to happier times and happier things. I was refusing myself to go to dark places. I had to stay light. Especially when I am alone.

I video chatted with Ryan.
We discussed happier things. Tried to focus on our lives... our future...

I can't get engulfed with other's tragedies all the time. Because I tend to get out of control.
It's a balancing act really.
To grieve and to live.
You have to do both.
But mostly you have to live.
And I just started to do that..... it's taken a long time to balance it out. I had the grief hold the heavier part for such a long time I had forgotten to actually focus on my current life. That I actually was ALLOWED to do so.

So, live, my friends.
Live now.

Ryan came home the next day.
I can't tell you how HAPPY I was.
In my mind he had been gone for way longer than four days. It was an eternity to me.
And I felt so grateful to have him back.
Something about women who have lost before... for the people they eventually love... we appreciate you MORE than most ever will because we know what it's like to not have you.
It is just one of the few perks you get dating a widow.
You're welcome.

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