Posts Tagged ‘loss’


Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again while expecting different results.

So…I might be insane.

I’ve been reading through my Peace Corps journals recently. I’m almost through one of five. I wrote everything down every single day. I wanted to remember everything: smells, sounds, people, conversations. I did a remarkable job. Reading through, I’ll hit a sentence that brings back an entire day’s worth of memories. Oh yeah, I remember that training session! And what that food tasted like! And how mad I was at the bitches smoking by the doors of our compound so we all had to smell their exhaust! And how it felt when that scorpion stung me!

My first reaction in reading through was pride in the person I was then, then sadness that I lost much of my confidence and center. When I went into the Peace Corps, I’d just finishing my stint in Boone with Johnny, my best friend. We were extremely close. He taught me more than perhaps anyone else I’ve ever met in my life, and I was in a very strong, Zen, centered place. I lost that while I was in the Peace Corps. Not that Johnny didn’t try to help me keep it: he wrote letters, which meant a lot as he hates to write, and he called me every week. If it hadn’t been for him and my parents, I don’t know if I would have made it through all two years.

Anyway, the main reason I wanted to go through this exercise was to find out why I ever even liked my ex-husband in the first place. At this point, I don’t remember at all. I remember how I felt around him when we were in Lesotho, but I don’t know why. I hope I wrote that down.

First, though, I have to make it through Katiso, subject of one of my published short stories. It’s been an interesting experience. I have this memory of Katiso and our relationship, and it has absolutely no correlation to what I wrote down in my journal. Even when I was writing down what was actually happening, I was totally making up things in my mind. There are a lot of “if only” statements: if only things were slightly different, they’d be perfect; if only he did this one thing differently, it’d be amazing; we’ll be perfect once these things are ironed out. It’s like I imagined our relationship even while we were together. And if that wasn’t scary enough, I could replace Katiso’s name with my most recent ex’s and the story would stay almost exactly the same.

No joke.

Almost exactly.

That frightens me.

So I called Johnny.

Full disclosure: not only is he my best friend, but he can see my future. He’s always had this ability, and sometimes I’ll purposefully go months without talking to him because I just don’t want to know. Everyone thinks it’d be great to be able to know your future, but it’s more annoying than anything else. Trust me. Because knowing your future does not give you the ability to change it.

I told him what I was thinking, and he said, well, I was just waiting for you to figure that out. (See why I sometimes avoid talking to him?)

I just don’t know what to do from here. Okay, I keep falling into these same types of relationships (and Katiso wasn’t the first–the first was a boy I met in high school who kept me under his thumb for an entire decade), so how do I stop? What is the lesson that I need to learn to be able to break the cycle? Johnny had some suggestions, but he can’t give me all the answers. Well, he could, but what would be the fun in that?

What I’d really like is to find someone who loves me for who I am and not what I can give to or do for him. I want someone who makes me feel special, who thinks of me often, who encourages me to grow into the best version of myself I can be. The only time I’ve ever had that in my life was with Johnny, and we were never romantically together. He managed to do all of that while just being my friend. And that’s why I have such a high standard of friendship. We bought each other flowers. We left each other cards. We cooked meals together, pretty much every single day. I moved down the street from him. We watched movies and cuddled together on the couch. We talked about deep, important things. We went on trips together. We knew everything about each other. It was like the perfect relationship, except it was just missing that final piece.

So I guess I’d like to find my Johnny. I suppose that’s my answer. I should stop settling for anything less.


Now, on an entirely different note, mom’s one-year anniversary is coming up October 17th. I’m sad and depressed, as could be expected. We’re going down to the beach to scatter her ashes, as she wanted. It’s going to be heart-wrenching.

I got a new tattoo on Tuesday. I wanted a filigree design on the inside of my left wrist that matches my modified wedding ring. I told my artist that I wanted to incorporate mom’s initials, SSS, into the design, but they didn’t have to be front and center. He came up with this design that has SSS in the middle of a filigree heart. It’s amazing. Every day, I love it more and it means more. It has a power that I didn’t imagine. I feel like it’s turning me into a different person. I’m sure it’s not the way mom would have chosen for me to remember her, but it’s exactly what I needed.

I’ve learned that the feeling of loss never gets easier to bear: you just learn to live with it. Compartmentalize it, someone told me last week. I had hoped it would become less acute, but I guess that’s not the way these things work. So I’ve compartmentalized it. It’s now on my wrist. I stare at it all day, every day.

Pain into beauty. Such is life. Or so we hope.


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This week has been both horrible and amazing. I suppose that’s only fair. Although, honestly, I’d settle for some boring ol’ normal at this point.

On Monday, I discovered completely by accident (believe me, I wish I hadn’t) that my ex of only one week and a few days was already in a relationship with someone else. Not only that, but with someone we met at the same time at his band’s last show in late July. I thought I’d been doing okay with the whole break-up thing, but I was surprised at how much that threw me for a loop.

See, everything is straight in my head. I understand the whole situation. I’m okay with us not being together as a couple. It really is the best decision for both of us. But I cannot get my head to convince the rest of me that everything’s working out just the way it’s supposed to. It always does. I KNOW that. I just don’t FEEL it right now.

So I flipped out a bit and got myself back on the couch to talk to someone. My previous lady is out on maternity leave, so I had to vomit up all this information on a new lady’s lap. I don’t think I like her, but I just needed someone to talk to, so it all worked out. She didn’t have any time to talk, what with the divorce and mom and breakup and new discovery and all of that stuff spewing out, but I sure felt better afterward.

Then late on Wednesday, one of my very best friends arrived from Russia via New York. We stayed up much too late for a weeknight talking about things, and then we hung out on Thursday before he headed off to see his family in Jacksonville. It was great. Our relationship started out with us kind of dating back in 2005 before I went into the Peace Corps, then we reconnected as friends through letters while I was there. (Sorry, folks, he’s married now.) What was great, though, was that he reminded me what it was like to be with someone who is continually striving to be better, who treats me like I’m something to be treasured, who supports me making healthy decisions. I’m so glad the timing worked out the way it did. Seeing him again and remembering all of these things I used to want relieved so much of the pressure I was feeling.

I’d warned my manager that I was having a rough week, and all of my co-workers know this will be my first birthday without mom around. They’ve all been great…tons of “let us know what we can do to help.” They took me out for a birthday lunch today at one of my favorite places, and it was the largest contingent of people we’ve ever had at one time going out to lunch together. Some of them kept telling me that I must be very popular! I said it might be a mix of that and a good restaurant choice…hehe.

Before we left, one of my co-workers told me to have a good day tomorrow. Not just that, but to MAKE it a good day because it was truly up to me. So many of the prominent Buddhists write about this all the time, about how “Happiness is available; please help yourself to it” (Thich Nhat Hanh). It’s so simple, yet so complex. He’s right, though. Every moment, I have the choice to be happy or not.

And then I got home to find flowers on my doorstep! Two of my very good friends, whom I haven’t seen in ages and ages, sent them to me to tell me they love me. Not just that, but some awesome beer glasses from yet another friend I haven’t seen in forever and more cards than I think I’ve ever gotten, all with sweet messages about how much mom would have wanted me to be happy and about how much they love me.

I’ve been saying lately that I don’t understand how I could possibly have so many friends and yet feel so lonely. I really don’t feel lonely anymore, though. I feel incredibly blessed to have so many people in my life who genuinely care about me and want to bolster me as I go through this horrible time.

I was freaking out because I didn’t want to be alone tonight at midnight. But to be honest, I’m happy it worked out that way. I’m having some beer. I’m going to clean the house (they replaced the a/c unit and it smells like the worker’s nasty BO, gross). I’m going to eat leftovers from my awesome lunch today and remember how lucky I am to work with such awesome people. I’ll probably watch a movie. I don’t even know if I’ll stay up until midnight. I bought stuff to make salmon benedict for breakfast tomorrow, and I got prosecco and OJ for mimosas. I was going to go on a hike, but it looks like it might rain…I might go anyway. Then I’ll get to see Ronnie’s dance company perform and have an awesome dinner with dad. I even bought a gluten-free cupcake while I was at the store this afternoon in case I don’t run into any birthday cake or the restaurant doesn’t have any gluten-free desserts. No excuse for any sadness! And my old trainer from the gym called and talked to me a bit, and I promised her I’d be back to the 6 AM classes as of Monday morning. It’s time to take my life back.

Thank you all SO SO SO very much for your continued love and support. One of the biggest things I learned from my recent relationship is that not everyone is lucky enough to have experienced unconditional love. I have it all around me. I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but I will be grateful. You are all giving me the strength to heal and move on from the incredible amount of loss I’ve suffered over the past year. Thank you.

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Loss is Loss

My birthday is in six days. I’m alternately excited and sad.

And to make it even more fun, not only do I have to deal with missing my mother, but the boy broke up with me last weekend, so I have to deal with that at the same time.

I shouldn’t say it like that, though. It’s not like he was mean about it. It’s not like it was out of the blue. It’s been bound to happen eventually. We both care a lot about each other, and I believe it when he says he does not want to hurt me. I think the timing could have been better, but such is life. I gave it everything I had. He had nothing to give. So that’s that.

I’ve been struggling with why I’m so upset about it. When I look at the situation objectively, it’s clear that this is the best thing for both of us. We both want to figure out a way to keep our friendship, and while that might be really hard, it means that I’m ultimately not going to lose the part of the relationship I care the most about. I shouldn’t be sad. I learned a lot from the relationship and from him. I grew in many different ways. He helped me recover from losing mom and to deal with much of my grief. I think I’m a better person for having met him. I know he’s not the right person for me, at least not right now. So why am I so sad?

I just got off the phone with one of my best friends. He said that loss is loss, even if it’s a good loss. He also said that it takes about three years for a person to recover from divorce, so I’m probably still dealing with a lot of that, even if I was relieved to be out of the marriage. Plus, mom. That’s a lot of loss for one person to deal with. And to be honest, that’s one of the reasons it took so long for me and the boy to end things: he didn’t want to add to my loss.

I don’t know how much loss one person can deal with, though. At least not without crumbling and breaking. I guess I’ll find out.

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