My continued Struggle

I mentioned on FB the other day that I continue to struggle with the thought of losing someone close again.  The thought can literally give me an anxiety attack and bring tears to my eyes.

The other night I tried to figure out what the underlying stuff was with this feeling.  Here is what I came up with.

Jay was taken from us too young and too fast.  Literally in a heart beat he was gone.  In that single heart beat my life came crashing down.  I had everything I had always wanted and then it was gone.

Dramatic, unbelievable and life altering I have survived.  There are days I have no idea how.

2 1/2 years later I finally feel like I have life back.  I have strength.  Things are my new normal.  It is frightening as hell to think that again in a heart beat a part of it could be gone again.  No warning just gone.  I survived, somehow, the first time.  Can I do it again?   I am more knowledgable now then I was before.  But with grief, every situation is different.

My continued struggle is this.  Would I be able to live through such a traumatic loss again?  Would I come back to the strong person I see today?  I’ve done it once, I’ll have to do it again inevitably, will I have what it takes to survive again?

I live life in the meantime.  I love my life.  Life is good.  I continue to learn.  I continue to observe people and go for what I want in life.  I work hard and play hard.  I will do everything in my power to live and learn and prepare for what may lie ahead. I work through my continued struggle.

 

Farewell OSCAR

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There are just a few that truly understand what this title means and why this is a big deal for me.  It warrants a blog.

“Farewell OSCAR.”  No, I am not talking about a person or the Sesame Street character.  Instead it is a software system.  Still lost?  I’ll keep going.

OSCAR is the computer software system that Jay and I worked on when we first met.  It was his second job out of college and my first.  He was a PLSQL Developer and I was a software tester.

The project that Jay and I were put on with many others was to replace this system.  It was a mainframe system.  As with many projects of this nature you think you can accomplish it in 2-3 years.  3 years go by and next think you know over 12 years later the old system is finally able to be shut down.

Last night, there was a gathering of those who have worked on this project over the years.  I took Aaron with me.  It was fitting in my mind.  If Jay himself couldn’t be there, his mini me could make an appearance for him.  I laughed as we drove to the restaurant everyone was meeting at and said out loud…”Well sweetie…it wasn’t completed in your life time…but it was in mine.”  When you get on projects like this, you can joke saying “This won’t happen in my lifetime.”  It was slightly overwhelming knowing that in this regard…Jay was right.

We didn’t stay long but it was good to see so many that I haven’t seen in a long time.  It is with many of these people that Jay and my story started.  Memories flooded my mind of how he first asked me out.  I remember the first meeting I attended to be a tester for the database work.  I remember sitting at Jay’s desk with him and having to tell him I found a defect in his code.  He argued with me until he looked further.  I can still remember the look on his face when he said…”dammit…you are right.”  I smile.  And then I am overwhelmed.    It is ironic that as this chapter in where we started our life comes to a close that an amazing chapter in my life is beginning.

People look for the “known signs and messages” from those above.  Pennies and feathers are most common.  Jay always keeps me guessing.  With eyes wide open last night I laughed at  Aaron playing with his Elmo phone where OSCAR says “Have a rotten day.”  I always said I was working on replacing OSCAR the grouch with CASPER the ghost.  An important note is that this play phone of Aaron’s has been tucked in a drawer for some time now.  It wasn’t until last night without prompting when Aaron got it out and started to play with it.  Eyes and heart wide open I can say message received.  Farewell OSCAR…you grouch.

Taking a look back

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As the end of 2014 approaches, I have found myself taking a look back at how I felt early on in this journey.  The change between then and now is interesting.  If I allow myself I can see what people have been telling me lately.  That is, I have come a long way and have worked really hard to be where I am right now.

Taking a look back, I remember meeting a fellow widow and discussing dating.  I remember looking at her and saying, “I will never date again.”  She looked right back at me and said “Yes you will.”  Until about a year ago I truthfully thought, and had comes to terms with, it would be just Aaron and me forever.

Taking a look back, I remember feeling that there was no way I could love again.  There was no way that someone should fall in love with me because I couldn’t give them what they deserved.  A full heart.  My heart felt beat up by the loss of what was supposed to be.  My heart was broken into a million pieces.  If I ever had a chance of loving again, being in a good relationship not only for me but for Aaron I had some work to do.  And after suffering such a dramatic sudden loss, it took all my energy just getting out of bed that thinking about a relationship wasn’t even on my realistic radar.   With help from many, that has changed.

Taking a look back, I see many roller coasters I rode.  I have always hated roller coasters.  I have been on and off the train.  The anniversary, milestone and grief train that is.  The roller coasters made me sick to my stomach.  The trains went fast and didn’t stop as often or when I had wanted.  Truth be told I needed to have the experience.  I am thankful every day that I was able to get off the roller coasters and the trains.  I owe many people for their help and for taking a few of the rides with me.  I am truly blessed for those in my life.

Taking a look back, I remember feeling lost in my own life.  There was this thick fog around me.  I knew I was walking forward but I  had no idea where I was going.  Sometimes I would need friends and family to help hold my hand and guide me.  The fog was that of disbelief, hurt and utter confusion.  If you think about when you wake up and there is fog outside it is because the ground is cold.  It takes the heat of the day to make the fog disappear.  It makes sense.  I felt frozen and cold within my grief of losing Jay.  It took me opening my eyes and my heart to life in all aspects for my world to “warm up” and hence allowing the fog to disappear.  I have opened my eyes and my heart fully to the beautiful life I want.  The fog it gone.
Taking a look back, I see my struggles to move forward with a new normal.  I struggled to understand that having a new normal didn’t mean I couldn’t have memories of the old normal.  I had to let go of that old normal because there was no way to fix it.  Once I let go of the fact I would never have that normal back it was amazing to me what the beautiful new normal looked like.
Taking a look back, I see pictures early on in the journey.  The smile shows as a facial expression but truthfully that is all it was.  It was the “I’m OK look.” I look at pictures taken now and it isn’t just my mouth smiling.  My eyes are smiling.  There is no painted smile on my face.  I see myself content with life.  Being content is something I was never sure I would be.
Taking a look back, it has not been easy getting where I am today.  I couldn’t fix the problem.  I had to rebuild.  I did that starting the beginning of this year.  The dividends I take in from this hard work make my head spin.  Normally head spinning is not a good thing.  The head spinning going on now is all good.  I have control of my life.  I have a strength I never knew I had.  I have a love for all those around me that I didn’t know existed.
By taking a look back, I stand proud.

My vision changing

The other day I had this terrible headache.  It was Monday so maybe that was why I had a headache.  It is in that moment I realized I had put contacts in the past Saturday night and had not taken them out.  I had this terrifying thought that my headache was because the contacts were still there and causing problems.  I felt for them and I couldn’t find them.  This freaked me out even more.  I hadn’t had my eye doctor appointment for the year so I knew calling them would spark the “time for your yearly appointment” conversation after we see if there were contacts still on my eyes.  I didn’t care.  I was scared.  I needed the professional to tell me they weren’t there and probably fell out in my sleep.

I got there, the doctor looked and she didn’t see them.  I instantly felt better.  Then she proceeded with my eye exam.  I didn’t have to start wearing glasses until college when I started not being able to see writing on the boards in my classes.  For the most part since then my vision has not changed.  My right eye was slightly worse than the left.  It’s been this way for years.  That is until this year.  My left finally caught up with my right.  I could be upset about this.  Instead I reflect.

My vision altered so my eyes are the same prescription.  There is less stress on my left eye now.  I can see things clearer.  I didn’t think I would be ok with my left eye getting a little worse but I sit here accepting it for what it is.  There is little to change the reality.  I picked out a new frame…or two ;-)…for my new prescription and went on with my day back at work

If I have learned anything from this journey is we cannot do much about what happens in life but we can control how we react to it.  We can adjust how we see life and move forward with a new perception and live a good life.  Yes…I got all of from my vision changing.

Catching Up

I have not blogged in a long time.  Life has been busy.  The job that pays me, the child that needs me and the life that wants to be lived has taken a lot of my time. That is how it is supposed to be right?

I’ll be honest.  I have tried a few times to blog about a wonderful thing that happened, a lesson learned or a life changing thought but I try at night and most times I just crash and go to sleep.  Living a full life is exhausting.

The other day I took a journey down memory lane.  I went back to the day Jay died.  The day after.  The day of his funeral.  And after that close sequence of days I remembered the first year.  I remembered my New Year’s Resolution for 2014 and then I remembered all the amazing things that have happened in the last 11 months.  The lessons I have learned.  The things I have done.  The accomplishments.  And it hits me that for the first time in my life, I am actually living out my NYE resolution.  I declared 2014 the year of me.  I would do things that were best for me.  And I whole heartedly took that and ran.  I ran fast.

I sit here typing this blog and I am the happiest I have been in a very long time.  For those not connected via FB, there was a big announcement.  I have started to date.  Not just date but start a relationship.  Although this makes me happy it isn’t the foundation of why I feel the happiest I have in a long time.  That foundation took work.   There are a lot of blood, sweat and tears behind the solid foundation.  The new normal.   The core to my being.  Once established it took a good amount of work to train my mind to keep up the good work.  Not every day is perfect.  To expect that is to expect too much.  My foundation is solid.  The core of my being is healthy.  Everything else that my heart and mind opens up too in my life is icing on the cake.  At this moment…in this feeling…there is a lot of icing.

I am thankful for the icing.  Moments things, and people.  All that icing makes the cake worth eating.  There is more to come about my journey to this moment but for now I say thank you for letting me do some quick catching up.