Thursday, March 26, 2009

Remembering Those Who Are Gone

I keep hearing songs that remind me of my dad. "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" by Jim Croce was the first. I smiled when I heard it, remembering Dad in our house in California, dancing around the living room with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other. In those days, he had a curly Afro and a mustache kind of like Jim Croce.

I keep passing his name in my email and cell phone address/phone books and remembering that he is gone. I miss him but I
know, without a shadow of a doubt, that he is in a better place. I watched him in the days and hours leading up to his death and it wasn't pretty. I know how much pain he was in. I know how much effort it took to breathe in and out at the end. I know he left this earth because his body gave out and he wouldn't want to be here anymore like he was at the end.

In some ways, the harder loss in my daily life is the breakup with Ken. We broke up a couple of weeks before my dad died because he didn't want to make a commitment. I got to a place, after 3 1/2 years, where I was ready to move forward. He decided that he was not in the same place and wasn't sure he would ever get there. I would like to be angry, but I'm mostly just sad.

Unlike the passing of my father, this loss was and still is complicated and I'm not totally at peace with it. This was Ken's choice. The rejection added to the loss is like salt poured onto a very deep cut. It would be nice to say I'm handling it with grace and dignity, but that wouldn't be completely true. I haven't drank, smoked, or taken a recreational drug, but I found some other fun ways to act out for a the weeks since my dad died. I'm writing a couple essays under a pseudonym right now about some of that behavior.

I decided yesterday that I had to "unfriend" Ken and his family on Facebook because I was not ready to be his friend in real life. I don't know how to see his face and read his updates and
not have unreasonable expectations. No matter how much I want it to be true, Ken's not going to see a post on his daughter's profile page and think, "Wow, Julie is so awesome. What have I done? I love her madly and I must do whatever possible to be with her forever and ever!"

I didn't put the break up stuff on here before (which is why I put it on my other blog)--I think because it would make it too real. I'm ready to this grieving process going so here you go.

I had a dream last night that began in Ken's house. I was knocking on his son's door to give him a hug goodbye. In the dream, Matt was taller and bigger than the last time I saw him, like he had been through puberty and I had missed it. I thought I would be a mother figure in his life when that happened but now I won't be. Then I knocked on his daughter's door to say goodbye to her. I think I got teary as I gave Ally a hug. As I started to leave the house, Ken approached me with a box filled with my things. There were all kinds of stuff in there that he doesn't even have in real life, like clothes, books, and Zane's baby toys. As he handed me the box, I saw he was wearing a ring. It was on his wedding band finger and it was a turquoise heart ring. He had obviously committed to someone other than me.

The dream went on with buses and trains and other people, including one hysterical scene where Christina was on a train with me complaining about how filthy it was. I got off a stop too soon and had to run to catch the train at the next stop because I was afraid she would get lost.

According to dream analysis by the amateur team of my friend Nancy and me, the dream was about missing Ken and his children and the possibility of becoming a family together. I think the box was about the fact that I gave him everything, my whole heart, and he gave it back and said he didn't want it...or me. And then, when he was able to commit, it was not to me. It was very, very sad. I think the whole train stuff was about moving on, or trying to, and that was very sad. And I was moving on...or trying to and having trouble but I had friends there to help me.

So, suffice it to say that I am kind of in a shit storm these days but I have to believe that it means there is gorgeous weather on the other side. My friend Theresa shared a wonderful story with me:

One day the only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his possessions. One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out,

"God! How could you do this to me?"

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him! "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

I am in the hut and it's burning but the rescue ship is on its way. I hope they have snacks.


  1. I've got the marshmallows and chocolate and graham crackers for the smores with the fire!!!! Break-ups suck. Parents dying suck. MS sucks. But - friends in person and online rock and are there when you need'em!!!!

  2. Sometimes it seems like all the hard stuff hits at once. It is so cliche but time will help you begin to heal.

  3. I'm sad that your sad. All I can suggest in the way of cheering up is my fave comedian, Eddie Izzard. Look for his videos at Blockbuster or NetFlix if you want to laugh at jokes that are about people, but don't actually degrade anyone. It's good stuff.

  4. Thanks, my MS Chicadees! I am making smores with all my buds online. I'm also trying to shift my focus to the Boston MS walk this weekend, Easter the weekend after that, and general self improvement I'm working on with my 12-step sponsor.

    I love Eddy Izzard! I think I will look for a DVD.


  5. I feel for your loss and it does seem that it all hits together. Sometimes.
    Love your blog title,

  6. I have not been making the "blog round" of late (**head hung, feeling guilty**), but for some reason clicked over here...fate or Karma. Geez! When it rains, it's a frickin' monsoon!!!!

    I'm a horrible person in times like yours because I feel sad for you, then I become angry...and of course, THEN, I want to ACT OUT WITH YOU (I'm just shallow that way). I have no comforting words or wisdom to add/share here...except Sarah M.'s song, "Hold On"...the first line is, "Hold on, hold on to yourself...cuz this is gonna hurt like hell".