Why I’m not angry

Many people have asked why I’m not angry. And then they proceed to berate me for it. Honestly though, what is the point? He’s gone. He’s not coming back. It’s not like I can yell at him. It’s not like he can answer any of the millions of questions I have.

Being angry at someone doesn’t affect them. It affects you. At the same time, forgiving also doesn’t really affect the person you’re forgiving. It affects you. Being angry at and not forgiving him is only going to make me miserable and unhappy. And that’s not me. So seriously, people need to stop asking and expecting me to be angry. I choose to not be angry. I choose to forgive. I choose to remember him for the good stuff. I choose to remember our good times. Those times happened. Those memories are mine and no one can take them away from me.

Grief

Webster defines grief as

– deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement

Grief may be universal in that everyone grieves. It causes a lot of distress. Everyone grieves. But that’s where the similarity ends. How someone grieves is very unique to the individual and the situation. Grief can even manifest in different ways in the same person. I would know. I’m living proof of that.

My dad passed away 4 and a half years ago from pancreatic cancer. And in many ways, we started the grieving process long before my dad passed away. It was 17 months from when he was diagnosed to when he left us. As hopeful as we were for my dad to beat cancer, we knew it was a slim chance. So everyday, we spent it together like it was the last. And even then, my dad’s passing left me a mess. I’m daddy’s little girl. He spoiled me. He was the first man I ever loved. He taught me everything. It took a long time for me to grieve his loss. And Stu was there with me; holding my hand every step of the way. Stu was my rock and him being there made it slightly less insane.

But this?! I don’t even know where to begin to process it. Stu passing away was so tragic and unexpected. For crying out loud, he was coming home. We were making plans for that night and our forever. And all of that was taken away. If I had known that was going to be our last kiss, I would’ve kissed him for longer. If I had known that was going to be our last embrace, I would’ve hugged him for longer. You never expect a kiss or a hug to be the last. And yet, it was the last time. I wish I could see him smile one last time. Add all the other shenanigans on top of his passing away?! Yeah… I really have no idea how I’m still standing right now.

Grief can be further broken down into stages according to the Kübler-Ross model:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

I have gone through all 5 stages and then some. I have cycled through these stages so many times in the last 3 weeks that I’ve lost count. I think I spend the most time in denial or depression. I’ve been angry. I’ve tried to bargain. I can say, without a doubt, that I spend the least amount of time in the acceptance phase. I still struggle with the fact that he is no longer here. Even though logically, I know he isn’t. I know how the mechanics of death and cremation work. And yet, I struggle with it. It doesn’t make sense. But then again, grief doesn’t make sense.

I wish there is a fast forward button so that I can just get past the grief. But grief doesn’t work that way. The only way to get past it is to go through it. You need to feel all the emotions. You need to go through all of the stages. And it will hurt. But I know I will get through it. I’ve already been through it once. I can certainly do it again.

Why I write

I has always been a writer. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Go figure I have a degree in psychology with a minor in English. I love writing and I think it has everything to do with my love of reading. And I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty good at it.

Oddly enough, I never really did the whole diary/journaling thing. Really weird, but it is what it is. I write to get my thoughts out. I write to understand my own mind. And if you know me, that’s a lot of writing because there’s a lot going on in my mind. He used to laugh that he could see the gears in my head grinding. He said I had different looks depending on what I was thinking about and he knew what each look meant. This man could read me like the back of his hand.

Writing is cathartic for me. It’s therapeutic. It helps me a lot. Once I get my thoughts down, I am able to process a situation and my emotions that result from it and go from there. I feel lighter after I get these thoughts out.

I have written more than I ever have in the last 2 weeks. To say it’s been a difficult situation is an understatement. It’s a situation that I just can’t get my head around; no matter how hard I try. And so I write. I know there are people out there who don’t like what I write. But this isn’t for them. This is for me.

I write for me. I write for my sanity. I write for my grief. I write from my heart. I write the truth. I don’t need your approval or support. I write for me and me alone. This is how I am going through this period of grief and mourning. And as a wise friend tells me, “your heart is the only thing you need to answer to. No one else.” That is what I am doing.

What happens now?

It’s no secret that I am in Europe right now. This trip was planned last year. My late Boyfriend helped me plan this trip. He was supposed to come too but we couldn’t quite figure out the funds or getting the time off. Europe is expensive. As for the time off, we were originally supposed to leave a week earlier. That fell perfectly on his week off from the firehall. But then my brother had a project at work where he had to be home so the trip got pushed back by a week. And pushing it back a week coincided with Boyfriend’s busiest part of his fire schedule. Looking back now, it was the universe moving things around because it knew what was to come.

Since Boyfriend passed away, I haven’t gone home unless it was to get some clothes. It’s too painful going home to a condo full of his stuff and stuff that we had bought together. It’s too painful going back to a home that we had created together. It’s too painful to sleep in a bed that still smells like him. I’ve been staying at my mom’s. Thankfully she lives 10 minutes from us. As for being on vacation, well, there is nothing like being in a different country, a different continent, to help change the scenery and help take my mind off things.

BUT, I can’t avoid going home forever. Once this trip is over, I’m going to have to go back to daily life. Bills need to be paid. Things need to be done. Life moves on. “The carousel never stops turning.” I’m going to have to go home. I’m going to have to take his clothes out of the closet. I’m going to have to take his stuff out of the bathroom. There’s so much that I haven’t even thought about. He is literally all over the condo. I might need a good bottle of wine to do this. Note to self: buy some good French wine before leaving Paris.

Another thing I worry about is work. No, we don’t work together. That was something we actually liked. We met at work and worked together for 8 years before we both got our big boy/big girl jobs. We joked that we could actually come home and talk about our day at work without the other person already knowing what happened.

But our jobs are still linked, we both work for fire departments. I have a paramedic background. Boyfriend was a firefighter. We always talked at work about everything under the sun. It was like any other conversation, but add to it the work stuff. I know, I’m not making sense. But we always had that extra connection because of our work. We asked each other questions. We were always curious and wanted to learn more. And just because we were at work, didn’t mean we didn’t talk. If anything, we texted each other even more while we were at work. It’s like we talked more because we knew we wouldn’t get to do it at home. And it wasn’t limited to just texts or phone calls. We’d video chat too. I remember him saying one of the guys thought I was visiting all the time because he’d hear my voice through doors. Not that I didn’t visit, but no one needs to know how often. I wasn’t kidding when I said we talked ALL. THE. TIME. Just take a look at our whatsapp history. It’s insanely long! Every single text between us since I got this phone 2 years ago. And if I find my old phone, I’ll have those texts too. I guess one plus to the whatsapp history is I can still hear his voice from the voice messages.

The learning didn’t stop at work related things. There are 2 Chinese guys on his crew. He would text me and ask me what something was in Chinese so that he could “out Chinese” them. He did it with any Chinese person at work. And 9 times out of 10 he would “out Chinese” them. The guys would laugh and then he’d tell them about me. He was really good at remembering Chinese words. Even before he met me. I guess that’s what happens when we live in a predomonantly Asian neighbourhood. There was something his highschool friend’s grandma used to say everytime he called. Him and his friends all thought the grandma just didn’t understand English so she’d say something and then hang up. A couple years ago, we were at my mom’s and she said the exact phrase the grandma used. And Stu was like “what did your mom just say?!?!?” I told him and you could see the light bulb go off in his head. He said “OMG… his grandma knew what we were asking the entire time and answered in Chinese!!!” It was really cute. He was always out to learn. He had such a curious mind. I’m going to miss our conversations at work where we can learn from each other, joke with each other, laugh at our patients with each other. (Yes, I realize that last part is mean, but anyone who works in this field gets it. Our jobs aren’t going away. Job security is wonderful.)

This man was my kindred spirit and everyday it is tough accepting that he is no longer here. But really, what am I supposed to do? Well, I know what I have to do because there really is no other choice. The show must go on. The earth never stops spinning. Insert any other cliché/quote about life never stopping. But that’s why clichés exist, because they speak the truth. So I’m just going to hafta put on my big girl panties and get shit done when I get home. I know he wouldn’t want it any other way.

I don’t understand…

How is it that one minute someone is here and the next they are gone? His body is still here. But that’s not him, it’s just his shell. Where did he go? His essence, his soul, the things that made him who he is. Where did that go?

I miss talking to him. I miss seeing him. I miss being with him. I miss having his arms around me. I miss his bellowing laugh. I miss his cute and mischievous smile… the smile that he knew would melt me in an instant. There is so much that I miss about him.

It still boggles my mind that he isn’t here anymore. Whenever something happens, I still reach for the phone to tell him. Or I think “I’ll tell him about it at home tonight.”

I travel a lot. Even when I was away, we still talked all day everyday. The wonders of having internet and whatsapp. This trip has shown just how much we talk and what a gaping hole that’s left behind with his passing. I want to call or text him or send him pictures. I want to share what’s happening on this trip like I do with all our other trips. I have to actively remind myself that I can’t do that anymore… ever. And that makes me really sad. You really have no idea how much you talk to someone until you can no longer talk to them. There’s a void there that just can’t be filled.

Breakups suck. If anything, breaking up and all the emotions that come with it look like a cake walk. If only it were that easy. It’s not like we had chose to end our relationship and part ways. No… he was taken away. He isn’t my ex boyfriend. He isn’t my boyfriend either. He’s my late boyfriend. In what bizarre world could this possibly happen? We were going 8 and a half years strong. Sure, we had our issues. What couple doesn’t? But at the end of day, regardless of whether we were fighting or not, he was there. He always was. And now he isn’t. He’s just gone. Not part of this world anymore.

And that is where I struggle. It doesn’t feel real to me. How could he possibly be gone? He was just here. I just don’t understand any of it. I don’t understand why it happened. Why him? He was so full of life. He had so much going for him. He had such a bright future ahead of him. Why him? Why was his life cut so short?