Wednesday, June 27, 2012

iPod Shuffle

I constantly have my headphones in.  It's a weird obsession. I've always liked music, especially songs that make me feel something, but lately it's more than that.  I don't want to be alone with my thoughts. Maybe the music drowns it out.  Granted, I pick music that suits my mood and whatever situation might be going on...but I hate even walking down the block alone without my iPod on.

I think I'm doing ok.  I mean, it doesn't really get any easier, but at least I feel like I can feel.  I miss Jon as always, but I find myself missing him in different scenarios than before.  I obviously miss everything, but my life is going on.  And so I find myself missing my best friend... the person I feel like would have all the answers and advice I need.  There is this overwhelming feeling of abandonment... I find myself feeling sort of angry that he's not there and he's left me to fend for figure out this already challenging life without him.  I know it's not his fault, but I can't help it.  Sometimes I want to just yell out his name and ask him what the hell he thinks I should be doing.  I believe he's with me.  He sends me signs and reassuring thoughts, but in all honestly, it's not enough.

It's amazing how life goes just keeps moving.  It's amazing how resilient the human heart is, even though mine was shattered into a million pieces, it's still hanging on.  The human capacity for hope is astounding.  We all desperately want to believe in something.

At work, we can be pretty quick to judge parents who are "unrealistic" about their chid's prognosis.  But after going through this experience, I get it.  It's not that they don't get it.  I knew all the facts about Jon's prognosis.  I heard it when the doctor said it was only a matter of time.  But with every step forward, with every "good day" or improvement, my hope was renewed.  I don't think our hearts let us accept defeat until it is absolutely inevitable.  I couldn't truly accept it until his heart stopped beating.  And it's not because I wasn't smart, or realistic... it's because I had to hold it together until there was nothing left to believe in.  I could not have fallen apart before there was a true reason to.  People who haven't gone through something like this will never understand what I mean by that.

And so I'm still here.  I'm trying to figure out what that means.  My heart still works, which is reassuring.  But having gone through something like this, it makes it so frustrating to watch people just float through life...never rocking the boat, never taking risks, never challenging others or themselves.  There is SO much life out there to be lived.  And some of us, like Jon, never get a chance to live it.

I'm not who I was 5 months ago, that's for sure.  But I know what love feels like.  I know how to give my heart away, and how to cherish someone else's heart like it was my own.

No lesson in this life can be greater.  And so the next person I give my heart to is luckier than he'll ever know.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I'm Alive

What sums it up is this: If I had dreamed up someone to be in my life, i'm pretty sure he'd be just like you.  So when you look at me and see me smile and want to know what I'm thinking, now you'll have an idea. (3/2010)

I wrote the above in an email to Jon less than a month after we met.  The night before, I had asked him why he liked me and he had given me a 15-minute profound list of reasons while he played with my hair.  He was always good at words and the way he spoke made me lose my breath.  He listed things about me that I didn't even recognize in myself.  He didn't say the usual -- 'I think you're pretty and smart, etc.'  He told me things like, my eyes had "their own light."  I've never forgotten that night.  I've never been so surprised by someone.  I could literally feel myself fall in love with him.  Not necessarily because of the things he was saying, but the simple fact of how he saw me.  The simple fact of who he was.  I've never felt more vulnerable than at the moment I knew my heart was completely in his hands.

I looked through an old email I'd sent after we got bad news for the first time.  I went on and on about how I believed he would be okay and that we would be okay.  I listed the reasons why and summed it up by saying there's no way God would be cruel enough to take him away from me.  I said the universe wouldn't do that because then I wouldn't believe in anything anymore.  It's painful to read those words now. And strange in a way, because I DO still believe . . . in everything.  

I think our hearts only let us feel a little grief at a time.  If we felt the true weight of it all, we'd collapse. And so we become numb in between.  There's a tremendous sadness in that numbness.  And I've only recently started to come out of that.  I obviously felt the pain, the loss, the despair from the first moment.  But those were the only emotions I really had room for in between trying to function in the world.  Lately, I've realized I can feel other things, too.  I can laugh and genuinely feel happy.  I can feel pride, I can feel goodness in people, I can smile at happy memories, and most recently, I've come to the realization that I might even be able to feel love again. 

The true depth of the realization that Jon is never coming back is still something that is unfathomable.  It is something I re-feel again and again.  But I think my heart (and brain) is gradually beginning to understand.  And I've started to become myself again... and recognize my own worth in this world, without Jon and not defined by the trauma I've been through.  I am someone separate and apart from Jon (though he will always be a part of me). . . separate and apart from this loss and all the preceding difficulties.  I'm still everything that Jon loved about me.  I still exist, and to put it in the simplest terms, I'm still alive.  

And that's both tremendously difficult and incredibly inspiring. 

Jon is gone from this life.  And I believe some day, some way, somehow, I will see him again.  Maybe he's my soulmate in every sense -- perhaps we've been together in multiple lifetimes.  Whatever your beliefs are (and I'm not sure about my own), I know we remain connected.  But, he is no longer "living".  And I have a chance to.  And I know he wouldn't want me to waste a second of it.  As far as I'm concerned, there are no rules, there is no normal.  I want to do what makes me happy.  I want to make other people happy.  The rest will work itself out.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

More Good Stuff

“In that book which is my memory,
On the first page of the chapter that is the day when I first met you,
Appear the words, ‘Here begins a new life’.” 
― Dante AlighieriVita Nuova

The same is true for the day I lost Jon.

Tomorrow starts a new adventure for me.  This trip to London and Paris came along at the perfect time.  My coworker (and friend) Erin was nice enough to invite me to tag along on her long-planned vacation.  She is the nurse who actually formally introduced Jon and I.  For that (and many other reasons) I will always love her.

I'm so incredibly excited.  I've wanted to travel to Europe for a long time.  And since it was pretty last minute I had to switch what felt like a million shifts at work -- but somehow it all worked out.  Maybe I'm meant to be on this trip for some reason.

 June is obviously a difficult month, and I know traveling to another country will not necessarily make it less difficult, but it will be an incredible change of scenery.  More than that, it serves as a reminder that there is more beauty in my world, and that more adventures lie ahead.

In a sense, I hate going on with my life. Some days it feels impossible.  Every morning when I open my eyes I have to reaffirm that Jon is really gone.  I do know for sure that he wants me to live... I know he'd be SO excited for me to be going on this trip, and he's probably smiling at Erin right now, so thankful she presented the opportunity.  God knows I wouldn't have done the work myself.  :)

I am slightly apprehensive.  Every change is difficult.  Every new move I make seems like a challenge, and as much as this is a vacation, it is another thing I'm doing without Jon, in this new reality that he does not exist in.  Hard to explain, but I feel like some of you will understand.

I will take him with me in my heart, but that goes without saying.  I know that on the way home I will still be wishing for him to be there waiting for me.

Whenever the two of us would get too focused on negative stuff,  Jon and I would often say, "Nothing but happy memories from now on." Or "more good stuff."  It was our way of redirecting one another (and sometimes both of us) away from harping on the bad, and recognize what we were grateful for and all the good that surrounded us. Sounds cheesy, I know.  Here's to the first of (hopefully) many adventures, with Jon's love with me every step.

Au revoir.  Cheers to more good stuff! <3

Il n'est rien de réel que le rêve et l'amour. (Nothing is real but dreams and love)