Wednesday, February 15, 2012

First post-Aimee Valentine's Day

Thankfully, I was not bombarded with
this image all day.
A lot of single people hate Valentine's Day. I get that. I've been single on Valentine's Day, and it can be nauseating. But for someone who's lost their Valentine, I think this can be much worse. So yesterday I decided I was going to avoid the holiday as much as possible.

The first step in this was to avoid Facebook for the most part. I knew there'd be lots of sappy messages posted from cupid-stricken lovers to their equally smitten partners. Yeah, I had no desire to be inundated with any of that. I did get quite a few messages of support both through Facebook and through Twitter, which I found really nice. People I didn't even really know sent encouraging notes letting me know they were thinking of me on a day they knew might be difficult. I am still blown away at how lucky I am to have so many people supporting me through this.

When I left work, it got a lot harder to avoid, but it still wasn't too bad. First off, Donna loves Valentine's Day, and she's without a Valentine as well, so I bought her a card and some flowers. When I got home, I also gave Rowan a card and some stickers I had bought for her last week. And she'd made me a Valentine as well, which I thought was INCREDIBLY sweet.

Next up, I headed to club in Tacoma where a friend had organized a breast cancer benefit in honor of an aunt of hers who's battling the disease. I'd been a bit wary of being in a club/bar on Valentine's Day, but I need not have worried.

The bands were pretty hardcore heavy metal (at least the ones who played while I was there). There were couples, but not sappy, kissy-faced couples. No, not a lot of Hallmark romance in the room. Instead, a lot of dreadlocks, camouflage, and music so loud my ears rang for hours. And I didn't stay that long. Just long enough to show my support, win some tickets to a minor league baseball game (sweet!), and get home early enough to still get some things done and get my high-school aged sitter home at a decent hour on a school night.

I spent a lot of the last part of the evening cleaning out the filing cabinet where Aimee had kept a lot of her work and personal paperwork (student loan and mortgage papers, etc). Very unromantic. And I finished the internationally recognized day of romance by filling out some tax forms in preparation for filing my taxes. Nothing says 'oh baby' like IRS forms, right?

So all in all, Valentine's Day without Aimee went as well as I could have hoped. Yes, there were moments of sadness, like there are every day. But the added emphasis on love didn't really get to me.

Now April, on the other hand. That's going to be brutal (April 11, Aimee's birthday - April 29, our anniversary - and don't forget Mothers Day in May). But I'll wait to cross that bridge until I get there.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


For most of the past few weeks, Rowan and I have been coasting along in our new routine. Up at about 6. Ready for school/work. Go to school, work. And so on and so forth. Weekends have more variety, but it's still all part of a larger patterned existence. And for the most part, both of us have been fine. Though I've been sad, I haven't had any real breakdowns, and neither has Rowan. In fact Rowan hasn't really talked much about Aimee at all, except a couple of times where she wanted to see pictures, and another two-day stretch were she asked me to tell her what happened three our four times.

Tonight was a good night for us. We ate dinner then went to the mall where they have a play area (free) I thought I'd use to wear her out a little (it failed to do so). We then came home and went through Rowan's bedtime routine. All went smoothly.

Then it fell apart.

After she'd been in bed for about a half hour, and I could hear her still awake, I went in to check on her. She asked me to snuggle her - not an entirely uncommon request. But it was what she said next that got me: "I'm really missing mommy." We talked about it for a few minutes and then she changed the subject, but I could tell this was weighing more heavily on her than usual. Part of me was glad to see her working through some of this, but I was sad for her also. I snuggled her, but that wasn't enough. She wanted to sleep in my room (normally off limits). I reluctantly agreed.

After getting her settled I came back down to the living room where I was paying bills and watching DVR'ed reruns of "Scrubs". It's a great show, if you've never seen it, and the last few months of Aimee's life watching these reruns together after Rowan went to bed was a part of our nightly ritual.

It's normally a very funny show, but some episodes have some very poignant content. In this particular one, a side character, much loved by one of the main characters, dies. After the death, this main character is in denial right up until after he arrives at the funeral, and then he's forced to face the fact that his friend is gone. (In fact, he's convinced himself he's actually going to his son's birthday party.) I'd seen the episode before, and I knew how it went. But for some reason when it reached that point where realization sets in, I simply lost it. I cried for longer and harder than I have at any point since Aimee's death.

In some ways, I actually felt some relief, because my grief to this point had not been so open, even though I'd wanted it to be. I had almost been feeling guilty for not being more emotional, especially as I watched Donna and Justin struggle so much with their grief. But it also opened my eyes to the fact that in a lot of ways, I am still just coming to terms with this loss, and I'm probably not nearly as far along in processing all of this as I'd thought.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday has changed

At first glance, this post probably won't seem to be very relevant to the topic of this blog, but please bear with me.

Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday, practically a national holiday. For the last 9 years (this will be my tenth), I've played in a friendly football game known as the "Not-So-Super Bowl". This game is played early enough to allow everyone to get home and shower and make it to wherever they're going to watch the big game, assuming they can still move afterwards. You see, this game is played full-contact tackle, and without pads. And since most of us don't play football any other time (except maybe on Thanksgiving), there are more than a few sore bodies by the end of it. And every year I have LOVED playing in this game.

I've been lucky enough to have some friends who will watch Rowan while I go play again this year. But I'm not looking forward to it like I have every year before. It's not because I'm getting too old to play in this game, because although at 41 it's a LOT harder for me to recover from it than it used to be, the fact is I can still play, and I'm not the oldest one who still does (most guys are younger, though). No, it's just that like a lot of other things I used to love, I just don't seem to care that much about it anymore.

This game isn't the only place I've seen this. I play basketball every Tuesday and Thursday. In addition to being the only scheduled exercise I get, it's also a much-needed stress reliever. And I have loved playing basketball since the age of 14, and have played my whole life since then. In fact, in some of the worst times in my life up to this point, I have turned to basketball as a refuge.

But there again, I've lost the real joy I get from it. For now I'm still going, because I need the exercise and the stress relief, but I don't love the game like I used to. I can just feel the difference when I'm on the court.

There are other places I've felt this, many of the outside the arena of recreational sports. I'm hoping it's temporary, especially where sports are concerned. I love playing sports of all types (it feeds my intensely competitive nature), so I don't want to lose that in my life. Some of the other things I've let go the last month or so are probably OK, but I hope I get my love of sports back eventually. Or it may be that this becomes part of the new normal I've talked about. If so, it's just another way that life will have lost some of its luster.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I see a pattern of losing some of the joy in my life, and it makes me sad. Not sure what, is anything, I can do about it. Maybe it will come back, maybe it won't. And I certainly still delight in my little Rowan. But outside of that, I'm hard pressed to find too many things I really enjoy anymore.