Wallowing in it

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I spent the day wallowing in my pajamas. I slept in, missed Mass, listened to my Wings lose to Florida and spent the rest of the day online. The weather is cold, icy and thoroughly unpleasant so it wasn’t hard staying in. We are one of the fortunate households to have electricity; many people lost power due to blown transformers and broken tree limbs taking down power lines.

I got into the Cyber Monday spirit a day early. I bought Bear a set of cheap dishes and a t-shirt.

Bear’s shirt. I want one too

I browsed a lot, for him and admittedly for me too. I bought his dishes on Bed, Bath and Beyond because they are one of the few retailers who ship to Vietnam. Then I started looking at the kitchen dept and thinking about the stuff I’ll need to buy once I get my own place again. This is something I’ve thought about since I’ve been at my sister’s and I’m thinking about it more now.

A lot has to happen before I can do this and buy things again. I need to find a job and even then it will probably be a month before i can afford to move. I try not to think about this, depressing and somewhat discouraging. I could go back to my old job but frankly I couldn’t live on what they paid me. Most of the people there had husbands, boyfriends, roommates or lived with their parents. The two single people I knew had part-time jobs to help pay their bills. Besides the lousy pay I had to deal with drama on a daily basis. Even though I could use that lousy pay now I don’t regret leaving. I still believe it was the right decision.

I like looking at all of these online things, the ridiculous and unnecessary as well as the affordable and practical. I’ve browsed other sites, Ikea is another one I dream and think about. I know my needs are fairly modest, it’s just me and two animals and none of us are rich. I won’t need to furnish a huge house, but it’s nice to look and compare sofas, beds and dining room sets versus matching up tables and chairs. I could spend a fortune on linens; I have spent a lot of time just looking at towels. It’s daydreaming but it’s a form of hope, believing that things will get better and that I will get a life.

Not my old life, although I miss it sometimes I know it’s gone. It was ending when Bear first moved overseas but Jerry’s death finalized it. I know I can stay here but this isn’t home. I want a place where I can spread out; where I have my own bed; my own room; watch TV if and when I want and have my own bathroom again.

Yet I admit I’m anxious about being alone at night. Although I will have the protection of a fierce chihuahua, being comfortable enough to sleep through the night uninterrupted is something I can’t imagine. I know I have to learn and I will but wonder how long it will take me.

She is small and fierce20151128_134007_zpsvxnq0jom

 

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Thanksgiving

It’s good to spend Thanksgiving with your loved ones

9030435f-6647-4ee7-bb84-0ca85ff09a8b_zpsmfbv7ypuI hadn’t exactly dreaded Thanksgiving; last year was the first without Jerry, it was only me and Bear. This year Bear is abroad, I still have family although it felt odd without Jerry and Bear. I felt strangely alone even with people around me.  I told myself and Olive that this is likely the last time we’ll be here doing this. Even if I don’t move I don’t think I’ll be at my sister’s. A day alone, with something simple instead of a huge meal sounds appealing rather than lonely and pathetic. There’s something comforting and reassuring about it. I may feel differently next year, may want to be here again but I rather doubt it. I do not want to have to make the effort, just talking to people seems to take too much energy even when it’s small talk.

Ironically the one thing I had prepared myself for, talking about Jerry, didn’t happen. No one mentioned him. My dad prayed for Bear and acknowledged his absence but it was as if they forgot Jerry ever existed. I want to say they did it out of concern or respect for me but they didn’t. I tried not to feel slighted but it was sobering how soon he vanished from their minds. Most of my time was spent keeping my nephew from playing too roughly with Olive. Porkchop took off and hid when he heard them come in. He sauntered out two hours after they left. I gave Olive extra turkey for her patience.

I talked to my mother-in-law today too. She didn’t mention Jerry either, perhaps it’s still too hard. I waited for her to mention him but when she didn’t I decided not to either. We talked a lot about Bear, my upcoming trip and what we were doing this day. It was light but extremely awkward at the same time.

Bear and I talked, texted. His stomach was upset, he had gone through a lot of 7up he said. It could have been something he ate, but it was probably stress. He was diagnosed with an ulcer in high school. He worries and stresses out easily, like Jerry.  He has hypertension like his father, but at least Bear’s was discovered early, unlike Jerry’s. Doctors told him he was too young to have high blood pressure and blew it off, only giving him meds when he was in his 30’s. This hangs over him too, not a death sentence but he’s more aware of his health than the average Millennial. I worry about him too but try not to add to his stress, I only hope I don’t.

He didn’t mention his dad either but we were both thinking of him. Simpsons references and things Jerry said, stuff that had his dad all over it.

For technical purposes Thanksgiving is over, we ate the big dinner and my sister and her family went home. I am glad. Tomorrow is Black Friday, purgatory for anyone who works retail. Normally I try to ignore it but I will be out in it, hitting the mall with a bunch of other deranged humans up before sunrise looking for a good deal. I’m in the market for a big suitcase. I have done my research: looked online, checked out the print ads and feel I’m ready for this. It’s for my trip to see Bear at Christmas; I need something big enough to haul a lot of crap. Also I have to find, kill, buy and bring it back before 1pm. Not because the super sales end but because the Rangers are playing the Bruins and it’s the first game of the season I will get to watch. I favor the Rangers over the Bruins since Boston beat my Wings yesterday and for this, the first minute 42 seconds.

 

 

 

stuff I wished I knew a long time ago

If I had heard these statements when I was younger there’s no guarantee I would have listened or remembered so that may be why it took me this long to understand. If any of these become Facebook memes give me author credit, thanks.

Everything is temporary, life is temporary. Even when something feels excruciating and seems to stretch to forever it really doesn’t. I try to remember this at stoplights.

Most of the things we agonize over are really minor. Their importance is concentrated in that moment but when seen from a decent enough distance that importance fades. It even looks ludicrous. This one came to me in yoga class when I couldn’t do the vine in a bent warrior 2 pose. Also occurred again today after my alma mater lost their first game this season, ending their unbeaten streak. It sucked but there’s no real damage.

Most people who feel they will die of a broken heart do not. This is because it is impossible to feel that level of pain and agony indefinitely. You can be utterly miserable but life will eventually intrude and take your mind away from what is torturing you. You will have to get up and go to the bathroom at some point, your body will wear itself out and you will sleep if only for a short time. Life in the form of other people, your job, school or responsibility will force you up, your cat will demand to be fed. It may make you angry, feeling so miserable ought to get you out of dealing with people, with life, you only want to live with the pain and be left alone in your hurt. But this interruption is really mercy in disguise. It will not look or feel like mercy, mercy is letting you suffer til you die, not this. But to continue this feeling takes a lot more energy and determination than most people are capable of generating. Of course a truly stubborn person can sustain this for longer periods but even then you slip a little. Maybe fatigue sets in, maybe realizing you can’t change events that have already happened no matter what you do now sinks in.

Acceptance doesn’t mean you like what has happened, or that you agree with a decision. It means you acknowledge it, don’t lie to yourself or deny the truth. It means a thing, an event, a state of being is. You don’t let yourself get twisted in “what if” and wonder if you could have done something differently, that way leads to madness and frustration. Perhaps it wouldn’t have changed anything, no matter what you might have done differently it is too late. Harsh, but sometimes you have to be hard on yourself just to keep going. I wish I learned this one a long time ago,  it would have saved me so much guilt. I was raised to make nice, to apologize when I wasn’t sorry or it wasn’t my fault, and forced to say a horrible thing was actually good when I knew better, like a bad perm.

Acceptance can be instant. I accepted that  Jerry was gone, I saw and touched him after he died. I stood watching the paramedics try in vain to bring him back to life but I knew it was already too late. Yet there were aftershocks, being reminded in weird and unexpected ways that he was really gone. Acceptance may be instant but still be an on-going process.

This song scared me. It was eerie, too much like what happened that morning I found him, when he wouldn’t wake up. I’m still stunned at how it seems like someone had watched me, watched us and just wrote what happened.  I hadn’t been able to listen to it again until now.

 

 

 

Rejections

It’s been a rough week and it’s only Tuesday. I’m including the past seven days, to make it an actual week. So in one week the following has (or not) occurred.

  • 3 email rejections for jobs I applied
  • My hockey team lost 3 games, 1-0, 3-2 and 3-1
  • No answer for my library volunteer query
  • No answer for my writers group query
  • No answer from temp agency for jobs applied

Even though my Wings beat the Senators last night it was a hold-your-breath victory in sudden death overtime and they played adequately but not great, going from a 2 point lead in the first period to a 3-3 tie by the end of the game. Still a win is a win and I haven’t had many lately so I can’t complain. Much.

The email rejections are almost routine now, I look at my inbox and just sigh when I see them. I can spot them easily, but will still open it and read it. Just in the farfetched case it could be an interview. It never is.The only good thing is I don’t get them every day, that would be a soul crusher.

The hockey season goes on til April and things can change, so my team will persevere and probably, no, will make the playoffs. We got Pasha back, anything is possible.  Don’t stop believin.’

Now the big blows, getting rejected for offering my help and for wanting to possibly join a group. I’m not asking about a paying job, I’m offering my labor and myself and still getting rejected. That hurts, my ego has suffered some damage from job hunting but I foolishly thought if I offered my services for free I’d get a taker. The writers group looks interesting and I think I’d like to join but the dues are $95 a year and I don’t know if I want to do that. For me that money represents gas, dog and cat food, food for me, bills and diet cherry limeades and I do not want to part with it.  Although no reply is not automatically a rejection it feels like it. I admit I was looking forward to hearing from both of these, hoping they would get my mind off being unemployed, get me out of the house, meet some new people, maybe learn a few things and finally feel like I was accomplishing something. It’s also painful because I feel like I’m being rejected from what I’ve come to consider my kind of people, namely readers and writers, book people, those people who didn’t fit in growing up. And now they’ve excluded me.

I will expect another couple of job rejections,  even though I haven’t submitted many applications lately. It’s just depressing to try when you know what the outcome will be. I want to believe that things will change, turn around for me after the new year when I come back from Saigon. I am so tired of trying, holding down my hopes to avoid disappointment and then being disappointed.

I suppose being a widow makes this even more pathetic. I almost wish it were a special category like disabled or being a veteran. In a vague sense it is. Being a widow isn’t a disability but it does set you apart from other people and you will struggle in ways that married people or single people don’t. You are in limbo, part of each group but not belonging to either one. You identify with both, but only to an extent.

The only thing I can honestly believe in right now is a bunch of guys on skates with sticks chasing a piece of frozen rubber over an ice rink.

Being realistic

I hate being realistic when it is depressing and the result isn’t what I want. Yet I know I have to face facts, truth and be prepared for what may come.

My future is like a rickety swinging rope bridge. I have to cross it, what lies on the other side might be good or might be lousy. But crossing that bridge comes first and I have no choice in the matter. I can’t look down, can’t go back or stop in the middle.

Right now I’m aware of how fragile my situation is. I’m unemployed, living at my sister’s house, and have no idea what I’m supposed to do or where to go. Also a widow. So I got all that going for me. The only creature who has any faith in me is a chubby Chihuahua. The cat gives me side looks and I swear sometimes he shakes his head at me.

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What I hope for is to have a good life. To move to a city that accepts rather than tolerates a nutty old broad like me. Where there is interesting stuff like bookstores, opera companies, and museums. Somewhere I can breathe, but I’m afraid that’s not my future

I know what lies ahead, at least the most likely scenario. It’s not great but not terrible,  just mediocre. I’m trying to psyche myself up for it so I’ll be ready.

I see myself coming home from my job, going up some stairs, walking my dog and reading a book before going to bed and starting it all over again. I’ll go to Mass on Sunday, and not much else. In some ways I’ll be withdrawing from the world. But that’s my plan, while I hope to make friends I know I will depend on my own company most of the time. I know it sounds lonely. But there’s not much here for me, my interests and my politics don’t fit in here, and being an introvert I’ve got all the qualifications to be a hermit. I’m reconciled to the idea even if it seems depressing.

I will have my freedom and independence, hopefully a long time. I won’t have to do things I don’t enjoy if I don’t want to.  Being an old broad gives me that privilege. It comes with a price, being alone and occasionally lonely but I know what to expect. Better to go into it knowing than not.

somewhere

I was frustrated and went for a short walk tonight. I had to get out of the house, felt like I had to move because I’ve been eating too many protein bars and felt dull. Something that I’ve known for awhile made itself known again tonight, with force. I love Depeche Mode, I have since I was in high school and Dave’s voice, touched by God, has seared itself into me. Jerry wasn’t a big DM fan, the only song he knew was Just Can’t Get Enough, an early Vince Clarke pop number. I didn’t know this until after we were married and I won’t say it would have changed things but I’m not saying it wouldn’t but it’s a little late for that.  I listened to my DM playlist while I walked, hit shuffle and shuffled myself.

First song up was Halo, the Goldfrapp version from the Sounds of the Universe tour. Something perfect happened; the combination of the music, the red leaves on the trees, the cool almost cold air and my fragile mood all blended. I was alone out there and let myself cry.

When our worlds they fall apart

When the walls come tumbling in

Though we may deserve it

It will be worth it

DM, rather Dave Gahan has an extraordinary effect on me. I understand the power of music to create or even force a mood, to provoke memories, to annoy and to give strength and comfort. That’s what Dave and his voice do for me. I listen to Dave sing and I become strong, I feel good, I feel acceptance, empathy, comfort. I feel energy and strength being poured into me. I feel like I am capable of doing anything, of achieving something worthwhile and being a person of consequence and power. Dave makes me feel like I’m a badass.

It doesn’t matter what era. I love Puppy Dave from the early 80’s, whose voice was still immature but beautiful, a hint of what was to come. Dave from the late 80’s, when DM hit it big and he was at his most gorgeous, after his unfortunate blond period. His voice still had softness at the edge, still open and innocent. Then the dark days, the 90’s and Dave during his heroin period, when he was skinny, sick and had long hair. He looked good with long hair. Ironically he was at his peak and his voice was like beautiful polished stones. Despite his body falling apart he sounded great and even sick and addicted he was still Dave. Dave was still in there, the addiction was terrible and strong but he was stronger. He was Dave Fuckin’ Gahan and no one could deny he lived through those words. After Dave got clean he was older, he was a grown-up but he still had the power and intensity inside, it came out rolling in waves of melody and a deeper sound. His voice was deeper, the puppy softness had long gone and there was some strain in his voice. What looked effortless now took some work. Twenty first century Dave, in his 40’s and now 50’s is amazing. He’s still performing, still can hold the notes and work an audience like nobody else 30 years later. He’s officially middle-aged, he wears suits and looks more like a movie star than a rock star. But he is still Dave and he never lets you forget it. He’s no nostalgia act even though he’s still singing songs Martin wrote over 20 years ago but they still sound fresh. It’s almost like a conversation, memories shared between friends, bittersweet and triumphant, over what was, what happened, what didn’t, and that we managed to live through it, to somehow survive only Lord knows how. Or why. It’s resilience and regret, pulled into a beautiful, delicate and sharp edged ornament.

Dave’s voice sunk into my heart, my ears and emotions a long time ago. I liked DM, like Martin, liked Vince and liked Alan, different as they were they were pure DM. I even like Fletch, I remember when he seemed to be important to the band, I like Christian and Peter, who are still technically hired hands but to most younger fans they are members of DM too. I can see them that way but DM is still Dave, Martin and Fletch far as I’m concerned. The band changed over 30 years, that’s putting it lightly. Dave changed, I changed and from a vantage point I can see that we both survived some hard painful times, our own tragedies, dealt with being parents and along the way we somehow became adults, real functioning adults. That Dave is a rock star and I’m obviously not, that we’re total strangers doesn’t make a difference.  Dave understands, empathizes and he doesn’t judge. And I’m healed, at least for awhile. Behold the phases of Dave.

adorable puppy Dave, Vince Clarke era

Rock Star, late 80’s, perfection

Heroin addict, mid 90’s, listen to that voice

Rock God or Oh My Lord, early 2000’s

Soulsavers Dave, this week. Still in awe

Jerry’s favorite DM song as it was back in the day