I’m Fine

Every time I take an organic pause in writing, I say I haven’t written in a while.  Which is partially true.  You, reader, haven’t read my words on my blog in months because I haven’t had the drive to share intimately, or objectively, since my last post.  I put some things on social media, but nothing too vulnerable.  I honestly don’t have much want to share – the pain is visceral again, my joy is overflowing, and how a human has been designed to carry both simultaneously is lost on me.

But I’m doing it.  I journal daily and that is my refuge.  I’m working on opening my mouth and speaking how I feel, sitting with how I feel and then learning how to feel how I feel.  I know how to talk about feelings, and to tell you from afar what it’s like to occupy my skin, but I can’t say that I really know how to actually feel it at face value.

Because I don’t want to.  In just over a month, we will have lost Matt for one year.  I won’t even touch the losses that occurred after, because I know Bam was aging and her health was out of my control (in this scenario) and Mike was ultimately a blessing.  They count toward the losses experienced this last year, but they seem to dull in gross comparison to losing my little brother to drugs.

I can’t bear it.  I can’t bear that I can’t call him and tell him about Jeremy.  I can’t bear that I can’t drive around in his favorite car (my SRT) and blast music and worry we may crash because we both like to drive too fast to music too loud to chat in between.  I can’t bear that he won’t be there to celebrate Thanksgiving and razz me about my eating habits (while complimenting me on my fitness and routine and encouraging me to relax now and again).  I can’t bear that we’ll decorate for Christmas and maybe hang his stocking or not because there won’t be any more mornings where we get to act like little kids and share in the new age Santa we learned to embrace because we still love Christmas so much.

I can’t bear that he’s dead.  That he’s not here.  That maybe he’s not suffering anymore but he’s not here to give it a chance or hang on long enough to experience that there is a fucking chance at all.  I can’t bear that he won’t be here to visit Grandma with me again, or Uncle Tony and David.  I can’t bear that I don’t get to wonder about him or where he is or how he’s doing.  I can’t bear that I’m the only one left.  And there’s nothing I can do about it.

I can’t bear that my parents’ hearts are broken to a place I may never know.  I can’t bear that our grief envelopes us on some occasions, while the rest of the worlds beats on in their daily grind.  I can’t bear that the sun is shining, and the sky is blue, yet I feel so heavy that it might as well be raining, and I be locked inside.

See, while it feels like I can’t bear, I am actually doing it in action.  I am bearing, which is why I haven’t felt like writing about how hard it is because I just do life.  I get up every morning and train.  I show up with purpose and discipline and focus because my training has become about serving other people and not just bettering myself.  I show up for work, and I help other people.  I stay home more often because my energy has dropped and my bandwidth for socializing along with it.  Some days I need people, but more days I don’t think I can handle them.  I don’t have Bam anymore so it’s just me, and Jeremy is gone early and back late enough that we just unwind together, and I do my best to not sound like Eeyore, but I fear that I do.

I don’t want to say that I’m not OK, when I have so much grace.  I don’t want to appear ungrateful, or unloving, or unappreciative when God has so clearly been doing for me.  But my heart is broken.  I am so sad.  In a way that I can’t touch, or really explain, or can share.  There are very few who I actually let in this far, and it has only recently occurred to me in the last few days that this is true.  I don’t trust romantically, and never have.  I verbalize a lot, but I don’t let you close.  I share so you think I’m trusting and being intimate, but really, I’m withholding energetically and physically and damn, that’s tiring.  For the first time romantically, I am aware of this and feel ready to stop doing this, because I no longer need to protect myself.  That’s God’s job, and so far, in 37 years, He’s done just that.  Maybe not in the way I envisioned, but in all of the ways I have needed.  Always.

As for my friends and the badass women in my life, it is hard to admit how terribly hard this is.  I guess I could say I expected to be OK by now and to have settled into a new normal.  But I have not.  Nothing about this is normal.  Nothing about this feels settled.  I now understand why people say that grief changes you because it does.

I have lost pets before and lovers that I thought were mine.  I have changed jobs and careers and moved.  I have said goodbye to people, but this … this is another animal.  This is something as a writer I don’t even know how to write about.  This is unnerving.  Baffling.  Cunning.  Silent.  Ominous.  Heavy.  Burdensome.

That’s it – this is burdensome.  I feel like a burden to tell people that I’m sad when clearly, I have a beautiful life.  I feel like a burden when people ask me how I am and at first register, I am great.  But something prevents my mouth from admitting that and then I remember – how can I be great when my little brother is dead?  How can I be great when I couldn’t save him?  How can I be great when my parents have a hole in their heart that can never be filled?  How?  So, I pause and say … I am fine, or I am OK, and I think both of those things are true.

I am fine, and I am OK.  And I am also not.  The summer lent a reprieve, maybe because Jeremy and I were in our courting phase and outside running around a lot.  Maybe because there are no holidays or big get togethers to remind us of who was no longer coming.  Maybe because I wouldn’t normally see Matt in the summer and now as we’re closing in on Holidays and winter, it’s real again.  Maybe the permanence of his death has truly sunk in.  We’re no longer in the shock.  We’re in the truth.  The truth that he is gone, forever.  That day happened, and I will never forget it.  Nor the days after.  Saying goodbye to a made-up face before he was turned into ashes and put in a fucking box.  Not being able to open my eyes and acknowledge that box, knowing he was somehow in there for good.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about those days lately, and I’m not trying to.  While I said I couldn’t bear it, I guess I am.  I don’t want to.  I don’t want to feel this way, at all.  And I have no ways to curb it, because I know too much, and I care too much about myself to try.  Drinking, drugging, or engaging my eating disorder in any number of overt or benign ways wouldn’t change his passing, nor help me cope and live the life I’ve built today.  Not showing up to work wouldn’t serve me or make me feel good about myself.  Neglecting personal hygiene or my training would only make my disease rear its head and convince me that I’m not worth it, either.  I’d rather feel this pain and say “No, I am not OK” every day than have to deal with the shame and remorse of placing myself in a chosen position of hurt.  That’s not recovery, and that’s not what Matt would want.

Matt would want me to try to smile.  Matt would want me to go outside, listen to the birds, pick all of the pumpkins, and probably harass me into eating the cupcake I haven’t eaten in over 5 years now (I’m not).  Matt would want me to look like fire when I dress up with Jeremy, and to go hold mom’s hand.  Matt would want me to play games and laugh with Dad and take his call every day, at any time.  Matt would want me to hang out and let go and take the risk.

Risk everything and lose nothing.  I have that hanging from my rearview, with his fingerprint and initials on the other side and Bam’s collar on top.

Maybe that’s it … I can risk telling you that this is nothing I’d ever imagined experiencing, have no idea how, but am doing my best to show up and do it anyway.  And by doing that, I can’t lose.  Right?

I can’t lose.

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