Stage Two

Apparently we go through 5 stages while we’re grieving: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  I seem to have arrived at the anger stage.

I didn’t realize my feelings had changed and at first thought that everyone else was just being stupid – talking, moving about, having lives and irritating the shit out of me.  But it turns out that those activities are normal things for people who are not grieving.  Now, don’t misunderstand: I am also talking, moving about, and having a life.  But while this is going on there is another script running in my head – one that is processing the fact that Warren is gone. So while I’m driving, I’m also aware that I’m driving without Warren.  And while I’m talking to my sister, I’m also aware that I’m not talking to Warren.  And in the last few days, this is making me angry.  Why did he have to die when I want to still drive with him?  Why is he not here to talk to when I still want to talk to him?  It sounds kind of crazy to people who haven’t been through this I’m sure, but it isn’t really crazy.

Well I hope it’s not crazy.

So how does it affect me when this script is running in the background?  It makes it hard to focus on things. I mean, I can focus on driving (seriously I can) but if you are in the truck with me and want to talk? I’m about 100% likely to ignore you, or get annoyed with you.  Or turn the music up. I can only do so many things at once. And if I’m talking to you I may just stop mid sentence or repeat myself.  And I will get irritated if you try to get me to remember what I was saying – I probably have no idea.

The anger seems to be coming from this strange cognitive dissonance that acknowledges that my sweetheart has died, that I can’t get him back, and that there is nothing I can do about it.  That last part is the part that makes me angry: I can’t do anything to change this and that is unfair.  I wasn’t done.  I was happy and he was happy and we both were looking forward to that going on for a very long time – not just until May 5th.  No. That wasn’t long enough.  And I’m mad.  Mad as hell at the world for being unfair and cruel. At myself for loving someone again and having the temerity to be so happy.

At Warren for dying…

No. That part isn’t really true.  I’m not mad at him.  I know that if he could be here still he would be.  But I wish he would have listened to me and gone to the clinic the day before he died.  He might still have died – who knows?  But then I wouldn’t feel this guilt – and maybe that’s part of the anger.  I did everything I could and he still died.  How can that be?

So to those people around me, the wonderful family and friends who are watching over me and trying to negotiate the unpredictability of my grief?  Thank you.  And I’m sorry. This can’t be easy or fun to watch.  But I’m working on it and I’m doing the best I can. Please just hang in there – I’m starting to get my grief sea-legs.

But it hurts.

Grief has taken the normally chatty and gregarious Sandy and has turned her into a quiet and kind of angry woman.  I am thin skinned right now and too much chatter or sympathy is exhausting.  I appreciate everything you are doing.  I love that I have such a broad and supportive group.  But I am just kind of off-line at the moment.

I hope you understand.

Tomorrow is June 5th – the one month mark…  I won’t be posting as I’m pretty sure tomorrow will be a very hard day.

I still missing you, my Bear.

S

 

 

Sunday May 28th

Grieving is hard and exhausting.

It’s difficult not to see the sad faces reflected from my own – the sympathetic sadness. I hate thinking this is how I’m making others feel, but the idea of isolating myself so they don’t have to watch me grieve just doesn’t appeal to me. I’m in a want-company-but-don’t-talk-to-me kind of place. But also: talk to me, I need the distraction. So how the hell do I explain this to the people in my life?

I have been surfing the emotions as they come – sometimes I see it coming and navigate the Sad wave and manage to stay on the board. Other times I get knocked off by a rogue Sad wave  or encounter a memory shark in the emotional waters. So far when this happens I haven’t sunk – I just flounder a bit till I find the board and throw myself across it, waiting till the emotional waters calm enough for me to regain my equilibrium.

It’s not fun.

I want to tell the people in my life that I’m sorry I’m so unpredictable right now, but I know they understand. Which is also kind of hard.  I don’t want to be this person – I don’t want to be sad and angry.  I don’t like how I feel right now – such a contrast from the happiness we had 3 weeks ago.

I miss him, oh my god, I miss him. I think about the fun we had and how good we were together – how much I could make him laugh and how dear that face was to me.  He looked at me like no one has ever looked at me before, with so much love, respect, admiration. I miss his friendship.  The long talks. Holding his hand and knowing there was nowhere else either one of us wanted to be.

He said to me once that he hoped he died first so that he wouldn’t have to live a day without me again. At the time I shook my head and asked him why he thought it would be better for ME to have to be the one left behind.  He told me he knew he couldn’t handle being that sad and lonely.  I am glad that he got his wish: this yawning sadness isn’t something I would have wanted him to experience.

The writer in me feels like I should probably say something stoic and uplifting to close this out… but I’m not going to. I just don’t have it in me right now.

S

And now: the Thank Yous

This is the final entry in the Exercising Ursula blog of my and Warren’s travels.  I’m back with my family in Guelph and my travels are over.  And it would have been Warren’s 56th birthday today – and that somehow seems like a fitting place to end this blog as well.

Thank you to all of you who have been following along – Warren and I both loved creating each entry and through our day would talk about what the title of the blog would be that night or what we’d like to capture.  He had never blogged before so it was fascinating for him to watch the views and likes that we got, and he was amazed at how many parts of the world our blog was being seen. Thank you for helping to make him happy and for being a witness to the story that unfolded.

Thank you to my friends and family who reached out and scooped me up  when I fell apart in Idaho Falls.  And Thank you to Warren’s friends who sent their condolences and shared good memories about a lovely and well respected man. He certainly is missed by many.

I will be continuing to add my writing and life stories on this site, but not to this particular blog. This journey is over: my suitcase is unpacked, souvenirs stored, memories treasured. My heart? Well, I’m trying to let it mend.  But part of it is missing. I don’t know how I’ll get used to not having the comfort of the man who played such a part in my life for the last 13 years… but I will never forget the spring we two 55 year olds ran away and had the most Epic Road Trip ever.

The quote from the Blues Brothers below is what Warren said every morning when we started out – he was delightfully predictable in this regard:

… we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark out, and we’re wearing sunglasses.

He certainly knew how to make me smile.

Goodnight Mr McLeod.  I’m going to miss you, my Bear.

S

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Guelph ont

I have made it back to Guelph. Tired, heartbroken and sad, I am once again surrounded by family. It was comforting to be hugged so fiercely by my son, cuddled by my sister, hugged by my niece; My suitcase whisked to my room, food consumed, then it was pajama time. A few tears. Lots of stories. A glass of wine.

There is a quote that says that no one is dead so long as someone is saying their name. Tonight Warren was present in every story – he won’t ever be gone. 

I’m keeping this post short because I’m exhausted, but tomorrow when I’ve collected myself I will have a better post. 

I miss you, my Bear. 

S&W

Sudbury, Ontario

 After leaving Duluth this morning, through sheer stubbornness we decided to tack another 3 hours of driving onto the day and push on to Sudbury instead of stopping in Sault Ste Marie. 

Before we crossed into Canada though, we did stop at Marquette on Lake Superior so I could dip my toe in the lake – it’s a tradition that I’ve carried out the previous 3 times I’ve gone around the lake. 

We parked at a rest stop and I started down the bank to the lake. The scrubby grass quickly turned into very soft sand, and I had to take my sandals off to navigate it.  I flailed a wee bit but finally managed to get down to the beach. I pulled up my pant legs and stepped bravely into the Very cold water and stood shivering while I waited for Roz to snap a picture. 

Finally, photo shoot done, I started back up the bank towards the truck. Uh oh. The sand that had been soft going down was super soft on my way back up. Almost impossible to get through, but not quite. I ended up on feet and hands, unceremoniously hauling myself up the bank. Roz, who had come down on the beach behind me was laughing at my difficulty and snapping a ton of pictures. Well, Karma got her in the end as she also wiped out and landed on her back in the sand. Ha!

I’m glad to be back in Canada and glad to be almost back in Guelph. Driving is a double edged sword now: on one hand it keeps me busy and focused on my task; on the other hand I can’t believe he’s not with me in that truck.  So many adventures with Mr McLeod…

You know, once you wiggle that butt of yours down to the passport office, we can go to the states and you can dip that toe in the other side of Lake Superior”

It hurt my heart to be doing it without him, but it had to be done. My life got bigger by having him in it: I can’t let it get small again… 

Tomorrow I drop Roslyn off in Madoc and then continue the last few hours on my own. The last leg of my trip will be me alone and so different from where I was on March 19th when this whole crazy adventure started. Alone physically, but not in spirit. 

I miss you my Bear. 

S&W