Civil Rights

I’ve recently been reading a trilogy of novels by author Greg Iles. Natchez Burning, The Bone Tree, and Mississippi Blood. While I have not yet finished Mississippi Blood, the first two have got me thinking. 

This series of books is a fictional account of some all true events in our nation’s past. Civil rights. The sixties were a troubled time in the history of our country, and while I was not alive yet at the time (I wasn’t born until 1977), I’ve always found the sheer nonsense of this time to be morbidly fascinating. Not in a way that I agree with it, but like an accident you can’t look away from. It was a horrible time in our past, when the racial divide was at the forefront of our nation. 

In the books, a black nurse, who had fled from Mississippi in the late sixties after the disappearance of her civil rights activist brother, comes back to Mississippi in 2005 to die after a long bought with cancer. Her sudden reappearance and the very unfortunate circumstances of her death, bring the hate crimes of forty years ago back into the light. In the late sixties, she was kidnapped, raped, and beaten by an offset group of the KKK to lure her brother, a prominent civil rights activist, out of hiding. She barely got out alive, and with the help of the white doctor she worked for, she escaped north to Chicago. By her coming home to die, the doctor and his family are plunged back into dealing with the terrible history that made her flee in the first place. 

I’m not going to recount the entire series of events of the novels, it is a thrilling read and I highly recommend checking them out. Instead I’d like to talk about the actual reality of this terrible tragedy in the past. 

Though the “race war” in the 1960s did not start then, it has been an ongoing struggle since the first blacks were brought to this country as slaves, it has been (in my opinion) a terrible blight in our history. Black people were brought over from Africa as slaves into a country ran by white men. No minority group (black, Latino, Asian, women, native American, the poor, etc.) were ever given equal rights. Rich white men ran the country and decided it’s fate, always in their favor. These men owned black men and women as slaves. They worked them to the bone, beat them, raped the women, killed them if they didn’t do as they were told, and delivered many other horrible punishments upon them. They were property, they had no rights, no say, and no benefits. They were lucky to be given enough food, water, and shelter to survive. 

Just prior to the civil war, a shift occurred. The northern states (for the most part) no longer treated black people as slaves, though they still had little to no rights. The south however, still held onto the owning and mistreatment of any person of color. Throughout the country, there were different classes of colored people (the term of the time, not mine), as many of the white slave owners had had illegitimate children with their black mistresses, spawning mulatto children who were a step above a slave, but still not treated equally. 

After slavery was abolished, blacks were still not equal. They spent another hundred years treated as second class citizens. Little rights were afforded to them. They were free, yes, but they were not equal. They had manual labor jobs, regardless of any skill they may have. The were paid less than their white counterparts. They were more or less herded into only living in certain areas, away from the white areas. Segregation was horrible. Blacks and whites had to have separate entries to buildings, different drinking fountains, different everything. Partly because the white leaders of the time feared what could happen if they were equal, but mostly these instances of segregation were to remind the black citizens of their place in the scheme of things in America at that time. 

The civil rights movement in the 1960s changed everything, and not always for the best, but it was a step in the right direction. We have all heard of the obvious voices of this movement, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks but there were countless people working to end the fight. People working to get black Americans to register to vote, to fight for equal pay, to go to public schools and institutions the same as whites, etc. We may not recognize all of their names, but every single step they took was a step in the right direction. 

Unfortunately, for every step a black man or woman took to ensure their equality, there was a white man or woman doing something to stop them or counteract their progress. We’ve all heard of the KKK, but there were people not in the Klan that felt the same. The white men leading our country at the time were not for progress, still aren’t in my opinion, but that’s another blog. There were a few that were for it, but the majority were not. A popular theory (a subplot in the books) was that president John F. Kennedy was active in ending segregation and was killed as a result….as was his brother Bobby. 

Here we are over 50 years later, and while segregation is no longer openly discussed, it still exists. Black Americans are not paid equally, are still profiled as drug dealers and criminals, still have trouble acquiring homes in better neighborhoods, and many other things. It is just not openly talked about. Black Americans have trouble getting health care, approval for housing, assistance for education, and even government assistance if they should need it. While white Americans do not have the same issues. 

Recent events in our country have proven that the struggle goes on. Most notably, the Black Lives Matter movement. Of course they should matter, ALL lives should matter. The color of the skin surrounding that life should be irrelevant. My personal belief is the media and government of our nation have told you what they think you need to hear, in order to keep up their low key racism. If you pay attention to the news, they spend a lot of time telling you about black criminals and white do-gooders, but very rarely the other way around. I’m not saying there are no black criminals, but there are an equal amount of white ones. And most of the black people I know would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. The public perception is being guided by the media. 

Why does this bother me so much, you may ask? True, I am a middle aged white man, I shouldn’t have an issue, right? Wrong. Besides it being utterly, ridiculously wrong, it is an issue I do have to deal with as a gay man. The discrimination may be a bit different, but it’s still there. The white men who are still in power, after all these centuries, are using discrimination to help themselves. Against blacks, against gays, against immigrants, against different religions. The struggles are different in some ways, but at their core they are the same. We are discriminated against because we are different than a straight white man in public office. 

I don’t have a solution to end this discrimination and racism. I wish I did. But I hope that it will end. I doubt it will happen anytime soon, but someday. When our children are our age, and have children of their own. When the racists are no longer around to instill their hate into their own children, when we can elect officials with a more open mind to actually bettering the country and not just their wallets. When we as a society can concentrate on important issues like global warming and not being able to live off a minimum wage job…then and only then can we step away from the horrific events of the past. When children can learn about civil rights in history class and see that it was a horrible blight in our history, but feel proud they live in a country that can live up to the motto All Men Are Created Equal. 

All By Myself

Alone. 

The word itself strikes fear for so many people. So many people I know, or know of, just cannot be alone. They have to have someone else in their presence at all times, they do not know the joy that comes with time spent by their self. 

Admittedly, I used to be one of those people. Many years ago, prior to becoming sober, I needed people around. I couldn’t stand the silence, had to have someone else there to talk to, listen to, interact with. The thought of having to spend any amount of time alone just made me seek out the company of people I may not have even liked. Of course the drugs I was doing at the time dulled the annoyance of said people, just so I could get the fix of some type of closeness. 

When I was 21, that changed. I don’t remember the exact day, but I do remember that it was summertime and raining. I had my heart broken (I touch on this in the blog titled If I Knew Then…Part 2), and that event changed me forever. In so many ways. 

I found solace in being alone, in music with my headphones on that only I could hear, in watching a thunderstorm that somehow reflected my mood perfectly. I even remember I was listening to Garbage’s Version 2.0. 

That night a shift in my social life changed my outlook forever. I’ve had trouble being social since then. No longer did I want to be around others. I didn’t feel the need to go out. The fewer people in my circle, the happier I was. My trust in people had been shattered. I learned in one evening that the only person that could make me happy was myself. Me and me alone. 

Fast forward about 6 years, and Tim moved in with me. He had broken down several of the walls I spent so many years (felt like a lifetime) reinforcing. While I never again became as social in public as he was, or would have liked for me to be, I let him in. He was my social circle. 

There were a few close friends and family members that I let in also, but mostly it was Tim. I still enjoyed my alone time, but I grew to crave his company. I lived with him for over 10 years. A decade of my life spent with him. During that long time, I did learn to open back up, selectively expanding my circle to allow others in. 

Though we haven’t lived together since July, I’ve operated the past 8 months as if we did. I allowed friends and family into my heart, mind, and personal space. But I also thought we’d end up living together again. 

Since his death, another shift has occurred. I don’t want people near me again. I’ve spent the majority of my time alone, and that’s probably the best thing I can do right now. I still feel like being close to someone from time to time, but if I’m being honest with myself, it’s only his company I crave. Other people get on my nerves quickly. 

I’ve attempted to make new friends, as the existing ones seem to only want to talk about Tim, and that’s not something I am ready to talk about yet. It’s been nice to talk about other things with people who did not know him, but somehow it just doesn’t feel right. The distraction level I’ve sought isn’t there. 

So I’ve decided to try the alone thing again. Some time for self reflection and self healing. I intend to read more, write more, and of course listen to some great music. Hopefully, I won’t become a shut in, but maybe that’s what I need to heal my heart. 

I want to get myself to a place where taking a chance on others doesn’t feel like a betrayal, to a place where I don’t feel like others want to talk to me to just be nosey about my loss, and to a place where I feel safe to break down a wall. 

It’s been nearly half my life ago that I first learned to be my own best friend. I never imagined that I would be doing it again. But here I sit, contemplating just that. I’m considering moving far away when my lease is up, just to find the peace I feel I deserve. 

I don’t want to ever forget the circumstances that put me in these situations, as they have made me a stronger person in the long run, but I also don’t want a constant reminder of times I cannot have again. 

I plan on spending all my free time listening to music, reading, and doing things (alone) that make me happy. I’ll still work, as I need food and shelter, but not planning on doing much else. If it ever warms up and stops raining, going hiking in nature to clear my head. 

I do not fear the path of being alone. It’s a road I’ve journeyed before, and I’m looking forward to having a positive impact on my future self. 

All by myself, alone. 

Moving Forward

Six weeks ago today, I got some devastating news…my husband had died. In that time, the range of emotions has been drastic. I’ve been sad, I’ve been angry, I’ve been numb, I’ve found acceptance. While I’m never going to forget Tim and the wonderful things he brought to my life, this will be my last post specifically concerning him for a while. I need to heal, as well as one can in this situation anyway. 

I’ve learned a lot from this experience. Though it is not a typical learning experience, I’ve learned quite a number of things about myself, about how society treats others, and about dealing with grief and loss. My eyes have been opened to things I didn’t realize I was handling wrong and regrets I’m learning to accept and not feel guilt over. 

I’ve never been good at expressing my feelings, shy of anger that I have a hard time suppressing. During this time of loss, I let my emotions float to the surface. I didn’t run or hide from them, I wore my heart on my sleeve, as they say, for everyone to see. There was no hiding my heartbreak, my anger, my utter devastation. I let people see how I was hurting, how I felt. It was partly a cry for help in dealing with something I was unprepared to do alone, but also partly to show sorrow for someone I’d attempted to push to a back burner in the public eye. 

My relationship with Tim was just that, MY relationship with TIM. I rarely gave the outside world a glimpse of what he meant to me, how I truly felt, or any of our private moments together. I thought that our relationship should remain private and that if I chose to share anything, it was (what I felt to be) mundane anecdotes and stories of things we did together. I’ve learned by doing that, few actually knew how I felt about Tim. Because we were separated at the time of his death, people didn’t understand that I truly loved him, that I was crushed by his death. I know now that by keeping my privacy, I seemed like I was seeking attention upon his death. I was/am in no way trying to be a martyr in any sense, I guess I learned to open up. Just too late. 

I’ve also had some eye opening realizations about society as a whole. Few people have been genuinely concerned about me or my welfare during the past six weeks, the majority of people have been more concerned with Tim’s cause of death or the less than honorable aspects of which we were separated in the first place. I’ve been very angry at people for this. Why he died, or even the less than attractive things he did in life, should not have any bearing on how he is remembered. He had his secrets (which I will touch on later), but they didn’t define him. We ALL have secrets that we choose to hide from the world, and even if they come to light in our death, they aren’t everything about us. 

I’ve learned that too many people are afraid of death. And by being afraid, they deflect the focus from dealing with a loss to some sort of bad mouthing to distract everyone from the pain. Sadly, I did the same thing, on a less dramatic scale, when we separated (more on that in a moment). I don’t want Tim remembered for his flaws, but rather for the amazing person he was, the joy he brought to the lives around him, and the numerous qualities that made him special. 

In dealing with my grief, I’ve had a lot of realizations. Tim died thinking I left him for personal reasons, which was partly true, but not the reasons I really felt. I loved Tim with all my heart, and always will, but he had some demons that, in the long run, effected us both. Among them, he had a few medical issues, a drug dependency issue, and a resulting non-existent sex drive. 

He died thinking that I left because we didn’t have sex, and I let him think that. I’d hinted numerous times that I hated his drug addiction, as a recovering addict myself, it killed me to watch him spiraling into a place I had already dug myself out of. THAT was why I left. I didn’t know how to help him, he saw there was no issue…and that is the first step in accepting help, admitting there is a problem. He refused to admit he had a problem, and the distance between us grew every time I brought it up. His resentment of me was becoming obvious, which made me feel horrible. Admittedly, I never flat out gave him the “me or drugs” ultimatum, though I don’t know it would have helped. After leaving, I felt like a coward for not doing it, but it was too late at that point. Instead, I let him believe what he wanted to believe, or more likely what he was willing to admit, that I followed my dick out the door. 

During the first few months of our separation, I put up a wall with others. Especially those who still talked to him. I let everyone think I just didn’t care, especially if I thought it would get back to him.  Sides were drawn amongst our friends and family. To my side, I seemed like I really didn’t care anymore. That Tim was someone I’d grown away from, and I didn’t want anything to do with him anymore. To his side, he was heartbroken because I left because we weren’t fucking all the time. I was just some sexual pervert trying to get my dick wet and not getting it at home. He definitely played the victim card, and I just let it happen. I felt he needed that to heal, so I assumed all the blame. 

In reality, I spoke to his family and best friend and asked their assistance in getting him help. I told them why I couldn’t stay and why I was concerned about him. I couldn’t watch his struggle, it was breaking my heart. Like a coward, I ran. Though I hoped that my leaving would be the wake up call he needed to see how his actions affected us both. I pleaded with his loved ones to not enable him, I secretly hoped without my financial support, he’d not be able to continue down his path. 

The guilt I feel over that decision may never go away. I know that I shouldn’t feel guilty, as I was only doing what I thought best, but I do. And it’s no one else’s business how or what I feel. I am not going to spend my life drowning in the what ifs though. I owe it to Tim to remember the positive memories I have, and to hold those close to my heart. He was a good man, he was just wondering down a path I couldn’t be a part of. 

The ways I’ve learned to deal with my grief have been numerous. I’ve learned what to, and not to, show and say. I’ve learned how others deal with death. There is no one way that people deal, there is no right or wrong way either. I’ve also learned that while there are things I could have or should have handled differently, I can’t cannot live my life with regrets. I in no way regret a single moment of my life with Tim. I’m thankful I got to know and love such an amazing person. Just how my mind operates, I’ll wonder from time to time if I could have handled things differently, or if I should have said or done something I neglected to think of at the time, but I know that it would change nothing. I need to learn to deal with the circumstances as they are. I’ve also learned that, should I need to in the future, I need to be more open with my feelings. Tim’s death has been an eye opener to the emotions both of myself and others. 

I am not ready to move on, but I am ready to not dwell on my loss anymore. I want to go forward with life and find happiness again, and hopefully I can do so with the lessons I’ve learned. I want to find the good in life and enjoy it. I want to find things that I am passionate about, without having everything tie back to my loss. I’m not ignoring, nor denying, my loss and what I feel, but I’m ready for it to not define who I am like it has for the past six weeks. 

I’m going forward with a better look on life. There will be good times and bad times, and even instances I’ll be sad beyond measure. But everything we go through in life makes us stronger. I will be a better person for both loving Tim and a better person for learning from how I lost him. 

I’m looking forward to being a better version of myself. Always moving forward. 

Speech I Gave About My Husband At His Celebration Of Life

First of all, on behalf of our family, we thank everyone for coming this evening. I may have married into this family, but I’m blessed to call them mine. We are all grateful to see so many people that loved Tim. He truly touched a lot of lives. 

As I was thinking of what to say tonight, of how I met Tim, how I knew he was the person I wanted to annoy me for the rest of my life, thinking about what it was that made Tim special to me, and what stories I should or should not share, I heard his voice clearly in my head say “BORING, no one cares about that stuff….make it funny”. Which he totally would have said. Unfortunately for you, I’m not that funny. 

Humor was something I did love about Tim. He was a truly funny guy. But the best part of his humor was that he thought he was hilarious. The look on his face and the tone of his voice when he was telling you something humorous made it even better. He also never forgot a joke or something you did that brought him laughter. 

He was also the smartest man I’ve ever met. His thirst for knowledge was unquenchable. If he heard of something he didn’t know, he would read everything he could find on the subject until he knew it by heart.

Tim was extremely creative. He painted, designed both clothes and home decor, did various crafts, sewed, and was known for his extravagantly wrapped presents. The gift itself was only part of the present, the presentation was the key. It had to be just the right wrapping paper, just the right ribbon, and an intricate bow or decoration on top. He got more enjoyment out of people discussing the appearance of his gifts than he did giving them. 

Tim was also an excellent, though messy, cook. He knew just what to add to make things delicious. He knew what spices complimented each other, techniques that I never heard of, and wasn’t against trying new things. He could never cook for just the two of us though. When he cooked, we had left overs for days. He wouldn’t eat leftovers if they had been in the fridge more than a couple days, so I always had food for lunches. I often joked he was trying to fatten me up, he joked back that the best way to my heart was through my stomach. 

He had many talents, interests, and positive qualities. So many he was hard to keep up with. He drove me crazy at times. Mostly because I am not that creative or adventurous. He often told people that he was tons of fun and I was no fun at all, which is sadly true. My idea of a good evening is reading a book, whereas he was always on the go or doing something, he just couldn’t sit still. He’d often interrupt my reading to ask my opinion on whatever it was he was working on. I am not the visual person he was, and he’d get frustrated with me because I couldn’t see his vision. He was very critical of his own work though, and while I’d love what he had done, he’d point out the tiniest flaw that I never would have noticed on my own. He strove for perfection, always.

I would not having traded a single minute of my time with him. We fought, we argued, and didn’t understand each other at times, just like any other couple. But I am a stronger, wiser, more adventurous person for having known him. The things I learned from him will stay with me for a lifetime. I learned more about myself during the last eleven years than I would have alone. 

I truly loved him, with all my heart. Words cannot describe how much I will miss him. I never again will hear his voice, his laugh, or taste his cooking, but I have my memories of great years together. He was my heart, my soul, my best friend. I love you, Tim. ALWAYS. 

33 Days

It’s been just over a month since my husband died. My emotions have been all over the map. I’ve been sad, I’ve been angry, I’ve felt guilty, I’ve even had some moments of peace. I can say, at the time of this writing, I’ve accepted the fact he is gone. I have many regrets of things once said and done, I’ve had an outpouring of memories flood my head, I’ve been angry at him and others for things that are beyond anyone’s control, and I’ve found peace reminding others of the impact he had on others. 

Though he was far from perfect, as is everyone, he was a great man. It is tremendously sad that he is gone, but I think the world is a better place for having had him in it. I’d like to believe that I am definitely better for having known and loved him. He was my friend, my lover, my family, and the other half that made me whole. 

He taught me what family means. His family took me in and loved me though they were not required to do so. He made me feel loved and welcome. Before I met him, my family were just people I saw on holidays and talked to if someone needed something, and most of them still operate that way. After being with Tim, I realize that family is someone you can call for no reason, to share your life and be your friend. It’s a support system, a sounding board, a cheerleader, and therapy all rolled into one. 

I’ve never been a believer in soul mates, I’ve been a loner most of my life. I’ve often sought companionship, only to push it away a short time later. But after meeting Tim, I craved his company. I wanted him around, I loved knowing he was near. I’m not saying I wanted to be with him (or anyone) 24/7, but I needed to be with him at some point in my day, every day. He was someone that I never wanted to push away. We loved one another unconditionally, and helped each other be better people. 

There are any number of things I do, and will continue to miss about him. His laugh, his intelligence, his cooking, his creativity, and his love. But I will have my memories of these, and other, happy times. I will continue to be sad at the loss, it may be a while before I can talk about him without getting emotional. I will always feel the loss, but he would not want me to live my life in sadness and despair. I’m not going to be happy necessarily, as his death will linger with me for some time, but I am going to be as happy as I can. Happy that I got to love and know a wonderful human being, happy that my life was forever changed when I met him, and happy that I continue to be a part of a family (Don, Marci, Joe, Jonathan, Andrea, spouses, nieces and nephews) that know how I much I loved their son or brother. 

I’m not completely at peace, but I’m headed in the right direction. 

A Month of Sadness

One month ago today, I was called by a friend to tell me that my husband had died. During this past month, I’ve not had a great time dealing with that horrible news. The range of emotions have been total devastation to fond memories. I can’t say I’ve been actually happy, but there have been moments of peace, though few, where I know he is no longer suffering. 

I’ve been sad mostly. Not a day has gone by where he has not crossed my mind, and therefore his loss has always been looming. It helps to think about the happier memories, but there is always that overwhelming nagging in the back of my head that says that while the memories are great, there will never be any more. I’m angry, i feel guilty and like a failure, and I’m scared. 

I’m angry for different reasons. Angry that he didn’t listen to me. Angry with myself that I didn’t force him. Angry at other people that seem to focus solely on how he died, rather than the person he was.  Angry that I cannot have his things, OUR things. Angry that I cry, and angrier when I just can’t cry anymore. Angry that I’ve not had a sign from him to know that he’s at peace. Angry that the one thing that has always brought me comfort in troubled times, music, just reminds me of him. Angry that I have to live without him….and angrier still that I have no idea how to do that. 

I feel guilty for not being a better example. He was going through a battle I faced years ago. Did I somehow fail to set a better example? Was there more I could have said or done? Did I not love him enough for him to see how it was affecting us? Did I not make it easy enough to love me enough to face his demons? What could I have done, said, showed, been differently? The unanswered questions just bring on another wave of anger and sorrow. 

I’m scared to go on with life. How do I go on, knowing he can’t, he won’t? How am I supposed to act? How long will it hurt? Does the pain subside, or ebb and flow for the rest of my life? The heartache I feel scares me. I feel like I’ll never heal. So many things I do, see, and hear throughout the day only remind me he is gone. I’m scared I’ll never know the answers about him. I’m absolutely terrified he died not knowing how much I loved him, how much I always will. If I were to die, would I see him again? I’m too scared to think about that…I could never run the risk of dying and losing him forever versus at least living and having my memories. I’m too scared to live without him, too scared to die and never know. 

I feel like a zombie going through my life. It’s changed dramatically, and the “what ifs” just keep piling up. I can’t forget, but I’m having trouble moving on. The guilt, the anger, the fear are preventing me from actually living. I’m just a shell going through the motions of life, knowing that a part of me is dead. 

It’s The Living That Make Death Hard

I’ve been dealing with a great loss for close to a month now. I think I’ve achieved all the stages of grief at some point in time, some more than others. Some days it’s all I can do to get out of bed, other days I spend a lot of time distracting myself, and a handful of times I’ve felt at peace with the death of someone so important to me. It’s a personal journey of grief that I may never fully feel has ended. At least not any time soon. 

The worst part of dealing with my loss has become those still around me. With Tim’s death, I am able to pick and choose what, when, and how I choose to remember, I can block out the bad times, focus on the good, and remember him in a light that I am comfortable with. I am by no means trying to paint him as a saint in my mind, but silly little things we got mad at each other about 5 years ago seem trivial. Who cares about the  breaking of a coffee mug, when you can remember when and why it was bought and how you felt it was the perfect gift at the time? Why focus on how mad he was when I got a bleach spot on his favorite shirt, when I can remember how good he looked wearing it? See what I mean?

But the living….well, they are another story. On a daily basis, I am forced to allow people that I am not close with into my personal space for hugs, pats, and hand holding to show me support for a loss that they are not personally suffering. Nor are we close enough that I feel that I need comforted by them. It’s different for family and close friends, I wish I could hug them and not let go until the pain goes away. 

Often I am questioned about Tim’s cause of death. At the time of this writing, I do not yet know. It could be 6-8 weeks before the full coroner’s report comes back. But the thing that irks me most is that HOW he died is irrelevant to those on the outskirts of our life.  You (theoretical people asking) were not a part of his life, why do you feel compelled to know the intimate details of his death? I feel that information is for us, his family, and us alone. Even people that were close with him, I’d like him be remembered for the great person he was, rather than what he died of. I don’t feel that publicizing that information will set anyone’s mind at ease, I don’t feel that it would provide any life lessons to those who didn’t really know him, and I don’t feel that knowing how he died would do anything to honor his memory. And constantly asking me is not helping me to focus on the good times we had, it merely is a slap in the face to remind me he is gone. 

Another thing I get asked frequently that pissed me off is “but you two were separated, right?” Yes, that is true, Tim and I were separated, that doesn’t mean I immediately stopped loving him the moment I moved out. Nor does it mean I had given up any hope of reconciling. Was I giving him space to do what he needed to do? Yes. Were we still in contact? Yes, often. Had I cut him out of my life? Absolutely not, nor would I ever.  But even if the answers to those questions were opposite, it still doesn’t discount the 11 years of love I had already had with him. A love like ours doesn’t just die the minute you decide to work on your own issues separately. In fact, in my mind, our seven month separation seems irrelevant now. I never stopped loving him, I’ve got it on good authority that he felt the same about me. 

The worst part of all of this is how others seem to think I’m just going to go back to life with the same zest I had before. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. I was entitled to three paid days off from work for my loss, which was definitely not enough. I took five before I felt strong enough to show my face in public. I’ve had a couple vacation days since then as well, so I could attend gatherings with family. I’ll be taking another five next week surrounding his celebration of life. Do I think that it is enough? No, not at all. But I understand that life goes on around me, and the world didn’t stop just because MY world died. Working has been a nice distraction, despite the constant questioning. I’m not going to cease being sad. I cannot just stop my heart from breaking. I do not want to just forget about him and move on. 

I may never be back to the way I once was. This has affected me greatly, and I can’t imagine a time where I will put it on the back burner and forget it. What I’d like, in lieu of the aforementioned comments, is for people to ask me to tell them about a good memory of Tim rather than his death. Ask me about when I knew I loved him rather why we were separated. Ask me what you can do to help rather than just assume I’m back to normal. I may not ever be like I was, and that’s ok. But I wish others would stop making it worse.