Sunday, May 23, 2010


In case you are reading my blog from the rock you are hiding under, tonight is the series finale of LOST, a series with MANY questions that people are hoping will all be answered tonight. Good luck.

We will not be watching the extravaganza (which I think is starting about now). This would have surprised the me from 5 years ago, who was deeply involved with the show. It was literally the only thing Peter and I planned on each week for a while. I rescheduled dates with friends because they conflicted. And yet, here we are... not watching it.

About 4 years ago, I think we just became too tired of the endless questions with NO answers. Ever. I could have been satisfied with a little explanation of a few minor points, but instead, everything was ignored in favor of yet more mysteries.

I understand that it's changed A LOT since then and now everyone is all swept up in Lost fever, but I am waiting for the final verdict after tonight. If I hear most people are satisfied, or even mildly satisfied, we'll go back and watch them all on Netflix (we are 9 years behind on the Buffy bandwagon, after all).

On the other hand, if fans are crying for blood or say, "Really? That was it?" then I can save 120 hours of my life and spend them rewatching Veronica Mars. Or watching more of The Wire. Or any of the other amazing shows out there.

Yes, this is kind of cheating, but I don't really care all that much. It IS just TV after all. I think I'll spend the next 2.5 hours of my life walking my dog in this gorgeous Colorado summer evening, instead of being frustrated, disappointed, confused, or, hope against hope, satisfied and delighted. For you Lost-ians, I hope you find what you've been looking for!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The path of grief

I intended to chronicle some of my grief here, but it has become so complicated, I'm not even sure where to start.

The private memorial for Alicia was this past weekend and Peter and I flew out to be there for it. I made a slideshow with pictures from friends and family of all stages of Alicia's life with her many, many different friends. It was really hard to make and really hard to watch.

As I said, though, my grief has become complicated. I have these feeling of guilt, like I don't have as much of a right to grief as others who were closer to her. I am remembering more and more the things I should have done, the things I should have said. The negative memories are overtaking the positive ones, especially those memories of the week in the hospital. I keep thinking that I should have just stayed. I didn't know it at the time, but it was only one more week until she was gone. I could have been there.

I can't remember why I didn't just stay, but then, if I really think about it, I can remember how uncertain everything was. Nothing was known. How much or how little time was left was the question upon which everything hung and for which there was absolutely no answer. I left because I could then come back and relieve those "on duty," and was planning to buy return tickets the very day she died. I also remember that I was thinking about my own patients, who would feel the absence of two weeks of therapy, even if it was not a life-or-death situation.

Other times, my grief is not complicated at all. The emotion just hits me full force, unexpectedly, triggered by something that shouldn't mean so much. It's as if the intellectual grief complicates the raw, primal emotional grief.

I can't rationalize away those body-wracking tears. I can't doubt the pain I feel. Until the brain takes over again, the emotion reigns and I can submit to that vastness, never hoping to try to understand it.

Monday, May 03, 2010


It's late, too late, and I just don't want to sleep. But in the day, I am so tired and all I want to do is stay home and sleep all day.

I know I should sleep, and yet I don't want to. I just want to stay up all night doing things that don't really matter, or connecting with people on Facebook (or blogging).

In the day, when I could easily email, call or text others, I just want to hide in my melancholy. I want to wallow.

I am realizing that even though I can rarely drum up the initiative to reach out and contact others, when I do, it's immensely rewarding and so very worth it.

So maybe I should try sleeping at night and talking to people in the day. I think that would be healthy. But not very vampiric*.

*I love that that is really a word and that my spellcheck doesn't blink at "vampiric," but it gets angry at "Facebook." Some programmer has their priorities straight.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

How I'm really doing

When people ask how I'm doing, the answer is usually either "OK," or "better than I thought I'd be doing." However, I'm starting to think that might not be true.

For the first week, I did feel like I was doing ok. I was sad, but I didn't cry every day and I could look back on memories of Alicia with joy for the person she was. The first few days especially, I felt like a little part of Alicia's light had landed in my heart and I could feel it burning bright with joy and love of life. It was an amazing feeling. But underlying all of that was a melancholy I still can't shake.

I have NO motivation to do anything beyond what is immediately required of me in that moment. All I want to do at home is read "comfort books" and sometimes play some video games. Peter has taken up all of the housekeeping slack, and even so, the laundry pile is enormous. I can manage at work because my job is very in-the-moment, but when I have downtime, I am extremely unproductive. Luckily, people at work have been incredibly supportive.

But. I have had more breakdowns in the past few days than in most of that first week. The melancholy is breaking through more and more. The motivation to do ANYTHING has not really come back as soon as I thought it would.

Lesson one: I'm not really doing as well as I thought.

I realized something else very important yesterday as well. I decided to go do a little shopping on Pearl Street for my favorite thing to shop for: gifts for friends. Peter couldn't come with me because he was preparing a poster for a conference. Not a big deal, I thought. Pearl Street was incredibly beautiful-- the tulips were aflame in red and yellow under spreading trees with new green leaves. The sun was shining with fluffy white clouds scudding across the blue sky, and everywhere people were laughing, playing and enjoying the spring day. The overwhelming JOY of it all hit me hard and the tears came quickly. I knew if Peter had been there, it might still have been hard, but I probably wouldn't have lost it quite so badly.

Lesson two: It's harder being alone.

Also, lesson three: For me, happy things are harder than sad things.

I must say, it has been fascinating to observe and recognize these and other patterns in my grief. This death is the closest I've experienced so far, and certainly the most "unfair," if that's possible to say (i.e., not my 92 year old grandma). So this is probably the most authentic grief I have experienced and it is teaching me so much. I hope that by embracing the emotions I feel, I can not only process things more fully, but also experience life (and death) more fully. I want to honor Alicia enough to not shy away from this pain, but face it as bravely as I can.