Hello from the other side…

phone

I don’t actually like that song (don’t hate me!) but the phrase seemed appropriate.

Because my sister called me last night.

Okay, yeah, so I was dreaming…but nonetheless, she called.  I was learning how to snowboard in a very bizarre wintry world, when my phone rang.  I recognized her voice instantly and some more conscious part of me knew that this wasn’t supposed to be happening, that I had to keep her on the phone for as long as possible.

But we chatted – a real, legit, sisterly chat.  I don’t remember about what and it wasn’t for very long, but she sounded happy – her voice sounded healthy.

Her voice.  I’m not sure that there are strong enough words to express how much of a gift it was to hear her voice.  To have my subconscious drag up some memory of it so that I could listen to her for even the briefest moment…  There are pictures of her everywhere – on my computer, around my house, on the internet…I can see her whenever I want, but I can’t hear her.  Not in the same way.  I have one voicemail that I never deleted (thank goodness!) but really that’s it…

It’s sad to realize that you never stop losing someone.  You lose the person in whatever way it happens but, over time, you continue to lose them.  All the tiny details, the minutiae that made them whole, made them who they were, you can’t hold onto all of it as desperately as you try.  So, it feels like they are truly slipping away…

Until, suddenly, you remember.  You remember something and you realize it’s still there. Maybe you laugh.  More likely you cry.  But you haven’t lost them, not completely. And if your brain is being especially nice, you may even get to talk to them on the phone.

Weird Day

Saturday…well, Saturday was just plain weird.

In an effort to make new friends and get myself out of the house, I joined a gym and yoga studio last week.  Both had super sweet deals and neither forced me to sign those ridiculous contracts that you can easily get pressured into…

So, Saturday morning, I decide to attend my first yoga class – it was an easy class, which is what I wanted since I’m new to yoga – more of a meditation really.  You hold six or seven poses for 5-10 minutes each.  The yoga instructor mentioned that some people laugh or cry – that it’s normal to feel emotional…

I cried nearly the whole damn time.  From the second pose on, there was a constant, silent stream of tears.  At one point, the instructor dabbed my face with tissues and then pressed them into my hand.

I had recently wondered about my lack of tears actually – I hadn’t really cried since the day I was broken up with – maybe a brief moment here or there but other than that, nada.  No true break down.  I chalked this up to having dealt with a loss much much worse than a breakup.  But, I guess I was just holding it in.

I didn’t feel too embarrassed…okay, I felt slightly embarrassed, as I exited the studio and ran smack dab into all the other yoga instructors – two of which I had met when signing up. They smiled and asked me how my first class went and I told them how I cried the whole time…they said that happens and then, invited me to a pool party.

Again, I’m trying to force myself to do things…so I go to the pool party.  I eat some food, have a few drinks, and meet new people.  I drink some water and decide I’ll head to the gym.  I don’t feel drunk at all – I’ve had plenty of food…again, pushing myself to do things.

About fifteen minutes into my gym workout, I start feeling incredibly dizzy.  I could barely sit up, so I lay there on a workout bench wondering what the hell is going on with me. After a few minutes, I decide to go to the locker room and have never had to focus so hard to walk in my life, the world spinning all around me.  I find a bench and a trash can to hug…a few people try to help me but even the girl at the front desk is pretty useless.  I’m useless – I have no clue what is going on with me.  I start thinking that maybe I’m just massively dehydrated from the crying and the few drinks…

About 30 minutes go by and I realize that I just have to get to my car.  I mentally make this my very tiny goal – just get to the car.  Get to the car.  Get to the car.  I walk out of the locker room, past the girl at the front desk, exit the doors…and run immediately to a trash can and puke.  And puke.  And puke.

No one saw it.  I finally get myself to my car.  And I sit in it with the air blowing on my face for about 30 minutes.  All I can think is how I want to call him…want some reassurance that I’m not dying…that this was all poor decision making…that I can and will get home.  I just miss him.  And it’s not that I think I necessarily needed him – I don’t need someone to tell me I’ll be okay…I just wanted someone to say it.  Wanted to exist to someone.  In particular, I wanted to exist to him.

If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is there to hear it…  Well, if a girl pukes her life up in a trash can and no one is there to see it…

Finally, I will myself to drive home, just to sit in my parking spot for twenty minutes…before convincing myself that I can walk to my front door, which I do – after throwing up, again, on some plants along the way.

I magically get to my bed and pass out for four hours straight.  When I woke up, I thought this was all just dehydration…but the dizziness (minus the puking – thank gawd), continued yesterday – and today, I have a fever and chills.

And there’s nothing like being sick to make you miss someone even more…

I try to tell myself that I’m lucky to have had someone like that – to have been in love and have had someone love me.  My sister never had that.

I don’t know that I even felt lonely, I wasn’t really sad – I just felt non-existent.  How many days did she feel non-existent?  Like she could just disappear and it wouldn’t matter?

And I’m not saying it wouldn’t, wouldn’t matter…but there is something to having a significant other – to feeling really important to someone else…that in many ways, supersedes your family.  I wish she had had that – if even for a moment.  So, I guess in turn, I should be happy that I had that, even if it’s over and I’m puking in trash cans alone now.

Set them free.

setthemfree1Today, I’m dealing with a different kind of grief.  One that I didn’t think I would ever experience again.  My boyfriend of over four years and I broke up.  And when I say that we broke up – I mean that he broke up with me.  I thought that he was my forever.  If I’m honest with myself, I still do.  I think he’ll come to his senses and realize that his reasons for choosing this don’t really make sense…that he’s rationalizing this all wrong…that he’s not doing me any favors…that this isn’t better for me.  This is not what I want.  I want to fight for what we have.  Desperately.

I wish he did, too.

When I thought of the idea for the image above, I googled the quote.  It tore at my already aching heart, because I only remembered the first sentence.  Not the rest.

“If you love someone, set them free.  If they come back, they’re yours.  If they don’t, they never were.” – Richard Bach

I don’t know that I fully believe that quote.  Doesn’t stop it from hurting, though.

I do want to believe he’ll come back, but there was so much finality to what he said and the way he said it…how long do I hold on to my hope?

My answer is: As long as I want.  It’s not that I’m waiting for him necessarily.  I’m also, and more importantly, waiting for me.  Giving me however much time I need.  I lost my person today.  And as silly as it is, I added to a list of things that I love about him.  I started it a while ago – thought I’d give the list to him some time.  Tonight, I added to it, almost frantically – like I was going to forget all of these small details, all of these pieces that make him up.  I don’t want to forget.  (Although, I will probably spend innumerable hours entertaining the idea by watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind again and again.)

One of the things on that list is that my sister loved him.  This is no small thing.  That girl hated most of my friends.  HATED.  Could not stand the majority of people whose company I chose.  But she loved him.  One time, when we visited her in the hospital, she introduced him to the doctor by saying: “This is my future husband, if those two don’t work out.”

What. A. Punk.  Trying to steal my boyfriend.

Gawd, I miss her.

Gawd, I miss him.

It feels more than a little unfair that my sister is gone – I am pretty sure that under “sister” in the dictionary it states that one of her obligations is to help in times of broken heartedness.

I do realize that I’m trying to make this post “light” and “airy”…because I am trying not to feel what I’m feeling.  Trying to distract myself from having to deal.  (Can we say denial?)

Oh, Richard Bach, your quote tells nothing of the trials of waiting.  Of the in-between…of haagen daz and sad movies.  Of heartache and tears.  Of shouldas and wouldas.

Of loving and missing.

 

Last Tag

My dad’s side of the family plays this game.  Last Tag.  I’m not sure where it came from or who invented it, but it is the ultimate version of tag and to this day, not one family visit has ended without it.  The rules are simple.  The same ones as tag, except with a nice twist. You only play this right before you’re about to leave, because the point is to tag as many family members as you can last.

The game begins when the family visit ends (and I mean literally coming to an end…bags are packed, car is ready – sometimes, the car is even on).  Everyone will be hugging and saying goodbye.  Up to this point, things are good, normal.  We are the frickin’ Brady Bunch.  But then, someone will go in for a hug to say goodbye and as they pull away, a hand swings back to hit them in the arm and the crucial words are uttered: “Last tag.”

And all pandemonium breaks loose.

Usually, an aunt or uncle starts it.  But the moment those words are spoken, there are no more hugs or sweet goodbyes.  The gloves are off and a seemingly-normal family is turned into a crazed bunch of animals running through the streets, the house, the yards with only one thought in mind: I MUST WIN.

Now, the aunts and uncles, the grandparents – they’re easy.  All you really have to watch out for are the quick tag-backs, because they’ll only chase you for so long.  Once you wear them down, you just gotta tag them and jump away before their longer, lightning-quick arms (or legs – there’s no limb discrimination with the tags) snap out to get you.  It’s the cousins that are the true challenge.

It’s the cousins that run through the neighborhood…run in the middle of the streets…  That refuse, REFUSE, to give up.  To give in.  To surrender.  Okay, maybe it’s mainly me and my cousin Edward who have been trying to outdo each other in this game, since the beginning of our wee little lives…but still…

This game can extend actually leaving by over an hour.  It’s usually ended, because the adults (I say this, but this is exactly what happened last time we played about 8 months ago and I am well into adulthood – so, here adults means the OLDER adults) will either holler at their kid that the car is about to go or will literally start driving towards them.  This is key.  If you can get in that car and slam the door shut and lock it and make sure the windows are rolled up and have tagged your target last, well, you’ve won.  Really, it’s about tagging everyone (or Edward) and getting in the car safely.  If you’re not the one leaving, a good strategy can be to also get in the car, especially if you can do so first without the other person knowing and surprise attack them and hop outta the car.  Doesn’t always work out great but if it does – that’s the best!

It’s my favorite (albeit chaotic) family tradition.

At my sister’s funeral we had a place to write down messages and memories of my sister, my cousin (Edward’s brother) wrote her a message and ended it with: Last Tag.

I found this to be perfect.  The perfect send off from a cousin, from our family really.  And, I’ve been thinking about this lately, because – well, soon my sister will have been gone for two years……and because, the cousins I’ve mentioned – their father just died.

It was completely unexpected.  And although my cousins are adults, they’ve still lost their dad. I don’t want them to have to go through this.

Eight months ago, he was their getaway driver.  He was giggling evilly at me, as I was scowling at him through the car window for helping them escape.  Eight months ago, he was here, still playing Last Tag, in all its glory.  And now, he’s gone.

So, as my cousin wrote to my sister, I will now write it to my uncle.

Last Tag, Uncle.

I’ll miss you.