Monday, July 4, 2011

Living in the Moment....

Something in my house dying! Eeeeew! Will the cats never stop dragging dead things in here? Still warm, and bloody, bits of Rabbit; Voles, Rats, mice (which I like almost as much as I like bunnies... they are so cute), and birds parts (feathers, feet, beaks) are stashed in impossible to find places. Left to rot and stink....Sometimes the odd garter snake, but mercifully, Basil rarely kills them. Just bats them about and makes a fuss so I will notice what a fearless and masterful hunter he is! O.M.G! I noticed, I noticed!!! Stop already! I take the snakes, which I like very much, outside to the garden, reproaching them for being complacent in a yard with nasty cats, and reminding them to be more careful, and thanking them for catching bad bugs, like spiders that bite. I tell Baz sternly, "Dont hurt Mama's snakey snakes!!!" He looks at me briefly, with utter boredom, and demands his supper... As a result of his stashed murder-death-kills, I have flies. Big, stupid, slow-buzzing death-flies everywhere. IN MY HOUSE! Disgusting. Gods help me, my house is a morgue! Some mornings I get up and am jolted rudely awake (before coffee!!!) by a strategically placed gall bladder squishing nastily between my bare toes. Baz, the Super-hero serial varmint murderer leaving his signature calling card. I should write a comic strip about him. He is a scary uber-predator. Totally upsets my Buddhist leanings, and puts me off meditating in the morning because I am completely overcome by guilt-by-association. How can I meditate and become one with Spirit when I am harboring a murder-death-kill machine? (Seriously, tell me... comments and advice welcomed! I am trying to be heroically Zen about it... but am failing fantastically). Meanwhile, at this moment, Baz is relaxing on the railing of the back deck, catching the last rays of evening sunlight, in resplendent cat Nirvana. He is content. Smug, even. He does his job well and knows it. He is handsome and charming, and sexy, and knows that too. A tall, red-headed muscle-bound warrior. He keeps house and hearth clean of vermin, and with great magnanimity (being a generous kind of Soul, and a good family provider) offers the beloved two legged an entire, intact morsel of the day's catch... like the wee vole I found before the front door when I came home this evening. He means well....I am an artist too, but sometimes I dont get his installations, hieroglyphics, cryptic-concept-art comments right away (slow Human). He's a Cat, ergo, a genius, and in his own stratosphere of communication. I have to work to keep up with him. So it takes me a bit of time to work out his code.... Finally, with great relief, I realize now that the icky Gall bladders are clearly meant for the dogs.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Good Moment.... and a Good Thing....

Session with Shrink was very good. Suddenly, I found myself talking to a highly intelligent person. A VERY SMART PERSON. Hugely compassionate. And asking all the right questions, not all of which made me feel good. Which is ok. Uncomfortable, at times, but good, and okay. Real. It has been a long time since I had a conversation with someone who has insight and a desire to bring that awareness to light. Gently. Kindly. But with focus too. No wishy-washing.

Keenly aware; very on point. A good listener; he asked good questions about what I said, and made me THINK. I liked that. He had read my file and referred to it quite a lot which impressed me, because it was clear that he had spent time absorbing my information and he'd thought about it... and he knew his stuff! It was a very surprising thing to sit with someone and have feedback that reflected true understanding. He gets it.

It was good. Very good. Even though I cried a bit. I still have so many tears. And will have, for a long time to come. He was matter of fact about it all, while simultaneously being being genuinely empathetic. A rare combination. And I was reminded of a thing which I had forgotten: I have a brain. A good one. And I am not stupid. That was a nice thing to relearn. It was really good to be asked to THINK. And to be reminded that I am, in fact, intelligent.

Meanwhile... Puppy-lust continues. My new shrink did not make 'dont do it' noises. This surprised me.

I am not sure what to make of that...

The main thing is that I am actually feeling more stable. And that is a very good thing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Puppy Lust...

I want a puppy. Very VERY badly.

I have four old dogs. They are easy and comfortable. They are fabulous, and very well trained, and (mostly) behave beautifully. They know the routine and are perfect. And I need another one like I need a hole in the head. It is clear that life circumstances have rendered me a bit deranged. But that isnt surprising, all things considered. My judgment is a bit impaired right now. I need support. I need you all to tell me that I am nuts in the extreme and to go away - run! Run far away! from these thoughts, NOW!

Getting another dog right now would be a stupid thing to do. It would be for all the wrong reasons. And yet in my heart of hearts, I know it is the only thing, THE ONLY THING, that will make me feel better in my heart. It will be the only balm that will comfort my loss. It is the only thing that will make me love life again, the only thing that will shake me out of this despair and depression, and go away from being in the depths of unhappiness and loss. I know it is. It is what I need, but is it a proper choice? A fair choice? A practical choice? A RESPONSIBLE thing to do right now? And frankly, can I afford it? No. No and no and no.

Reason over passion.... Reason over passion. Which is entirely NOT my nature. At all. I'm trying to be steady and mature. And that, if you know me at all, is hilarious. If you know me at all you will be convulsed with gales of laughter, rolling on the floor with fits of giggles at the thought of me being mature, making practical choices, and taking measure to think things through, and to think of cause and effect. I am laughing about it even as I write this, knowing myself as I do.

B and I are working things out. Baby steps (DONT say 'baby'!) It has been tough. I'm in my own world of grieving, and he's left out in the cold, pretty much, which has been hard for him on top of his own life stresses, which are big right now. Still, I have had the strength to lay down the law and explain that the last straw has been laid on the camels back. And he knows that. This time I have really had enough, and he's towing the line .... for now.

Gods know I'm not perfect. And he does put up with me.... For now, I'm taking the position that large decisions, and major life changes are something I should avoid. So working with status quo and protecting established comfort zones is a must. I just cant handle any more upheaval... as if a puppy would NOT be an upheaval (I SAID I am deranged...)

The other day one of the owners of a store adjacent to us came in with their new puppy. They already have two dogs (crazy with pets like me). A wee scruffalump chihuahua thing. With standing-up-on-end ears . Oh. My. Gods. They called him 'Radar', most appropriately. 4 months old. I almost died. The CUTENESS of him!

Meanwhile, I remind myself that getting a puppy is a major life decision. Dont do it. And still I am yearning..... All of our Dogs are old. 10. 11,11, and 12. They are in great form and healthy, but once they start to go, it will be a domino effect, and without any buffer, in the face of grieving for my brother, and my cat Pushkin, what shall I do? (Here's the compulsion speaking loudly over rational assessment. Give me strength!) If there were a sweet little puppy-person here, could I weather the losses with a grounding and an anchor to the here and now? Might there be a small answer to loss in focusing on life and renewal? Of being busy with happiness and puppy-love? Am I thinking ahead, or just borrowing trouble and trying to justify a life choice coming out of pure emotion? Well, probably. But the other side of the coin has all kind of of enticing arguments for it.....

B's not all bad. I tell him of my feelings. He said, and I quote, "Well I wouldnt have a shit-eating grin on my face if I came home and found that you'd got us a new puppy. But I'd get over it pretty quick. And I understand where that need is coming from". As I said, he's not all bad. He's lovely, actually, when he isnt going off the deep end himself.

I am known as 'the dog lady', and every one who comes to the store who has a dog brings it to me, to get treats and to confer about training, diet and general dog stuff. I love that. I love them all. It is the highlight of my day when a customer tells me that their dog dragged them into the store and they couldnt pass by without visiting me because the dog wouldnt let them. That's so lovely! And they tell me often that a new trick I taught their dog was a surprise to them, and now the dog is doing it all the time.

I crave a puppy. PLEASE tell me how bad a choice that would be right now. I'm telling myself (and B is too) to give it a year, but I dont know if I will last that long. Imagine how I felt today when a mother and her 4 gorgeous kids came in to the store: one of the kids holding a miniature pinscher ( a breed I dont even love). Then I'm holding 'Rosa' - she's 5 months old, and she looks exactly like a cinnamon coloured doberman in tiny version - a breed I DO love - and she's nestled into my shirt, offering me puppy kisses, and shortly thereafter, nodding off to sleep on my breast.


I'm not going to last a year. I know that for sure. Just help me last a little longer. Tell me all the reasons why getting a puppy right now is a very stupid idea (I know them all. Seriously. I just need some support here). Just help me stay steady and not succumb to puppy-lust! Not yet.

I know you are all on my side. I know you are supporting me. So tell me how bad a decision to make a space for puppy-love, and heart-healing with a new dog-person would be. Tell me all of the reasons you can think of why this would be a very stupid thing to do right now. Please!

On a high note, tonight's supper was fabulous and I do say so meself. I bought a halibut fillet for B and a salmon fillet for me. Soak fillets in a bowl for a few minutes in juice of lemon and lime. Dredge with whole grain all purpose flour, coat fillets in Dijon mustard, then roll fillets in and coat with the following mixture: finely chopped basil, parsley, lemon zest, lime zest, lots of freshly ground pepper, some salt, and bread crumbs. Lay into a pan of sizzling butter and cook each side quite quickly until browned. Accompany the fish with organic brown rice, julienne carrots, steamed broccoli and peas.

SO very, very yum! Easy. Relatively quick to prepare. Easy to make. And most importantly, extremely healthy.

Whilst you are thinking of my dilemma, and how to save me from puppy lust, I encourage you to try this meal. It is really really good! And tell me how it works out for you.

(No false modesty here. I am a very good cook. I love to cook. Alex and I have a long history, in fact, of cooking together, and making meals that should go down into the history of all-star team meals! We rocked. But honesty compels me to tell you that I am a crappy, no a seriously, completely and hopelessly, very abysmally and utter failure as a baker. I suck. We cant all be perfect all of the time.....)

Meanwhile, tomorrow I have my very first ever session with a genuine card-carry psychiatrist. My father is a therapist, my mother is a therapist, and my brother was a certified life-coach, and I've been in therapy for years, so as you can imagine, I am fairly familiar with the drill. The family business, as I often call it. Processing. Yuck. But I've never been to an actual shrink. This should be interesting. I'm not nervous... yet. At worst, it will be a nut-shell sharing of the recent events which have caused me to become so emotionally unhinged. At best, there will be a forum to discuss strategy to rebuld my life, and get some meds that will help with that. Wish me luck.....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Enough... I Think this is Enough....

I dont know, am not sure entirely, but I think I'm done here.


Am at my wit's end and am tired of living in that place, of being insecure and of worrying. Of waiting, of hoping, of wanting to be held, to be met, to be listened to, to want to be heard, and to offer that in return; to be comforted, and to be supported. I am in a void of longing to be in partnership. It aint happening. And I think I've had enough.

It has been a rocky road with B, and I understand that he's been lonely, because I've been preoccupied with my family process, but I've had enough with the constant drinking, the absentness, the unconsciousness, and the general not-being there. I'm so fucking tired of it. Does anyone want a partner who is comatose most of the time? It got boring a long time ago. I've needed him, I've been needy lately and have been going through my own hell, as you know, so major life decisions should probably not be on the top of the agenda right now, were I a wise person. But I'm emotional. I'm not wise; I'm impetuous and I have a temper on me which doesnt look pretty when it lets loose. And I am bloody tired unto to death of making room for bullshit. Timing being what it is, delicacy and restraint, patience and acceptance, compassion and understanding have no place in my world right now. Either you are in my corner and are my friend, either you've got my back, 100%, or you are a drain on my energies, which I cant afford, in which case you can fuck right off.

I have nothing left. My brother was diagnosed with cancer. He died five months later. In the same week that he died, I had to put down my beloved 14 year old cat. I think I'm probably not the most loving or stable person to live with right now, but all things considered, I've been pretty good at trying to get on with things; I've been trying not to let my own process overshadow life in general. Never have I allowed my grief to manifest into unkindness toward another. I have a melt-down twice a week, generally, seems to be the pattern at the moment, but I'm not blaming anyone, I'm not angry at anyone, I dont act out in any way which might cause harm to anyone. I believe that I deserve a bit of support and some respect. Just maybe a little, for the sake of 7 years of companionship, and mutual life sharing. I dont think that is too bloody much to ask; do you!?

Brian is missing. Again. AGAIN. Goddammit. This is not a new behavior. He's very late and presumably drunk, passed out at a friend's somewhere.... It is nigh on 10pm. I'm so tired of this. Dont you think a normal person with respect for their partner would have checked in by now to give an update on the day, or night? To let one's apparent loved-one into the loop of what is going on, where one is and why!?

He cheated on me last summer. We were going through a very rough patch and I had told him then that I'd had enough. That I didnt want his crap anymore. So that gave him license, apparently, to get drunk enough not to care whom he fucked. We've (I've) tried to repair and recover from that.....

Becauee I found out my brother was dying and I wanted to preserve what was good in life, I wanted to make sure my priorities focussed on healing, on loving, on making sure that what matters in life was what I was putting my heart into.... I wanted to believe that love can heal everything and that trust can be rebuilt. Through all of that I couldnt bear to face another ending and another death. My brother. My relationship. I couldnt face the loss of both. I wanted to believe that love could heal all. Cancer, shitty relationships, past baggage... and we set a star to focus on, as a family, to believe in. But Brian never made the effort to go there....

He just got busy with his beer.

I wanted to believe that he was willing to change, because this was the biggest 'wake-up call' ever. Hello! Lets get with the program, and get with a healthy life-style, a healthy mind-set, a positive process!

And yet... nothing has changed....B is absent. Again. And as usual. How am I to know that he isnt doing it again? How am I to know he isnt cheating? This is the umpteenth time he's not checked in, he's not told me where he is, He's not called, he's not available on his new cell phone which I bought him for Christmas.....He's just NOT THERE. AS USUAL. Absent. Not available. NOT THERE.

I am tired unto the marrow of my bones with weariness with this bullshit. I dont need it at the best of times and in the worst time of my life, in the darkest hour of my worst nightmare come true, which is what I am living right now, he's just not there.

I think we are done here. Unless he's dead in a ditch ( which I am not sure I would mind terribly, right now) or has a very very good reason for not being at the end of the phone when I call, I think we are done here. This isnt good enough. I've been patient for 7 years. I have no energy left to do this.

Give me strength. Give me the strength to chuck him out. Please. Send me your support to make a break, at the most critically difficult time of my life. PLEASE! Please send me your good thoughts and support. Let me know that I will survive without him, and that I can go on alone. Alex is gone. Tashy is gone away. There is no one else to be with me. I am alone. How sad and pathetic is that? Very. I have to accept. To compromise my Self anymore will be my undoing. I shouldnt have to do that as a barter to be not alone in life, and yet fundamentally, still find myself acutely alone..... It isnt good enough.

I deserve a lot better. I know I do. I know I'm not perfect. I know I'm trouble, and I am difficult, who doesnt have baggage?! But I have never in 7 years, nor would I ever, do this to him. I have never treated him this way, been unavailable, been absent, been just gone... who knows where or with whom? He does it all the time.

This is a hard time. It seems that it is going to get even more challenging. I dont think I can do this relationship any longer..... All I want is loving kindness, to echo what I offer. All I want is an ear, to listen, to offer arms to embrace in mutual support, to be there and to have someone be there for me..... Is that too much to ask? All I want is stability, and security, which is what I offer and want to co-create. I feel like our home is a hotel which B passes in and out of at his convenience....

I dont think that is good enough. No. It isnt good enough.

Oh Gods... can it get worse?

This is just so crappy. Shitlemerde.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Breathing Through one Moment at a Time.....

Better day today. Every 'better' day is an achievement.

I went to a trade show the beginning of February. I saw a friend of mine whom I've known since fourth grade, we grew up together, and we laughed, we cried, and did all of that grieving bonding stuff with far too much red wine. It was more healing than I can even find words to tell you. It was very good!

The trade show was intense. 12 hour days, so much mental and visual stimulation I felt brain-dead at the end of every day. It was fun, but also was very much about me finding my way and trying to be steady with that, whilst navigating this new territory that is 'Life Without Alex'. That was really hard, continues to be hard. But I know Alex was (and is) very proud of me for my work, what I am doing and for finding a job that I love so much. It isn't an important job in the world, or the big picture, but I'm good at it, and it gives me pleasure. And that matters.

At the show, it was and is still now, like being on a teeter-totter, or a roller-coaster. Times it was fun, and great, and I felt confident, knew what I was doing, and felt strong. Laughed a lot. Stayed steady. Made good choices, was decisive, and knew what was needed, and met that need. I was observing myself, watching how I was moving through the experience, one month after my brother died.....As it was then, two months into it now, it is the same: Some days I am okay, some days not so much. I am great in certain moments, and a basket case in others.

I'm trying to grasp what this process is. It is so foreign, so wrong, so hard....sometimes it is like a gaping, yawning abyss opens up before me, unannounced, and very suddenly. I watch myself emotionally windmilling my arms, standing on the precipice of the deep hole of grief, trying to catch my balance and desperately striving for balance, as I teeter on that edge. It comes without warning, so the ability to steel myself, to be prepared or to find coping mechanisms is pointless. I cant.

I cant.

Better day today. It was ok. I went through the motions and got busy at work and actually enjoyed it. That is good. Mostly I can cope. But then in the afternoons, when I've put all of my energy into creating a semblance of constancy and normalcy, I get tired. All of my energy goes into maintenance. Into putting one foot in front of the other and I focus on that. It is just that when I am side-swiped by the abyss that I falter.... And in the evenings, when I come home, there is simply nothing left. The day I don't panic is a good day.

What's beautiful about this process, and also very hard, as a double edged sword, is the sadness and grief of the people in my community, and their desire to share their feelings with me. Their expression of support is a great gift. But a burden too....It happens most days. Today a former client came into the store and asked after Alex. I had to tell him what happened. He hadn't known. He was stunned. Gutted. We said the obligatory sad things, the sharing of shock, the welling of tears, and then he said, "I think I need to go away now and think about this...." And he left crying. I'm left standing there with my work to do, and my business to conduct like a 'normal' person who's life has not been freshly reminded of a missing limb. Of a heart torn right out of my being.....

And then later, shopping for supper at the grocery store, I encounter another person who hugs me, kisses me, expresses her condolences, eyes welling, and I am comforted, but likewise newly grief stricken. Like a bandage that keeps being ripped off the wound. A wound which bleeds constantly. And I find myself needing to be strong for them. Needing to Offer them support. And I'm not equipped to do so. But I pretend. I go through the motions..... I receive their kindness, their sincere offers of heart-felt sorrow at this great loss, and I go away from the encounter feeling loved, and feeling equally bereft and stripped bare.

Days off, I sleep. I curl up on the couch and watch tv. The day I did panic, and ended up in the hospital (last week - heart palpitations, dizziness, crying uncontrollably for 7 hours, I thought I was literally losing my mind, cracking up, done for.) I was told that everything I am feeling and experiencing is 'normal'. Jesus wept. They gave me a pill, were kind to me, gave be a bag to breath into when I needed it, and then let me sleep. The difference was, I felt not alone, and I felt understood and comforted. I felt absolutely heard, understood, and had permission to fall apart and not be strong for anybody. They were strong for me. Bless them. They were there for me. Which when push comes to shove, in a crisis, I do not feel, at home. B is not one for 'feelings'. I have to take care of myself. So that's what I did. That's what I do.

Today was a better day. I didn't freak out. I got through it, and did well. One step at a time. One moment at a time.

I will heal. I will move forward, and I will get strong again. It is just going to take some time.... I'm making it up as I go along, and I don't really know what to do in any given moment. I just have to breathe, breathe, breathe deep, and be grateful for days that are ok.....

For those of you who knew me in my former blog before it was stolen, as 'Chupaflor' know this: This Hummingbird will fly gain. I just need to be in my nest a while; hunker down, be very quiet and heal. Its gonna take some time.....


Friday, January 15, 2010

Melt Down....

I had to put my 14 year old cat down a few days after my brother died. Pushkin had, would you believe, colon cancer, too. My dad had a tumor removed this summer. What is it with the men in my family!?

He had major surgery in october and everything looked rosy until the lab-work came back. Very bad cancer. So we had an extra couple of months of him being back to his old self, bopping around, loving life and everyone in it the the delirious and insatiable life-hog that he was. I havent been able to sleep in my bed since. I sleep on the couch. Pushkin used to sleep on a pillow beside my head. I think this weekend I will take control of the bedroom, move some things around, clear the energy, and reclaim the space. Its time.

I am comforted to know that Alex and Pushkin are together. Alex had a way of attracting cats, strays. They would just show up. Even if they didnt live with him, neighborhood cats would hang out with him. He never fed them, but they wanted to be with him, schmooz with him. He never wanted one. Liked them well enough (loved Pushkin) but didnt want the hair, the responsibility.

It makes me laugh to know that he now has the cat he always never wanted. Because I have told them to stick together, and I know they will. And they will look out for one another.

I'm doing one day on and one day off at work. My colleagues and managers are understanding, amazingly kind and supportive. More so than I ever imagined. Mostly I am getting through my days is a daze, but the rhythm of work is seeping back into me and the distraction is a help. Most of the time. However, by mid-afternoon, I begin to feel overwhelmed and fragile. Today I told a colleague that I just needed to get some air on the deck, and WHAM! Full-blown anxiety attack, complete with feelings which convinced me, even though I know better that 'I'm dying!' Heart palpitations, sobbing, dizziness, shortness of breath, unable to speak. They got me a paper bag. After 20 minutes I could talk through my crying. Everyone was so kind. They held me, stayed with me, told me not to worry about anything, and wiped their own tears from their eyes.

I left early and came home. Feel more calm now, but am drained. I dont know how to do this......


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Life.... And Death

I havent blogged in a long time. I havent been able to. I've been busy with my life. That sounds stupid. But I really havent been able to bring myself to be here.

There has been an ending of an era, and I needed to put all of my attention there....while it was still possible. And so now that era is over, and I must begin a new one.

My brother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer August 2nd, 2009, after over a year of suffering from what he thought was irritable bowel syndrome. He died December 28th, not of cancer. Can you believe that? He had a blood clot......It isnt fair. He was getting better.

I dont know how to be an only child. I dont know how to deal with my bereavement, which I feel from of the depths of my Soul to the tiniest minutiae of the most mundane thing. I dont know how to cope with the world that doesnt have him here, in it.

It isnt fair. He and Tash had plans. They wanted to create a family. He had so many things he was brilliant at that he wanted to develop. His writing. His coaching career. Writing a column for one of the Formula One websites. He was finally living with purpose and Intention, and was savoring every moment of his life, and his dreams for the future. He was only 42 years old.

My father came from Germany with his fiancee to celebrate Christmas with us. Mum and Tashy's parents were there. We hadnt had a family Christmas like that in 14 years... Christmas eve was traditional cold fare, and Christmas day Alex helped cook, and I made a 23 lbs bird. It was amazing. Such a good time. We were all so happy and loving, and full of hope. I gave everyone a print of one of my paintings. An Angel wing....Alex died the day after dad left.

I'm ok. I am, really. Even though I dont know what ok looks like now, but I am ok. And I will be ok. Alex wouldnt want me to go into the dark places. And so I'm not going there.

I feel him near me all the time. He is here. I see his smile, hear his sardonic, "I CANT believe you said that, Christine', laughing (famous for foot-in-mouth syndrome, me.) I feel him smiling in approval. I feel him rolling his eyes sometimes, still laughing. I feel his distress at having to leave us... But mostly I feel his humour, and his astute clarity coming through. His calm, rational perspective, always gently infused with his therapist's eye for the human condition...

His partner Tash, Mum and I were with him when he went. It was fast and unexpected. He was going to live, you see. The radical therapies he was on had cleared the tumor from his liver.... He was getting stronger, and his body was healing. The one tumor was dying off, the other was shrinking.....It was the other variables that couldnt be controlled. His PH was neutral. His levels were good in everything. Organ function, everything was strong. Aside from cancer, he was vitally healthy. And then it all went bad.

I am very angry. At him, at the hospital (they are an easy target and I know they followed 'protocol' and it isnt their fault, but I am ANGRY!)I am angry at life, at our fates. I go through denial, acceptance, fear, shock, anger, rage, unspeakable grief and calm all in the space of an hour, and then all over again. And again.

It is just all wrong without him.

He died the same day that my sister died, stillborn 35 years ago. My mother .... my mother.... Oh Gods....

Some days are better than others. Today was a bad day. Today, for the first time, I feel sadness. I feel empty. Hollow. And that is more real than anything.

I dont know how to be an only child.....

I dont want to know this terrible thing.