Wednesday, August 23, 2017

One Year in the Rear View

This. So much this.

This. So much this.

It has been surprising how many people needed to get close to me after the Boyfriend's death, only to watch my pain.

Schadenfreude is real.

Not everyone wants to watch me suffer out of cruelty, a lot of people need me to be inconsolable. They need me to be heartbroken.

Because, let's face it, that's the romantic thing to do, right? Anything less than absolutely bereft means I didn't love the BF.

I know what you just said. Every time I voice this aloud, I get the same reaction, "That's not true." "No one can tell you how to grieve." "Fuck them, they don't know what's in your heart."

I know.

It doesn't change the fact that this is how people feel and think when it comes to love stories.

People need a happy ending. They crave it. Our culture is desperate for it. When a love story ends tragically like ours did, the only appropriate thing to do is to hide under the covers and wait to die. time...I'm allowed to pull it together and go on. But not too soon.

When is too soon?

I don't know. It depends on who you ask.

It's been over a year now since the BF died and 4 months since I packed it all in and moved to South Lake Tahoe.

That's also given me a lot of time to adjust to my new normal, to consider my feelings and reactions from multiple angles and, most importantly, to get on with it already.

It was April when I really began seeing the way people in my world fell into different groups.

The friends who knew me from long before I was half of Matt & Maggie were the quickest to accept the fact that I wasn't inclined to waste away from a broken heart. Those were the people who didn't ask "how are you doing" every single time they talked to me with that underlying edge of hope that the answer would be "I don't know how I'm going to live without him."

My pre-BF peeps were the ones who knew what foundation our relationship was built on-- on 35 years of Maggie. 35 years of my own life experience, previous relationships, loves, losses, heartaches, and joy. 35 years of becoming a woman I was quite proud to be. 35 years of not needing to be half of anything or anyone.

Those were the people who knew I'd be OK. Those were the people who were OK with me being OK.

The next best support came from the people I worked with, near, and for. The people who knew me as an individual entity. People who knew Maggie. People who experienced Matt as an accessory to me, as part of my life, not part of my identity.

That small group of people was the best support group in the long run. They understood that I was going through hard times and they expected it. They weren't surprised when I had bad days, but they also weren't surprised when I had good ones.

They didn't hold me to an arbitrary standard of what my experience was "supposed" to be, they simply took me on a day by day basis.

That small band of unlikely heroes won a permanent place in my soul and they will most likely never really understand just how valuable that real estate is.

The hardest part has to be the number of people who were part of the BF's life. For whom I was the accessory to him. People who knew him before they knew me, knew him more than they knew me, knew him without knowing me.

To them I am part of what he left behind. I'm a broken piece that chipped off and doesn't fit anything anymore.

They don't know what to do with me, but it's been obvious that laughing isn't one of the options they'd considered. Looking forward, being excited, celebrating... this is not how I am supposed to feel at any given moment.

I am supposed to be consumed by my loss. I am supposed to be lost and afraid and alone and broken.

For some of those people, that's because they're seeking the commiseration. This is what they are going through, and they need to cling to someone who is sharing their experience.

For some of those people, it's simply their perception of how I am supposed to feel.

But it's not.

It wasn't from the beginning.

It has taken a long time to say that publicly. Because I don't want to be misinterpreted.  I don't want to hurt feelings. I don't want to add insult to injury. I don't want anyone to think that I didn't love the BF or that this hasn't been a hell of a tragedy.

I just don't do death the same way most other people do.

None of us are getting out of here alive, folks, best get used to that notion.

It's easy to look at the tragedy. He was too young (40,) he was so healthy, he was so... it doesn't matter what excuses you make for why he shouldn't have died when he did, the way he did.

None of us were in charge of that.

As lives go-- Matt was doing his well. He loved who he was (sometimes a bit too much,) he loved his life, he was at peace with the way things had gone for him. He didn't spend all his time wondering how things would have been different if he had made different choices. He didn't have enough regrets to bother dwelling on. He lived well.

I'm sure he'd have preferred to wake up the next morning and go back to work and go on that motorcycle ride we had planned for Saturday and float the river with his sister and brother in law like we had planned for Sunday.

I'm also sure that he's fine with the way it went. That from where ever he gets to view the big picture, he shrugged and said, "Yeah, that's cool too."

Matt and I used to have frustrating discussions because he was so literal and I am so philosophical: I absolutely believe that Life is fair and he just couldn't wrap his head around that notion.

I suspect he sees what I was getting out now.

I don't suspect a lot of other people left behind in the here and now will see it.

You'll just have to trust me.

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