I’ve been weighing lately the merits to glossing over my life with Tim and creating out of the ashes a new version of the truth.
There is no easy way to remember my time with him. I remember distinctly the day I decided I was coming along for this crazy ride. I know, and as strange as it may sound, I am not misremembering that moment. I was standing in the lobby of the building I was working at, and I’d just came in from having a smoke, and Tim called. I remember looking out those big windows, standing in that marble hall. I remember him asking me “if I was coming along with him”. I don’t recall exactly where he was going, but this was him asking me if I was serious about him, if I felt like he did. I said yes.
I said yes and I knew right then and there that nothing was going to be the same. That this was not just about us dating, going out for dinner, seeing a movie. No. Tim was taking me away to his life. His music industry life. His cottage in paradise, his way of living, his fast pace, late-night existence. All of it. This is after a whirlwind of a weekend. Then and there he moved into my place; that was a Tuesday night. I can’t tell you why I said yes. But I KNEW, in my soul, that when I came out the other side of this everything would be different. It would be ok too.
And man oh man, was I ready for some different. My life had become a sad, desperate groping at intangible objects. A search for something that didn’t exist. A phantom idea of success, of companionship, of love even. Lost out in the big city, a dying cat and lonely after the disastrous BoHo Boy experience (a story for another day), and so I slid down right inside my grief … and I became lost.
And so I wallowed. Wallowed so well that my kitchen was disgusting, so I rarely went in it. My cat every other day peed on some item of furniture so the whole place reeked of cat pee, and I was not ready for that shite. So instead I decided I’d rather sit in a bar and drink Guinness and ignore it all. The mouldy kitchen, the dead cat, the job, the man – all disappeared. This life I owned had taken a detour somehow, and not that I was not doing well, I had been doing really well. I was unhappy though, I was sad. Disappointed perhaps. So I did gain some friends, good friends even, and some of those stories I wrote about in “The Baffin Island Yacht Club”.
Underlying all that though was this feeling of This is it? Am I merely a well-dressed, somewhat successful Account Executive? Or did I want something more? I wanted something more. By this time I had been ignoring my photography and gardening for close to a decade.
I had no idea what these last four years were going to bring about. I did not at all foresee ANY of it. Yet, right from the start, I knew that I was in for a passionate ride. There are points along the way I gave caution to the wind and made some more choices, but I own every single one. I MADE those choices and I stand by each and every one of them. Where they the right thing to do? I guess so, cause I’m still alive, I’m ok, I’ll be ok. Oh, sure, maybe I felt a little trapped last couple years. Trapped not with Tim’s cancer, and that whole episode, but rather just location wise and friend wise, and really as well to some degree trapped by some decisions TIM had made. Yet I was consciously aware of other avenues, I was not trapped, but it felt sometimes like I was.
I guess I just stand by ME. Plus I’m fairly easy-going. I am not going to say I would have done anything differently since if I had I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t be doing this, I wouldn’t have a blog at all, I wouldn’t have had this time with my sister’s family, I wouldn’t have reconnected with all the people I have here at home. I may not be where I thought I would be, yet, I’ve always wanted to just write, and I’ve wanted to display my photographs, but I was scared. Of failure? Success? Who knows.
Mind you, I am not doing it HOW I thought I imagined. I was thinking more along the lines of a rustic little cottage on the cliffs on the edge of some quaint village, spinning yarns or something. But that said, I wouldn’t trade these new experiences, these new memories and all the things I have accomplished, for any other life. I have needed to get out of my comfort zone and live a little, for a long time. I have been an observer of my life, rarely a participant. But that has changed. These last four years have been my re-education within the boundaries of a wild and spectacular space of higher learning, this non-institutionalized knowledge I’ve gained is invaluable. To have the time to, as Artists of the Romantic Era did, to take time to craft your Art. To study, and experiment and find your voice, your eye, your style. Your Vision.
Although my story with Tim is a far different one then the sweet ones I see around me. My lost love was no saint, there is no way I can honestly look back and pine and mourn his tainted soul. There are still times if he was standing before me today I swear to god I would strangle him. Seriously. Then again, I miss him so much I cry about how much I miss him almost once a day. Little bits and pieces. Some days a lot more than others. I wish I could just gloss over all the other stuff, but I can’t. I won’t. It wouldn’t be fair to me, and it wouldn’t be fair to him either. If anything, sometimes, it really is EVERYTHING about a person you really miss. It’s them, whoever that was. All their Persian flaws, and even their dirty rotten scoundrel fabrications. I don’t miss the bad stuff, I just don’t choose to forget it existed.
In truth, it wasn’t Tim’s flaws that will haunt me, it is the dishonesty about those flaws. The half-truths and all-out complete lies. To me, of all people? Probably one of the most accepting individuals he would ever meet. But even to the bitter end that beloved of mine kept his truths. I asked him, I begged him to, and then I accepted that he never would and I was just going to have to live with that.
So I guess that really is what I’m doing now. Mourning him, flaws and all, and struggling with all that I didn’t know about him, that he wouldn’t let me see. I understand that he was ashamed. I get that. Now, maybe more than ever. He just didn’t want to see the look in my eyes when I found out some of the shitty things he had done. I mourn all that he wasn’t able to share, as much as what we did share. I know these things will surface, as some of them already have. I wanted to know for my sake, after all, I would be the one left to pick up the mess; if there were still messes.
For every death I’ve experienced so far, each has had a completely different period of mourning. Of different lengths, and intensities. Each was a time of change, depression and grand memories I will cherish till the day I die. Filled with their own truths and lies, fears. With each, I learned a bit more about myself. About my strengths and weakness’. I know it sounds sentimental, but who cares, if it’s the truth.
With each, there may have been regrets, and unsaid words, though none of them are important now. I miss the relationship I had with each of them, and I am sad they are not here to experience this life. To see what I can see, whether they be bright shiny days or funny things the dog did. They are not there to tickle my back, just so. Not there to lie beside. Not there to say just the right thing or just the wrong thing. As often happens. You know, all the little stupid things that constituted the life you shared. Whether it be Grandparent, Sibling, Lover, Husband, Friend. Each carries with it its own unique loss. Each is a time of change, as you struggle to adjust.
I remember once reading that there are two types of grief. First, there is the grief you feel by the graveside, a somewhat personal grief, a selfish grief. Then after time goes by, there is another sort of grief and it is more to do with the person who is gone. I guess as we move forward out of grief, and we are enough along the way, we often stand back and see how far we’ve come and realized the distance, and that they really are gone. You are moving on and you’ve moved forward and you mourn they are not there. That they can’t see the sky you can see, or whatever myriad of things there is to witness and experience.
4 thoughts on “How Do You Mourn The Dead?”
Yes I understand this perfectly. It took me a while to remember the bad things too. The bad things were born from what made us alike, our abuse. It was our commonality that first connected us. It brought with it consequences. The times with him were some of the best and worst of my life, at first I could only think of the best. We broke up, that was because we had bad times too. He committed suicide because of it. He left me with a cross to bear that was so heavy that to this day, almost 15 years later I cry when I think of the call and the horror. Grief is a long process, and when we get to the point that we remember and forgive the bad we can truly celebrate the true person that we lost. I lost someone who truly loved and understood me, warts and all. I felt the same about him. That is pretty special. I am glad I had it. Sounds like you are coming to the same place of truth in your mourning process. Sorry to ramble on about me, your post was deeply thought provoking. Great post!
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Thank YOU for rambling. My problem sometimes is that I think TOO much. So glad to have somewhere to put some of that stuff now.
And it is complicated. Just as much as the bad, I recognize that he was also someone who really knew me. I identify with your experience. Tim and I were like two sides of the same soul. Opposites in some respects, yet inside we understood each other, and loved each others flawed self. He saw right thru me. Would drive me nuts by bugging me everytime I started to fidget. Knew right away what I was doing, that I was upset about something. Do you have any idea how annoying that is? Maybe you do :) I see now that perhaps sometimes, the point of finding your soul mate isn’t so as to live happily ever after, but maybe instead learn how to live. Maybe to remind us of something we forgot. I’ve been wondering about that lately. Maybe what I need instead is not the mate to my soul, but its complement.
Great post. I fully get what you are mean about the complexities of remembering and mourning. For a while I checked in on widows website, and everyone wrote of how wonderful their husbands were, how perfect their marriages, how their relationships were the idealized perfection of the world. Real life is not like that. Real people are a combination of good and bad. Real relationships have ebbs and flows and areas that work great and those that are terrible.
Thank you so much for sharing this very honest glimpse of your life.
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:) Actually, that was why I was finally ready to sit down and write it. My sister and I rented Safe Harbour (I think it was called) about a woman who escapes to a seaside village in NC. She of course meets the gorgeous widow with 2 kids, who’s wife died of cancer a few years before. I liked the movie, yet I felt so out of touch with that man’s grief. Here’s this sainted woman, of course, beautiful person, and all I can think “wouldn’t that be fricken wonderful”. None of all this complicated shite. Movieland though, of course, only in movieland.