I am no longer numb, that’s for sure.
I have been applying for so many jobs and getting nothing. The worst part is that some of the jobs are full-time even though they are listed as part-time. That means I am deceived into going to interviews for jobs I don’t even want. And then somehow feeling like a loser when I don’t get them. “What’s wrong with me?! Why doesn’t anybody want me?!” The emotional drama is exhausting. I don’t do drama well, even my own.
All I am looking for is some experience before I high-tail it out of Michigan. I would like to live here maybe one more year.
I am not sleeping well. Sometimes it feels like a weight is on my chest.
On the fifth was the memorial. It was great. There was a beautiful cake with a bulldog face and it said, “Dogs rule, cats drool.” I was out of it for the next few days. It took everything out of me. But Barry was honored and my parents thought the Toastmasters really made me a better speaker.
I miss Barry so bad. Not the guy that died, but the guy I married. I’m sure the guy that died is way more comfortable in the afterlife than he was in that hospital bed. His life at the end was miserable for both of us. But I was seriously unprepared for the loneliness. I haven’t been single since I lived with my parents before I got married. There is the one friend I want to talk to but I will not call simply because I do not want to listen to her talk about her husband and her boyfriend. I resent her putting me in this position. So, even though I am painfully lonely, I do not call her because I might go off on her. And no one needs that. Life throws so much drama at us. Why do some people insist on creating more of it?
I have decided to take it easy on myself. I am giving myself credit for putting myself out there and looking for a job. I am making the effort.
But now I see why some women run out to the bars looking for a new mate. I hate bars and drinking. But being alone just feels wrong on some level. All this freedom gives new widows opportunities to make poor choices that never had the chance to make earlier in their lives.
My challenge now is to figure out what I want to give to the world. I feel like I have a lot to offer, but I need something very meaningful. There is almost nothing I couldn’t do, if I just knew what it was.
I feel like my life is moving and shifting right now. It is an odd feeling, but also right.
Saturday, I had Barry’s memorial service. It was very nice. I got through it, with a lot of crying. One of his sponsors spoke. Some other AA people spoke. It was very beautiful and inspirational. The cake, which my cat pal bought and brought, was beautiful. It said, “Dogs Rule, Cats Drool.” The bulldog face, made of frosting, was wonderful. It even had that canine under-bite. It was so cool. We had DeLuca’s pizza. It doesn’t get any better than that.
I am having interviews all over the place. I knew that once people figured out the skills I have, and the currently unlimited availability, someone would want me. I have an interview on Friday and then another one next Monday. And that doesn’t even count the house-flipping guy I might help out on the side.
What has been odd has been how people seem to want my absolution, like I am a priest or something. For example, the people on Barry’s grandsons’s side of the family did not show up. The grandma clearly wanted me to say, “It’s okay that you went to someone else’s funeral. I understand why absolutely nobody from that side came.” I did not comply. I reminded her that this was the only memorial service for Barry I would ever put on and that having nobody from that side show up added an element of tragedy to the service. I never expected everyone from that side to show up. Her agenda was for me to make her feel better and I very tactfully, yet clearly and undeniably, stated my opinion. I was like, “Uh…No. Having nobody from that side show up was sad. And, by the way, someday, the boys will realize that nobody from that side bothered to take them to their grandpa Barry’s funeral. Now you get to take that to your grave.” She was looking for absolution and I reminded her of karma, basically. I got over the anger, but I am still a little taken aback by the expectation that people should be able to disregard my or Barry’s needs and I should be A-okay with it. Barry got crapped on his whole life and I was his only advocate. And that tradition continued even after his death. That’s the reality.
I have also had other people want me to reassure them lately that their behavior is okay with me. And I often do not comply. Is it my age? Nobody gave a rat’s ass what I thought twenty years ago. I don’t get it. People behave in completely self-destructive ways and expect my blessing. What are they thinking? Where is this expectation coming from?
Today, my mom and I put together my bed. I wanted her help so I would be able to know how to do it myself when I move someday. I feel like I am preparing to move, but I have no idea when that will be. But the interview on Monday is for the company that asked online my willingness to travel or even move and I clicked on 100% on both.
Things are changing and I truly feel like I have begun the next phase of my life. Woo-hoo!
I have a friend whose behavior is driving me nuts and, frankly, scaring me. My basic issue with her is that she does not seem to be learning. I have tried to warn her about consequences of her actions for years in person, on the phone, and even through email. She is not learning. She possesses no insight. Now she is not sleeping due to, in my opinion, a guilty conscience. I cannot help her.
The issue of not learning is extraordinarily complicated. The brain’s health is related to diet and sleep, in addition to a gazillion other possibilities. Learning is related to consciousness. There are different, including altered, states of consciousness. There is the whole “what gets rewarded, gets repeated” aspect. There is also the concept of addiction, which puts a grinding halt to learning and maturing as a whole. One definition of addiction that I like is that of creating a fantasy world and then trying to live there. That about sums it up.
I spent thirty years helping Barry to be straight and sober. No alcohol on the premises. Taking him to meeting when he stopped being able to drive. Celebrating sobriety anniversaries. That kind of thing.
I have spent most of my life wrapped around these issues in one form or another. It started out with reading about addiction and codependence in the late 80s and early 90s. That got me into the concept of “automatic pilot” and how similar it is to altered states of consciousness. I also got into brain wave frequencies (gamma, beta, alpha, theta, and delta). All of this, to some degree, is nutrition-dependent. Then there is the whole social aspect. Here is all the systems theory anyone ever needs to know: what gets rewarded, gets repeated. People do what has worked for them in the past on some level. If they are no longer getting the reward (prestige, money, high, their way), their behavior can become extinct in moments (not days, weeks, months, or years). None of this even touches the various ways people learn or the forms of ADD, Aspergers, etc.
I have spent close to thirty years reading on subjects that are not in the same section of the bookstore. Addiction. Buddhism (meditation and mindfulness). Religion of every kind. Quantum physics. The autism spectrum. Child rearing (every human should read Alice Miller). Organizational psychology.
I am to a point where I feel I should write a book. Seriously. I have connected dots that I don’t think others have.
And then my friend makes me want to tear my hair out. She is getting older but not wiser. She is aging but not maturing. And since she is not sleeping, the downward spiral has commenced. How long will it take to hit bottom? Will she, can she, learn anything from this? This is tripping all my issues. Every time I have had someone in my life that has done one of these downward spirals, I have tried to warn them. I have been ignored. Eventually, I lose the relationship entirely because I refuse to go down the road they are on. That has included my family. Their life crumbles and I get accused of being a bad whatever. I feel that when you see a train that is going to run over a loved one, there is a certain moral obligation to give fair warning. But I cannot and will not try to convince anyone of anything anymore. I have had my lifetime fill of that. Once I warn you, you are on your own. The next step is for me to get my ass off the tracks.
I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I am sure that it won’t be pretty.
So much has been happening lately.
I was drinking my coffee the morning of the fifth. I get a call from the career services lady of my alma mater, DU. She says there is a woman who has data entry to do through the end of April. Would I be interested? I call the woman instantly. Suddenly, I have a job through the end of the month, or at least the end of this week. I have gotten more done than she imagined I could in a short time.
This is the deal with her. She is of Chinese descent, but her citizenship is Swiss and she grew up in mid-Michigan. She resigned from a company that has something to do with crypto-currencies. She has been traveling and lecturing years all over the world and needs someone to sort receipts and enter them into spreadsheets. That would be me. Anything she cannot document with receipts, she cannot be reimbursed for by the Swiss company she resigned from. She does not get paid for anything that cannot be documented. We are talking January 2017 through March 2018. One the one hand, she is really picky and there is no way to make her happy. On the other hand, I am saving her butt. There is an old saying that applies: a lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine. I do the very best I can. I am in this for the good reference. But her stress level is purely self-induced. She did this to herself. Period. I have been the reliable worker from the beginning. Others help when they can, but I have done the bulk of the work myself.
I feel like I am being pulled from the future.
And I am trying to honor Barry. The memorial at the AA club is in a few weeks. I have very few pictures of him. My entire life, I have struggled with depression and not particularly wanting to live. I have been very thorough at making sure that there are almost no visual reminders of my existence. Whenever I have seen a camera, I have made every effort to get behind it, not in front of it. It worked. Almost no one has pictures of me from the past few decades of my life. So now, after years of refusing to take pictures of anything, I have few pictures of Barry to put on poster board for his memorial.
I feel like the next phase of my life is starting. I would be fine free-lancing in the occupational world. I have health insurance and a pension, thanks to Barry. Working is not urgent. But I love being useful and there will always be work out there I can do that needs to be done. But I need to honor my past with Barry, all thirty years of it. We were married for 29. I married at 21 and am now 50 and single.
It is hard letting go of the past, but the future is so much brighter than the past ever was. I miss Barry, a lot sometimes. But there are so many parts of our past I cannot imagine missing. I am slowly recovering.
Who the hell am I?
I have never been this lost.
I have been trying to get a part-time job, without much luck so far. It would be the first post-Barry employment.
But I ache for Barry. I took a nap today, which I seldom do. I had a dream with Barry. He was driving the car and I had my head on his shoulder. It felt so good. I’ve been having dreams with him. The numbness has worn off. I miss him. Not the Barry that died the God-awful, horrific, advertisement-for-euthanasia, death. No. The Barry that I married.
So I put my wedding band back on. And it feels right. I’m not married, but I didn’t get divorced, either.
Winter won’t end. The weather just continues to suck. Snow and rain. Upper 30s. Yuck. Technically, it is spring, but that doesn’t seem meaningful.
I am neither married nor single. I’m not working, but I did tutor a little today and I don’t need to work at the moment.
I am between identities. I do not want to hurry and take the first job offered. I want to do something meaningful. I may never tell strangers that I am technically single. I want to embrace the in-between-ness.
I so don’t know what I am doing, but I am enjoying being alone. I have such a deficit of alone time that I don’t know if one lifetime is enough to catch up.
It has occurred to me that, if I wanted to, I could pay off my lease and leave Michigan–this minute. No kidding. No forwarding address.
I am only looking for certain kinds of experience. I would prefer to get paid, but I am okay not getting paid at the moment. I don’t need benefits because I have insurance from the UAW/GM retirees trust. I have a pension–for the rest of my life. That means I can work part-time and be fine with a job that does not provide benefits.
I have been getting some experience with the American Cancer Society. I love volunteering there. The people are really nice. But I can tell they have issues. People are quitting right and left, and I’m not talking peons. Big wigs. Someone there is not happy. But that has created opportunities that no volunteer should probably have. I have been handling checks and inputting data into their system, for example. They have no idea how lucky they are to have me as a volunteer. I am ridiculously over-educated, require no accommodations, and am extremely honest. Not many volunteers have already run a church bookstore, I’m sure. I can help them while preparing to move to another state.
Most people would probably think I am lonely. Not yet. Small things make me cry. I will miss Barry forever. But being man-free suits me just fine.
I’ve been attracting really good things. Mostly money so far.
I got a notice from Social Security that Barry was still owed money. To collect, all I had to do was bring a certified copy of our wedding certificate. So I went to Charlotte (pronounced shar-LOT, not SHAR-lit, because I live in Michigan, not North Carolina) and got three copies for about $30. For a couple bucks in gas and the $30, I will get about $2000. Wow.
Then I got a phone call from the mortgage company. Keep in mind that we haven’t owned a house in a year-and-a-half. The call was because they tried to send us a check for overpaid taxes to the old address. All I had to do was to email them with my new address. I just got a check for over $600.
And I even got a check for over $400 from the long-term care insurance people for over $400. These are the people I had to pretty much threaten them with legal action to do any part of their job whatsoever.
All totaled, this is almost a half year of rent.
So now I am working on having a clue and getting a part-time job. I know the economy is doing well (thank you Barack Obama; Trump gets zero credit for Obama’s economic recovery) because the reason I am struggling to get a part-time job is because everyone wants full-time employees. That is one high-class problem in my book. I don’t have to work and can be picky.
Something I am doing is working.