I am in Florida with my parents. It’s my first outing away from Michigan since Barry’s been gone.
Today, we went to this big cat show (the show was small but the cats were among the largest on earth). One of the tigers was even named Barry! How funny is that? Part of why I went was to enjoy cats in a way that Barry would hate. Now I have a T-shirt with this Siberian tiger’s face on it, with Barry’s name! Too funny. His mate’s name was Mia and she is a liger (lion/tiger combo).
I love/hate the world my parents live in. It is so…manufactured. They live in a world of their own making. It is very quiet and restful (in some ways exactly what I need). They do exactly what they want to do when they want to do it. They are rednecks, surrounded by other rednecks and they are enjoying every minute of it. My parents are so good to me, but part of me just wants to escape. They do not live in the real world. When you can pick and choose the people that you see and deal with, you are not living in the real world. Period. This trailer park is filled with other people exactly like them: white, Midwestern, blue collar retirees. I haven’t seen a black, Hispanic, or Asian person yet where they live. My dad calls it “God’s waiting room.” That’s about it.
It’s a little creepy living in such an artificial world. My dad even defended keeping the Confederate statues without any sort of modern real-world commentary. Basically a defense of the KKK. Wow. He said they were part of history, with zero acknowledgment of what they mean to others and how much they have always been a slap in the face of blacks and a never-ending reminder of white supremacy. He said they were part of history, with no awareness that raping, pillaging, and plundering are also part of that very same exalted history. Every fiber of my being said, “Eeeeuuuwww.”
Every conversation is simply a reminder that I cannot be myself here. At all.
I just remind myself of what I am here for: to rest and recover from Barry’s death and to just get the blankety-blank out of the snowbound state I call home, Michigan. Just about any day outside of Michigan is a good day.
The weather here in mid-Michigan has been sucking, to put it nicely. I’m sure we’ve had a foot of snow this weekend and it is snowing now. Ugh. Mateo, the Weather Channel calls it.
Friday, I stayed home. There was no way I was driving in this crap. Watching the news, there were accidents on I-94. The problem is that people here are so used to snow that they don’t take it sufficiently seriously at times.
I’m trying to relax, but not doing a great job of it. Tomorrow is the one-month anniversary of Barry’s passing. I just never knew that someone’s death involved so much paperwork. I go from being numb to being overwhelmed.. Every little thing reminds me of him. When I talk about him, I cry. It can be little things, like going to bed and him not tugging on the covers.
Barry was such a good man. I will not miss the person he became in the last couple months, but I will miss forever the man I married. His sense of humor. His work ethic. His love for me, his kids, and his grandkids. The last few years were rough on me and him. The Huntington’s made everything so much more difficult. The past few years have emotionally exhausted me. Physically, I got the creeping crud in December and had it for a month and gave it to him, but his lungs were clear by January 3rd, according to the nurse practitioner we saw. My immune system had basically collapsed. I just couldn’t take care of both of us anymore. He had gotten over the cold/flu we had, but he had started to let go after he saw his grandsons on the 2nd of January. And he passed on the 12th. Suddenly, he was gone.
I’ve been trying to meditate without much success. I want to heal. I want to feel better or sometimes just something at all. The idea is to feel whatever I feel, but so far, I am not feeling much of anything other than occasional sadness and overwhelm. When I try to meditate, I can feel things swirling around beneath my awareness, but my brain cannot process anything.
I don’t want to see people because I don’t feel like there is a point. Talking does not help. I don’t know what would. That’s annoying.
Life without Barry has been overwhelming. So many details.
I go in and out of numbness. I spent the first couple weeks continuously numb. I could walk and act like a normal human, but that’s all it was: acting. People expect me to respond as a regular person. You know, the normal stuff, like updating my resume and seeking employment.
But my old world is gone. I got married at 21 and am now 50. I have spent my entire adulthood married. And I will likely always feel married. I got married and never got divorced. But I’m single? Huh? It may always be weird going to bed and not having him tugging on the covers. It is still strange to be done with an appointment and not need to hurry home because no one is there waiting for me.
I will emerge from this cocoon of marriage and identity. I have no identity now. I have been waiting for Barry’s death for so long. His suffering is finally over. The last couple years, neither one of us had any real quality of life. I can begin again. Why do I feel abandoned?