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.
I am getting back into the swing of things, sort of. The old swing of things is gone forever, but I am developing some new habits and getting a fair bit done.
Last night, I tutored and went to a small political gathering. I helped my student with working with tables in Excel. That went fine. She even has recommended me to someone else.
Then I went to the political gathering. It was very interesting. Democrats are organizing. The meeting was filled with people of different ages, nationalities, and income levels. This is America’s future. What a striking contrast to visiting my parents’ trailer park in Florida, where everyone is white, middle-to-upper class, and 60+. I spent time talking to a district representative who was probably in his thirties.
I am making connections. I am doing things I am good at. This is what I have been waiting for.
I came back to Michigan. My apartment is fine, but there was standing water everywhere. This was created by three factors: 1) almost two feet of snow sitting on the ground when I left, 2) more than twice the normal amount of precipitation for February in the space of a week, and 3) the ground is still frozen. Numbers one and three are perfectly normal. Snow and frozen earth in Michigan in February. I shrug my shoulders at the thought. It’s the three inches of rain in February that makes me say, “WTF?!” The Grand River flooded near Potter Park Zoo, of course. And the Red Cedar flooded on MSU’s campus big time. I’ve never seen that and I am 50. The frozen ground ensured that the water had nowhere to go and so it could do is to stand around waiting for the sun and/or wind to evaporate it away.
So I arrive home and the focus is on the weather. Hard to avoid. And it was still so warm that the larger piles of snow (from plowing the two feet) were still melting, which is the equivalent of it continuing to rain.
Eventually, the wind comes along and evaporates some of the water. Now, people can think about something, anything, else. And I want to be obsessive. I don’t want silence. I don’t want to be alone and have to function. I want to watch TV or listen to radio.
I am no longer numb from Barry’s death and functioning just feels too hard at times. I don’t know what I want. How much do I want to work? What do I want to do?
It’s weird to do some things without him. I went to get our taxes done. I actually filed jointly alone. How wrong is that? After all, we had always filed jointly and we were married all of 2017. I cried at the H&R Block. Barry and I had always gone together and he was always very compliant. We would make an outing of it and go to Barnes and Noble afterwards.
Last night, I threw out some of the queen size bedding I had still been using. That was hard, even though I have stacked the twin mattresses and the bedding had become unruly. I just didn’t want to be wrapped up in our sheets while I sleep alone. I felt the awareness that all objects contain energy and that I need to be careful what I keep around me.
I don’t know what I want. The numbness is gone and now the feelings are chasing me around without clarity.
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.