The other day at work I signed a check payable to Vag Transportation. This made me smile.
It’s time for another thoughts and happenings post… Because these are easier. And because I’m buried in some mind-numbing accounting spreadsheets, often working into the evening, in preparation for some of these People Who Suck to come evaluate my work. (I can’t wait.)
And while I can avoid lunch with said People Who Suck, I can’t avoid these upcoming interactions, because they’re part of my job. Wommmmmp. Wommmmmp. Also, work will continue to be crazy for the next month or so… So while I’ll strive to post twice per week, I may only, realistically, be able to post once per week. We’ll see…
Last week birth announcement friend sent me a nice card and a baby blanket in remembrance of Matthew. Does this mean I have to like her now? She just complicated things.
Last Friday I turned 31. I wasn’t too happy about it. I mean, why do I get a birthday when Matthew doesn’t? Though I thought it was nice that family and some friends and more co-workers than I expected remembered my birthday. And it brightened my day when AB and JVB sent me an email asking, “Would you like to go to the men’s club for lunch?” which seems like they were inviting me to an afternoon at the strip club, but they weren’t.
It’s just what they call the downtown athletic club to which Mark and I belong, because many years ago, the club didn’t allow women, so old men swam laps in the pool naked. But the buffet is awesome. And it was funny when JVB fantasized about running into rich guys over lunch, and AB asked, “What makes you think they’ll be rich? After all, we’re going to be there.” Touché, AB. Touché.
Saturday night we took an hour long train ride out of town to a winery to meet my parents for dinner and celebrate my birthday. The ride was beautiful – for most of it, I watched the sun as it set over the river. My parents brought their three dogs and left them in the car by the winery, and some nice dinner conversation about this ensued.
Like on the way, I guess the puppy puked, ate her puke, and puked again. But apparently this wasn’t as bad as when the oldest dog puked in the space between the console and the front seat (difficult to clean). You WANT to ride in my parents’ car, amiright? And then we reminisced about how one of my dad’s bat-shit-crazy co-workers from long ago once burned down her own house, which apparently everyone knew except the insurance company, who gave her a huge settlement. Oh, and my mom gifted me a new sweater (with a matching hat?), which was good, because it was cold, and I was underdressed for the weather.
Saturday morning I met with a loss mom friend, and she gave me this Matthew bracelet. Matthew was the name of her ex-boyfriend from many years ago, and she recently, after some cleaning, found this bracelet and thought of me. Apparently Matthew was a nice guy, a free spirit, and is possibly working at a bike shop somewhere in New Mexico. I found this oddly comforting, and I love the bracelet.
Last week I did lunch with a co-worker other than AB and JVB. Shocker, right? Said co-worker invited me after we were the only two in the office working on MLK Day, and, when she asked how I was doing, I basically collapsed into her arms sobbing. (It was a bad day, and on top of that, I was struggling with a spreadsheet.)
Unbeknownst to me, this co-worker’s experienced plenty of tragedy, which we bonded over. And at lunch she explained that after Matthew died she asked my boss if it might be a good idea to bring in a professional to coach everyone on how to best deal with me. And my boss said no. But, nonetheless, I think this was sweet of my co-worker. And I really wish my boss would’ve done this – based on how work’s been for me, it might’ve been helpful!
So I guess Making a Murderer is all the rage, right? I’ve been wanting to watch it, because EVERYONE is talking about it. But we don’t have Netflix… Though, apparently, you can watch the first episode online. So late Saturday night, Mark and I tried watching this first episode, fully expecting we’d be hooked. But, instead, we fell asleep. So what are we missing? Should we give it another chance? I just feel like there are more interesting 48 Hours Mystery episodes out there…
I don’t do house projects, which means that when my mom buys us beautiful wall hangings to remember Matthew, Mark hangs them. One day, he hung one without my input. In the master bathroom. Across from the shitter. When I questioned him about this, he pointed out, “At least it’s in a place where we’ll see it a lot.” Ummmmm, true. But I envisioned it hanging somewhere more… Special? We still haven’t moved it. But it’s on our to-do list. At least he hung it at the right height though. (I’ve trained him well.)
Speaking of wall hangings, I recently posted the below picture to Instagram but figured I’d post here as well, as I’m not sure everyone sees my Instagram, and this is worthy of some attention, damn it. It’s also from my mom, a photograph called “Angel Cloud.” (It isn’t hanging in the bathroom.) And it was taken in Iowa on July 8, 1995 (before the days of Photoshop, right?) by a friend of a distant relative who lost her full-term baby.
Apparently this cloud formed above said relative’s property, and said friend captured it with her camera seconds before the formation dissipated. A copy of this photograph was eventually gifted to my late grandmother. And now it, of course, reminds us of Matthew and all of the other sweet babies gone too soon. And it has to be a sign they’re out there watching us. Because the representation is just too uncanny. Eventually, I want to make a few copies for my loss mom friends too… When I find the energy.
Since Matthew died, not one relationship in my life remains unchanged. Some relationships have disappeared. Some have weakened. Some treasured new ones have formed. And some have strengthened – once friends have become best friends, etc., etc. One of said best friends sent me this video explaining the differences between empathy and sympathy. I’m thankful she’s such an empathetic one. And this video’s definitely worth a watch for anyone grieving a loss – I chuckled a few times.
Work remains… Well? Interesting. The positive – I recently completed some difficult projects I never thought my grief-stricken self would have the mental capacity to complete. The negative – well… But some things never change – like AB and JVB, who are up to their usual antics. Like the other day they put a chocolate chip cookie in restroom stall one (#stallone) to see if anyone would take it. No one has yet. I wonder why? Could it be because this is gross? Because when a toilet is flushed, millions of particles of bacteria fly into the air? No – the cookie was wrapped in Saran.
I swear some people at work are taking me on as a “happiness project” of sorts. First, last week, someone other than the person who complained about my dead flowers gave me a bouquet of fake flowers. Next, I received a few more anonymous quotes. (Don’t worry, none were as bad as the one I posted last week.) Finally, Mark’s mom and sister each sent me new bouquets of live flowers, I think, in part, to replace the dead ones. And they’re beautiful! But, probably, after they die, I’ll leave them in my office, because the other dead ones are gone. Because one of the vacuum men offered to throw them away, and I thought it weird to tell him no.
Grief is weird. Six months in I find I’m (sometimes?) doing “okay.” Though I’ve had to redefine “okay” (a concept worthy of its own blog post). And it’s a little easier to breathe again. But, other times, I’m just tired. Like I feel beat down. Or, sometimes, as I recently confided in a loss mom friend, I feel as though I’ve been run over by a truck. (Not that I know what this feels like. But it’s a creative way to say I’m exhausted.)
I love how after I confided in said loss mom friend later that night she texted, “I hope tomorrow, only a Prius.” And Mark laughed out loud. And I replied, “Maybe someday only Smart Cars and motorcycles.” And it brought us each smiles.
This is what I hope for all of us grieving, really… Today, trucks. Tomorrow and the days to come, Priuses. Eventually, Smart Cars and motorcycles. Maybe even someday, skateboards. My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to. Or, since this dream’s dead, that whatever runs over you today is gentler compared to days past. Amen.