My normal seems to be in constant flux. What is normal shifts for me week by week. So, four months after Jason’s death, here is what normal is.
I cry in the car. A lot, but not every day.
I mostly don’t reach for my phone to message him during the day, but I talk to him more in my head and aloud when I’m alone. It doesn’t matter if he’s listening or not, because I’m talking to myself and to the memory of him that I carry.
I can mostly take care of myself, but I have to make trade offs on a daily basis. Today may be cereal and edamame for dinner so that I can call the lawyers, tomorrow may be canning tomatoes from the garden and cooking a real meal. My energy is still limited.
I am working about 65% of what I would have been. It feels like 110%.
I feel lucky to be in a community of people who are supportive not just socially, but at work as well. I had to take time off this summer and not once did someone question that. Everyone went out of their way to make it easier for me.
I don’t want to meet new people or form new relationships. I don’t like this because I want to be welcoming to new folks in the communities I’m established in. But I can’t right now. I hope they will forgive me and that I will forgive myself.
Jason’s ashes are still in a T-Rex cookie jar on my dresser. I’m no closer to knowing what to do with them.
I’ve mailed off five of the twelve death certificates I bought. There are at least two more to go, and I’m sure there will be more I’ll find out about over the next year. Each time I do, I cry.
I’ve discovered that other people’s grief and processing comes in waves and I can’t predict what the next wave will be. I’ll go a week with nothing new from anyone, then I’ll get four messages and a phone call on the same day from people who are in wildly disparate communities. It feels overwhelming in the moment, but I understand that everyone is processing in their own way.
I have moments of laughter with friends. I can smile and be silly, even in the midst of the grief. I’ve also been hearing more stories about Jason’s antics recently, most of which make me smile.
I’m struggling with new demons. The most recent ones say people care for me because they love Jason, that I can’t maintain the community we built together and so I will disappoint people by not being Jason, and that it would have been easier if Jason had lived and I had died. The struggle with these demons is that there is truth in each one, but it isn’t the whole truth. People in my community love me and loved Jason, you all loved us both and I know this. There is a reality to saying my community will shrink. There is only one of me to maintain it, and I don’t have Jason’s amazing social energy. But it isn’t going to disappear and I’m going to continue being me, which hasn’t been a disappointment yet or you all wouldn’t still be here. And swapping one life for another doesn’t make it easier on anyone but me. My death would not have hurt my community less, would not have made less of a hole in the world, it just would have meant that I wouldn’t be in pain now. So I spend quality time every day pounding those demons flat, not walking down the path where they live, and talking back to them. And that is part of my day to day.
I miss Jason. I miss what we were building together. I miss his statements of, “That’s a terrible idea, let’s do it!” I miss his enthusiasm. I miss his touch. I miss him every fucking day and some moments I miss him so much I can’t breath through the crying.
At four months, this is what my normal looks like. It sucks, but it has moments of amazing joy.