Two Years

I made it.

I survived.

Two years without her and I’ve made it.

Not only that but I’ve thrived and done well, and I’m amazed at how far I’ve come.  Yesterday I sat at the skating rink, beside someone who spent time telling me how amazing it was that I had sat with my emotions and grief and worked through them.  And here I am spending time in PHP and kicking myself because I haven’t done enough.

A year ago I listed off this huge, way too long list of things I had done in the year before that since she died.  This year I’ve done far less, and I’m sitting in a hospital for most of each day learning how to be a functioning adult again.

But, I got myself this far.

Not alone though.  I’ve had a huge huge support network since day one.  Ever changing and rotating with people coming in and out of the picture as their own lives rotated around with different stuff.

And I also got myself this far because I reached out when I needed it and I kicked myself into gear when I needed it and I rested when I needed it.

And I survived for another year without her.

One of my songs at the beginning was “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten, and there’s a line in it.  “It’s been two years, I miss my home,”  and I remember at some point in the first year I heard that line and wondered how I would ever make it to two years and if I would ever make it that far.

I made it.  So did Kidlet.

But Damn it, Parker . . . you were supposed to make it, too.

I miss you my firefly.

Just a date on the calendar

Yesterday was June 1st. While everyone was posting happy pride messages, and I was being all excited about this trip north and seeing Jess and her son (pictures later I’m sure) . . .

I was also constantly realizing it’s now June. It’s now “that month.”

Yesterday Parker mom changed her profile picture to the Parker ribbon, which I’ve been thinking about doing myself and I was torn between changing mine and staying positive and in the moment because I’m on a vacation and damn it aren’t I supposed to be happy.

But I am happy. I did a lot of great things yesterday. Nothing on the way up here really went as planned which is typically a huge trigger for me, but I made it anyway and I honestly was okay. Right now my grief is there but it’s manageable.

Jess pointed out that last time I was here I couldn’t have been on the floor with the baby crawling around but now I absolutely can, and that’s a big deal to me.

And it’s also June 2nd, and it is crawling ever closer to 2 years since Parker died. And it’s horrible, but it’s also amazing that I’ve made it, and that I’m doing all of the things. And that I’m riding the waves of emotions that come with living life. And that I’m doing it in a way that is so uniquely me.

I don’t dream of Parker often, and the last time I saw her in a dream it was shortly after she died and I was angry because she kept running from me and leaving me. And this last time I was yelling at her but couldn’t see her.

I dreamt of her last night and it wasn’t angry, it was loving, I could see her and touch her and hear her, she actually said she was just hiding and wasn’t actually dead, and when I woke up I knew it was a dream and I expected a wave of dread and sadness, but instead I was at peace.

I’m sad, I’m so sad that she’s gone, but I really do love where I am in my life. I want her back in this world. I wish I could have parts of who we were back, but I don’t want to go back to who I was.

It’s the month of June which means we’re creeping ever closer to the date that changed my life, but that day was 2 years ago and who I am now won’t change just because the day passes on the calendar again. That’s getting easier for me to say and I’m hoping that eventually my anxiety catches up.

One Year Ago Today. . . A Firefly Was Born

Losing Parker was such an inconceivable idea that in all of my over thinking, over planning ways, it was ONE thing I had never considered. Parker and I were so strong as an us, that I had never considered a tomorrow without her in it.

I had thought about what would happen if I lost a parent, and how I would react to that. It’s one of those things we expect to happen unfortunately..

For a few years, Draven spent 3 months at a time living in Maryland at his dad’s, and due to him one day turning 18, I’d considered a time when he would not be in my house every day.

But, for the larger part of 8 years, I had never once considered waking up and rolling over without Parker beside me.

We were not perfect. From the outside, we often got comments that we looked like a fairy tale, and parts of our relationship absolutely were. We fit, and we were meant. When you put two people with similar diagnoses that close together, it is either going to be great, or it’s going to be horrible. We were pretty great. We understood it, and all of the parts of it. When things got rough we rode it out together. We took care of each other in ways that not many others would. We saw our weaknesses as also being our strengths. It took a shit ton of work and the people we were when we met, were not the people we were at the end. Some of it good, and some of it bad.

Those who are closest to me right now have heard about aspects of our relationship that I’m viewing through the lens of grief and I’m thankful that I get moments of clarity that I can see that the lens is putting a difficult view on it. I _loved_ her. Every single solitary, pain in the ass piece of her. Every bit of her dual sided self. And you know what, she adored me with every bit of her being.

This amazing woman who is no longer with us made the decision to sell almost everything she owned. She even gave up her BOOK collection . . and not just any books either. In order to get on a bus with 2 duffel bags and come to Maryland, to marry my crazy ass and move into a homeless shelter.

She had a place to go in Florida. But we couldn’t go together. I said I’d come up here and get established and she could follow. But she wanted to come together.

I miss her. I miss who she was, I miss who we were together.

We used to say, “Where have you been my whole life” “Becoming the person you fell in love with”

And the thing was, we fell in love with each other over and over and over again because we kept growing and kept becoming new people together. And sometimes we’d get stuck and we’d hang on for dear life to each other when that happened. And unfortunately, I didn’t realize her grip slipped.

I miss her.

I said early on . . .that her death could never be in vain. I thought I meant that her suicide had to prevent other suicides. That it had to be some grand cause to change the world. I thought I was going to go on a crusade to fix everyone.

I didn’t realize that her death did prevent at least one other suicide. Her death did change the world. And I didn’t fix everyone. But her death has made a huge start in fixing me.

The day Parker passed, I wrote in a message “Now I know how important my degree is. Now I know how important the crisis text line is. She lost her battle, mental illness took my Love, it doesn’t get my life, it doesn’t get another fucking life.”

That day I realized that survival was no longer an option. I either had to stand up, or I might as well lay down beside her, because that’s where the path was leading. I have grown more in this past year than I had in the previous 20. I have achieved more than I have ever in my life.

I finally feel like I’m going to make it, but at the same time, even typing that line brings me to tears because it took her dying to make me realize I don’t have to.

I cannot help but mourn her being gone this past year. As much as I started building myself up to celebrate my achievements weeks ahead of time, I’ve been crying for those same weeks. But I don’t have to focus on that side of grief.

The other side of grief is the growth. The choosing to live bigger and bolder and brighter. It’s the pink hair don’t care, self saving warrior princess.

Thinking back to May of last year. I had home health coming 10 hours a week. I had a hard time standing long enough to cook, couldn’t cook then clean up the kitchen, could barely sweep a room, let alone the house. I had to stop and take a break when walking up the 2 flights of stairs to my apartment. Grocery shopping required a day of rest before and after. I was diabetic, had severe swelling in my legs. I was incredibly sick, and miserable, and barely living. I couldn’t be alone for any length of time..

In the first days and months after she passed every single thing from getting out of bed to showering to cooking dinner was celebrated with a shout of “gold star” from others in the house. Home health care was increased to 20 hours and honestly I was scared, I think everyone was. There was a lot of fears of what if . . . . . . what if I was next, what if I didn’t make it out alive.

But now an entire year has passed. I fucking made it. I didn’t only survive without my wife, my soulmate, the one person I never imagined living without. I also had a open hysterectomy causing surgical menopause and started with a new diagnoses that causes headaches and vision issues.

And I did more than make it, I’m thriving.

I quit smoking, and I’m more active than I have ever been. I’ve gone from struggling to walk ½ mile, to easily walking over 5 miles. I rarely go an entire day without leaving the house and actively look for reasons to get out multiple times a day. I don’t just sit on the computer all day.

I’ve signed in 158 times at the gym since the last week of August (55% of all days since the day I joined). I’ve learned to set mini goals and attain them, 5 minutes of elliptical was a struggle in April, this week I made it to 60 minutes and now I’m looking for the next goal to push for.

I started school each semester and even though I bombed horribly I did what I had to do to control the crash and burn. Even more amazing for me is that I picked up and tried again the following semester. I’m now on my third try and I will make it through this time.

Last spring I couldn’t go to a doctor’s appointment alone. When the ovarian cyst and then surgery happened I needed people with me. Now I attend them all alone, advocating for myself, and firing doctors regularly who don’t meet my expectations. I’m advocating for myself the way I advocated for Parker, and often more. I found myself a primary care doctor who will push for me to get the care I deserve. I’m taking a step back when needed and not letting medical care become a full time job, I’m prioritizing and not letting it become my life focus.

I’m also healthier than I’ve been in quite some time. This is a mixture of so many things. Not just the activity level but also lowering stress. Having more fun, not spending so much time focusing on being sick and what I can’t do and instead focusing on what I can. I’m no longer considered diabetic, my blood pressure is normal, my cholesterol is getting better. My resting heart rate has dropped 35 bpm into the 70s.

I’m riding local busses alone, I’m traveling out of state alone. I can depend on myself to get around where I need to go. When I realize that I’m beginning to depend on someone else I take a step back and make sure I don’t forget to depend on myself.

I’m setting up trips to places alone, without thinking twice about the fact that I’m going alone. I’m going to new houses with new friends without losing my mind about it being new. I’m planning vacations to NYC during pride weekend without worrying about being in the middle of a big city during a big event. I’m not letting anxiety control my life, I’m dealing with it when it comes up instead of letting the fear stop me from trying.

I searched out and started going to meetups alone, including walking away from ones that didn’t work for me.

While I’m not sure that I’m ready to date, I’ve put myself out there and made a profile on dating sites, mainly looking for friends but being open to options. This allowed me to step back and figure out who I was separate from the “we” that I had identified myself as part of for close to a decade, but, going beyond that I’ve actually met people in person, and I’m developing new friendships.

I’m becoming more confident in who I am and letting myself be that person.

I got on the back of a mother fucking motorcycle and I went sledding.

I’m wearing what I want far more often than not. I spent a lot of years trying to blend in and hide. While I had changed my hair, I was still wearing dark colors and long loose skirts trying to avoid people noticing my body. I am me, all of me, and that’s this big, bright, bold manic pixie pastel goth kind of person. Society doesn’t tell me what I can accomplish due to my size, I leave people in the dust at the gym, so society doesn’t get to tell me what’s appropriate for me to wear.

I have been taking pictures and posting them, and it doesn’t matter how perfect they are.

I realized that I will fail and I will fuck up and I learned how to dust myself off and pick myself back up. I’m learning to forgive myself, I’m accepting that it’s okay to be a work in progress and a beautiful masterpiece at the same time.

I became a Self Saving Warrior Princess.

I miss her. I miss her with all that I am and every ounce of my soul. I miss her laugh and her smile and that little wink she’d do when I was losing my mind and she’d catch my eye when no one was looking. I miss her.

I don’t miss who I was. I didn’t have a choice but to grab this new normal and run with it. We don’t get to go back, we don’t get do overs. I don’t miss the old me, and while I absolutely want my wife back, I don’t ever want to forget what she taught me by losing her battle. I don’t ever want her death to be in vain.

Always and Forever, Forever and Always, In a different sort of way. Miss you like mad fucking crazy my dear wife, my dear Parker.

Thank you for being my firefly.