Monday, August 22, 2016

Catharsis Revisited

Today would be Greg's 48th birthday.  It's his older daughter's 13th birthday.  It's been about ten months since he committed suicide.

I've been cognizant for over a week that today was approaching... cognizant to the point that I forgot my own wedding anniversary until the day of...

Greg and I referred to one another as heterosexual life partners.  We were closer than brothers.  I had visions of us travelling together throughout retirement, or at least meeting up for a few weeks during the year after we retired.  I've come to grips with the realization that this will never happen.

Immediately after he died, I wondered what I'd do... how I would move forward... how I would function... how I would breathe...

I went through a dichotomous thought pattern, wondering how I would replace that friendship, and knowing that I could never do so.  Eventually, I came to the understanding that I will never have another best friend like I had in Greg.  I'm not going to try to fill the hole.  I'm not going to look for another single relationship like that...

Some of my relationships have grown stronger... Bill... Twan... Darin...  I've forged some new relationships... I've spent more time alone...

I've come to appreciate the alone time... the opportunity to reflect.

My wife and kids have been rocks.  I can't express all of the emotions here... all based on the idea that I've leaned on them, when I'm used to being their rock...

Riding my motorcycle... wind therapy... the opportunity to be alone... the chance to reflect... the time to be in the moment... has grown tremendously in importance....

There are still places in town that I avoid, because I don't want the memories...  I suspect there are some places I will never go again...

I was able to prepare for this wave of... not exactly grief... not exactly sadness... not quite hollowness... just shy of emptiness... I guess wistfulness is the term.  It was a high wave.  It took some work to ride it, but I'm not as exhausted as I was during the initial storm of Greg's death.  As much as this post rambles, I will call today catharsis, revisited.  I'm releasing a little more of the sadness and moving forward with life.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

I am Blessed

By many accounts, today would have been a rough day.  But through my eyes, I am blessed.

One of my dogs peed on the carpet this morning shortly after I woke up, but I am blessed.  You see, she is sixteen years old.  I could have chosen to be angry about the accident, but I am happy that she's still around to provide companionship.

My wife then cleaned up the mess with our carpet shampooer, which broke.  I could have chosen to be upset over this misfortune, but I am satisfied that the carpet cleaner lasted fifteen years.

After church, I went to purchase a new wet vacuum.  The brakes went out in my truck.  I could have chosen to be irritated at the inconvenience, but I am gratified that nobody was injured, and that I was only a couple of blocks away from my chosen mechanic when the brakes failed.

Let me briefly discuss another couple of reasons that I feel blessed, despite the inconveniences I experienced today...

-These unexpected expenses occurred with an "extra" payday right around the corner.  Yes, I had planned to sock the money away into savings, but in the grand scheme of things, the timing of these events couldn't have been much less inconvenient.

-I am blessed to have extra vehicles available to me while repairs are being done on my truck, so I will not be more than slightly inconvenienced.

-I have a home, when there are many in our own country who live in tents, homeless shelters, or under bridges.  There is even a man in my own church who lives in his car.

Yes, I could have been thrown for a loop by these first world problems, but I have made a conscious decision to be thankful for what I have, as opposed to being angry at life's minor inconveniences.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Complete Catharsis

Yesterday I hosted a memorial ride for Greg and Ian. Despite the fact that the ride was designed to remember the passing of two people who took their own lives within the last year, it was a most excellent experience. The event itself was small and intimate... seven people on six motorcycles, and one chase car carrying three people.

It couldn't have been a better day... sunny... low 80's and no wind. The route was awesome (if I do say so myself)... a little freeway riding for the speed demons in the group... plenty of stops for those with smaller bikes (or bladders)... winding county roads... hilly countryside... a stop at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa... a wonderful meal at Flatted Fifth in Bellevue... a dive bar stop... a biker bar stop...

A couple of people rode two hours just to attend the ride. It was fun... it was cathartic... there were stories about Ian and Greg, but there were no tears.

I was asked about the prospect of hosting another ride like this, and I declined, explaining that I'm done. I have spent a lot... I mean a LOT... of time over the last nine months making grandiose gestures in Greg's memory, and it's time that they come to an end. It's not that I will miss Greg any less. I've known him for 35 years, and he's been closer to me than my own flesh and blood.

But it's time to move forward. Life is for living, and I think that the best way I can honor him is to live life to its fullest. Don't get me wrong... his birthday is later this month, and I'm sure it will be a somber day. I know that I will be sad on October 27, which will be the one year anniversary of his death. There will be countless other reminders... probably for the rest of my life... that will make me miss him. But it's time to move forward, and I'm ready to do so. Besides, the fact of the matter is that yesterday's event was the perfect catharsis. Anything I could possibly try to arrange from here on our would fail to live up to yesterday. This is a perfect time to stop making gestures for the dead, and resume living.