Karma is a bitch…she won’t text me back

Everyone’s heard of the old adage “why do bad things happen to good people?” And I’m acutely aware of it now more than ever.  But what I really wonder about is the unspoken second half of that phrase “…and why are there so many assholes out there living the dream?”  In general, it doesn’t serve me well to think about the “why” of what happened as that’s a mind fuck of a rabbit hole with no way out.  That’s at least one thing Dr. F has taught me! However, even though I know there’s no “reason” for Bryan’s death, I still tend to get wrapped around the proverbial axle of “but why are all these bad people seemingly only having good things to happen them?”  Perhaps Karma is just recovering from a crazy late night bender and hasn’t gotten around to evening out the universe yet?  I mean considering who our president is and the state of the world today, she really does have her hands full.

karma

The most obvious and daily source of my ire comes from social media.  I’ve touched on this before, but it goes beyond just being jealous of everyone’s shiny happy lives full of husbands.  The injustice of this whole situation really chaps my ass sometimes.  From the large scale (shady politicians ruling the world consequence free) to the closer to home (my cheating ex-boyfriend has a beautiful wife and keeps getting promoted despite the fact that he can barely read), there’s just no balance in the universe!  I’m nothing if not logical and pragmatic, and while those character traits have served me well in other ways traversing this grief hike, this is one area where those traits are more like wearing flip flops running uphill in the rain.  I know life’s not fair, and I’m not a jealous person by nature, as in I usually don’t care about keeping up with what others are doing or buying.  But it’s hard not to feel singled out, or even responsible in some way, when people that objectively have moral compasses that don’t always point north never seem to get theirs.  I’ve been given mine in spades and I have to wonder, what did I do, or not do, that it was decided that I shouldn’t have a father by age 26 or a husband by age 31.  Why was it determined that I should meet Bryan only to have him taken 2 1/2 months after we pledged to spend forever together?  As I look around at all the lucky ones, I struggle with why I’m not one of them.

It’s a constant struggle to not wallow in my self pity, and for the most part I don’t.  But in the quiet moments, the lonely Sunday nights, the late night solo walks to the airport parking garage, I can’t help but say “Karma, you’re being a real C U Next Tuesday”.

 

I’m a medalist in the Grief Olympics

Just as Oprah loves bread, I love the Olympics (and bread).  The spectacle, camaraderie, the majesty of sport, the underdog stories, the dedication, the cultural appropriation, the tense geopolitical interactions (looking at you Pence), the scandals, the Tony Harding, I LOVE IT ALL!

The 1988 Jamaican Bobsled team had me feeling ire mon!  In 1994, after figuring out where the hell “Lillehammer” was, I was all I, WONDERing if I, Tonya really knew about the hit on Princess Kerrigan. #teamtonya

Tonya Harding at 1994 olympics

She’s a misunderstood angel.

The 1998 Nagano Olympics were giving me all the feels when Tara Lipinski, won not one but two gold medals (one for skating, and one for her awesome bangs) at the young age of 15.  I was only 13 at the time, but figured if I started that day with 6 hours of practice and an intense daily hair spray regimen, I too could totes be ready for the next Olympics.

tara lipinski, olympics

You can’t see it from here, but her bangs are also sporting their very own gold medal too!

 

I have mad love for the summer games as well.  The 1996 Magnificent Seven gymnastics team were a symbol of all that’s American and great in the ’90s.  Then the Fab Five in 2012 and the Final Five in 2016 carried the torch for a new generation…you know, except for that whole ensuing Larry Nassar drama.  Dr. Nassar falls into the aforementioned “scandals” category, and I did say I loved it all.  Anyhoo, in 2008, I legit broke my toe watching the Opening Ceremonies in Beijing as the Chinese drummers got me so grooving I banged into my coffee table. I was in tape and hobbling for a week #truestory.

2008 olympics

These dudes are deadly…to my toe.

So needless to say I am a superfan!  Bryan was too; it was one of the many things we bonded over.  In fact, I was still okay with dating him even after I found out former Tonya Harding bodyguard and Kerrigan attack plotter, Shawn Eckardt, changed his name TO Brian Griffith!! I mean we figured the “Brian” was spelled different so it was cool.  Plus, #teamtonya.

shawn eckardt

Brian Griffith. Note: NOT my husband, Bryan Griffith

 

However, these days, I find myself focusing on a different kind of Olympics, the ones defined as the “Grief Olympics”.  There’s many articles on this phenomenon, and the general sense is there is no Grief Olympics, that’s everyone’s experiences are different, and whatever the worst pain someone has experiences, that’s his or her worst pain and it’s all relative.  While I understand that, I’m still not cool with people comparing my grief to the grief they feel when losing a pet (which has happened), or when a guy ghosts them.  Because guess what?  My husband pulled the ultimate ghosting act.  There’s no one there for me to drunk text angrily after a few bottles of rosé and a few hours of Celine Dion karaoke.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have more empathy for everyone’s experiences.  I think my main goal in writing this is that those who are lucky enough to have not experienced great loss, should be okay with that as their truth and not try to rush in and compare their own experiences to mine or someone else experiencing great loss when talking.

As a PSA to all those trying to help someone else grieving: it’s OKAY to not be able to relate and it’s OKAY to say that.  Just listen if you’ve got nothing truly on that level to add.

I speak on this from experience.  I’ve medaled in various events in the Grief Olympics including mass shooting survival, grandparent death, father death, close family members diagnosed with chronic and terminal illnesses, and of course spousal death.  Now the thing about these olympics is there is no gold, silver, or bronze.  Just like the millennials at their little league games; we all get the same medals for participating.  So while I’m racking these up and grieving more than many, I also remind myself that I’m lucky in a lot of ways, and not grieving nearly as bad as others out there.  I guess that’s the shitty things about these olympics; the parade of nations never ends, and there’s always an athlete with more medals than you.

no-one-wins-at-the-grief-olympics

It’s the Little Things Really

I was walking through the airport last Sunday and I thought I saw Bryan walking toward me.  A tall, bearded, burly, bespectacled (alliteration! You’re welcome Mrs. Yagel, 9th grade English teacher) young man with a kind smile had just come up the jet way from the plane I was about to board.  For a fleeting moment I was like “hell yes! it’s about damn time!”  My heart literally skipped a beat at the same moment my eyes finally focused to of course reveal it was not, said dead husband.  Your mind plays funny tricks like that on you when you lose someone you love.  I fancy myself a rather rational person, yet throughout this process I keep escaping all logic in short moments.  For about a half a second I truly thought it was him, and my mind and body did too as my heart jumped and I became laser focused.  All the sound and logical thought that’s been fighting to come through these last 13 months just disappears.  Shittily (word? yes) enough…this happens fairly often.  Sometimes I’ll be driving or doing something else that lends itself to my mind wandering, and my mind likes to then take these moments to remind me “hey, can you believe your husband is dead?! That’s bananas!”.  It’s like my subconscious wrestles with the reality too and needs to keep resetting itself.  I can’t really explain these little moments, except to say they are like micro-bursts of forgetfulness-realization-shock-depression all rolled into about 1.25 seconds.  I then sit and dwell for a few minutes as I’m reminded all over again “WTF THIS really is my life! How did I get here?!”  The tears well up, I stare off into space, a shocking and/or vivid visual or memory of Bryan may or may not pop in my head, but then I take a deep breath, loosen the drawstring on my sweatpants, and go back to that bag of Doritos and season 7 of Parks and Recreation I totally haven’t been letting occupy my time for the last 2 hours (or 4).  My body really is a temple, y’all.  I wonder when the shock will wear off.  Maybe it never will.  Maybe as I accept my third Pulitzer for “excellence in grief journalism” I’ll fall off the stage when I get a micro-burst and I’m like “wait, what? I have THREE Pulitzers?Awesome! They’re because my husband died? NOT Awesome!” [face plant].

Other moments I find quite fun are the times something funny, stupid, boring, sad, embarrassing etc. happens and the first person I think to tell is Bryan, only to be reminded in that instant that I can’t do that. Ever. Again.  I won’t say these happen too often or too strongly, as my rational self keeps these in check most of the time, but I hear from others in the bereft club of life that these can be a real punch to the emotional nut sack!  And sometimes they are for me as well.  Just earlier today I was in the bathroom cogitating on this very blog and thought, hey maybe that’s a funny topic, let me see what Bryan would thi-oh wait never mind. Sigh. [flush sound].  Irony of ironies, he probably would have totally dug this here blog o’ mine.  He was a witty writer and cunning linguist of the utmost quality, and I know if I had started a blog for any other reason, he would be my Editor In Chief.  In a weird way, he encouraged me to share my “thoughts on things” and even made this Facebook cover page for me once so that I could share my witticisms across social media:

thoughtsonthings

Hmmm. Perhaps a prophecy is being foretold! If that’s the case, I would just like to say, if you knew something I didn’t back then Bryan, I am NOT amused.  However, I will continue to share my “Thoughts on things” and thanks for letting me hash out my crippled stream of consciousness on a key board.  It’s something in my routine that I actually don’t hate and, it really is about finding joy in the littler things after all.

Thoughts on “Branding”

I’m not one to consider myself particularly tech savvy, or one to be too focused on the image of this blog (I figure that will come later when some art house Imprint discovers me and a 22 year old in the marketing department redoes my site before my book tour), but I realized the theme I had hastily chosen was not working for me.  Apparently it was called “intergalactic 2” (read: 1)why are there 2 of these themes and b) nerd city) and just not giving out the depression/self reflection/witty vibes I was after.  Thus, the page has been updated with a new look, and it’s hopefully easier to navigate.  This theme is called “bloggy” and I figured I couldn’t really get any more on the nose than that.  Let me know what you think of the new look.  WordPress has a million designs and they’re all somewhere between basic™ mommy blogger and Swedish architecture firm.  Basically, I’ve got option guys!

BrandingPortfolio

Let’s put some ideas in the idea machine!!! Think outside the box! Touch Base! Circle back! Team work!