It finds you.

You can run from grief, but eventually it finds you. I had several moments of grief today. They just snuck up on me, out of no where, unexpectedly.

Today is an anniversary of sorts. One year ago today, I knew the trajectory of my life was about to change. I knew I could no longer stay on the path I was on. I was sitting in a concert, September 22, 2012 and I looked over at my husband and I knew. It had to change. I wasn’t sure how or what or when but I knew it that moment that I was living a lie so gigantic that I could no longer contain it. The lie was killing me. 

I remember going to the bathroom. I have a habit of hiding in bathrooms. It’s good because I pee a lot, so hiding in bathrooms is convenient. I cried in the stall. I felt panic, sheer terror. I felt incredibly alone. 

The next day, which…because it’s after midnight, is one year ago today…I looked at this man again. A man I had loved for twenty years and I decided I was going to tell him. 

That I was gay.

I can feel that moment, deep inside me, the memory of that moment. I can actually play it in my head, like a movie. The memory is attached to pain, to grief.

It’s ok. I am completely ok with the emotion that is welling up inside me as the memory passes through me, reminding me. I don’t know why the anniversary of that painful memory is welling up in me today, but it is. And I am happy to feel it. 

I know there is more coming. 

September 23, I knew I would tell him.

October 2, I told him.

November 11, I told my kids.

November 17, I moved out. 

From September 22 until November 17 2012 is, without a doubt, the most terrifying and painful two months of my life. There were days when I didn’t think I would survive it. Looking back I am not sure how I did it. I had a good support network, thank god. Even the friends who thought I had gone completely insane were there, still loving me. 

I think the brain, the soul or spirit or whatever, protects you a little, from the full extent of the grief. And now, a year later, as I reflect and assess the damage, I can feel the trapped grief erupting around me.

The difference now is that I can handle it. I know I can. I can feel the pain and the sadness surrounded by the joy and hope for the life I have now and the life I intend to have. I know I am going to be fine. 

Yeah, I know it’s silly to say it…but I am practicing some serious self-love right now. (you dirty birds, not that kind of self-love). I am talking about feeling it without allowing the feeling to overwhelm me and take control. I am able to quietly observe the emotion without being carried away by it.

I can look at today’s date, remember, reflect, even cry, from a distance, almost as an observer. The pain doesn’t own me anymore. 

That’s progress. I have to admit that meditation is helping me with that…after years of scoffing at the absurdity of meditation. I can see the benefit of allowing my mind to quiet, to become an observer of the intensity of my emotions. To disconnect slightly. 

I can feel the pain and still feel all the good emotion that circles around with it, joy, hope, excitement…

I couldn’t imagine being where I am right now on September 23rd last year. I have a job I love. I am about to buy a house…all by myself. I feel independent and free and generally peaceful and happy. My former husband is moving on with his life. I think we will salvage a friendship. My kids seem to be adjusting…it’s not ideal but I think they are going to be ok. I have great friends, some wonderful family, I am filled with hope.

It’s been a hell of a year. 

So grief, bring it on…I’m ready. 

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3 thoughts on “It finds you.

  1. What a difference a year makes, eh? I knew you would make it through stronger on the other side. And in a lot of ways, your journey helped me come to terms with mine–and I’ve never been happier. Love you, friend.

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