Forever Loved, Forever Missed

The grief journey of a girl (27) who lost her true love, James (29) on the 22 Dec 2013. He was hit off his bike by an alleged DUI driver.
Five years just wasn't long enough. I miss you.
http://johnrapley.wix.com/jamesrapleymemorial

10 months

Today as I woke up, I rolled over to hug the pillow next to me and kiss his photo.

And I almost said the words “happy 10 months”…

What the fuck is going on in my head?

13th day of no tears today.
303 days since 22 December, 2013.
Almost 10 months.
But I still can’t believe he isn’t here.

As you journey through grief, you discover you change. You will never be the same. You will be yourself and you will be more than yourself. Something unexpected will happen.

—Unknown

Although I will never be the same, I hope and believe I will come out of this a better, stronger, more compassionate person who will live life as fully as possible. While I would give all that up in a second to have my James back, I know he would want me to try to live as positively as possible.

Although I will never be the same, I hope and believe I will come out of this a better, stronger, more compassionate person who will live life as fully as possible. While I would give all that up in a second to have my James back, I know he would want me to try to live as positively as possible.

Seeing what I don’t have

A lovely girl at work got engaged on the weekend. She’s so happy and everyone is congratulating her and her family just sent her a huge bouquet of flowers. She’s not rubbing it in or anything she’s very quiet, but it’s just got around the office and now the flowers.

I’m happy for her but it just makes me so sad and jealous. I should have been engaged to James this year. I just want to be as happy as she is. It’s just so unfair.

Thanks for everyone’s kind comments.

I’m trying to be getting better at dealing with these things. I know james wants me to. And I know I’ve been through much worse obviously. I’m lucky that I can afford to just come to Albuquerque for the weekend. And I got to go to San Fran last weekend. I might have to start changing my approach with the tributes because while they are my coping mechanisms when things like this happen it really throws me right back into my deep grief and it becomes less about not being able to do the thing and more about life sucking without my james, and while I’m upset about not doing whatever it is, spiralling into thoughts of the day I found out about james and thoughts on how can I live this life without him are not thoughts that should be triggered from something that ultimately is just annoying. I think it might be something I bring up with my counselor and see how I might approach the tributes so I can still do them but won’t end up with the opposite affect of coping when things go wrong because I’ve put so much pressure on them to help me get through.

I just so wanted to do this. I was so excited. Now I’m so sad.

How am I ever going to be happy again?

In Albuquerque and had planned to do a hot air balloon ride at the world’s largest hot air balloon fiesta. Cancelled. Of course.
So many tears. Such frustration. Every tribute I’ve done that is weather has been cancelled. This one is the most disappointing. Came all this way, spent all this money for nothing. And each time it’s cancelled I just miss him more. This is how I cope and when it doesn’t work out I am so sad. This isn’t the life I want and I can’t even do the things I want to do for us. This fucking sucks. Got up at 3:30am to be told winds are too high. I know I can’t do anything but I’m never going to be able to do this again and I’m not going to try again and spend all this money again to have it cancelled on me. Urgh. I just want him back.

Grief support group

Last Monday I attended the 5th session (my 4th session) of a 6 session grief support group. It is a generic grief group, not young partner specific like my one back in Australia.

I have found it useful in some ways, mainly to not feel so alone but also to feel like I am actually doing ok. While there aren’t that many in the group who have lost partners and every one is different circumstances I do feel like I have faced my grief in a fairly proactive way. And I know everyone feels with their grief differently but most in the group have attended this group as the first thing to try to help them move forward (and many are further along time in their journey). So although somewhat beneficial I don’t think I’ll attend any more sessions after next weeks. I am not saying that my approach is the right way, but for me I feel like it is, and I don’t think I’d be able to gain much from others in the group outside of the group. I end up talking a lot in the sessions about all the things I have done or read about that have helped me approach life positively or at least get through the days a but easier, but haven’t had many suggestions from others. I’m glad I have this forum of others approaching life after the loss of their loved ones and I’m also glad to have C and A, the girls I had dinner with last night, who have become my pseudo grief group.

One thing however that we did in the last session, rather than sit and talk we participated in what they call “walking the labyrinth”. They have a maze like path on the floor and you walk along it with a photo of your loved one until you get to the centre, then you a walk back out the way you came. It’s hard to describe, but it’s like a meditation practice almost. It was very emotional for everyone. I think for me it was less the exercise that was so emotional but actually setting aside a big chunk of time to just sit and feel my emotions and grief, something I haven’t been doing as much since I’ve moved back to Chicago and have a job and therefore less time allocated to processing things.

The main feeling that came out of it once it was over was just the fact that it hit me that here I was in Chicago on a Monday night at a grief group, holding a photo of him and grieving him. It just hit me, like this is real, I’m not going home to be with him and cook dinner for him I’m at a god damn grief group!! And I was just hit with an overwhelming sense of how much I miss him. I just miss him so much.

I haven’t posted about my cooking adventures for a while, but yes I’m still trying new things in the kitchen when I have time!

Since last time I have tried:

Rhubarb… never had it savory before and I really enjoyed it as a sauce with my pork. Really good, bit tart, but I like that. It didn’t look as pretty and as bright red as the recipe, but tasted good.

Rhubarb sauce: http://mobile.eatingwell.com/recipes/roast_pork_with_sweet_onion_rhubarb_sauce.html

I also tried to make a quick rhubard cake in a cup. It was my first utter fail in the kitchen, completely didn’t work at all!! Baking is something I’ve never spent any time doing, so I think its something I’ll try to practice with when I have some more time.

Rhubard cake. http://janeshealthykitchen.com/strawberry-rhubarb-cobbler-in-a-cup/#.VDWnop8o7qD

Tried vegetarian vindaloo. I’ve never cooked Indian from scratch before and I’ve never used Thai eggplant before (not exactly the eggplant that call for in the recipe the closest one I could find). Worked out well. It’s more of a vinegar style one then a thick base.

Eggplant vindaloo recipe: http://www.cookingandme.com/2013/09/brinjal-vindaloo-brinjal-vindaloo-recipe.html?m=1

Finally I have finally hopped on the kale bandwagon. I’ve been trying to track the nutrition on the food I eat as I trying to move away from eating so much meat and it seems I’m lacing calcium and iron in my diet, which it seems kale and all its superfood glory contains a lot of a lot of good stuff. Plus here in the states its super cheap, back in Australia it was pretty unaffordable but it was like a $1.50 a bunch for organic kale and there were heaps of types of kale too (which I had no idea about!). Just did a easy saute with garlic and I added chilli flakes, because well everything tastes better with chilli!!

Kale and garlic recipe: http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/217944/garlic-kale/

So yesterday was my birthday. And surprisingly, yesterday was not terrible. I did most of my processing the night before, which seems to be my routine now for the particularly hard days. Was really busy at work and I didn’t tell anyone so I didn’t have to go through awkward bday conversations and “happy birthday” messages when I’m anything but happy.

Then I went for dinner with a girl, C who’s been great support who also lost her boyfriend to a dui driver who hit her bf off his bike. She’s 16 months into her journey. And I also invited another girl who knows C who is grieving the death of her ex bf who shed only just broken up with and a week later he suicided in her house. She’s 14 months into her journey.

So it was a grieving girlfriend-widows group and it was just good to be able to enjoy a lovely dinner with people who truly understand.

And to top off the evening I got to do another first, I said the wonderful words “we’ll have one of each of the desserts on the menu please!”. The waiter was rather taken aback “are you sure? Do you know how big or cakes are?” “No, but we’ll have them all anyway!!”. And he wasn’t lying, look at the size of the cake!! Chocolate layer cake, carrot cake, sticky date pudding and brownies! Delish… And I literally didn’t eat anything all day until 6pm except for an apple because I was so full!!

So it wasn’t what I was expecting, but I managed through the day better than I expected with tears only once at dinner. Although I hate the circumstances of how we meet, I’m truly grateful to have met these girls and have them as support in a city that I know so few people during such a difficult time of my life.

So yesterday was my birthday. And surprisingly, yesterday was not terrible. I did most of my processing the night before, which seems to be my routine now for the particularly hard days. Was really busy at work and I didn’t tell anyone so I didn’t have to go through awkward bday conversations and “happy birthday” messages when I’m anything but happy.

Then I went for dinner with a girl, C who’s been great support who also lost her boyfriend to a dui driver who hit her bf off his bike. She’s 16 months into her journey. And I also invited another girl who knows C who is grieving the death of her ex bf who shed only just broken up with and a week later he suicided in her house. She’s 14 months into her journey.

So it was a grieving girlfriend-widows group and it was just good to be able to enjoy a lovely dinner with people who truly understand.

And to top off the evening I got to do another first, I said the wonderful words “we’ll have one of each of the desserts on the menu please!”. The waiter was rather taken aback “are you sure? Do you know how big or cakes are?” “No, but we’ll have them all anyway!!”. And he wasn’t lying, look at the size of the cake!! Chocolate layer cake, carrot cake, sticky date pudding and brownies! Delish… And I literally didn’t eat anything all day until 6pm except for an apple because I was so full!!

So it wasn’t what I was expecting, but I managed through the day better than I expected with tears only once at dinner. Although I hate the circumstances of how we meet, I’m truly grateful to have met these girls and have them as support in a city that I know so few people during such a difficult time of my life.

Getting older while he stays forever young

The preprocessing of my bday has set in. Tomorrow I will be turning a year older, but James will not be getting any older. Tomorrow I will be 28, but James is forever 29; he should have been 30 in August. To think that next year I’ll be the same age as him makes me incredibly sad.

I’ve cried a number of times today. I miss him so much. It’s extra difficult because my twin sister has had one of the best years of her life with the birth of her first child and my brother in law posted a lovely post about her and how lucky he is. I am happy for them but it makes it hard to see what I don’t have, they are the happiest they’ve ever been and I’m the saddest and I just hate that this has happened. James should be here.

I foresaw early that my bday was going to be difficult, the thought of getting empty “happy birthday” messages made me feel nauseous, so I hid my birthday on Facebook months ago. This birthday is anything but happy. I will just get through and I’ve been keeping busy so I don’t have to think about it.

I’ll be going to dinner with a friend who’s been good support so at least I can not wallow at home by myself. And hopefully create some fond memories to go around the difficult ones.

I have lots to catch up on, but I’ve been so busy I haven’t had the time or energy. I need to write some of it down to help me process things as I’ve found this blog so valuable for that. Hopefully I’ll have a chance soon.

But for now I’m off to bed early(ish). I can feel a cold coming on… that’s just what I need right??

Feel the serenity… and unicorn magical chocolate sorbet with toasted marshmallow fluff…’Merica! James would have loved today xx (only cried once today!)

Feel the serenity… and unicorn magical chocolate sorbet with toasted marshmallow fluff…’Merica! James would have loved today xx (only cried once today!)

Trying to put something back on a high shelf and failing, needing to get a chair….

I miss my giant man to reach all the high spots.

Was reminded that my bday is in less than two weeks.

Urgh. Another date that should usually be happy but instead will be sad. I’m not looking forward to it.

Also realised after last night I’m now into the part of the year where I was living with James here. There is now going to be stronger memories hitting me I suspect, like last night where the whole night I just remembered going to the same pub watching the grand final… with James.

Last year we went to Lake Tahoe the weekend after my bday to celebrate James friend M’s 30th but justified the cost saying it was for my bday too. And oh course he also got me presents because he couldn’t help himself. He got me a beanie, gloves and scarf to wear in winter here as we don’t need that back in Australia. They fit perfect. I miss him.