Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lance's case has been closed. The grand jury ruled no foul play. The detective told me that his case will state "unknown" but that it was clearly a horrific accident. This was supposed to bring closure to my life and while it makes me feel better that he went quickly without pain or struggle, the finality of everything is much more crushing than expected. Now I can move on with my life with answers but I HATE that I have to move on without him. All my plans for graduation and a beautiful proposal and wedding are gone and I am terrified to make new plans. I just wanted plans with him. He was the most amazing man I know (besides my dad) and he treated me better than I ever thought I deserved. Why do the best ones have to die young and take our happiness with them? "Life is unfair" is an understatement.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Catching Up

When tragedy knocks you down and wipes out everything you think you know about yourself, you are forced to rebuild and reconsider things about your life.
That couldn't be more true lately.

I have always dealt with anxiety and OCD but it has definitely heightened with the loss of my Lance.  The pressure to become normal again, especially in the midst of senior year of college, can be so overwhelming that I just break. Lately the panic attacks have been extremely intense and more present in my life than I ever expected. It has been so scary to have no knowledge whatsoever of what will happen tomorrow. I thought it could all be planned, but I can't even plan what I want for lunch tomorrow. Feeling so unsure of everything and losing control over emotions, memory, and a sense of normalcy is probably the cause for the recent anxiety attacks.
It also doesn't help that the projects and tests are piling up, along with being sick with bronchitis and sinus infections. Even my immune system is at rock bottom.

Dealing with grief and coping the loss of someone who was so present in my life is made so much harder when it's coupled with any kind of anxiety disorder, much less 2 of them. It seems so unfair (and it is) that I can't even grieve normally because I freak out about the fact that I don't know how to do it. If only there were a manual that could tell you exactly how to feel.
But if I have learned one big lesson here, it's that you can't control emotion.
Letting go of that control has been such a trying experience, yet, a necessary one.
There are so many times I wish I could snap my fingers and make myself feel a certain way but the realistic part of me knows that it's simply impossible.

But the hardest part lately is having to accept the fact that I should ask for more help. As school piles up and I become overwhelmed, I am forced to recognize that I need assistance. I have already gotten special permission to take tests separately from other students so I don't get anxious about time constraints. But actually seeking out the assistance for myself was way more humbling than expected. I hate to ask for help sometimes because in my head it feels like defeat, makes me feel weak, and brings back those wondering thoughts about my being a burden on my friends, colleagues, and family. But now, I am glad I asked because it is very clear to see which people have been eager to help without expecting anything in return. Those are the people I need more of in my life.

I am trying so hard to find positive things and to grow from such a terrible situation. Hopefully, I am at least making baby steps. But I still have days where things feel so far from positive and I feel like I am completely run down with no hope of moving on. And I still get the saying so much "I have so much faith in you that you are strong and will get through this." I wonder if those people have a little too much faith in my strength? I would hate to be a letdown when I simply can't pull it together. I understand that I am definitely over-thinking words that people say to make me feel better, but I can't help but analyze everything in my life. It's just my nature; no apologies.

By the way, if you have any advice for me, please feel free to comment! I will seriously consider and try anything if it will help lighten my load even a little.

Last topic/thought of the day:
Today is my parents 25th wedding anniversary. They are such a strong team. Even when they bug the stew out of each other, they suck it up and accept each other as they are. They  raised me and my two brothers well and have always been the model of marriage and true love that Lance and I hoped to live up to.
It's a little bittersweet for me because I am so happy for them, but sad that Lance and I will never get to meet our full potential as husband and wife. Lance was literally my knight in shining armor (I called him Sir Lancelot.. I know, corny). Even if I felt at my worst and my self esteem was gone, I could at least have faith that someone loved every ounce of me. I always believed that he was going to be the one I never even had to worry about divorce with. We showed so many similarities to my parents in the way that we were a team, a partnership.
Now that the potential for our greatness is gone, it worries me that I will never find someone that can love me as unconditionally as Lance and that I will never find someone in whom I can put all of my trust.
I know it's way too soon to even consider another love, but it's definitely a constant worry that I will end up alone as some old cat lady. And I HATE cats!

I have to admit, even typing that felt a little silly. I just had that "ah-ha" moment that I need to try and bring my focus back to the here and now. Later will take care of itself.

But now, I guess all I can do is cope with everything the best way I know how. Talking about it, especially blogging helps. Also, I know that trying to remain patient when I am frustrated at the situation is vital. At this point, I have nothing else left to lose.
I will do anything I can to transform my emptiness into something full and beautiful and become someone that Lance would be proud of. I just HAVE to honor him in that way.

It's my mission.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

reflecting briefly

Things to Think About

Something that has been on my mind since yesterday, stemming from a text, is the amount of strength that I have during this time.
The message read "Plese keep strong for everyone."

Why can't people be strong for me? I feel like I am in no position to be strong or okay, as I am completely alone and the person I would normally lean on is dead.
I don't know if it is just me but I feel like I am always the one that is strong for friends and now that I am at my weakest, people still expect me to be okay and don't realize that I need THEIR strength. Mine is useless.
Maybe it is time to take a deep look at those people who have never offered anything to our friendship, the ones where I carry all the weight. Then I should ask myself, "Are they worth it?"
Any suggestions on that? Anyone?

Also, going back to the feeling that so many people have such high expections of me.
How did those get there? And is there something I can do or say to lower the expectations so that I don't feel so pressured to be one certain way and by a certain time?
I know that this is MY process, but people have a tendency to make me feel rushed through it all. And I have the tendency to care wayyy too much about what people think of me.

I know this wasn't super organized, but I just had to get those things out of my mind.
Any advice is appreciated.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Analyzing Reactions

Just another day in a nightmare.

First of all, I'm sick with a terrible case of bronchitis that won't go away because I'm so stressed, the antibiotics aren't doing any good. Secondly, I miss him so much I have felt sad and hopeless all day.

But there is one thing in particular on my mind.
I got a text today from a girl who I considered a close friend of mine that really aggravated me. I don't know if I took it wrong or if I was right to believe that it was really insensitive but hey, that's how I felt so I guess I can't apologize for that.

The message read:
"You know this is a huge decision in your life right now. Now is the time to decide whether you will ever be happy and if you want to be happy in life or to sit around and be sad and lost. You are not alone in this. I am here for you. I know sad and lost comes natural right now but you can shake it. I have faith."

Taking and analyzing this in two parts--
Pt. 1-- "You know this is a huge decision in your life right now. Now is the time to decide whether you will ever be happy and if you want to be happy in life or to sit around and be sad and lost."
RESPONSE- Since when has it been my decision to feel the emotions that come so naturally? Am I really being expected to just bounce back ALREADY? It has only been 1 month!!
Of course I don't want to sit around and be sad and lost but how the hell do I control that? I definitely want to feel happy again and know that one day I can be happy; but I know that particular emotion will not come to me for a long time.
I am shocked and frankly irritated that she could think that emotions are something I can control or decide about. Believe me, if my thoughts and emotions were something I could control, I would be more than happy to change them. But I can not apologize or be made to feel guilty for moping around or even for just feeling sad. Feeling sad is only normal. Honestly, I think I'd be more worried about myself if I wasn't upset about everything. If I was already normal again and happy and in the mood to be super social, I would hope someone would be worried and think that those emotions are weird, not the fact that I'm still feeling downtrodden. 

Pt. 2-- "You are not alone in this. I am here for you. I know sad and lost comes natural right now but you can shake it. I have faith"
RESPONSE- Obviously I AM alone in this. I appreciate people being there for me, especially when I have nothing but negative things to say about myself and my life. But, sometimes I feel like having that support can come at a price. The price are those expectations for the timeline of my own grieving process that I wrote about in my first post. It's like they think that by showing that they are here for me and have "faith" in me, I can magically pull myself off the ground and be perfectly fine. If only things worked that way.
Plus, I am definitely alone with my thoughts and emotions. Not one person can understand how this feels, unless by chance, they lost their fiancee/boyfriend of 5 years by a sudden and tragic death. I know that I am not the only one who has lost someone who played a large role in their life. But the relationship I had with Lance is one that nobody can fully relate to or understand; only we can. I can always share stories about the memories that only Lance and I made together; but unless you were there and part of the memory, you won't really get it. And that's okay, I don't expect you to. But don't pretend like you understand something because you think it makes me feel better.

I guess, once again, the lesson I can take from this is the same as my last post. I have to grieve and mourn the only way I know how, honestly and on my time.
As my counselor has told me, there's no right way to grieve. That was a hard thing to hear as a perfectionist who always strives to do everything right. But this is something I have never experienced before and hope to never go through again so every emotion is fresh and different, and most importantly, out of my control.

So I will try and get through this the only way I can-- on my own time.
No apologies.

Friday, August 12, 2011

First Post

So I created this blog in order to express the many emotions I'm dealing with as I go through the grieving process (the debris after the storm). I am afraid that the more I talk about it with friends, the more friends I will lose. Nobody can understand the type of loss I'm going through and I don't want to tire them out by hashing out the details of my grief every day. So this is my outlet. This is MY way to get those thoughts off my chest without burdening anyone in particular.

First, I will explain my situation.
I am a young 21 and have known and loved Lance for over 5 years. We were together since I was 16 years old and instantly became best friends and then romantic partners. We talked every day on the phone or in person and had an indiscribable relationship. We both were at college together, where he was going to graduate this December.

It was 4 weeks ago yesterday that I began to be worried about the fact that I hadn't heard from Lance, when he normally texted me around the same time every day. I was working in my hometown and he was taking summer classes at our University. I sent a friend to check on him after lunch when it had been several hours since his usual call time. I will never forget the words she said when she called back. "There's blood everywhere and he's not breathing. I think he's dead."
He was pronounced dead in my apartment (where he took care of our pet bunny) of a gunshot wound to the head. He was 24.
Suicide was ruled out as the cause and his death is now being investigated as a homicide. I can not understand WHY this happened.
The day before he died, he had picked out my engagement ring and his wedding band. We had looked at engagement rings together on Easter morning. I had already told him YES but that he had to make it official. He was going to propose at our school's football game, a place that we shared many memories and made our relationship stronger.

Going right into how this has impacted me:

It feels impossible to understand why my entire future was ripped out from under me in a split second. I'm afraid to even plan for things as simple as lunch tomorrow because everything we planned for our lives together is ruined.
I feel similar emotions to that of a widow. Even though we were not officially married, we had that type of relationship. It's impossible and pointless to try and explain the bond between two of us if you had never seen us together, but I had full faith that we would grow old together in a beautiful marriage.

I have lost my best friend and my well-planned future and I feel completely lost. Half of me died with him. Everyone else is moving on and I am literally STUCK. One hour feels like ten and while I am frozen in time, everyone else is speeding around me.

Everyone says I'm so strong but it makes me angry because I know I am SO weak. Also, I feel like those words "You're so strong" brings on a bundle of expectations. People expect me to be okay if I have one day where I don't cry (which isn't often) and then don't understand when I break down for no reason the next day. It's like they think "but you were doing so well." From talking with other people who have been through great loss, this expectation only gets worse with time. I know that I will still be grieving a long time from now, as it's impossible to bounce back from losing your other half. And my biggest worry is that 6 months from now after I become able to have days without crying, I will surely have another bad day and people will not understand why I am sad "all of a sudden."

But this is MY journey of grief and I know that I can not be on anyone else's timeline.

One more thing that is on my mind and bugging me:
I have luckily had wonderful support of friends and family, including one friend that texts me uplifting and positive quotes every day. But today she sent me one that made me kind of angry. It said, "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass.. It's about learning how to dance in the rain."
I know that this all just comes with grief-- the impatience, the irratability, the negativity, the hopelessness, and the frustration.
But it feels absolutely impossible to have an ounce of positivity when I feel like half of me is dead and I have no idea who I even am anymore.

Sorry that this post has been so random and unorganized. As someone with major OCD, I like to have my thoughts organized before I write them.
But, nothing in my life is in order now, much less my emotions. For now, all I can do is accept that there is a lot of debris that I will have to sort through and organize.
So please, bear with me.