Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Knowing me, I thought about it too much.

"One of my great comforts since Liz's death had been talking about her- I was afraid that if her name went unmentioned or the stories went untold, our memories of her would forever disappear, and so would she." -Matthew Logelin, Two Kisses for Maddy

I somewhat freely talk about my relationship with Nick on here and I have a need today to explore some thoughts. I am about to finish Two Kisses for Maddy and there have been a couple spots where things have jumped out at me. Today it's the quote above, because of recent discussions Nick and I have had. After some poorly thought out statements and hurt feelings on both sides we sunk to the bottom of it all and uncovered the real issue were struggling with.

I talk about Mike often, and in a way, at inappropriate moments. It's not even always about Mike, but rather about making mention of losing my fiance' in Iraq in 2008.

I have grown accustomed to talking about his loss, as since day one I tried out new verbiage (ie: I am engaged but he was killed in Iraq; I was engaged but he lost his life in Iraq; No we weren't married; prefacing the story with a big long sigh and sad face; He passed; he's dead; he was killed; I'm a widow; I'm kind of a widow, etc.) often enough to know what type of reaction I would most likely receive. I do sometimes throw it out at inappropriate moments. Since the beginning my thought on this has been that yes, when I do this it may really impact that person and they may have a few awkward, rough, sad moments. I have had more than a few. In some way it is me shoving some of my pain in their direction. That's not the right thing to do. I also think it will make some people realize what they have, and frankly I'm ok with that. My other feeling is that I am damn proud of where I am right now. If you would have told me that I would be here in my life, having accomplished everything I have, having made several of the most amazing friends I could have, and knowing things that someone my age often does not yet know, I would have threw your words into the metaphysical trash can. So when people take a minute to get over the shock I smile at them, and I hope they realize that YES it was a traumatic event that I deal with every day, but I'm ok. And I'm proud of that.

Also, like the quote above, I have this responsibly to make sure no one ever forgets him and what he has done, even before he was killed. You can tell me it's not my responsibly but I won't believe you. So mentioning him, recounting stories, or the opportunity to bring up what I've been through assures in some small way that he's still a part of this world.

As I understand it, Nick's thoughts are different. He know's I will throw it out there are moments that people wouldn't expect that to be the case. He is prepared for it and has dealt with it on more than one occasion. As he was able to explain to me though, he feels like once I "drop the bomb" it's a conversation stopper. Not only does everyone feel awkward, but they will no longer inquire about me personally, or about us as a couple. He, in his most endearing way, told me that I am so much more than what has happened to me and he want's people to be able to see that. I've started my own business, I've gone back to grad school, I've made many new friends, I've become a runner and now am starting another very difficult workout, I've raised a pup from puphood to be a fully-adjusted functioning member of dog society (ok, I added that one.) But no one will get to know all those things about me, or be able to experience Nick and I as just Nick and I, a couple who met through some friends, when I explain part of our crazy story so early on.

I get what he's saying and I know his concerns are right on target but there are things about the way I handle the situation that he will never fully understand. I know it's different for me now because I am trying to make new friends in a new place and I haven't done that much outside the widowed world since losing Mike so sometimes I do talk about it when I should have waited. We've been able to discuss this continually and both adjust a little what we are thinking, as least enough to remember where the other person is coming from when it may happen. Luckily, we're both extremely aware of our craziness and are willing to adjust them for each other at times as necessary.


Justina said...

I love Nick... I can't wait to FINALLY get to meet him!

jenny said...

the fact that you are having these conversations in a frank, honest way just prove how sure i am that you two are meant for each other.

and i, personally, think that you are excellent at your job (keeping mike's memory alive and well).

you and nick will find the right balance. i'm impressed by you every day.