Choking On My Words…

When I first set up my Match.com profile I only purchased a four-month membership. Not long after that first bizarre date, the one where he was planning what we’d be doing in six months and the string of even more bizarre emails, winks etc. I hid my profile from public view, I just didn’t feel like it was a good option for me. Even though my profile was hidden from public view I still continued to get daily emails from Match “Here are your new daily matches” I never logged on to look, I just didn’t care. I was waiting for my four months to be up…

On one of my nights out with the girls, my favorite hot bartender, who always asks what’s going on, convinced me to try it again. He said “it’s fun, just relax and enjoy it for what it is” Alright, alright, I logged on just under two weeks ago, updated my profile a little, added a new pic, etc. I really wasn’t interested in dating someone continuously. I’m content with the idea of being alone. I thought, I’ll just be a serial first dater for a while and meet some new people and have a little fun with absolutely no attachment.

I looked at a few profiles but didn’t really see anything that struck me, except…..this one guy. I looked at his pictures first, come on, that is the first thing you do! Hmmmm, very handsome, dark hair, dark eyes, huge smile that made his eyes light up and holding the cutest little girl in his arms. I read his profile and was instantly struck. Some profiles are so terribly written but his was witty, funny, sarcastic, yet sincere and thoughtful. I knew immediately he would contact me, he emailed the next day.

I received a very short, sweet email, basically opening the door for me to email back if I was interested. Of course I did! He made a couple of funny remarks in his profile about what he liked on his hot dog, ate at the movies, and touched on his love of a good thrill ride. My first sentence was mustard, milk duds and the inventor and patent date of the roller coaster. Can you hear the reel spinning?

There was an immediate banter back and forth through email with a few “details” about our history as well. It didn’t take long and he asked for my phone number and could he call me. I emailed him my number and I got a text that afternoon…I gave him bonus points for the surprise contact in the middle of a work day. His response “triple word score, 96 points”. The banter has continued ever since. We’ve gone on three dates in a week…

Of course our first date was a burger date! When I stepped out of the car and saw him, there was an immediate attraction. It was a night of great food, great company and the conversation flowed easily. It was a little ADD and all over the place, jumping from one topic to the next, and back again. After dinner we went downtown and had a drink at Squeeze, talked and laughed a little more, sitting close and touching gently. He held my hand as we walked, it felt so natural it caught me a little off guard. He took me back to my car and I headed home without a first kiss. We both wanted to but didn’t…I mean we had just met!

I think we both immediately regretted not taking the opportunity to have our first kiss. After that first date we communicated often and the draw toward the other was mutual. A few days went by and he finally text me, “that’s it, I’m seeing you today I can’t wait any longer to kiss you”. It was a very quick meet up after work, as he had to go pick up his daughter. We both got out of the car and immediately kissed, I don’t think we even said hello and I’m pretty sure during our short visit, we didn’t take our hands off each other once.

He also lost his spouse a few years back to breast cancer and is raising his daughter alone. He has been through a lot since she passed as well. Yet he has kept a positive outlook in the worst of situations and believes that happiness is possible again. I can tell we share a lot of similar outlooks and beliefs without even having a discussion, I can sense it by how he carries himself and his actions.

The comfort that comes from spending time with someone who knows that there are days where you want nothing more than the life you once knew back, is overwhelming. Someone that knows they can never understand the complexities of your own personal path through grief. Someone who knows, no matter what happens in the future you’ll always love your spouse and always wish things happened differently. It’s the strangest kind of feeling to still be in love with a person who’s gone, yet move on to have a different kind of relationship with someone else. I don’t believe most people can understand it, comprehend that somehow your heart splits in two but stays intact.

I’m cautiously optimistic and looking forward to getting to know him better. I’m well aware that you really never know someone or what they are capable of, we shall see what happens at the three week douche bag mark. Although I don’t think he’s gonna be a DB. No matter what comes of our time together, I already know I’m better for meeting him. So kudos to Match.com… I guess you can meet some nice people. Sorry for the bad review before.

I almost forgot…for the first time I can’t give someone a code name, I don’t want to. So for now he just is……..

Ohhhh one more thing, he’s a great kisser too.

Love,

g

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Life’s a Beach

On that day in August 2009, Zed was working in one of his favorite areas of Isle of Palms; the corner of 5th Avenue and Ocean Blvd. We had spent a lot of time out there together, as we have friends who own a house right there on the beach. I went there for the first time in a long while on Sunday with Saffron and my cross-eyed dog Charlie.

Saffron and I met at the house which overlooks the ocean. When we arrived, I asked her to walk with me for a minute before heading out to the beach; “I want to show you something”. We walked across the street to the side yard of the house opposite the ocean. She said “Are we just going to walk through random people’s yards?” “It’s ok, I know the owners” I said. We were on the side of the house where a short concrete wall not more than a foot high separates the front and back yards. Charlie was sniffing around and I said “This is it, this is where he fell”. Tears immediately welled in her eyes, I said “it’s okay, don’t cry”. I admit I shocked her, who expects that someone would want to spend time where their spouse lost their life. I have a love/hate relationship with that spot; I’ve cried many tears sitting on that wall.

Of course right on cue Charlie decides he has found HIS spot and promptly does his business, right as I’m telling Saffron. At least it made me laugh. While I’m telling her this tragic story, I’m also trying to pick up a steaming pile. Typical! The moment made us both laugh; more importantly I wasn’t crying. I couldn’t tell her the whole story; I would have choked up and neither of us really wanted to spend our Sunday crying.

I did share with her how I used to go there every month on the 1st, sit and cry, sob really. Sometimes I would lie on the grass where I imagined his body was or I would sit on the wall and listen to his iPod laughing at his song choices and sometimes I would scream with tears streaming down my face because I so desperately wanted my life back. Didn’t matter what the weather was like, hot, cold, rainy, I was there. I tried on many occasions to imagine what happened that day, did his foot slip?, did he fall when he was hanging up the phone with me?, did he know what was happening? He used to tell me “Don’t worry, I’m Spiderman, I always have a plan in case I fall” There was nothing he could have done to save himself, nothing to grasp onto, break his fall, to change the outcome. As time passed I went out there less and less. As we were walking away Saffron asked “where is he buried?” I laughed and said “Uhhh, nowhere” she replied “So where is he?”….“Now? In the dining room.”

Cremation is a bizarre thing. I never really thought about the details prior to Zed’s death. The how, what, where of it all. It was a couple of days after the funeral when they called to let us know he was ready to be picked up…Hmmmm, I didn’t really think this part through.

It was so strange, as we walked in the funeral home, my sisters and I, the attendant came out to greet us, she lead us to a room where candles were burning on a table with a black plastic box sitting between. She said “I’ll give you a moment alone with him” Uhhhhh alright??? We looked at each other like what are we supposed to do now? Trying not to giggle, we just sat down and waited for her to come back. She returned looking very somber, a reusable grocery bag with the funeral home logo in hand. She handed me the bag filled with information, a pen and some other stuff. Who’s going to carry around a funeral home bag? I don’t think they thought through their marketing materials. She started explaining that the box is quite heavy, something most people don’t think about I guess, I never did. Now I realize…Hey, he was a two hundred pound man in a 6”X4” box; of course it’s going to be heavy, like twelve pounds heavy.

We got in the car with the box; I held it on my lap. We had to run a couple of errands while we were out, when we stopped at Target I looked at my sisters and said “Can I leave him in the car?” My oldest sister looked at me like I was crazy and said laughing “well you’re not going to carry him in there are you?” I don’t know what I was thinking? The oddest thing about death and grief is how much you laugh through it too, at the absurdity of it all. I recall laughing at the funeral because Zed’s lips didn’t have any chap stick on them. I know irreverent but laughing is the only way to make it through.

When we got home I really didn’t know what to do, I carried the box upstairs and took him into my bathroom and shut the door. I set the box on the edge of the tub, sat down on the toilet and stared. He sat on the edge of that tub for a long time. Appropriate I guess, Zed and I had some of our most important conversations in that room, always with one of us sitting on the edge of the tub. Today that box resides in a beautiful wooden box that my brother made, it’s made of elm wood that he recovered from one of our childhood “second homes” sanded so smooth you can’t imagine it was made by hand, with beautiful walnut inlays. Zed sits on the buffet server in the dining room we never use, surrounded by pictures of our family. Inside the box there is a tray that holds our wedding rings, his watch and a pile of old cards we had given each other over the years. That box is only thing I’d grab if there was an emergency.

I’m glad I went to the beach yesterday, to our old spot. It was a beautiful day in Charleston, a little overcast, breezy and with great company, perfect really. It felt good to go there again and laugh a little, see old friends that I haven’t seen in too long. I know someday, when the time is right and I’m ready, I’ll take him to that part of the beach and let him stay. Well what’s left of him… That’s another story, ugh!

Footnote: Since my last post, I’m doing quite well. I feel like myself again and I’m smiling more than ever… more on that later 😉

Love,
g

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Mojo

I’ve been really out of sync lately, lost my mojo. It all really started in November of last year culminating a few weeks ago. I’m just gonna come out and admit it loud and clear; I’m depressed and I have been for a very long time. I’ve had too many heart breaks and the stress of living a life alone, raising kids, maintaining a home, shitty dating, all of it took a huge toll on my mental state. I’ve said it before, I’m not one of those people who has gone through this with grace and class. I’m the hot mess.

I’ve isolated myself from a lot of my old friends, the friends I’m talking about are the ones Zed and myself hung out with, you know the cookouts, pool, family stuff “couple friends”. They’re distant, by my own doing and I know this, it was too painful in the beginning and now it’s just different. I’m single and they are all still married. It’s tough to be around them and not feel lonely, not miss him and the life I once knew. I say these words to myself and others a lot… “I want my old life back”. Those words have kept me where I am, kept me from old friends, kept me from moving forward.

I know it’s gone and I can’t have it back but that is what the last 3 years have been about. Grasping for that life. I hit a wall back in November and needed help, I went to the doctor and was prescribed Cymbalta. “Oh my Gosh, I can’t believe she just admitted that”, please! Guess what, 1 in 10 Americans take anti-depressants. Which after being on them for the last six months, there has to be a better option; at least for me. It helped in the short term but man they really took a toll on my body and mind as well.

In the first few weeks of taking them I was extremely sick, nauseated, disoriented, unable to focus and I felt like I had the flu. I was told by my doctor to give it time. I did and then all of a sudden I felt better. I felt pretty good for about 2 months, then I started to become numb. I didn’t even realize it was happening. What I did notice though was how tired I was, how my body slowed down, how I couldn’t focus, how I GAINED 20 pounds! Slowly over those months, I wasn’t Gail anymore. I haven’t even wanted to write. I knew I needed to change something.

After the road trip with my girlfriends, I decided to call my doctor to make a plan to wean myself off the medication. Holy shit, it really sucks and I’m still feeling the effects. It’s been 16 days and I still feel terrible. I will never do this again. After doing some research on the how the drug affects you when you’re coming off the medications; which can last anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months. I have come to realized it’s gonna be a living hell. Every moment of the day I feel like I’ve just stepped off the merry-go-round. Remember that feeling? It’s like your body stopped spinning but your brain didn’t but with the added pleasure of what feels like an electrical jolt. It’s referred to as “brain zaps”. Seriously? It has a name that’s how many people feel this side effect. How did this drug get on the market? I have periods of time where I feel drunk, disoriented, unable to complete my thoughts and sentences. I’ve had very vivid dreams, restless legs and the list goes on. Very difficult when you’re working and your employer doesn’t know what’s going on. It’s crazy!! Pun intended

Good news? Maybe. Although the side effects are constant, I’m actually starting to feel things again, to have emotions. I was so unaware of what was happening to my body and brain. I have been crying and very emotional the last few weeks but it actually feels good. I’ve been trying to work on a plan to treat myself naturally, this can be difficult when motivation and focus is lacking. So I’m starting small, changing my diet, a few supplements, trying to cut out caffeine which is almost impossible for someone who LOVES coffee, and exercising. Exercising is tough too because the best time for me to go is at 5:30am; which is impossible when you’re exhausted from the side effects and changes in sleep patterns and energy levels but I’ll get there.

Today happens to be a bad day, mostly because I didn’t get any sleep last night(thanks Will)! I’ve really noticed, when and what I eat and how much sleep I get, affects the side effects. I just want to be completely me again. I want to feel whole and alive…happy.

When my mojo comes back though, watch out. It’ll be Mojo with a side of Mojito.

Love

g

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A Roadie with the Girlies…

I would not have survived the last few years without my girlfriends, I barely survived with them. There is something totally unique about the relationships that women have with their girlfriends. Most of the time the men in our lives don’t understand and are at times jealous of the relationships. Zed was not one of those men, he laughed at how crazy we were, encouraged the road trips and picked us up when we couldn’t drive. I miss that supportive love and understanding he gave to me.

QJ certainly couldn’t and wouldn’t understand and if we were still together, I’m sure I would be isolated like his wife probably is today. BDD definitely didn’t understand and this week I ran into HD, he even in the short time that we spent together made a comment about “of course you’re out with your girls.” Well yeah! They have never disappointed me, left me or discouraged me; they’ve supported my WORST decisions, even when they knew it was the wrong decision. Each of them have held my hand when I came back crying and said “at least you learned something and I still love you”

This weekend to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (not really, it’s just an excuse), five of my dear friends, Pearl, Violet, Ruby, Saffron and Jade will be hitting the road to Charlotte. There is something so great about a road trip. It’s not like we don’t spend time together every week but being in a different city and leaving behind all of your responsibilities is so freeing.

We will be shopping, laughing, dancing, eating, drinking margaritas and well….other stuff too! Just NO tears or flying drinks. It should be fun and we all need it in our own way. Each of us have our own stories and are at different points in our lives. However, we all need the same thing; we need to be supported when life is stressful, when we feel lonely, when marriage is difficult or when family issues make us sad. We are also cheerleaders for all the great moments too.

So when you say happy Cinco de Mayo on Saturday, toast to your girlfriends and think about how much Pearl will be blushing…(Story to follow 😉 )

Just wish Ms. Blush could be with us too…I miss you so much!

Love,

g

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Slap & Tickle

Who doesn’t like a little slap and tickle sometimes? I know I do… just saying. I mean some of the best sex is when it’s a little rough, but always with love behind the action. So when does it go over the line?

The line is when it is done in anger and violence. It’s never all right to hit someone in anger, either for a man or women, it does happen both ways. There is something seriously wrong in a relationship when any form of violence occurs. Even the vulgar, insulting comments, verbal abuse should never happen either, it’s the same thing. If you think your abusive comments are acceptable because there was no physical force behind it, you’re delusional. Yet everyday both men and women for some reason try to hold onto people even though their actions and words prove their incompatibility. It’s because it always comes with the tickle right behind it, the sorrowful apology with the “you know I’m not really like that”, “I love you, you know I do”, “I’ll never do it again, I promise”. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Shame on me!

I have a new friend who’s come into my life recently. She’s gorgeous, feisty, independent, and self-assured; let’s just call her Saffron. What a silly name but it suits her, the delicate thread plucked from the center of the beautiful purple bloom of the crocus flower. When used properly and treated with respect and grace can enhance a meal. (LMAO, she’s dying laughing while reading this. I’m also so hungry right now, I’m obviously just thinking about food but she’s stuck with it now).

Anyway, she was telling me about an incident she recently had with a guy. Saffron was defending his girlfriend; he was making insulting comments about her. When Saffron spoke up he turned it on her, he started insulting her looks, job, family status, saying she was old and had to travel halfway around the world just for a boyfriend. Bizarre, horrible stuff, right. Saffron handled him though, wasting a perfectly good martini by throwing it in his face and pointing out that her boyfriend is halfway around the world because he’s defending our country. She’s a badass! My idol.

However, he’s not the only man I’ve heard of being this way recently. When I was seeing HD, we were out watching a football game and one of his friends stopped by our table to talk. He made a comment about a woman he was seeing, something like “Yeah, just wine em, dine em, use them up and three weeks you’re outta there” My teenage son was sitting there and he looked at me in disgust.

So is that the new deal? Misogynistic assholes who think its ok to be degrading? Ok to slap you when they don’t like what you say or insult your looks, age, whatever they can pick apart. It may seem like that is whats out there these days BUT I know better. Men behave that way toward the women they are dating because they’re insecure in themselves. That’s why that asshole attacked Saffron. He tried to lower her self-esteem. However, he couldn’t, strong women don’t allow themselves to be abused. There are strong secure men out there, we just have to be strong, secure, happy women first.

The truth that I must face for myself is the men I’ve allowed to be in my life since Zed died have not been good to me because I’m not making good choices. I’m not ready to date, that’s why I’ve run from the good guys and held onto the ones that haven’t been good to me. I feel a little lost without my husband and don’t feel good about myself. Nevertheless, I’m getting there because I’m not accepting the bad anymore and have moved on.

Real love is sweet, kind, peaceful and giving. I know it’s out there, I do believe in love. I’ve taken enough psychology classes and I’m smart enough to know what I’m doing wrong. Maybe some more time alone will get me completely there.

I’m almost ready for the Slap & Tickle…but it’ll be the fun kind, you know when it makes you laugh, not cry.

Love,

g

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Chutes & Ladders

This classic childhood game is so illustrative of how life can play out. Remember playing when you were a kid? I couldn’t stand hitting the chutes, it took me away from my goal of winning. When I’d land on a ladder, I would get all excited to climb up and get ahead of everyone else. However, we never know when there is going to be a chute or a ladder. I lost my husband over 30 feet, those 30 feet came from falling off a ladder; no chute was there to break his fall. He didn’t get to enjoy an easy ride down a slide and work all over again to climb his way back up to the top.

Since Zed’s fall I’ve climbed a little and I’ve slide down a lot. The last four months have been mostly climbing and learning to be happy with all that I have in my life. Some days are tough, I miss Zed, I cry over the pain from QJ or the stress of raising 3 kids sends me down a little chute. However, most I the time I’m ok.

I’m continuing to climb back up the ladder. Unfortunately I’ve hit another chute. I’m no longer seeing the guy I’ve been seeing for the last couple of months. It makes me sad, he has been a part of my life for a while but sometimes it just doesn’t work. I hope that we will be able to remain friends. It may take some time though.

I’ll start the climb again tomorrow. Tonight I’ll hang out at the bottom.

Love,
g

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Where’d Ya Go???

Hola!!!

Yes, I know it’s been a while. I’ve really been busy with life the last few weeks, but more importantly I’ve been dating someone!  NO! I did not meet this person on Match.com. Wow that was interesting, definitely not for me! I went on one date for lunch and that was all it took, weirdos everywhere. When he started talking about what we were gonna be doing together in August, 15 minutes after I met him, I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Forget it!

So the guy I’m seeing asked me not to write about our relationship, which may change at some point but for right now I’ll honor his wishes. Sorry! We’ve had several conversations that I needed to continue to write my stories and tell about my past and how I go here. He understands and said “go for it, I want you to write!” He doesn’t want me to write about us because he’s been around through all of it, seen me at my worst. We’ve been at our worst together too. It’s a work in progress.

I’m still writing about QJ, way cheaper than a therapist.  I’ve been working on the story of our last conversation; which was in January of this year. It’s difficult and brings up a lot of memories and emotions but it’s putting me in a better place.

I’ve also got some events, activities etc to write about as well. So I’m gonna start to try to write more often. Although I’d like to say everyday, I know me and that is not gonna happen. Especially while I’m planning a graduation party for my son, summer swimming starting and all that comes with this time of the year.

More to come soon…

By the way, Brazilian Wax by Claudia has opened a new shop on Coleman Blvd in Mt. Pleasant! Woo hoo!

Love,

g

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