Tag: life or something like it

grandpa mike (final part)

My sister, who has been living in Hungary, was able to move up her flight moving back to the states a week and arrived to PDX on Friday night. Since one of my parents had to come up from Eugene to pick her up from the airport, I decided to head down with them and catch a Bolt Bus home on Sunday. Despite getting back to Eugene right around midnight, the whole family went over to sit with Grandpa for a little bit.

Each day we went over for a little bit and basically just watched him sleep.

I went with an old friend on Sunday morning (who knew him well), and then once more by myself right before I had to head down to the bus stop to go home. As I left, I kissed his forehead and told him I loved him one last time.

Overnight, he passed away peacefully in his sleep. His journey on this crazy planet complete.

I’m going to miss you grandpa.

I’m happy he got to meet both of my sisters children before he passed away. Someday I hope to tell my own children stories about him.

This is one of the last pictures of him, from the weekend James was born:

IMG_2387

Four generations.

I love you grandpa.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/grandpa-mike-final-part/

Grandpa Mike (part 3)

For most of my college years, I lived in the mother in-law suite at my Grandparents house. During that time, I acquired a dog from a co-worker. Bruno was approx 2 yrs old when I got him (but his age wasn’t really known). My grandparents had huge back yard with plenty of room for him to run (and run and run and run). Inside the house…he was pretty good at following basic instructions, but when he was outside it was like all hearing disappeared. He was a mix of Walker Hound and Black Lab (at least).

Bruno

When I moved up to Portland in 2004, Bruno stayed at my grandparents house. He was happier there than he would have been able to be anywhere I would have been able to live at the time. He truly became my grandparents dog though the time one of them fell (either in the bathroom or outside…my memory is failing me at the moment) and the other was either outside or in the house. Bruno went and found the other of them to get their attention and lead them to the other.

Bruno lived a long time. I got him sometime in 2000 and he finally had to be put down just last year (or maybe late 2014…dates seem to be failing me at the moment). As much of a pain in the ass Bruno could be at times. I’m glad he was able to be a companion to my grandparents for a while. I know he loved being there with him.

Love you Grandpa.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/grandpa-mike-part-3/

Grandpa Mike (part 2)

My sisters with Grandpa at Alisha’s wedding.

My grandpa was released from the hospital yesterday and while he recovered from the surgery and the initial reasons he was hospitalized, he’s having problems eating. Per his wishes (and after consulting with the doctors), there isn’t really much that can be done for that as he’s not a good candidate for further surgery that would help him take in food easier. Basically he’s now in care to manage pain and be comfortable. But most likely it’s just a matter of time. He’s 92, he’s lived a long good life. Was at home until going into the hospital on the 3rd. He’s outlived his wife by 9.5 years (so far). Not to shabby, especially for a family where the men don’t typically make it into their 90s.

I’m going to miss him though. He has been a huge part of my life growing up and who I’ve become. I’m not really ready to see him go (selfishly).

I love you Grandpa.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/grandpa-mike-part-2/

for lost friends

For Lost Friends

As twilight makes a rainbow robe
From the concealed colors of day
In order for time to stay alive
Within the dark weight of night,
May we lose no one we love
From the shelter of our hearts.

When we love another heart
And allow it to love us,
We journey deep below time
Into that eternal weave
Where nothing unravels.

May we have the grace to see
Despite the hurt of rupture,
The searing of anger,
And the empty disappointment,
that whoever we have loved,
Such love can never quench.

Though a door may have closed,
Closed between us,
May we be able to view
Our lost friends with eyes
Wise with calming grace;
Forgive them the damage
We were left to inherit;

Free ourselves from the chains
Of forlorn resentment;
Bring warmth again to
Where the heart has frozen
In order that beyond the walls
Of our cherished hurt
And chosen distance
We may be able to
Celebrate the gifts they brought,
Learn and grow from the pain,
And prosper into difference,
Wishing them the peace
Where spirit can summon
Beauty from wounded space.

– John O’Donohue (from To Bless the Space Between Us)

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/for-lost-friends/

perspective

The narratives we create based on our perspectives are interesting. How two people can view the same thing in very different ways. My divorce is one of those things. When we did couples counseling last summer and fall, I took a hard look at things I had done our relationship and tried to work on improving those things. As I look back on how I did in making those improvements, I know I didn’t fully succeed. It was hard knowing what was working and what was not working, because our communication wasn’t as good as it could have been or needed to be (and this is on both of us). Stagnant communication was a large part of why we stopped couples counseling in the fall (as we weren’t really communicating about anything serious even in that environment).

The narrative that I’ve seen from A is largely based on the fight we had the night she left. She does mention some of the things that I’ve pointed out in earlier posts where I failed in our marriage, but there is a lot of weight put on that one evening. Even then our perspective of that evening is quite different from each other. Personally, the weight put on that evening seems a bit disingenuous to me, as at least by appearances and actions, she had already decided to leave the marriage. Again, this is only my perspective on the subject, because I don’t feel like I got the completely honest story from her in the weeks leading up to her leaving. That fight doesn’t happen if she’s more honest with me in those preceding weeks (even if it had just been “I don’t want to be married anymore,” a question I had asked a version of a few weeks before). The words said that night didn’t break something that was fixable, it was already broken beyond repair (and yes A, if you ever do read this…I said words that night that came from a place of hurt and anger, and there is no excuse for that. I do take responsibility for those words and I don’t actually think they are true.)

I am in complete agreement though that the marriage needed to end. That it was over when she left the house on April 26th. There was most definitely no going back at that point (even if I wasn’t ready to admit that at the time). Our relationship had become something that was unhealthy for both of us. I could easily list off a bunch of perceived wrongs, but that really isn’t the point. It’s not going to do me any good to focus on things that are in the past. While I’d like to see some acknowledgement of her role in our marriage ending as part of her narrative, I know that’s something I’m not likely to see. Unfortunately the foundation we built our marriage on wasn’t a stable one and when the earth shook, the marriage couldn’t hold up to the shaking.

I wish things could have ended more amicably. That we could have actually had a discussion about how we could have parted ways in a way where there wouldn’t be the animosity that seems to be there now. That we could have processed our divorce paperwork and division of assets without having to spend a bunch of money to have attorneys do that for us. But this is what the circumstances of that last evening seem to have left us with. One lawyer talking to another lawyer, each talking to us, all the while billing us an hourly rate.

Thankfully, there isn’t any real difficult issues in our divorce case. The lawyers will put together a proposal and we’ll sign it and it’ll get submitted to the court. Once that happens, it’ll be 2-3 weeks and a judge will sign the paperwork and we’ll be officially divorced. It could even happen before we get to what would have been our 3 year anniversary.

With that a new perspective on the past eight years of my life will formed. Who I am will have changed.

I have a plan for the next few years, much of which was already planned before divorce became the reality.

I’m applying for new jobs (with better salaries)…and figuring out things that really excite me vocationally and hopefully finding myself in a position that meets both of those things.

I’ve got a plan to aggressively pay off my consumer debt that I allowed myself to fall into again. I was debt free (with the exception of student loans), when I moved back to Portland in 2012. Making better financial decisions and aggressively attacking the debt was something I dedicated myself to at the beginning of this year. At the time, I had different reasons driving that than I do know (wanting to relieve some of the financial stress on our marriage, getting ready to be in a better place to have kids, etc). Actually I suppose those reasons are still pretty similar to post-divorce goals as well. I want to be less financially stressed, so when I do have an opportunity to have a family again I won’t have to worry as much about the finances of it.

I’m working on continuing to nurture and improve my relationships (both personal and professional). My friends have been such a great source of support the past few months and I’ve tried to make sure they know how much I appreciate and cherish those friendships. I’ve been able to grow closer to my family again. I’ve seen a nephew in his first hour of life. I’ve formed new friendships with some amazing people. I’ve very much lucked into a great set of housemates, neighbors, and landlords.

I already feel healthier than I have since last summer. My stomach has settled down and I’ve lost some weight. My sleep schedule has returned to normal as well in the past month (after a few months of not sleeping well).

The future is wide open and it looks good!

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/perspective/

two months after

Things are going well mostly. I still have some quite sad days…and some days where I’m mad at A. But there are fewer days like that now. Mostly those are idle days when I let my mind get away from me. The actual divorce is kind of in a waiting period now. My attorney is waiting for information from her attorney (and her), so the attorneys can begin discussing a final settlement of assets. Things could wrap up fairly quickly if an agreement can be reached and signed. (It should be fairly straight forward.) Then a few weeks after that when a judge signs the order…it’ll be over officially.

This whole process has left me with many questions. I have questions I know I’ll never get answers for (mainly because she’d have to answer them…and that doesn’t seem like something she’s ever going to be willing to do). Mostly though I’ve questioned myself. It has been a tough blow to my self-confidence to be so completely rejected by the person I loved and I thought still loved me. I’ve tried to focus on how I can improve myself though. I’ve tried to really make sure that my friends and family know how much I appreciate them and the time they’ve spent with me. I’m working on improving my career and financial situation (even though this is tough with the lower self-confidence). In general, each day is getting better. They all still have their moments, but I’m getting more comfortable in my new reality.

I do understand why divorced (and probably widowed) people are attracted to other divorced people. Even in just a platonic way, there is something comforting knowing that they have an understanding of the pain you’ve been (are going) through. Sure they have a different story and experience than you do…but they understand the struggle (whether that came from deciding to divorce…or being the divorcee).

Good things from the last two months: A new nephew! The new housemate is good, I haven’t seen much of her because of differing work hours and travel, but no issues so far there. I’ve also met and got to know better some amazing people over the last two months. I’ve been constantly amazed about the amazing community the Timbers Army is. Even though I already knew how amazing it was, it still is so wonderful how much they will rally for each other (despite the near constant Twitter drama of some sort or other). Have I mentioned the new nephew yet? My other nephew is pretty cute as well, traveling all over Europe (they currently live in Hungary) with my other sister and brother in-law. I love the barrage of Instagram photos when they get back from a trip (most recently Romania and the city in Hungary where the paprika is from).

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/two-months-after/

Love is love is love is love is love…

In the shadow of the horrible tragedy in Orlando Sunday morning, Lin-Manuel Miranda (creator of the hit musical Hamilton) delivered a passionate sonnet as part of his acceptance speech for Best Score. At its climax he pleads “And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.”

If there is any truth and hope to be found in the world, it is this. If anything will ever change the horror and sadness in the world it is this.

Love.

Hold on to love. Do not let it go.

Let hate go as it will only prevent you from loving.

Just love.

Love.

There is nothing bigger than love.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/love-is-love-is-love-is-love-is-love/

Vulnicura

The title of Björk’s album (released at the beginning of 2015) is a mashup of two latin nouns (Vulnus + Cura) and roughly translates to “Cure for Wounds.” This album has been a constant in my musical rotation since I realized in April that my marriage was in real danger of failing (which it of course eventually did). The album was written during the breakup of her marriage and is devastating and beautiful all at the same time. Each of the first six tracks are accompanied by a timeline in the liner notes. Tracks 1 – 3 being before the breakup and 4 – 6 being after the break up. The last three tracks offer a sense of hope and healing…but it is not the Hollywood kind of ending. There is still an intense vulnerability in the healing presented in these tracks. These include older tracks but still very much fit in with the overall arc of the album.

Here is the track that really sticks with me at the moment:

At times, I think I’m here alongside her (this is “11 months after” and track 6). Other times its clear that I’m not there as well. I guess that’s to be expected. In reality its only 1 month after. There are probably still many more of the feelings in Black Lake that I’m still feeling (“2 months after” and track 4):

Last night I was overcome with sadness. I was thinking about the good times A and I had. The first times we hung out where I introduced her to Cafe Corsa and Skylight Books in LA (which she insisted were dates and I insisted were just friends meeting). I was thinking about all the fun road trips we have taken. Trips to Big Sur, the redwoods on the Northern California coast, camping at Wallowa Lake in NE Oregon, trips to Vancouver BC. It is these memories that I want to hold close to my heart and cherish. For all the things that ended up going wrong in our relationship, there was plenty of happy times. These are the memories I will keep with my heart.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/vulnicura/

on building new routines…

A lot has happened over the last week. We found a new housemate and got her approved with the landlord. That was the number one task on my to-do list and a big weight off my shoulders. I’m excited for her to move in, she manages a nearby wine shop, and seems like a lot of fun. I think we’re going to have a pretty good house between the three of us there.

Over the long weekend, I had a friend visit from the Seattle area. She’s someone I’ve known since high school and is going through period of change and discovery of her own. It was nice to have late night conversations talking about life, love, and finding direction. She might not know it…but our conversations definitely gave me stuff to think about as I contemplate the next steps in my life. For me, one of the best things about her visit was just having someone over to continue the process of making memories in the house that belong just to me.

I’ve explored places to build new routines over the past week or so as well. I’ve rediscovered a coffee shop that will be a great option for weekend morning coffee outings. It opens early and is close enough that I actually even want to bike there (there are actually a few places in that neighborhood that I hope to spend some time at this summer). I started meal planning again this week. While I’m already off schedule because of a great BBQ with some of my soccer family, I had actually planned for that as well by not specifically planning things later in the week. It’s still going to take some getting used to planning meals for one (and especially improving my veggie intake) but I’m starting to return to normal.

I did buy myself a present over the weekend:

My current housemate has a similar hammock, and it looked so comfortable I just couldn’t pass up the great deal on Amazon when I saw it on Saturday. It arrived on Monday (yes Amazon has the USPS delivering on holidays now too) and I spent a good few hours reading and napping in it Monday afternoon. Its going to be great having it this summer, both for back yard relaxing, and hiking/camping.

So what’s next? Now that finding a housemate is behind me, my next goal is working on improving my job/career/financial situation. My current position is through a temporary agency and I am definitely underemployed in it. The company my assignment is at is also still trying to figure out its structure after being acquired last year. While there is a lot of confidence that the jobs will stay here in Portland, they could just as easily be absorbed by another site elsewhere in the US. Like most everything else in my life, I’m looking for stability (at least as much as possible), and I just don’t feel comfortable yet at my current assignment. I also need to find a position where I can get decent health insurance in my own name (as my current health insurance will go away at an as of yet unknown date). Beyond that, I’m not entirely sure what I’m looking for. It’ll be something to concentrate on in counseling over the next few weeks.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/on-building-new-routines/

one month after

On Thursday, it’ll be a month since A left. It would still be another week before she officially said she was done with our marriage, but when she left on the night of April 26th it was already over. So where am I in this journey a month into it?

I can honestly say, I’m doing ok now. The initial shock and anger has waned. As I’ve said over multiple posts, I am still grieving the loss of the companionship, plans, and dreams we had; however I’m no longer grieving the loss of her. Really the most frustrating part of this process is that she seems unwilling to participate in it. I guess it makes sense though, she made a decision to cut and run from our problems, why should completing our divorce separation be any different? In the end its only going to make the divorce cost us both more money and emotional energy. For someone who wants out so bad, it seems like an odd way to handle things.

As for me, I continue to work on the things I was already working on before the events of the past two months surfaced. I’m continuing to see a counselor to work my way through the feelings resulting from the collapse of my marriage. I’m at a point now however, that I’ll finally be able to work with him for some of the reasons I originally chose him. I’m working on figuring out ways to improve my career opportunities and financial stability (one of the things my counselor specializes in). I’m continuing to work on improving my general health as well. As I re-learn planning and cooking for one, I’m trying to be conscious of what I’m eating (and how much). With the month of reduced appetite due to the relationship stress, my body has gotten used to smaller portion sizes, and that’s not a bad thing.

I’m looking forward to what life has in store for me after all this is done. There is still a lot of work to do to get there and it’s still stressful. I’m going to come out of this a better person though. I have faith that when the time is right, I will find a new partner and it will be even more amazing because of the things I’ve learned from this relationship (both the good and bad). One question people have asked me recently is “Do you regret marrying A?” Despite how everything turned out, I do not. Based what I knew then, I have no regrets and would do it again with the same information. I loved her with my whole heart and I still do have love for her. I really do wish the best for her. Yes, she broke my heart. Yes, she left without even trying to make things work. But I loved her until the end. I will cherish the memories we had together. My marriage has made me a better person and it will make my next marriage or partnership all the better as a result.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/one-month-after/