Refuge in Grief – Day 01

Who was the person you used to be?

Why do I feel like I should be an iPhone or some operating system to properly and definitively answer the question of who was the person I used to be? If I were one of those things, it would be so much easier to give a concise answer, at least who I was then to who I am now would contain bug fixes, have better security and a fancy dot-something number. I think of myself in three parts: past, present, and future. Most days, these tenses of my state of mind overlap and often one is fighting for dominance at the wrong time. I find myself reviewing a day, a conversation, even a simple text, needing to assure myself what “is real” and “not real.” 


What is definitely “real” and something I wake to the realization of every day, is that my partner had died in October of 2016. Twenty years to the day that he asked me to marry him. His things still fill half of the closet we shared. When I do my taxes in years to come, I will be filing as a widow and single head of household. As a mom of two teenagers, I am trying not to miss anything in their care. I think of the will I created that gives them everything when I’m gone. I think of his possessions and this will, and I am perfectly content with having absolutely nothing, it’s all for our kids. I like the idea of owning nothing, I am okay with being nothing. I don’t want things, I don’t want to continue living in this house. It is a place of promises not kept, a life unfulfilled. Yes, we are moving next summer 2018, our final destination yet to be determined. My kids and I agree, it’s time to downsize.


 I love fractals: geometric figures in which each part has the same statistical character as the whole. A repeated pattern in infinite scale. If I ever get a tattoo, I would get a Fractal tattoo, a ‘Dragon Curve’ Fractal Object to be precise. I love watching Fractal art videos on YouTube, they calm be down. I think of my life as its own Fractal. No matter the scale, I’m the same pattern. The only difference is that at different times I have adjusted my focus and scale, it’s still me in there. Before I met Jon, I was happily doing two things: working and working out, and just like Romeo and Juliet, neither could survive without the other. My future husband brought a new dimension to my passions, someone who could relate to things that were important to me, and it was great having a partner to do the things I liked to do. As we grew together, wife and full-time mom replaced my career, and exercise was put aside due to my own health issues over these crazy years. This grief that now stands beside me has brought me back to my center, full-on with no holding back. The ‘working out’ is back and I consider it my job to be as healthy as possible for myself and my kids. It’s my release and how I deal with the anxiety of my grief. ‘Working’ is managing this hollow life trying to fill it with a future that is simplified, keeps my kids close, and will make room for things to come.~Paula 

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