Viva Explorer’s Viva Hiatus.
I keep most feelings to myself. The real ones you know, the ones that actually account.
Because of that, a large portion of my friends, family, acquaintances….whoever. They don’t know what I’ve been up to or why in the past year. Not that I feel its truly your business but I figured it’s time to share a little bit of insight.
This is the post. A definitive one. Whether you read it or don’t, I really don’t give two shits. Not even one shit. But it’s a good outlet until I can make my next escape. Many things are on hold in my life right now because of this. August 24th is quickly approaching. It’s a date I wish I could skip over and never acknowledge its existence.
I need no reminder of this stupid date, it never leaves my head. It has a way of sneaking into every day thoughts. I don’t have to look for it. An empty refrigerator. An empty driveway. Molly’s empty bedroom. My empty bed. My empty ring finger. I even miss cleaning up his mess of beard hair after he shaved over the sink.
We didn’t even make it to our 2nd anniversary. The entire relationship? Maybe 3 years.
You know what TV show I enjoy most? The Golden Girls. I absolutely have more in common with geriatric widows cracking overtly promiscuous jokes at one another. My peers, the people even 10 years my senior, I can hardly relate to them. Even then, I can meet another widow. Should be able to offer some condolence to me right? Nah. They had years – many, many long years with those husbands before they passed – 10 years, 30, even 50. It’s not the same. It’s another empty feeling I add to the list.
Take my word, just about everything is empty over here.
His birthday passed and so did Molly’s. Eva’s birthday and mine. Our second anniversary would have been in March. I still can’t express how pissed I get that we didn’t make it there. I watched our honeymoon photos popup on my Facebook memories. The dates reminded me those beautiful days only took place just two years ago, July 2015. Yeah, disabled that feature real quick. I’ve only looked at his Facebook profile a handful of times in the last year, I don’t need the reminder. I can’t do it.
I still have all of Molly’s furniture just where she left it. Her bed, dresser, nightstand and mirror, even some toys, all there you know…just in case. The furniture set we bought as soon as Matt won majority custody. That was May of 2016. My heart breaks for her just as much as it does for him. He was determined, so determined to get her out of a less than ideal living situation. After years of court cases and lawyer fees, years and years of work. It paid off. He did it. We won.
Life does not care if you win or not.
She came to live with us early June last year. She was ours. A real step daughter for me, a real step sister for Eva and real family for all of us. The two of them went to school together and had such a blast.
By the end of August, she had to go back to her bio mom. Not even a week after the accident. I had no legal standing to keep her with me. Molly was devastated. Eva was devastated. I was well beyond devastation at that point. Our family literally ripped in half in less than a week’s time. I haven’t been able to speak to her apart from a surprise phone call in November last year. Will that ever happen again? I’m not optimistic. I don’t even know where she lives anymore.
I post new photos on Instagram or Facebook, somewhere exotic or doing some new crazy nonsense. There are comments I read the same comments and messages each time. “Again? Where are you this time?” Not in my empty house, that’s for damn sure.
I’ve had people tell me I’m brave and strong, so some other adjective to sound uplifting. I’m neither. None of those. I see your pictures with boyfriends and girlfriends, your new engagement ring, your wedding, your anniversary. I hate it, the feelings I get. Anger, jealousy, nostalgia, sprinkle in some annoyance and and a shit ton of cynicism. Sums it up. I’m not gonna shit on your happiness though but I probably won’t participate. Enjoy your life. Don’t expect anything close to excitement coming from me.
I don’t hold back from much anymore. There are things I’ve done in the past year that I’d never imagined. Flying in prop planes – voluntarily – on more than one occasion. I used to down handfuls of Klonopin just to get onto a 737. Dropping myself off in countries where I know absolutely no one in a thousand mile radius, much less speak their language. Talking to Patrick fuckin’ Stewart as he signs a photo for me (for a nominal fee, but still). Finally learning to SCUBA dive and snorkeling in spots I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid. Amazing experiences. Truly.
My bed is my best friend. Netflix and Xbox are a close second.
Most days, though, are filled with much, much less. More than likely, it’s been months since I’ve spoken to you, my friends, even through text. There are only so many times I can answer the question of “How are you?” Am I really okay? Unless you’re a therapist and I’m paying you by the hour, you don’t want a sincere answer to that question. Take my word on that one.
It’s funny, the little things that don’t seem like a big deal in the present can mean a tremendous amount in the days or weeks or years after. He won’t know who wins Game of Thrones. He never got to watch the Dominion War on Deep Space Nine. I couldn’t watch Parks & Rec for months after.
He didn’t see Trump become president and he damn sure would have had fun on that one. Our dogs will never cuddle with him again. I wonder if they know that or even care. These inconspicuous things we did together aren’t over for me. But he won’t be around to do them with me anymore.
There’s always tomorrow right? Wrong. <insert Donald Trump “WRONG.” meme>
Bigger things stand out a lot more obviously. Matt and I had a goal and it involved seeing as much of the world as we could. Most of my places were tropical and involved seeing sharks or whales or some kinda animal. He was into some weird shit – they used to practice human sacrifice here? Fuck yeah, let’s go there. I’m pretty sure I could dig up a Facebook status of his that read almost exactly like that. I’ve managed to cross a couple things off both lists in the last year.
We had been saving and planning for Iceland after we had a blast together in Mexico. I can’t tell you if they had sacrifices in Iceland but they damn sure had Vikings and we know what that means. Close enough.
A much less ambitious yet much more viable plan was the road trip and camping the SW US. Neither of us had been. A much more plausible plan than flying to a tiny island near the arctic circle. This road trip moved to the fore front.
The route went through northern NV to CA south toward Joshua Tree, up through NV to head in to UT. From there we would have left from SLC or Phoenix in AZ. I was literally working on the logistics and itineraries the day of the accident. Our goal date was March of 2017.
Iceland or massive road trip. I have the ability to make both of these happen now. Do I want to? We mapped routes all over the SW US together. Going by our plans and suggestions seem so much more empty alone. We made these plans together. But only one of us could make now.
It’s a constant reminder that I have to do something besides sit on my sidelines.
As of now, I have way too many Delta miles than I know what to do with. One of these trips will happen. I have a ring made with his ashes in the stone. It comes with me on most trips. He’s still gets to come. Maybe not how we imagined but he’ll still be there.
And the photos here? There’s a good chance so many of these photos mean little to you. Depends on how well you knew him. One day, the most random and insignificant photos you snap for Facebook or IG will mean the fucking world to you.
His 3 favorite things are pretty evident in the pics I posted. If you did know him, you could probably recognize why they’re here. His daughter (I like to think me and Eva are included there) took up more than half the photo roll on his phone. She was his world.
He was a gym rat. Going from former NA member to completely clean after years of struggling. He made massive strides and hit goal after goal. The gym was his outlet and he definitely enjoyed standing in a mirror or two, with a camera of course.
Our dogs were his biggest fans and I’m pretty sure he returned that feeling. I could find gigs upon gigs of Sammie and him cuddling together.
I hope none of you came by to read some insightful word salad nonsense about how to grieve and love life again. There’s nothing more for me to say.
Maybe next year.