The last several weeks have not been good on the mood front.
Some of it is a vicious cycle involving my writing. I’m struggling with some major plot problems in the novel, which means I’m writing hardly any new scenes while I’m bogged down in trying to fix the problem, which makes me feel like I’m not accomplishing anything, which makes me irritated at myself, which saps my motivation to work on the problems, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
And some of it is the stress of all the crazy deadlines at work and the long hours. Some of it is trying to get ready for a convention this coming weekend which should feel more like a vacation than it currently does. Some of it is the change in the seasons which is changing the composition of pollens and spores in the air in a way that’s kicking my hay fever into high gear.
But I know that a lot of it is another problem entirely: I can’t look at the calendar without being reminded of specific significant dates.
A few weeks ago: the 23rd anniversary of my first date with Ray. The same week, the 22nd anniversary of when I finally admitted that I wasn’t bi and that Julie and I needed to split.
Last week: my almost-twin cousin’s 53rd birthday. But because we were born only 8 days apart (delivered by the same doctor, our grandmother the nurse assisting in both births, et cetera) I can never think of her birthday without thinking of mine, or of the year my Aunt Silly finally succeeded in throwing me a surprise party by tricking me into helping plan it and organize it, thinking it was for my cousin only—which is the equivalent of thinking of my birthday.
And I can’t think of my birthday this week without thinking of Ray’s, two days after mine, when he would have turned 49 if he were still alive.
When I’m reminded of my birthday, I always start remembering the many different ways we celebrated two birthdays in such close proximities over the course of the seven years we were together. And the dozens of times we argued, because he wanted to have our commitment ceremony (no one was seriously talking about marriage equality back them) on the day between our two birthdays, but I knew that would just make the celebrations get even more outlandish than he already tended to make the birthdays. And that makes me think of how we finally settled on National Coming Out Day in October for the ceremony, and how happy and goofy and silly we looked in our tuxes with the lavender cummerbunds and ties. And that makes me think of the various costumes and decorations we always put up for Halloween…
And that reminds me of the visit with the specialist, some weeks after the second round of chemotherapy, when the specialist said that maybe, just maybe, Ray had more than two years left to live after all…
And that makes me think of the night, just a few weeks later, when I was awakened in the wee small hours of the morning by the sound of a crash, and I found Ray having some kind of seizure in the computer room, and how I was able to stay calm while I was on the phone with the 9-1-1 operator right up until the moment that… well, I can’t describe it. Something about the way he was gasping for breath changed. Suddenly I knew that he was gone, but I wouldn’t be able to admit it until two days later in the intensive care unit where his mother and I, talking with the neurologist, finally realized that the other doctors had been telling us for two days that his brain wasn’t really alive anymore, the machines were giving an illusion of clinging to life… only an illusion…
And that makes me think of giving them permission to turn the machines off… and everything that happened after that.
And that’s the chain of thought that tumbles through my mind and emotions, like a long row of dominoes that insist on restacking themselves only to fall over again and again.
It hasn’t been this bad in a few years. Yes, it’s always been at least a little bit like this every fall since Ray died. But usually not this deep for as many days in row. And I don’t remember it usually ramping up like it did this year so many weeks before our birthdays.
Many of the memories that spring to mind are good memories, don’t get me wrong. I’m happy and grateful for the time we had together. As I say so many times that I suspect some folks are tired of hearing it: he promised to stay with me for the rest of his life, and he did. That’s an amazing gift the likes of which some people never get.
Most of the time I am quite happy and grateful. I had and loved a wonderful man who was sweeter and kinder than I deserve. And after he died, I had the incredibly good fortune to meet another sweet, wonderful, kind, loving man who—for reasons I still don’t quite comprehend—loves me.
And I’ve never really been the depressive sort. I’ve lived with people who suffer from chronic clinical depression and I understand the difference.
But right now… I just keep tumbling.