"So, what gets you up in the morning?""Worry. That is the simplest and most clear answer I can give you. Worry about whether it will be another wasted day. Worry about the things I am ignoring that will be of detriment to the future me that, unless I quit life, will be forced to deal with my fears. Worry that I will slip into the depression everyone expects of me. Worry for my family. Worry that I am creating, out of a good intention that I told Greg on his deathbed, a lie: that I would be okay."
"What are you excited for?""Not much. Initial excitement soon gives way to terror as the rest of my life unfolds like a map that has been rammed haphazardly into the glove compartment. And as anyone who knows me can attest, I am not good with direction at the best of times."
"Any events coming up?""Music shows. Amanda Palmer at the 29th of this month in Vancouver. Matt Anderson. Dan Mangan. Gaslight Anthem with Hotwater Music. A best friend's wedding. Football games with my dad and pub nights with friends..."
"So...?""Oh, my dad just set me up with a therapist. That is something to be both terrified and excited about. Like any relationship."
"None of this sounds like you are planning your next move in life.""That is not an accident."
"Not to judge, but what is stopping you? What is the hardest part?""Fear makes my decisions for me right now. Not making a decision is making a decision. So, not checking the mail/ phone calls/ voicemail makes a lot of decisions for me. Not checking the bank account keeps the laughter around a bit longer. Hiding creates a cocoon. My next life is a horrifying endeavor. Imagine the strength most people need to clean out a storage closet. I need to clean out my life."
"What do you miss most about Greg?""I can't answer that. Their is no hierarchy of love, nor pain. Heightened emotion creates action, and action builds the elements of your life. My entire life is absent from a huge life force that helped to design the blueprints of a building now crumbled to the ground, with all of the architectural plans disintegrating with it."
"That sounds brutal.""It ain't easy."
"How are you feeling? Does anyone ask that? Is that a stupid question?""It's not a stupid question, though it is an idealistic one. It assumes I have an answer or, even less likely, will be able to articulate it. I am numb. Or distracted. Or hidden. Or destroyed. I am only sad alone, though. Very very few people see me at my worst. It is not a natural role for me."
"What is your natural role?""Life of the party. Fun beam. Cockeyed optimist. Love addict. Inspirational speaker and motivational role model. Okay, those last things are kind of a joke, but only kind of. My brother used to refer to me as a muse. He said my talent was making others better people."
"And you are not this now?
"I am not comfortable being a source of inspiration for people, as I am not confident I am a role model for anyone. Being "strong" or "inspiring" to people now seems to mean that I am not suicidal or a drug addict or a cutter. The intention is the same, but the filter through which I communicate has changed. There is a prism of sadness, and grief, and regret, and pity that changes my intent. It is not my current strength, let's leave it at that."
"So you don't make people feel better anymore?""Usually it is by being the emotional barometer of the room. At the funeral, the wake, pub nights... if I am able to look like I am okay, maybe everyone can believe it WILL be okay, and thus, they can be okay, too."
"Do people still come to you with their problems?""Often. Sometimes too much. Sometimes selfishly, saying things like 'We are totally sharing in our grief...' when I assure you we are not."
"You are not sharing the grief?""No. Not being able to see a guy that you saw at punk rock shows 6 times a year by accident is not something that can be shared with a woman who had her entire life pulled out from under her and has spent the last few months hiding under it."
"It does seems a bit insensitive.""You have no idea."
"Examples?""No names, but I have had a girl say that her pain was paramount because I was prepared, where as she was SHOCKED. I had another compare the death of her 15 year old boyfriend to Greg's death because she also considered him the love of her life. As though a 15 year old and a 35 year old would have the first fucking thing in common when it comes to love, let alone the destruction of a life build on plans and dreams and hope. Hope means something different at 15 than 35. Trust me. I was 15."
"Ouch.""The cake was probably a girl telling me that they know how I must feel because they, too, understand my despondence due to working in a warehouse/trade with men who don't believe in the plight of the female tradeswomen."
"They compared the death of your fiance to their male dominated job environment?""It's ongoing, dude. Some days I have to defend my absurd tweets with the hashtag #widowtweets because people believe they have a more depressing story. Like the traffic ticket they got that day."
"I don't have words. I just... that is nuts.""They say the stages of death include anger. I am in no way angry at Greg, or 'God', or the care of the medical team at the UofA, or Life, or any of that shit. What I am angry at is the insensitive and narcissistic characters I am coerced into dealing with about this tragedy."
"Have you gone off on them?""Not yet."
"I would be excited to witness that.""A few close friends who have been present for many of these situations have shared in your enthusiasm. They feel I am long overdue."
"Can we continue this later? I have a feeling you are getting sleepy.""I am. But I would like that."
"Thanks, Sheena.""Thank you."