Today at the spa, I was nervous about the stillness of a massage. Sure enough, it brought tears and sadness. But it also felt wonderful to be touched by another person. Not to be weird, but having someone touch my back, legs, arms, feet and neck was a reminder that I exist. I feel like I have basically been a floating head for about six months now. No connection between mind and body. I'm in my head 24/7 and don't even consider the physical parts of me that keep me going each day (except for that one day I was in the bathtub and remembered that yes, I do have legs and arms and feet). The massage must have done something, because after Michelle and I ate lunch at Pietro's, I came home and slept for a solid hour. More than I've been able to in the past week or so.
Bax saw Mike again. We were in the master bedroom this morning. I was getting dressed and Bax was standing in the doorway to the closet, looking out into the bedroom. He was playing with my belts and simply looked past me, over my right shoulder towards the bathroom door.
"What?" I asked, somewhat annoyed. Truly, I feel like I wish I could get baxter to tell me exactly what he sees. Does Mike talk to him? Do they play? Does Mike just walk on through? "Baxter, who did you see?"
"Daddy," he says, going back into the closet to rip another belt down from the hook.
"Where?" I asked. He pointed back in the direction of the bathroom. "You saw Daddy?" I asked again.
"Yeah." he said nonchalantly and proceeded to whine as my woven belt got stuck on the hook in spite of his tugging.
I have said this a lot to friends over the past week as I have lost my shit randomly here and there throughout the day and night. I don't think I had any idea of how strongly I would mourn Mike's absence. I think in my rational mind I thought since he hadn't been in the house for 4 months (except that amazing weekend April 1st) and had been so sick and exhausted for so long, that somehow him passing away would not devastate me as much. But what I failed to realize was how much I was getting from being with him - even as he was so sick. From touching his face, bringing him clothes to wear, putting on music for him, giving him a shave, lying with him for hours in his hospital bed - and towards the end, just feeling him squeeze my hand. It connected me to him. Even if the "him" that I was interacting with wasn't "real" Mike - it was still him.
I've described it this way... You know when you are at a party and there are certain people who change the energy of the room as soon as they enter? You can sense where they are at every moment because of the light they carry with them. Mike was one of those people. But, to me, Mike's energy didn't just alter the feeling of a room - it affected how it felt to be here on this planet. I carried his energy with me everywhere. Whether at school, out for a walk, or away at a conference, Mike's presence in my life changed what it felt like to be me. Whenever I had a dumb anecdote to tell, or a little annoying thing about my day - it wasn't real until I shared it with Mike.
And now I feel like I'm walking around with half of me missing. Not all the time. Much of the time, just to go about my day without collapsing into the fetal position, I think I pretend he's still around (which, according to Baxter, isn't "pretending" at all).
But then I take a moment to process that fact that Mike is not at the hospital. He's not at work. He's not away on business. He's not at rehearsal. In fact, he'll never be anywhere again. He's gone.
That's when I feel lost - like I'm floating around with no home, no path, and no destination. That energy, that guiding presence that came from Mike is missing.
And yet, as I write this, I do feel a version of his energy. But it's not coming from outside me like it did from Mike - instead, it's inside. Perhaps from the memories of Mike, or from the person who I became from my seven years with him - or maybe from something more other-worldly - who knows. But I do feel a piece of that energy. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to say that it's comforting to feel it in spite of his absence, it certainly doesn't feel as nice as it did when it came from real live Mike. It certainly doesn't provide me the sense of direction I had from him being in the world.
In an effort to try to figure out who I might be without Mike, I thought back to who I was before him. I started listening to music that I listened to before we met, wearing clothes I wore before we met... What a stupid idea. I am not that person. I don't want to be that person. Mike changed who I am and how I see myself - even if he's not here anymore. And it felt so hollow and horrible to try to reclaim my pre-Mike identity. It lasted all of one day - then I put my polyester hipster clothes and REM CD back where they belonged and popped Jack Johnson back in the CD player.
Off to the next batch of coping mechanisms...