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2017-04-24 - 12:37 p.m.

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I was just ambushed.

It's a slow Monday, I'm taking advantage of the lazy workflow to do some household stuff. Put dishes in dishwasher, haul towels to the washer, put away some clean stuff. I was putting my clean stuff in it's places when I ran into one of his shirts...a very familiar one. I had worn it recently, washed it, here it is. Then grief came out of the ether and punched me in the face.

His shirt that he doesn't wear because he's gone.

I glanced at his picture. I looked at my bed with my teenaged daughter piled up on his side, because that's how we sleep now, because he's gone.

It's been a while since that happened that way. I feel guilty about that. I used to succumb to grief punches at every turn, certainly more than once a day. I know it's normal for that to decrease but it still makes me feel awful. I've been so consumed with trying to live...and with fighting the relentless waves of difficulty that keep knocking me down that I've stopped grieving like I used to. I feel bad about it. I still love him and he is still gone and it isn't changing.

And there's extra guilt now.

I snapped back to "alone" a lot faster than I expected myself to. I know that feeling more than I know what it feels like to share a life with someone. Acute loneliness and grief are the things that remain of what my life *was* when I had a man who loved me 100%. The rest of my life, relationship-wise, has been pure disappointment. I learned how to function without that trust in another. The muscle memory kicked in quick after Mike died. It's definitely a form of auto-pilot, though, because I never had the "get yourself together!" talk with myself. It just happened. It started with going back to work just days after Mike died.

And here's where the guilt comes in: I am not sorry that I am in charge of my money again. I am not sorry that I can go to sleep when I want or stay up as late as I want to. I'm not sorry that I can read a book without worrying about whether or not he will approve. I'm not sorry that I can travel as I wish, and spend or not spend money as I wish. And...I can't remember how I lived like that, with someone impressing their opinions on every solitary thing I dared to do or say or think or enjoy...without going stark raving mad? HOW did I do that?

He was controlling! He was controlling and he would pout when things didn't go his way. He was pious when it came to my music or something I thought was funny that was off-color or risqué. He didn't like for me to spend time with anyone other than him.

He controlled everything. And I do not miss that.

I should add, that though this was a thing all day every day, I told myself that I was still in control and that I was fine with how things were because I am a multi-happiness chameleon, who can adapt to any environment.

I can't even sit here and claim that I was unhappy. I was comfortable and safe and loved and I just made a way for that to work out in my mind as "all good".

Now I see I was suppressing myself and when I started "coming back out" it became clear to me just how severely I had altered my true self to please another person. I won't be doing that again. I only do that for God.

I am not desperate for companionship. I do not need a man to pay my way. I am 100% capable and independent, through God's instruction.

If I am to meet someone in the future, he is going to have to seriously add goodness to my life. Even so, I'm not yet interested to know whether or not such a person exists.

The guilt gets me because I am not sorry that things are as they are. There is a lot about mike being gone that suits me and that I would not have had a chance to do or rediscover with him still here. I feel like...it was sort of a gift to me that I got to enjoy him without committing myself to such restraint for the rest of my life.

At the same time I love Mike with all my heart and miss him so much that his t-shirt broke my heart.

What a confusing situation.


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