Remembering the Blur

Every couple of weeks, I open my blog and look at what I wrote exactly a year ago. It’s a good way to process what’s happened and put things in perspective. I’ve never been motivated to keep a journal, so thank goodness I discovered a motivation for blogging when I began this crazy journey. Otherwise a lot of important memories would be lost.

When I got up this morning I looked back to see if I’d written anything a year ago today. I found this: A Blurry 2Summers Mystery is Revealed. It’s the post when Jon, who went by the pseudonym Joe back then, decided to reveal his face on 2Summers. Before that day, Jon had always blurred out his face in photos of him that appeared on my blog, earning him the nickname, “the Blur”.

Rereading that post got me thinking about lots of things. In the same way that Jon’s face used to be a blur on my blog, my thoughts have been a blur inside my head lately. I decided I better write my thoughts down, so I can remember and sort through them when I look back at this time next year.

My favorite photo of Jon working. Taken in Diepsloot, July 2011.

Tomorrow, it will be five months since Jon died. Nineteen used to be a lucky number for me — it was my jersey number in softball. Now, 19 will always remind me of that hot December day five months ago, when everything changed.

Each time one of these monthly anniversaries approaches, I take note of how my grieving has changed. At the three-month mark I felt euphoric, like I had clawed my way up through a sewer pipe, deep under the ground, and finally reached the sunlight again. I thought I had things all figured out. I was invincible. Here’s a post that I wrote around that time.

As the four-month anniversary approached, I was sinking again. Grief ambushed me, along with an all-too-familiar feeling of disbelief. How can Jon really be gone? How can I survive on my own? I remember standing in the shower one morning and realizing, “I’m alone.” I convulsed into sobs.

I think this is the worst thing about losing a partner, as opposed to other types of loss. When your spouse/partner dies, every aspect of your day-to-day life changes in an instant. All the things that you used to do with someone else, you now have to learn to do alone. It’s not only a death; it’s a divorce. Except you don’t have the satisfaction of hating the person for leaving you.

This post hints at how I was feeling around the four-month mark.

Another favorite photo of Jon, taken in the Drakensberg Mountains in September 2010.

So, here I am at the five-month anniversary of Jon’s death, hoping I’ve found a bit of balance. At this moment at least, I feel calm — not euphoric, not morose, but accepting. I miss Jon, but in a more moderate kind of way. I’m learning how to feel content by myself, how to head off the loneliness when I see it creeping toward me. I’m learning how to enjoy time with friends, without depending on friends for my survival. I know now that I can only depend on myself.

Perhaps most promising of all, I’m starting to feel restless. Almost bored. I’m no longer frozen in place, hesitant to move for fear of losing pieces of myself, for fear of losing Jon. I’m no longer using Jon’s death as a bargaining chip — as a free pass to get out of doing things. At least I’m trying not to do that. I realize now that I can keep Jon with me while moving forward alone.

For the first four months after Jon died, his two favorite shirts and his Land Rover hoodie hung on the clothes rack next to the bed. His Wilbur Smith novel sat on the night stand, bookmark in place. Every few days I would stop and look at these items, pick them up, then put them back down again.

Last week, I put Jon’s things away. It wasn’t a super-dramatic moment or anything. I didn’t cry. I just decided it was time.

Jon and I in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, October 2010.

It looks like May 19th will be better than April 19th, and that’s about all I can ask for at this point. I’ll check in again in June.

One last thing. In honor of Jon on the anniversary of his 2Summers reveal, I want to thank him for everything he taught me about taking photos. Ironically, when Jon was alive I was insecure about my photography. Jon kept telling me I was good, but inside I felt like a poser. It was only after Jon was gone — when I was forced to move out from under his shadow as a photographer — that I began to realize how much I learned from him.

When I looked through the boxing pictures I took in Yeoville last week, I thought, “Hot damn! Those are good photos.” I discovered that Jon’s eye is inside me now. Lucky me.

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40 Comments

  • Reply Cristina May 18, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Lots of hugs to you! I think as time passes we manage to focus more on the good memories and less on the grief that is so blinding in the begining. June 19th will be easier.

    • Reply 2summers May 18, 2012 at 11:01 am

      Thanks Cristina, I appreciate the comment!

  • Reply JMG May 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Lovely post. Glad you are finding some peace, and paying tribute to Jon every day in just how you’re living. Thinking of you across the Atlantic!

    • Reply JMG May 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      (Living with spirit and grace, to finish my thought. And your photos really have gotten quite spectacular.)

    • Reply 2summers May 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks JMG. Miss you.

  • Reply JMG May 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Lovely post. Glad you are finding some peace, and paying tribute to Jon every day in just how you’re living. Thinking of you across the Atlantic!

    • Reply JMG May 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      (Living with spirit and grace, to finish my thought. And your photos really have gotten quite spectacular.)

    • Reply 2summers May 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      Thanks JMG. Miss you.

  • Reply thirdeyemom May 18, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Beautiful heartfelt post Heather. I can’t imagine how hard your life has been but I am glad to hear you are working your way through it. Take care, Nicole

    • Reply 2summers May 18, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      Thanks Nicole. It hasn’t been easy. But my life has certainly given me lots to write about 🙂

  • Reply thirdeyemom May 18, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Beautiful heartfelt post Heather. I can’t imagine how hard your life has been but I am glad to hear you are working your way through it. Take care, Nicole

    • Reply 2summers May 18, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      Thanks Nicole. It hasn’t been easy. But my life has certainly given me lots to write about 🙂

  • Reply De Wet May 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Great post Heather. Maybe something clever on the ‘writing down your thoughts’ idea from Oscar Wilde, ‘“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”
    ― Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest’

    • Reply 2summers May 18, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Ha! He’s right. I guess I should try harder to keep a diary.

  • Reply De Wet May 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Great post Heather. Maybe something clever on the ‘writing down your thoughts’ idea from Oscar Wilde, ‘“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”
    ― Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest’

    • Reply 2summers May 18, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Ha! He’s right. I guess I should try harder to keep a diary.

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough May 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    What a beautiful post, Heather. I imagine losing a partner is a lot like divorce, as you say, only worse–since you don’t get to hate. You hurt instead. Truly, this is lovely, poignant writing, Heather. Blessings and peace to you, my friend!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • Reply 2summers May 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      Thanks Kathy. You know I appreciate that coming from you!

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough May 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    What a beautiful post, Heather. I imagine losing a partner is a lot like divorce, as you say, only worse–since you don’t get to hate. You hurt instead. Truly, this is lovely, poignant writing, Heather. Blessings and peace to you, my friend!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • Reply 2summers May 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      Thanks Kathy. You know I appreciate that coming from you!

  • Reply Henrike Grohs May 19, 2012 at 9:03 am

    it shows and a big hug to you

  • Reply Henrike Grohs May 19, 2012 at 9:03 am

    it shows and a big hug to you

  • Reply nina May 19, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Beautiful

  • Reply nina May 19, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Beautiful

  • Reply danaerzsebet May 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Reblogged this on Danaerzsebet's Blog and commented:
    Lol

  • Reply danaerzsebet May 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Reblogged this on Danaerzsebet's Blog and commented:
    Lol

  • Reply lisa@notesfromafrica May 23, 2012 at 6:28 am

    “When I looked through the boxing pictures I took in Yeoville last week, I thought, “Hot damn! Those are good photos.” I discovered that Jon’s eye is inside me now. Lucky me.”

    I have been thinking this exact same thing for a while now! Just didn’t know if it would sound too weird to say it. Your photography has always been very good, but since Jon’s death it has become stunning – almost like his talent got passed onto you.

    Although I’m not commenting much at this stage, I am still following your blog and loving your photos!

    • Reply 2summers May 23, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Thanks so much Lisa. Interesting that you were thinking that. Life is so strange sometimes.

      Glad to know you’re still reading along. I’m thinking of you and hope you’re doing okay.

      -Heather

  • Reply lisa@notesfromafrica May 23, 2012 at 6:28 am

    “When I looked through the boxing pictures I took in Yeoville last week, I thought, “Hot damn! Those are good photos.” I discovered that Jon’s eye is inside me now. Lucky me.”

    I have been thinking this exact same thing for a while now! Just didn’t know if it would sound too weird to say it. Your photography has always been very good, but since Jon’s death it has become stunning – almost like his talent got passed onto you.

    Although I’m not commenting much at this stage, I am still following your blog and loving your photos!

    • Reply 2summers May 23, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Thanks so much Lisa. Interesting that you were thinking that. Life is so strange sometimes.

      Glad to know you’re still reading along. I’m thinking of you and hope you’re doing okay.

      -Heather

  • Reply Joshi Mukard May 23, 2012 at 10:39 am

    I did feel your photography suffered after Jon’s death, but your latest pics are good. Yes, his eyes are inside you now. So happy for you.

    • Reply 2summers May 23, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Thanks Joshi. (I think!)

  • Reply Joshi Mukard May 23, 2012 at 10:39 am

    I did feel your photography suffered after Jon’s death, but your latest pics are good. Yes, his eyes are inside you now. So happy for you.

    • Reply 2summers May 23, 2012 at 11:26 am

      Thanks Joshi. (I think!)

  • Reply Emily Cannell June 3, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Yes one foot in front of the other. Relieved to read this post. Big hug.

  • Reply Emily Cannell June 3, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Yes one foot in front of the other. Relieved to read this post. Big hug.

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