I thought I was done. Recovery in process. Moving on...But the Tilt-A-Whirl does not stop. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that my mind does not let it stop.

After meeting Jen's family back in August 2020, I had been reflecting on the visit. The soul crushing sadness is gone. Replaced by a low-level sadness, sure. But I think that I needed confirmation that the person I knew was really the person others knew her as too. I was afraid that the two would not be the same, that I was elevating, romanticizing, a connection that was not there or real. Not really interacting with people she knew, I didn't know if they knew the same person. The meeting was good to me in this regard. Confirmation was obtained. Her family brought up memories that were in sync with mine. I was able to answer questions that they had. And they answered many of my questions. I was able to add to back stories, share our single 'date'. It was new information for them, perhaps a little shocking to her Mother, but satisfying to her sister that Jen was able to pull off some typical, even rebellious, teenage shenanigans. The meeting was sufficient to put those concerns to rest. It felt like the door was closing, I had a feeling of peace, healing, and closure could set in and I could move on. I even 'received' a dime at the QuikTrip afterwards, my sign from Jen that she was there, and perhaps smiling.

It seems comical now that I would doubt my relationship and connection to the 'real Jen', but in isolation and after this many years, a mind can play cruel tricks. I was even starting to come to a realization that I may not have been the person for her (if a long term Jen were to have existed), no matter how much I loved her. I just would not have been the person that could have gotten her to her dreams and potential. The funny thing is, by and large, I think I'm okay with it. And in a way that I never would have been back then, if she had to have told me. Intellectually, I know the what-if's are fruitless...yet I still find myself deep in that hole. The recent change that I am starting to come to grips with, even if the accident didn't happen, 'we' may not have happened...or if I did somehow will it to happen, it may have ended poorly. Maybe it is a closure thing in my mind. That she was ripped away and closure (good or bad) never happened. But the more I play with the idea, the more the realization comes that, despite my level of love, I am not sure that the final outcome would have been good. And yeah, that would have sucked, but it would have also been such a disservice to her.

So my emotions began to settle down, for about a month. Then in late September, guess who was calling me in my dreams? What the fuck is wrong with my noggin? I seriously feel done, over it. Sadness has left the building. Why can't my unconscious come for the ride? In the dream, I even told her that I was done. Over it. Seriously, it's okay. She calls me back crying? WTF?!?! I got the confirmation that I was searching for. As much closure as can be expected. What the hell is left, what is my mind still searching for? Is it now just a long, drawn out ache from a hole in my soul? Does this wound ever heal? It has been 30+ years and I still have not figured it out. I have a sneaking suspicion that I never will. And the dimes stopped appearing...

Did I chase her away? Damage the memory or the relationship? With a dead person??? I am sorry! That is not what I meant to do. But I feel like I hurt her...her ghost. I want the dimes back. The gentle reminders, Jen popping into situations and saying, "Hi!", or sometimes even scolding me.

Why do I continue to be drawn towards stories or movies or songs of sadness? Is that the only emotion that I think that I have left to feel? I'm tired of feeling that weight, yet I continue down a path of emotional torment and destruction. Do I feel guilty for feeling happiness? Am I trying to feel other emotions and the only thing that I can muster is sadness? I started re-watching "13 Reasons Why" after my daughter heard the song "The Night We Met" on my playlist and asked, "Depressed much?" I had no idea what she was talking about. She mentioned that it was from the show and I couldn't remember it in there. As I continued to watch the show, it all seemed fresh, like I had never watched it the first time around. When the song came up in the first season, it hit me hard. When it started playing in the second season (which I was less prepared for), I was a blubbering mess. As I watch the series this second time, it was different. I was watching, searching, for a roadmap forward that would help me navigate my feelings. As if I could get guidance from Clay on how to proceed forward, through the loss, even though the death of Hannah and of Jen were very different, the shocking and abrupt loss was similar. Sadly, it did not satisfy those curiosities and no solution was obtained.

I am left with torment and loneliness. Silly, self-inflicted. I feel abandoned by Jen, but at my own doing. And no clear path towards resolution. I ask for her to return, but why? Wouldn't this continue my torture? Did she leave because I hurt her with my statements that I was done and over it? Or does she think that this is best for me? Is it? I am slowly descending into madness, asking for a ghost or spirit or angel to return. One that I told to go away...but I miss it. I miss her!

Why? I have a great family! Some good friends. What is missing that I need? A connection? Or some sort of an answer (and to what question)? So tired...of hurting. Of aching. Of being stuck.

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Tags: 13 Reasons Why, Best Friend, Death, Fear, Grief, Grieving, Heaven, Jennifer, Learning, Loss, More…Love, Moving On, Relationships, Self-Discovery, Spirits, Stuck

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