Not Perfect,... Just Lucky

Grace Visits, Ali “Turns Back On,” and a Return to San Fran

I haven’t blogged in a hot minute and I have no idea why. So much has happened and my memory is so bad, I really suck for not getting stuff down as it was happening. So this post will be a catch-up of sorts. I have events I should have documented, but I think the more interesting thing is how I’ve emotionally changed in the last month.

Grace Visits:

Around the 6 month anniversary of Daddy’s D-Day, Grace and Aaron came to visit. Before this visit I had started to see friends again but in very small doses. This was the first time we hosted guests for an entire weekend and I was very nervous. EVEN THOUGH Grace is my heterolifemate, the big sister I never had, and one of my top 5 favorite people on the planet, I was still nervous.

When I opened the door to her I was kind of shy and like “hey… here I am… still here… alive…” The old-Ali would have opened the door screaming and jumping for joy. But the new-Ali was all like “I’m broken. Please don’t judge.”

The weekend that ensued deserves its own post because it was so awesome, but for purposes of this post I cannot reiterate enough how incredibly restorative it was to have Grace here. We talked about Daddy and grief and how completely broken I am all weekend long. She and Aaron listened to me for hours and hours. And even though Grace hasn’t experienced a loss of that magnitude, I could see and feel her empathy for me. She knew my Daddy, she knows how important he is to me, she GOT it.

After I said goodbye to her I went to bed and had a huge meltdown/ugly cry. Vince held me and told me it was going to be okay but all I could do was sob about not wanting her to leave and not wanting to go “back to the life” before the Thursday night Grace came to visit.

In therapy two days later, we concluded that Grace is a very safe person for me. My first home was with her and her presence is immediately soothing to my soul. My therapist was so happy that she came down and allowed me to be my true self because that’s what I am around Grace – the real, raw, unfiltered me.

My reaction to her leaving after a 3 day visit reminded me of my last line in the toast I gave at Grace and Aaron’s wedding in my advice to Aaron: Wherever you live and whatever you do, wherever there is Grace, there will be your home.

I was afraid that when Grace left, she’d take the peace and ‘homeyness’ of her presence with her.

Ali Turns Back On:

When I went back to work after Grace’s visit, I realized that I was really… energetic. Like, more than the post-Daddy-usual. More like the old-Ali.

I was also laughing REALLY hard at things that were only moderately funny and getting really bent over things that weren’t worth it.

I even got excited about Booty Band coming back to The Social on 10/18 and organized a Facebook invite for friends to come to the show, which was followed by a panic attack because I couldn’t imagine seeing all those people but hey – the point is that I actually got excited and engaged with people!

The only way I can describe this feeling is that I seemed to come back to life, or “turn back on.” Like, prior to Grace’s visit, I was completely shut down. And then after Grace’s visit, I booted back up. I described this in my last post:

I compare myself to a computer that finally finished downloading and installing a new OS (Sudden Daddyless Daughter v1.0). I’ve rebooted but everything is all scrambled. Programs have to be reinstalled. Login and passwords have to be changed. The poor ol’ box is confused and has to reconfig everything.

Basically my emotions are back up and running for the first time but my system is all scrambled. And even if the emotion I’m feeling at a given moment is appropriate, there’s a chance I’m feeling it too strongly or not strongly enough for the situation.

Now that I’ve had even more time to reflect on this sudden onslaught of emotions, it’s more like this: I’ve realized that *I* am more than *my grief.*

Or said another way – A portion of my psyche is now able to do things other than grieve, and it is doing everything all at once.

If you’ve ever read Hyperbole and a Half, the last four weeks have been my corn moment.

Return to San Fran:

I was doing so well, progressing so nicely, and then I found out I had to return to the scene of the crime for work.

I *knew* going back to San Fran was going to be hard. I anticipated an onslaught of emotions, specifically in that freaking airport where I had to call my Uncle to tell him his younger brother died.

I did NOT expect to have a complete melt down and panic attack when I got to the area Vince and I spent so much time waiting on that last trip. But I did. Thankfully it didn’t last long.

Overall it was another quick trip (and another event worth its own post, especially my time at GooglePlex), but I got to see Timmy and retrace a lot of steps from my last trip – this time without anyone dying back-home.

I did get to see Timmy again and I realized something so profound that I actually had to kind of put a disclaimer on it over drinks: The Alicia on September 18th was not, outwardly, a whole lot different than the Ali from February 20th.

So what’s the point of this post again…?

Tuesday was 7 months since my Daddy died and I didn’t fall apart. In fact….

I spoke to Carrie on the phone last week and she said “I can hear the difference in your voice! You sound so much better.”

Mia heard my plans for the fall and said “Uh oh… Alicia’s comin’ back to life!”

Grace’s text to me when she landed safely in NY was “I’m reassured to see first hand that you are still the strong person you were before.”

I hung out with Tim and Jon, and had to tell both of them something along the lines of “I know I don’t seem very different to you but I’ve had to work on myself a LOT in the last seven months.”

So the point is this: I’m getting there. I’m getting better. The old-Ali of “before” and the new-Alicia from “after” are starting to align. I’m learning how to work grief into my everyday, new-normal life. 

But I’m not done yet. I have a new edge to me that I find is even snarkier than “before.” My general ‘give a fuck’ filter is starting to turn back on so I’m not telling people, completely unsolicited, how little what they do matters  in the grand scheme of life as often as I was. I’m trying to push down anger and promote joy.

And yeah – 7 months.

  • I feel amazed that I can see around my grief right now. It seems so soon. Too soon.
  • I expect to have relapses for, well, ever.
  • I can’t imagine the 1-year anniversary. I just can’t. It hurts.
  • I miss my Daddy. Like, good ol’ fashioned MISS. His voice, his laugh, his advice, calling him when something awesome happened and hearing how proud he was of me. The way he would say “very nice,” and “beautiful!” when I got recognition in work or scheduled a cool vacation. I miss my Daddy so much.

To the future-Ali(cia) who reads this I just want to say: You’re doing great. Don’t freak out about how quickly you’re starting to get back to normal. It’s not disrespectful to your Dad. And I know, I just KNOW, that he is absurdly proud of you for how you’ve handled this.



2 thoughts on “Grace Visits, Ali “Turns Back On,” and a Return to San Fran”

  • It really was reassuring to see how you were doing in person. Yes, you appeared very fragile on first hello, and I wasn’t sure if you would break when I hugged you, but over the weekend as you talked and talked (it was so good to LISTEN to your voice) it became clear that you are hanging on and climbing up out of the black hole. I’m so glad you let us come and stay with you, and that we even had quite a bit of fun.

  • I’m so happy that things are starting to look a little brighter for you. You’re doing great! Don’t ever feel like you’re getting through something too quickly or too slowly. You need to process grief in your own time and in your own way. It is definitely not disrespectful to your dad. Absolutely not. If anyone tries to make you feel that way, they are not your friend. Besides, even though I only met him once, I’m certain that he would not want you to be in this dark place. He would want you to feel joy and laugh and dance and whatever else makes you happy. SMILE! I love you!!! I can’t wait to see you!!

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