Bracing Myself

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I am panicking a little. Let’s start from the beginning. After Birdy’s brother died, there was a lot of grief and confusion. Birdy was a superstar. I was so proud of him. I always am. He held everyone together, he made arrangements, he comforted his loved ones… he was Birdy. He was awesome. He didn’t really give himself permission to do his own grieving. Yes, he was going through stuff, but it was so contained.
This week, he started back at work. I thought, wow, this is going to be so good for him. He is going to get back into his routine, and life is going to start getting back to normal. Well, obviously I was clueless. What do I know of death? Almost nothing.
Birdy did not handle going back to work well at all. I don’t know all the details. What I do know is that on Tuesday I saw him cry –really cry. That is natural of course, he needs to go through this process. He also started seeing a psychologist, and he is attending appointments quite intensely. I guess this a good thing too. It is brave for a man to admit that he needs help. Brave, and also wise.

So, what’s the problem? I feel like I am walking on egg shells. With all my heart, I would do anything to make things right for him. I want to be there for him and give him comfort, but I am afraid he is finding me claustrophobic, and I am afraid things will start falling apart like a house of cards. You see, Birdy has two sides. There is one side that is really fun and outgoing. He is really at ease being the center of attention, and I think he quite likes it. The other side is very solitary. Sometimes he just likes to be alone and do things by himself. The problem is, I never know which side of the coin I’m dealing with. This means that I don’t ever really know what to do or how to act. Should I cuddle him and tell him how much he means to me? Should I constantly make myself available and send loving texts? OR should I back off???
I guess what really panicked me is a conversation I had with a friend. She told me not to be surprised if he starts lashing out a bit. In times of grief, people can say very hurtful things. Brirdy hasn’t done this to me, but I have been trying to mentally brace myself for that (and possibly even him breaking up with me again).

I have done what comes natural to me, which is to be there. I believe I said all the right things, they are things that came from my heart – basically that I love him, and that all I want to do is be there for him. If I was in his situation, I think this is what I would want someone to do for me. But he is not me. He needs time to process – and maybe, that processing is something that would happen easier if I am not making a nuisance of myself. I don’t know. My heart just wants to help. What’s making things worse is that I’m starting to obsess… that’s never a good thing. It compounds the problem.
It just so happens that I have this awesome trip to Paris coming up. Despite all my handmade drama, I am so super excited. I haven’t been to Paris in ages. I have fun plans and ideas (not to mention fat pants for all the eating I’ll probably do). I leave Thursday, and I guess I’ll be out of the picture for a good 10 days or so. I’m sure that will be good for both of us. In the meantime, I have to be smart. I can’t let any of my own darkness to come out and make things worse.

6 Comments

  1. Trust yourself. If you hear it (and don’t want to hear it but are open enough to hear it anyway, like you are), you’re right.

    Give him space. Don’t fight for inclusion… he would be including you if he wanted it, even if you were aloof instead of concerned. “I’m going to leave you alone until you let me know otherwise; you need your space.” And then leave it be. We cannot love someone into being our partner. If they want it enough, they’ll make it happen.

    ❤ And take manyMANY pics for us on your trip!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Could you ask him? Tell him that you love him, and that you want to be able to support him, but ask him what works best for him at the moment. Does he need space? Can you work out a signal that tells both of you that he needs space at any given point?
    Enjoy your trip to Paris.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with asking him. He may not know, but open communication is always a good start and it forces him to think about what he wants or needs. When BE lost his brother, I made the mistake of suggesting he stay in London (where he was on business with one of our sales guys) because I thought it would be more stressful for him to be here (and his family is so toxic) and BE didn’t know what he wanted or needed at the time. He was in shock. I thought working would bring some order to his life and keep his mind off of the death. Turns out, he just needed to be with me and the boys and be held and loved. He eventually got that when he returned to the U.S., but he needed it right away. I never really knew how vulnerable BE was until that point in time. Also, I always thought work grounded him. I had no idea that his drug grounded him. The other person that suffered terribly was Sam (also not realizing that he was suffering from depression and anxiety). I left him home to go help with the funeral arrangements. Again, I thought they would all be better off away from the reality of the situation, but all they really wanted and needed was to be together with me, me too, I needed them. Suicide is awful. Family usually blames themselves in one way or another. I hope he has been able to grieve. Some of those stages of grief are rough. Shortly after his brother’s suicide, BE wrote a letter to his brother (prompted by his then therapist). He was so angry. It was an extremely painful letter to read. You have been there for Birdy. I am sure he is grateful. Thinking of you. xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It is all just communication, Caroline. As the others have said, he may not know exactly what he wants/needs, but if you can keep trying to be honest with each other, that is all you can do. You can keep the communication channels open and hopefully his therapy will help him understand he has someone on his team that he can let his guard down around if needed.

    Liked by 1 person

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