We used to nickname her pumpkin when she was younger

Monday, October 17, 2011

A New Normal: A term I resented for a while

I have written a blog post this past week that hasn't made it yet to the blog.  It sits in my draft half written too hard to continue with.  Too hard to put up but I know it will go up eventually. I felt like I couldn't move forward with the blog because of that one 1/2 written post haunting me in my drafts.

On my day off today, it is raining and I felt the need to write about what I am feeling. It is the 12 week mark since Alysia passed away. I flipped through my journal and I saw these couple of sentences written 4 days after her funeral "Me again. I feel as though I am being stretched in ways that no human heart can endure. I hate this term "New Normal" that everyone is using...."

During the funeral week, Tom sr had us all over for supper.  There was Tomi, Josh, me, Katie, my mother and Tom Sr. and I looked around and thought to myself what a family of misfits...there was Tomi my ex, talking with my same sex partner Katie, there was my very French outspoken mother from Washington talking to Tom sr the shy very maritime-like ex-father in law.  Not long ago I was in that same yard with Tomi, Alysia, Carol and Tom sr.  living the "normal" life of a heterosexual married woman.  It is funny how what appears on the outside to be "normal" may not always be the case.

Just to get this out of the way because I know many wonder but my marriage to Tomi did not end because I am a "lesbian" as many would easily assume.  I don't identify as lesbian.  All I know is that Tomi and I decided to split up in December 2009 and he moved out in March 2010.  In December 2009 I began talking to Katie online strictly as we talked more and more over the next couple of months I found myself falling in love with her soul.  I never thought I would fall for a woman but there was something about Katie that pushed aside her gender and my heart fell for her.  There was no stopping it, it was meant to be.  I suppose the term I most identify with is "pansexual" where it is not the gender I see but the person's soul.  If Katie's soul would have been in a man's body, I would have fallen in love regardless. However at the same time I don't think Katie's soul could have been in a man's body, it just wouldn't fit.  So no, I wasn't a lesbian in denial in a 20 year marriage that would have made my marriage a lie.  My marriage and my family, was my identity.  I was a married woman with a beautiful daughter. my family gatherings consist of my ex-father-in -law who recently lost his wife and who accepts me and Katie.  I love Tom sr. very much and I was afraid to lose him when I told him about Katie and I.  There is Tomi my ex who was a very important part of my life for over 20 years who I still care for very much, here is my partner Katie who I love like crazy trying to fit into this family of ex's, there is Josh who just recently came into our little family but quickly became a part of it and there is my mother who has had so many struggles and who was also trying to wrap her head around this new family dynamic.

Almost 3 months later I still feel in between the old normal and the new normal.  My whole identity was stripped from me in the past two years.  I am no longer a hetero married woman with a daughter working as an Assistant manager at a retail store.  I am now a grieving mother, which at times makes me think that I am no longer a mother, in a same sex relationship working as a library technician in a university library.  How could one person's life be completely turned upside down yet still completely encompass parts of the old life in such a painful way.

The death of Alysia is forcing me to embrace a new normal that is very emotionally painful, very mind bending, very physically exhausting. At times I just want to run away, it takes far too much effort to make this all work.  Not just for me but for all others involved...every one of us has to wrap their heads around this new normal. A new normal of ex's, same sex partners, death, aging, financial strains and intense loss.  But I know that I, for one, also see moments in these family gatherings of love, hope, support, laughter, a deep understanding, an invisible connection.  At one of these gatherings at Tom sr's house I walked out of the bathroom and saw Carol sitting in her rocking chair.  It startled me at first but then I knew she approved of these new gatherings.  Not only did Carol approve but that invisible connection in my mind took the form of the love from Carol and Alysia viewing these gatherings from where ever they were. For Carol and Alysia, I would do whatever it takes to make the new normal work.

This was taken just shortly after the funeral. Alysia's grave next to her nanny's.


  1. Love reading your posts..I know they must be extremely hard for you to write but they also must give you some peace. Love you

  2. Thanks, sometimes they are hard to write. Sometimes though it's as if I'm given so much love and energy by some source (maybe Alysia?) that the posts just flow out of me easily.


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