Us Upstate in the snow.

I am up early. Since Charles died, I’ve been home on leave and gradually, my schedule has turned upside down into college hours. Kristyn had to be up and out early today so I got up with her to help her out. I go back to work next week and need to get back to normal hours. I’m looking forward to and nervous about going back to work. This whole time I’ve been home, I haven’t managed to accomplish much at all. Right after Charles died, I had this idea that “If nothing can be the same, I want everything to be different.” I wanted to find a way to make big sweeping changes in my life; health wise, maybe moving to a new place, etc. However, I can’t focus on anything so I gave up immediately. Giving up has actually been healing for me. Trying too hard to force things was making me more unhappy in a situation where I was already massively unhappy.

The things that have helped the most are watching soothing sitcoms (Parks and Rec and The Office), Christmas decorations, and spending time with family and friends. I’ve let myself sleep whenever I feel like sleeping. I’ve let myself read endlessly. I’ve let myself cry whenever I feel like it. It’s been enormously helpful and I’m grateful to have had this time.

Now that I’m feeling a bit more clear-headed, the one project I’m currently undertaking with Kristyn is cleaning out the basement. We started yesterday and it’s slow going but is really soothing so far. It feels good to go through old things, to reorganize them, and to clean things. I found some old photos of Charles last night and they made me cry. Honestly, crying makes me feel better. I lean into it whenever it happens because it feels like I’m washing out some of the ick. When he first died, I sobbed constantly and was in a constant fog. But then I couldn’t cry for weeks. Every time I did, my chest hurt and would stop me. I guess it was anxiety. It feels like a blessing to be able to cry about it now.

We made the best of the holiday season which we initially thought was going to be really difficult but it turned into a great distraction. I think that the holidays are always going to be painful from now on but no matter when he died, it would always be painful not to have him around.

I had wanted to go on a trip during this time we had off. I really wanted to get in the car and just drive with no plans but money is tight because I’m not working. The best we could manage was to drive up to the trailer for the day. It felt nice to get out of Kearny into the woods for a while. It felt great to see the river and to go into the trailer for an hour or so. I wish we could have stayed overnight but there is no power or heat.

I want to post some pictures of this year because we managed to have a good time despite having four losses in the family. There were good times mixed in with all the bad. We’re planning a large family trip in 2018 so that’s a fun thing to look forward to as well. Here are some good times from the recent months:


The Barrs at the Shannon Rose after Lynne’s funeral. This is the last time I saw Charles.



Karen was in town for our High School Reunion.


The first time we’ve ever been to the Stonewall.


Going to see Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher.


Taking a Queer Comics class with Nicole Georges and Ponyo at the Society of Illustrators in NYC.


Closing up the Trailer for the year with Shirley.



We went and stayed at Kate’s Lazy Meadow for our fourth wedding anniversary.


This was the weekend we were at Kate’s Lazy Meadow. It was Halloween weekend also.



On Halloween, we went to Mystical World to go to a psychic fair.


On Halloween, we also went to a ghost hunt.


This picture is personal but I’m including it because it was a good memory.


Christine and Charles on Thanksgiving. This is their last selfie together.


Kristyn and her Dad on Thanksgiving.


On the day before Thanksgiving, Shirley had a surgery so we all picked her up on the way home from Thanksgiving dinner which was humorous for us but confusing for the people at the animal hospital.


Shirley doped up in her pen after surgery. Kristyn liked sleeping on the bed too.


On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we went to the Brooklyn Museum with my cousin.


We went to see “The Dinner Party” by Judy Chicago. Kristyn had to go see it for school but we’d been wanting to see it for a long time anyway.


Chris, Heather, and Kyra at the restaurant after the museum.

We went to the Brooklyn Museum the day before Charles died which is the weekend after Thanksgiving. There’s a huge gap between then and Christmas because I intentionally didn’t take any photos. I didn’t want to commemorate that time at all. Charles life was so much more than his death and I want to forget as much about his death as is humanly possible. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t know why Charles died. His death was traumatic in only that he’s now gone. He had a peaceful death by all accounts and it seems as though it was by natural causes. Also, there was a lot of sweetness and love surrounding his loss. People were so kind and said such beautiful things about him. This stuff, I don’t want to forget. However, it didn’t feel right or appropriate to take photos of anything during this time because I knew I’d feel sick to look at them later, no matter how innocuous (photos of the cats, etc). And so, we jump to Christmas:


This is a crazily decorated house in North Arlington.


This was at the Queer Newark Oral History Project’s Opening Reception for their display at the Newark Museum.



On the same night, we went to the Naughty & Nice Ball in the Newark Library.



My sister had Santa come to Jameson’s fourth birthday party but he ran and hid so we ran and hid with him.


We had Christmas Eve at Kristyn’s Aunt’s house with her parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.


I always make people take selfies with me at these things haha.


On Christmas Day, my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew came over so we could exchange gifts before the party at my aunt’s house.


Here are some of the people at my aunt’s house for Christmas Day.


Jameson got over his fear of Santa between his birthday party (December 16th) and Christmas. This is my Uncle dressed up…shhh.


Me and some of my cousins sitting on Santa’s lap.


Me and Kristyn on NYE.


Us and the trailer in the snow. I think this was maybe January 2nd or 3rd.


Shirley and Monster sleeping on me.


Giles being a cutie patootie.


Kristyn and Tonya Harding.


Me and Tonya Harding after seeing “I, Tonya”.


Kristyn and some Solid Gold dancers at Target.


Shirley sleeping.


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