Author Topic: Introduction - Not sure where to start  (Read 4874 times)

justthegirlfriend

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Introduction - Not sure where to start
« on: September 22, 2010, 04:59:27 PM »
Hi.  I'm Paula.  I've been doing a lot of reading, before posting and have found some comfort in knowing that I'm not the only one feeling the way I'm feeling.  It's just sad that so many of us have to feel this way.  I don't even know where to start.... On August 10th, 2010 Robert turned 40.  We had been dating for only fifteen months, but loved each other so much.  He had broken down walls in my heart that I had, at first, believed could never be broken.  I moved in with him in May, but spent a lot of the summer going back and forth between his house and visiting my kids, four hours away.  Like I said, we celebrated his 40th birthday on the 10th.  On the 17th, we had a terrible argument.  I left and went to stay with my kids for a while.  It wasn't the first time.  I figured it would be the same as before - after a few days, one or the other of us would give in, call or text, say we were sorry, talk it out and I would head back to home.  That argument was a really bad one, though.  I was being stubborn, he had said some really hurtful things and I was determined he would have to be the first one to call this time.  On the 26th though, I got a call from one of his friends instead.  His mother had found him in his home.  He had had a heart attack.  My first thought was that if I had been there, I could have called 911, I could have helped him.  Now I believe, that even if I couldn't have helped him, at least he would not have been alone, not have lain there for three days and his mother would not have had to find him that way.  There are so many things I could keep writing about - feeling alone.  I feel like people think, "Oh, she was just the girlfriend.  She'll get over it and move on."  On the day of Robert's funeral,  I was at my dad's house.  He was on the phone with my sister and he told her, "Oh yea, she's fine.  They were on the outs anyhow."  I wanted to scream at him that no, I am not fine.  My heart is breaking!  Yes, we had an argument and no, we had not been together that long, but I loved him and I miss him. 

browneyedgirl

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Re: Introduction - Not sure where to start
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2010, 09:07:30 AM »
Hi Paula ~

I am so very sorry for the loss your Robert.  What a heartbreaking story. 

I have to say no matter if you were on the outs or not....or regardless if you had been together 15 months or 15 days, it still hurts badly!  You still love him and miss him a loss of someone you love is one of the hardest things you will ever have to face.  I am sorry that it sounds like no one understands. 

Welcome to Webhealing....you will find supportive people here, and that can help you on this journey. 

Come back and let us know how you are doing, ok?

Take care of yourself.

Tony Repola 07/20/66 – 03/29/09
I know you are fishing in the oceans and streams of heaven

amyluvsron

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Re: Introduction - Not sure where to start
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2010, 03:28:47 PM »
Hi Paula,

I can relate to your situation. I just recently lost the man I loved a few weeks ago.

We met while taking the bus to work, separate jobs. He worked as a landscaper. We spoke a lot about various things. Usually it was me doing the talking, he didn't mind. I hadn't seen him on the bus in awhile and had moved closer to work. So, I hadn't been taking the bus since my work was so close I could walk there.
 
I had moved to my new place in early March, and one beautiful sunny day in late May I happened to be walking to work, as I usually did, and walking towards me there he was. I was taken by surprise when he stopped me to talk, he wanted me to join him for coffee. I was running late for work though and couldn't, he asked for my number and said he would call me. I didn't expect him to though, he didn't seem interested when we had spoken on the bus.

I was wrong, the next day, early evening, I was out doing some grocery shopping when he had called me. I had missed his call, but he left a message. "Hi Amy, it's Ron, call me back." So I did, immediately. He had a friend drop him off at the grocery store and he helped me carry my groceries home. When we got back to my place we sat and talked. When he announced he had to leave, he tried to kiss me, but I didn't want him to think I was easy, so I turned my head and just hugged him. I believe we had discussed him coming over the next evening, and he did. We talked some more and watched some TV. He was sitting on one couch and I was laying on the other just chillin', watchin TV when he gets up and walks over to me, leans down and just kisses me. I was taken by surprise, but I liked it. He was like "I'm gonna lay down" and I was like "OK?" He wanted me to join him. I was nervous, but I did. He said he just wanted to lay with me, yeah right! I knew what his intentions were, and though a part of me was nervous and scared, I wanted it too. Now mind you, I hadn't been in a relationship or dated anyone in years. I had just had surgery for fibroid tumors a little more than a year ago and hadn't had a physical relationship with anyone for a little over 3 years. It was always painful before and after and I was so scared it would hurt. So, I went in to lay with him, telling myself at first that nothing is gonna happen. He starts kissing me and I'm liking it, then he starts touching me and I had stopped him for a moment, I had to explain to him why I was so nervous and scared. He was understanding and caring, and I just couldn't help myself. It did hurt a little, as I expected. He left a little later and I had never expected to hear from him again, but I did. We started spending a lot of time together. Only after 3 days he was talking about moving in together and I got scared and put on the brakes. He needed to get out of where he lived and I agreed he could stay for 2 weeks, I helped him find his new place. While he was staying with me, things were great! When he had left for his own place, I wish he hadn't. I was falling in love with him, so quickly. He had then flipped the switch with me and began telling me that he didn't want to be in a committed relationship. He had been married previously for 11 years and only divorced for 2 years. The marriage was not good, but he had to deal with her still because they had a son together. At one point he even broke up with me, but that didn't last because he just couldn't stay away from me. He would say one thing, but he was always with me. He practically spent every night with me even though he had his own place. He'd come over after work, we'd make dinner, sit and watch TV or play games online. We were so comfortable with each other, I felt for the first time I could be myself and it felt good. We had this playful banter with each other that was goofy and cute at the same time.

The last time we were together was my birthday, Wednesday, August 4th. He had said he wanted to do something for me but hadn't had the funds to do so at that time, but when he got paid he was goin to take me out. He had spent the night before and we had woken early in the morning to prepare for work. We both wound up going in late because he was giving me a good birthday present. ;) The only reason I mention this is because we hadn't been intimate for days before because he hadn't been feeling well, he had been feeling dizzy at times and tired and had even been vomiting. I had had a really bad day at work and was in a fowl mood, but after work Ron did his best to make my birthday nice. We had taken a shower together and he had brushed my hair afterwards, I loved when he did that. He had brought over a pie left over from his boss/friends party we had gone to over the weekend. He made me dinner that night and we sat in bed talking and eating that pie. He had complained that his chest was hurting and we discussed him seeing a doctor soon. The next morning, Thursday, August 5th, we both left the house to go to work, that was the last time I saw him. :'(  He had called me about 5pm and I text him back advising I had just been fired from work and would call him later. I was still at work and needed to collect my things, but we (HR and I) wanted to wait until everyone left. When I got home I called him and he was very sympathetic, he said he hadn't gone to the doctor yet, but his chest was still hurting and he was just going to stay home that night. He had called me later in the evening to check on me to see how I was and he said goodnight.

The next day, this would be Friday, August 6th around 11am he called me to say his boss/friend took him to the hospital because he was having pain in his chest and numbness in his arm. He said he would be Ok and he would call me later. That was the last time I spoke to him. :'( So, I waited by the phone, and waited, and text, and no response. I called his friend and they didn't know anything. I don't believe I slept much that night and when I did, I dreamt I was in the hospital begging him to hold on. Saturday morning, August 7th a friend of his called to tell me he was dead. I was like "are you sure? how do you know this?" She called me back and told me a family member called a friend of his and hers and told him. I then called his boss/friend's wife and his boss had his sister who works at the hospital check and confirm the news. I freaked out! I couldn't believe he was gone, I still can't believe it.

I keep thinking about the what if's? What if I had made him go the hospital that night of my birthday? What if I had given him some of my BP meds? Would he still be here with me? What if I had gone to the hospital? Did he want me there? Is that why he called me? I should have gone. But then, when I tried to call the hospital they wouldn't tell me anything because I wasn't family, I was only the girlfriend.  I probably wouldn't have been able to see him anyway, or would I have? Would the family have allowed me too? I don't know, they didn't know me. Ron and I weren't together that long, but I loved him and I still and always will. I miss him so much it hurts. I don't have much left of him. A few little things, like a shirt he left, a few pics I had taken, and a voice mail. Well, and my memories, which I will hold on to forever.

As I write this tears stream from my face because I miss him so much! I can't seem to move on, it's just to soon. Though some friends try to discount our relationship because we weren't together long. Like a person can't fall in love that quickly? It makes me so mad! Like I should just be over it already. I just can't let go, I loved him so much and miss him everyday! I can't sleep at night and don't eat sometimes. I find myself wishing and praying to be taken so I can be with him and all those who have been taken from me.

I don't deal with death well. I lost a brother to suicide 4 yrs ago and that devastated me, took me a long time to come to terms with it. I then lost another brother to an aneurysm Father's Day 2008, and my father to heart failure 3 months later 9/28/08.

My friends say I've had a lot to deal with in the past 4 years, which is so true. I'm doubting my beliefs and whether there really is a heaven. Will Ron and the others be waiting for me? I also been asking why does this keep happening to me? What did I do so wrong for this to keep happening? Why is everyone I love so dearly being taken from me? WHY!!!?  Ron used to always say to me whenever I would get upset or down, "You're stronger than that." Sometimes I wonder, am I? I don't want to be anymore. I'm just so tired of hurting.

I promised my sister and the few friends I have I wouldn't take my life, though I came close the night of Ron's funeral. I came back to the empty house with my sister and completely lost it. I should have been taken to a mental facility, but wasn't. I could hear Ron saying, "You're stronger than that!" and I yelled out "No, I'm not! I can't do this!" and he said, "Yes, you are!" and still I felt I couldn't, but then I realized my sister was there and I couldn't do that to her. I had to leave the house that night and stayed with friends for a few days. I'm still having trouble coping from day to day. I cry all the time, miss him all the time. I just want to be with him again! I pray everyday to be taken, one day, hopefully sooner than later we will reunited, hopefully? If there really is a heaven.

Sorry this is so long, I tend to ramble at times.

RIP Ron 10/24/66-8/07/10
I will ALWAYS love you 4-ever!
Amy

RIP Ron 10/24/66-8/07/10
I will ALWAYS love you 4-ever!

justthegirlfriend

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Re: Introduction - Not sure where to start
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2010, 03:59:53 PM »
browneyedgirl, thank you for responding with such encouraging words.  Believe it or not, it helps to know that someone, somewhere really does understand the pain.  amyluvsron, ramble all you want.  I can so relate to everything you're saying.  Robert was a very private man, in a very small town.  He was always telling me that he didn't want everyone to know his business. We kind of kept to ourselves.  Even for his 40th birthday, he didn't want the big bash that most people like for their "over the hill" party.  I even asked him if he wanted to invite his family over for cake.  he said no.   I never met any of his friends, only one of his two brothers, and the youngest of his two sons.  I met the rest of his family on the day of the viewing.  It was sad, awkward, I don't know.  I wanted to reach out to them, but they didn't know me and I didn't know them.  It's been four weeks, today, since I got that call. It's not getting any easier.  I dream about him every night.  They aren't comforting dreams, either.  I'm usually calling out for him and he doesn't answer.  In some, he's there, but he just looks away.  There was one where I could feel his spirit near me and I was begging him to just let me see him one more time.  Before the argument, we were making so many plans for the future, simple things like what to plant in the flower beds, what colors to paint inside.  I have to kind of laugh about one of the plans - I planted a vegetable garden last spring that didn't do so well.  Well, my big bad country boy was going to show this city girl how to raise a garden.  lol  He planted one this year that, while it was a bit better than mine, didn't do so great either.  We talked about what we were going to plant next year, how we were going to do it differently, so it would be the best garden ever.  We were going to plant some collards for Thanksgiving though.  Everyone says to try to remember the good times.  That works great until you realize there won't be any more.  Then the tears come again.  A few days after Robert's funeral, i felt like I  was going to go crazy if I didn't get up and do something, anything.  I went to the store and bought some collard plants, as well as cabbage and brussell sprouts. I decided that even though I had never had a winter  garden, this one was going to be for him and I was going to make him proud. When we were together, I was always working on some kind of project. When I was done, he'd say, "Perty work." I want to be able to hear him say that when those vegis are ready to be served.

amyluvsron

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Re: Introduction - Not sure where to start
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2010, 04:50:03 PM »
I so can relate also. Though Ron kept persisting that he didn't want to be in a committed relationship, he was always there, at my place. We even broke up once, just to get back together 2 days later. He started saying luv ya on the phone to me, then when I said it, he got freaked. He was so afraid of commitment because of his marriage that went so wrong and horrible. sometimes he would yell at me and I would think to myself, I'm not her! I even said to him the last argument we had, "Don't talk to me like that! I don't deserve to be treated like that!" and he was like he always was, not that we argued alot, just a few times, but he was like "I'm sorry, you're right" and we would kiss and makeup. I never said "luv ya" to him since he had freaked from our first argument, but I could have sworn when he called me from the hospital he spurted it out quickly, I dunno for sure. I'd like to think he did.

After the last argument we had, I tried to convince him I didn't feel for him the way really I did, because of his not wanting to be in a "committed relationship". I tried to play it off, like "It's just about great sex, nothing more". It was so much more for me and I think he knew that, but I couldn't let him go and for some reason he stuck around. He made a little comment then, like "in the future" it could be more. I feel he was confused and was afraid of being hurt again. I just wish we had more time. Time to show him how much I really cared and loved him, time to show me he loved me too. I fell it's so unfair that we didn't get that time.

We had talked of future plans sometimes, like him moving in with me. We had done that the last night we spent together. We had talked of just things we wanted to do together. He had never been to the Jersey Shore and I wanted to take him. Also, there were movies we had planned to see together. One came out the day he died. I think it may be gone already. I wanted to share that with him. Damn! I miss him so freakin much it hurts!

I've only had a few dreams. One was so vivid and I think it may have been his way of saying goodbye to me. There was this room where a bunch of people were gathered and he was greeting them, and I was sitting there patiently waiting for him to come to me. He goes to walk past me and I grabbed his arm and was like "Wait!, I need to talk to you." and I proceeded to tell him "I love you" and he said "I know", he then went to walk away and I was like "Wait!" I had so much I wanted to say and ask him, but he said "I'm Ok" and quickly kissed me and proceeded to walk away again. I was like "but?" and he stood up, looked right at me, threw his hands up, and said once again " I'm Ok!"

I wanted to hear him say I love you too, I wanted to ask him if he really cared for me. I want to believe he did. I've only had one other dream since then, but I believe it was forced because I wanted it so bad and was daydreaming about it before I fell asleep.

I wonder sometimes if he see me, if he knows how I feel, if he knows how much pain I'm in. He used to say, "I don't want to hurt you." and all I can think now is "You did, when you left me"

Amy

RIP Ron 10/24/66-8/07/10
I will ALWAYS love you 4-ever!

justthegirlfriend

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Re: Introduction - Not sure where to start
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2010, 01:00:38 PM »
When I moved in with Robert, it was partly because I was laid off a week before Thanksgiving, last year.  I had reached a point where it was either sell the home I had lived in for 15 years or lose it.  I had to find homes for four dogs that I had had for eight and nine years.  It broke my heart.  About a week after I moved in with Robert, somehow the dogs came up in our conversation and I just lost it, cried my eyes out.  He sat there and cried right with me.  He said he couldn't stand seeing me hurt like that.  So, I know he wouldn't want me hurting the way I do right now, but I can't help it.  Everything reminds me of him.  Every time I think I'm making progress, something little sets me right back.  It's been four weeks and it still hurts just as bad as it did the day I got the news.  If it were my arm or leg caught in a trap, causing me this much pain, I would have chewed it off by now.  What do you do when it's your heart?

justthegirlfriend

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Re: Introduction - Not sure where to start
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2010, 01:57:33 PM »
I just want to thank those of you who left words of encouragement.  While I'm sure that this place has helped many here, I'm finding that it's not working for me.  Reading everyone's stories only makes me more sad.  I think I need to find another way to deal with my grief. I hope that each of you finds the peace of mind and heart that we all so desperately need at times like these.  Take care and God Bless.

Paula

Terry

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Re: Introduction - Not sure where to start
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2010, 03:29:10 PM »
Everything reminds me of him.  Every time I think I'm making progress, something little sets me right back.  It's been four weeks and it still hurts just as bad as it did the day I got the news.  If it were my arm or leg caught in a trap, causing me this much pain, I would have chewed it off by now.  What do you do when it's your heart?

I hear your pain and I'm so sorry. Of course you're sad. How can you not be?

You wrote: It's been four weeks and it still hurts just as bad as it did the day I got the news."

I honestly don't know how ANY progress can be made in four weeks.?.?

Although I've returned to the world of the living, the deaths of my children still hurt after many, many years. It's a very long process. Please be patient with you and understand you've suffered a traumatic loss. Take it just one day at a time and feel everything you need to feel. We're here to listen and we care!

Know I understand.

My love,
Terry

justthegirlfriend

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Re: Introduction - Not sure where to start
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2010, 06:29:17 PM »
I know I said that I didn't think this was helping, but for some reason, I find myself coming back to read more each day.  Terry, I understand what you're saying about giving myself time.  At the same time, I've read posts about how society puts unrealistic limitations on our grieving time.  I've realized that, in my case, it's not so much society as it is myself.  This is not my first loss.  I'll be 46 next month and I've been divorced three times.  My mom passed away in 2001 after battling cancer.  I'm not sharing this to for a "poor me".  After each divorce and even after my mother's death, I seemed to "bounce back" so much more easily than what I'm doing now.  I keep telling myself that the circumstances then (and. like someone else said, I'm not minimizing anyone else's pain here) were much different - I had a job, my kids were younger, I had responsibilities, things to keep my mind occupied.  In the case of the divorces, I was mad and had an "I'll show you!" attitude that made me get up do something with my life.  With my mom, we had watched her suffer and, I believe, that even before her diagnosis she was just tired and ready to go (she was actually my biological grandmother who had already raised her family, then raised my sister and me).  The point is that, until now, I have always been the one, in a crisis to take charge - we have to do this, we have to do that and  I would get it done. That helped me deal with my grief.  When my youngest son joined the marines, my best friend told me, "You're going to have to be strong for everyone else."  That's who I've always been, the strong one. This time is different.  I don't feel strong at all.  I know it's only been four weeks, ( five tomorrow), but it seems to have been the longest five weeks of my life.  There's a line from a song that plays over and over in my head - "I should get up, dry my eyes and move ahead, at least that's what you would have said".  It may seem too soon to others who have been/ are going through it.  I just need to convince myself that it's ok to still be feeling this way.

Terry

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Re: Introduction - Not sure where to start
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2010, 08:15:44 PM »
I know I said that I didn't think this was helping, but for some reason, I find myself coming back to read more each day.  Terry, I understand what you're saying about giving myself time.  At the same time, I've read posts about how society puts unrealistic limitations on our grieving time.  I've realized that, in my case, it's not so much society as it is myself.  This is not my first loss.

Forget about society. They aren't feeling your pain. They're not doing the 'grief work' that you'll be doing. And, you owe them nothing. I hope you can believe this because it's true.

I did the same thing, found myself coming back again and again even though at times I thought I was so different from others here, when in fact we all share a common bond; we have lost someone we loved and are trying to find coping skills to move forward in our lives.

So, in regards to those other posts that suggest you will be pressured into 'fitting in' and in a certain amount of time; remember, this is your grief, your loss and your heart and there will come a time when you will need to set boundaries with others. Letting them know that they will not be allowed to dictate or force upon you the time limits they have personally set for 'your' grieving. This is when we start doing what I call "Yard Work" and that is sorting out the weeds and there will be many. It's an inventory, of sorts that we are all faced with when having to live in the life that we used to fit into so comfortably and now are finding it very foreign and at times unbearable to face on a daily basis.

After each divorce and even after my mother's death, I seemed to "bounce back" so much more easily than what I'm doing now.  I keep telling myself that the circumstances then (and. like someone else said, I'm not minimizing anyone else's pain here) were much different.

Every loss you experience will be different. Every single one. The coping skills that worked so well with one may not be of any use with another. And, that's OK. You do what you need to do for you and know that others really do understand as many of us have had multiple losses.
And, you're so right when you said that "circumstances were different" and this made a difference in how you grieved. It does for us all. Understanding that is important as you already recognize why you're feeling an indifference and that uncertain feeling regarding how you will handle this. This is OK, too.

The point is that, until now, I have always been the one, in a crisis to take charge - we have to do this, we have to do that and  I would get it done. That helped me deal with my grief.  When my youngest son joined the marines, my best friend told me, "You're going to have to be strong for everyone else."  That's who I've always been, the strong one. This time is different.  I don't feel strong at all.  I know it's only been four weeks, ( five tomorrow), but it seems to have been the longest five weeks of my life.  There's a line from a song that plays over and over in my head - "I should get up, dry my eyes and move ahead, at least that's what you would have said".  It may seem too soon to others who have been/ are going through it.  I just need to convince myself that it's ok to still be feeling this way.

I've shared these same thoughts and many times as I have always been handed the responsibility of handling funeral arrangements, etc, etc, etc. I was the strong one. I was the only one that didn't fall apart. Without going into too much detail because I feel that you understand what I'm saying.

There's nothing wrong with falling apart. And, there's nothing wrong in not being the strong one. It took me years to learn that fact and then incorporate it into my life.

I, too have experienced many losses and as I'm getting older and a bit wiser, I'm realizing that I, too need to be taken care of. Just as you do.

I've traveled this road for most of my life and if I knew then what I know now, I could have saved myself a lot of unnecessary pain and health problems while trying to 'get the job done' and always being the 'strong one' as it is not fair to anyone.

We are all individuals as is our grief. Each loss takes a toll on our hearts and different steps need to be taken according to what is going on in our lives that could be causing stress, as this could greatly complicate our grief.

I have little family left as my precious Dad is not doing well and then there is my Sister and Granddaughter....I've buried everyone else. But, I have THEIR love and the love of some wonderful friends and my heart has always stayed open and probably why I've healed a great deal and will continue to.

As a new friend here on webhealing, I would like to offer you my heart with all of the understanding that it holds and my love. And, to let you know beyond any doubt that it IS OK to still be feeling the way you are. Whatever you are feeling due to your most recent loss and all of your losses...is OK. Please believe that!

When you feel up to it, I would like to hear more about how you're doing and how you're feeling. Grief/pain zaps our immune systems so please take very good care of yourself. Eating well. Resting if you cannot sleep.
Have you started a journal? It was and remains a life line for me and of course, coming here where I am heard and understood by so many loving and caring people who continue to keep their heart's open.

((((((((((((Paula))))))))))) (The girlfriend)

You have my love,
Terry
 
« Last Edit: September 29, 2010, 09:00:56 PM by Terry »

justthegirlfriend

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Re: Introduction - Not sure where to start
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2010, 06:59:08 AM »
Terry, thank you so much.  I'm so sorry for the losses you too have had to deal with.  I'll keep your dad in my prayers.  To answer some of your questions:  Yes, I've been keeping a journal, of sorts.  I write letters to Robert, telling him about my days, my feelings, etc.  It helps, but those pages of paper give me no feedback.  Again, I thank you for that part.  How I'm feeling:  physically, I think I'll be ok.  I did lose 8 pounds in the first two weeks, but I had been wanting to lose twenty anyhow...  That has leveled off and my appetite is coming back.  Sleep is a totally different story.  It's getting better, from 3 - 4 hours a night, the first week to 5 -6 now.  I don't like it, but I find myself fighting sleep each night.  I dream about Robert or his family and wake up crying, or cranky.  Yesterday, though, I took a nap for the first time in I don't know how long.  Then I fell asleep early (11 pm is actually early to me now) and slept for 9 hours.  I woke up this morning feeling refreshed for the first time. 
I know there will be good days and bad days.  There have been more bad so far, but today, I'm feeling a little better and want to share a thought I had yesterday.  Back in July, it was extremely hot for weeks, too hot to go outside for more than a few minutes.  One Sunday, Robert and I were just tired of staying inside, watching tv.  He told me, "Come on, let's go cool off."  Not far from his house is a state park, with a lake and wild life refuge.  He knew of a secluded place at the lake.  It was beautiful there.  I told him it was heaven.  It was so serene.  No boats, no jetskis, just the two of us and nature.  When things get really tough now, when my heart is really breaking, I go back there in my mind.  I try to focus only on the scenery because when I think about the conversations and laughter with him, it makes me sad again.  But when I focus on the peacefulness of that day, I feel better.  I was looking at pictures that I took that day.  A few years ago, wildfires took out hundreds of acres of this wild life sanctuary.  The day we were there, though, the plant life was coming back strong, I took pictures of a mother fox and her baby.  We saw signs of bears and other wild animals.  I looked at pictures I had taken of trees, scarred from the fire, but still standing.  I thought, "All of this survived devastation.  So can I."  Maybe I'm headed back to the land of the living?