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Saturday, January 29, 2011


Last Saturday, I put the silent butler back in it’s proper place against the wall on Clint’s side of the bed. I carefully reconstructed it in exactly the way is was before I undressed it and put it in the guest room. I thought I was ready to live without it, but clearly I was not. Combined with a medication change and the MF’s behavior, I was overwhelmingly sad and anxious and needed my security blanket. I have given myself permission to leave the silent butler in it’s place forever, if that’s what it takes. I may even give it a name.

The circumstances of my life over the last two weeks have me thinking about the power we to give to others. Trust is a powerful thing, and when we give it others, we open up ourselves up to the possibility of betrayal. I still feel the sting of the MF’s cruelty.

But how can we live our lives without trusting others? We would become paranoid and self-involved and closed to the possibilities of the rewards of friendship. To trust another is an act of courage, though I never thought about it in that way until the attack upon me by the MF, when I received the poisoned pen text messages that were so intentionally hurtful.

I took another blow when our mutual friend took his side, became his apologist. I trusted her, and as with him, it was misplaced. She also betrayed me. Will our friendship survive?

I will never know what brought on this monstrous attack because I will never ask. I have cut this man from my life as a surgeon might cut away a tumor. And I feel stronger every day. The sad news is that now I feel a little paranoid, wonder just who I can trust.

In my needy naiveté, I lost sight of what is good for me. I should have broken off this relationship months ago, when he first began breaking dates, lying and in general being an ass. I was so lonely, and because of that loneliness, I made ill conceived choices. For that, I take full responsibility.

I’m 62 years old, and I know I will not change. I cannot live my life not trusting others, and I suppose that means I will forever be at risk of being hurt. I’m glad I am who I am. I can take it. I really can.

This has reactivated my grief just when I thought I was making progress. Now I will start again, and again and again if necessary.

© cj Schlottman

Saturday, January 22, 2011

And Things Get Worse

Those of you who read this blog know that I am having problems working through my grief after the loss of my husband, Clint, nearly 19 months ago. I have taken great strides and I have had some setbacks. I can’t endure another day without the silent butler, and I intend to put it back where it belongs. I had thought to shop for a bookcase to put in that spot, and I will do that, but until I have the bookcase, the silent butler will go back in our room, and I will replace everything that was on it. I feel better just writing that down.

My former Man Friend has lost his mind, become paranoid and psychotic. Last Sunday night, he sent me the most cruel text message one could imagine. I have never been treated like that. Never. He has it in his head that I am trying to take his friends away from him, and in incredibly cruel terms told me to stay away from our mutual friends. He accused me of appropriating his friends and relationships and called me intrusive and said I made everyone uncomfortable. One of the most strange things about this is that he was talking about a group of people with whom we have eaten supper at our club on Sunday nights from time to time. He is not close to even one of them. They are his acquaintances, and he does not have anything approaching a relationship with any of them. One of the women is my good friend.

I have no idea where this all came from. It’s as though his head spun around and did a 180, suddenly and without explanation, stopped being my friend and started to despise me in the most vehement of ways. And it hurt my feelings. This man has been my friend for years. We’ve had a few rough patches like friends do, but I considered him a trustworthy and loyal friend. I did text him back and tell him that he would never dictate where and with whom I would take my meals. I advised him to stay away from the club on Sundays if he doesn’t want to be around me.

Now for the worst part of all. Back when we were friends, the MF and I shared a great friendship with another woman. He has been in love with her for a long time, but she has been involved in a nasty divorce for two years. It is finally coming to an end, so they can start dating soon.

I thought this woman was my friend, but when I read the text message to her, she became his apologist! She never said a sympathetic word or condemned his language. If the tables were turned, I would have worried about her, not taken up for the guilty one. She tried to tell me that I had never officially been invited to join the Sunday group, so I informed her that I had been invited by two of the members who encouraged me to get out because Sunday is a cruel day for me, the day I miss Clint the most. There was no animus between us, but the friendship is over as far as I am concerned. A true friend would have condemned is cruelty, even if she were in love/lust with the man.

I realize this is journaling online, so forgive me, please. I need to spill this out to someone, and you all understand.

One last little dollop of cream on the top: When I was working out at the club gym today, they came in together. I was finishing up and as I was going to the door, I spoke to her (I was raised not to be rude) and ignored him. I realized I had a set of keys to his house that I was going to drop off at her house and decided there was no time like the present. So, I took the keys to her, put them in a cubby hole - she all smiles all the time. As I was walking out, he said in a voice loud enough for the entire room to hear, “I already changed the locks!” Thank God 99% of the people had ear buds inserted and probably could not here.

Think I have been used? Yes. They both used me so they could be together, forever inviting me out to dinner. I was their unwitting chaperone. Now they no longer need me, so he has kicked me to the curb and she has changed into a person who apparently condones his actions.

Live and learn.

© cj Schlottman - 01/22/1011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Silent Butler Revisited


On Sunday, January 2, 19 months after Clint’s death, I bravely unloaded his silent butler, stowed away his pants and belts and slippers and moved the silent butler to the guest room. I did so with a matter of fact demeanor, no tears, knowing it was the right thing. I need to move on, and it has been a torturously slow and painful process.

I applauded my courage and was sure I had done the right thing. Then Thursday arrived, and I woke in a pit of depression. I now know that it is called delayed grief reactivation.

Over the last week and a half, I have been tempted to move the silent butler back into my room and reload it with Clint’s things. It needs to stay where it is, appropriately available for guests to use, but when I look at the empty place where it stood against the wall on his side of the bed, I suffer periods of weeping and feeling as though he died only yesterday.

Work days are not so painful, and I am going to request to be scheduled to work on Sundays. They are the hardest, the days when we Poppy and I lolled around the house watching golf or football or tennis on TV. We usually had vodka and orange juice with a small brunch around noon. Then we would take a nap and get ready for whatever game we were planning to watch. Yes, Sundays remain difficult in a striking way.

And I continue to have frequent episodes of excruciating grief, tearing up at the mere thought of him, of how disappointing it is to be mired in this agonizing cycle of healing followed by more sadness.

When Clint died, my therapist warned me that it would be a long process to reach that place where I am more healed than wounded. Her exact words were: “The more you have lost, the harder it will be and the longer it will take.” She was right, of course, but this latest episode has me feeling disappointed and cheated. Part of me wants to move on, but there is a place at my core where I am still holding on, hoping he will return. It is a dreadful infirmity.

Could it be that I was so defined by my relationship with my husband? As years have passed and I cared for my brother and my mother, only to see them die within 2 months of one another, I was the brave one, the courageous backbone of the family. Was I drawing all that strength from Clint, his complete support of me, his willingness allow me the privilege of spending as much time with them as I could carve out of the calendar?

Then he got sick, and I thought I could will him to live, thought that if I unyeldingly wanted him to live, he would. On occasion, I would try to imagine what life without him would be, but I was never capable of believing that one day he would actually die.

Am I not my own being? Am I the other half of Clint Schlottman and therefore only half a person? Where did my strength go if it didn’t leave with him? How am I to go about finding my whole self? Will it ever happen?

No, I am not suicidal. I am far too responsible to do a thing like that. It has never occurred to me to run away from this by killing myself. There has to be another way.

But where is the path?

© cj Schlottman

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fighting the Slide Backwards

Depression is a cunning bastard. It sneaks up on one when least expected and has its way with you. I find myself in transition from one medicine to another, and this morning, I woke feeling as though an ague had overtaken my body. I even took my temperature as my head was aching and my entire body felt as though I had been without sleep for days, though I logged in nine hours last night. My limbs are fatigued and my stomach is just short of nauseated, queasy enough to make me miserable.

For those who don’t suffer from this cruel condition, it may be news that it doesn’t just affect your spirit. It can make one physically ill also. I shutter to think of working today, grateful that I am at home.

This morning, I forced myself to do some work around the house, but I got so tired, I came to bed and did some computer chores. I am sleepy but unable to sleep.

I’m not really sad, just physically uncomfortable and with an ennui of spirit that has me uninterested in anything. I have both of my phones turned off, having no desire to speak to anyone about anything. My sister-in-law, Lisa, and my nephew, Wil, are coming to stay overnight with me, and all I can imagine is how I will put forth some semblance of normalcy.

I start my new job on Monday (the one I have wished for and am anxious to start) and because we are expecting an ice storm on Sunday night and Monday, I am imagining the worst, fearing driving on the icy roads, wondering if the hospital will send for me if I can’t get out of my driveway. Maybe by then, I will be well enough to view the whole event as an adventure.

I’m attempting to stave this off. I have been writing, doing shitty little jobs that I have put off for months. I’m saving gym, but I am too exhausted to even attempt it. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll wake up as the real me.

I’m going to read some blog posts, something I have been remiss about of late. Maybe that will make my stomach stop hurting.

© cj Schlottman

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year - Changes

My new year is beginning on a good note. One amazing thing that happened is that, one week after accepting a full time job in psych, Suzanne from Inpatient Hospice at Pine Pointe called me to say she had received a resignation from one of her full time nurses and offered me the job! That is always what I wanted - a full time job in Hospice. (I need the benefits, not to mention the money). Funny how it took me taking matters into my own hands for things to work out the way I wanted. I start my new job on Monday, the tenth!

On that day, Tuesday, the 28th, I was in Savannah for a private tutorial with my writing mentor, Rosemary Daniell. We did quality work on some of my poems and set some goals. I came away feeling very good about my poems and fortunate to have such a good teacher. And I’ve been working hard on revisions of some older work, and I have a new poem rolling around in my head.

I spent Tuesday night with my granddaughter, Addie, and her family, so the trip was a double success. We had a late exchange of gifts, and they gave me the most precious wrist bag by Coach. The best part was being with Addie and her family.

I had a watershed event on Sunday, when I, after nearly 19 months, I was finally able to take Clint’s trousers off the silent butler and put them away in the closet. They were the last pants he wore before he went to the hospital for his final visit before coming home with Hospice. I took down his belts and hung them in the closet and wrapped up his Ugg bedroom shoes and tucked them away with his old Birkenstocks. I did it without crying, so the time must have been right. Until then, I wasn’t able to even consider moving those things. I polished the silent butler and put it in the guest room to be used by company.

Changes. Some bigger than others, but changes nonetheless. I feel challenged and energized and less depressed than in a long time.

© cj Schlottman