LEAVE THE PAST BEHIND
JUST WALK AWAY
WHEN IT’S OVER
AND MY HEART BREAKS
AND THE CRACKS BEGIN TO SHOW

— “CRACKS” BY FLUX PAVILION

August 14, 2019

As the gooey yellow yoke infiltrated the glistening egg white, the lyrics from Flux Pavilion’s “Cracks” played over and over in my head. I looked at the pathetic egg and then totally lost it. The streaming tears, the shortness of breath, the intense feeling of loneliness and vulnerability that had been building up inside of me over the past week. It wasn’t about the damn egg yoke cracking. It was that Ian always fried his eggs to perfection and he wasn’t here to do it. Not only was he not here to fry my eggs, but also just to crack jokes at my poor cooking skills.

I immediately shared my grief on Instagram and thought to myself, “WTF are you doing Emily? No one wants to hear this!” I didn’t care. I posted anyways and luckily friends came to my side offering me readings on healing and grief and lunar justifications for my intense emotional reaction, but most importantly, they just offered me love.

Maybe my sudden wave of grief was triggered by the oncoming full moon, but more likely, it was an event that occurred just days prior that solidified Ian’s absence. Before I share this story please note that our house is BIG. It was too big when we bought it for the four of us, so with Ian gone, it feels even more ominous and empty.

I had been up late reading and talking to a friend in an ironically similar situation as me on the phone, when I heard a loud banging at my front door, followed by the door bell ringing repeatedly. My heart came to a halt. I was paralyzed. The thought of someone trying to break into my home — let alone just a stranger standing outside my front door at 11:30pm at night — shook me to the core. I couldn’t even get out of bed to look outside the window for fear that I might be about to experience one of my worst nightmares.

I called my next door neighbor who has a security system (yes, I’m getting one too now), to see what was going on. Their surveillance videos showed five teenagers messing around in the backyard and then doorbell ditching. Innocent fun, but to me it was sheer panic for five minutes that felt more like an hour. Without Ian there to help me laugh it off — let’s face it Ian and I both pulled pranks like this as teens — I felt vulnerable. Without Ian there to hug and hold me, I felt alone. And this feeling of loneliness caused by some innocent fun had been building over the last five days — all for it to implode as I broke the god damn egg yoke!

Ian had a way of putting a spin on any negative situation. I would rant. Then he would share his point of view. I would think, have my “ah-ha” moment, and immediately felt better. He could always talk me down if I was upset about the next door neighbor’s dog yapping loudly before the sun rose, the constant work place dramas and inefficiencies that of course I KNEW how to solve (don’t we all?), or my disappointment when I didn’t get the perfect cut and color after spending hundreds of dollars (and time) at the hair salon. Ian did not sweat the small stuff — even before his cancer diagnosis. He sought the best in life and squashed the BS. He was too busing laughing, living and loving every second of life. And when life handed him a terminal cancer diagnosis, he said “bring it on!”

So, my hard shell had cracked and my raw emotions were oozing all of the place. After I dried my tears, ate my less than satisfactory mashed-up fried egg (yes I took my fork and smashed that darn thing — it was the grief! #sorrynotsorry.) — I asked myself, what would Ian do?

Yes, this new normal is different. Yes, I’m alone. Yes, I’m a single mom who did NOT ask to be one (my apologies to any divorced single moms or dads raising kids, but this is different). Yes, I have no real job. And yes, I’m going to complain, cry, get angry, and feel what I need to feel. Embracing my emotions and letting the tears flow cleanses me. It allows me to recognize HOW MUCH I miss Ian and how significant our love was.

Ian’s friend Amelia sent me this passage during my cracked-yoke crisis (thank you Instagram and Amelia!!). Not sure where she got it, but it resonated:

That love [Ian and my love] goes somewhere. Some of it transforms into other emotions like sadness and grief. And we judge our emotions so harshly — sadness and anger are bad, joy and love are good. But they’re all emotions. They all deserve reverence.

So I feel. I process. I smash eggs. And then, I’m more capable of embracing Ian’s approach, which probably plays out something like this.

Yes, this is an entirely new beginning for me. It’s strange and scary because its new, but it’s also fresh start. It’s a second chance to really do something greater — something bigger than just me and my two kids. It’s an opportunity to make a real impact — connecting my experience, my struggle, and my pain to a larger narrative. I don’t know what that narrative is quite yet. But, I’m exploring and I’m open. And when that broader storyline begins to unfold, you better bet I’ll be ready to kick the shit out of it! So, bring it on.

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