The past few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind for Rob and I, and unfortunately I haven't had any time to write up a new post, much less work on a project for a new post. Note to self: do 50 projects in one weekend, and have them ready to go for future posts. BAM. Problem Solved.
Too ambitious? Yea. Probably.
After our friends came to visit, we were looking to upgrade to a 2-bedroom apartment. One of our best friends is coming out to live with us for a few months as a trial run to see how he'd like living in Colorado, and honestly, we needed more space anyway - 1 bedroom is just not cutting it for us + 2 cats + Luna.
We really wanted to stay at our current apartment complex, but it took awhile for a building with a back-unit to open up (which we are so glad we waited for - the pic above is my nephew looking through an opening in the stairwell, so you can imagine the full spectrum from our patio :) Otherwise we would've been in an interior building, and I'd much rather our living room patio look out onto the mountains instead of looking into someone else's home....)
Once this unit opened up, our move-in day unfortunately fell on the same day that my family was coming to visit. It was amazing to have the help moving, and definitely convenient to have the extra space for my brother's family of five, but I won't deny that it was a bit emotionally stressful despite all that. Moving furniture, juggling work, and trying to get the other space cleaned in time for our move-out day, all while worrying about plans for family entertainment - it was a bit much. Rob even woke up one morning with a blurry eye due to stress! We had to make an emergency ophthalmologist appointment to get it checked out (and because I was freaking out. Thankfully it went away in a few days.)
And then of course, when it rains, it pours.
We found out amidst all of this, that Rob's grandpa had passed away.
And when something like that happens, everything else seems to disintegrate around you. Each buzzing reminder of things that need to be done, suddenly halts with insignificance. You stop caring about the move, about the un-assembled furniture and the stacks of boxes covering every inch of carpet. You stop caring about work. You stop caring about cleaning an old apartment to get a security deposit back. Instead you fixate with immense tunnel vision, on your partner. And all you can do is worry about how they are doing, and what you can do to take away any ounce of pain they may be feeling.
Rob and I have been dating since we were just 14 years old, so he's been witness to some dark moments in my life. The experiences we all have that, deep-down, we want support for, but that we also secretly wish we were strong enough to handle on our own so that we could avoid being so vulnerable around someone else. He has been there for me with unwavering support and love through my parents' difficult divorce, my grandma's death, and then my grandpa's death. I've never had to be on the other side of this with him, and if I'm honest, it was exceptionally difficult.
Because when he hurts, I hurt.
It was difficult to not be able to fix it. Because it can't be fixed.
It was difficult to recognize that his grieving process is vastly different than mine, and that he didn't appear to need, or want, soothing.
It was even more difficult to be so far removed from knowing how he was feeling. You've created this life together for the past 12 years and you've become so in sync that you feel abundantly confident that no curve ball would ever be strong enough to confuse you when it comes to your partner. But death changes that, and you end up feeling helpless.
I knew he wouldn't cry, I knew he wouldn't refuse to go out, and I knew he wouldn't sob himself to sleep at night - all characteristics of my own, when my grandpa passed unexpectedly.
But even though I knew all of this, some part of me wanted him to just let it out. I just wanted him to cry. To feel it. Maybe then he'd feel better and be able to process this loss. Maybe then I'd recognize visually that he was hurting and I could try to fix it. But that's not Rob. And there was nothing to fix. He needed distraction instead. He welcomed a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park with my family, and late-night game-playing and beer-drinking with my brother. He was all smiles and jokes, and that was OK.
That's the part that's hard when you're the supporting partner. Let whatever grieving process happens, happen. Just let it be. Because they need that. They need to be able to process everything in their own time, on their own terms. Rob doesn't want to talk about it at length, and he doesn't want to cry. And that's OK.
I know that in time, he'll heal from the pain of losing someone so special. And if he ever wants to talk, or cry, I'll be here. As long as I am here for whatever he needs, whenever it may be that he needs it, that's all that matters.
I know this is an extreme detour from my usual posts, but I wanted to provide some insight for anyone who may be going through something similar. Because relationships are hard. And death is hard. And truth be told, whether a DIY project, a travel post, or an emotional outpour - this blog is my therapy. So thanks for bearing with me on the rough stuff.