The Aftermath

Grief, Sex, and Love

After Matt passed, almost nine years ago, I thankfully was unemployed. I would have never been able to work after he died. It was hard enough to get my son to school; it was a 20+ minute drive from where we lived. I wasn’t able to sleep. I’d sit up in my bed, scouring the web to find either something someone would write about him that I hadn’t heard about, or looking for a picture of him that I had never seen before. When I look back now, I was trying to hold onto him. I was trying to hold onto a ghost.

I didn’t turn to family, friends, men, or booze. I soothed my grief with more than my usual long hot baths, where all I did was cry, not wanting to be here without him. I didn’t know how I’d be here without him. I didn’t want to be here without him. But I wanted, and needed, to be here for my son. The love I had for my son was bigger than what I felt for Matt and what I felt for myself.

I found quick pleasure in red velvet cake slices, sometimes having two a day. I found moments of forgetting what I had lost, through my son’s laughter, stories, conversations, or smile.

After a month of Matt’s passing, I picked up the handwritten, and typed, manuscript of my memoir that he told me he would love to read one day. I pieced it together and dove right into finishing the book I had started when I was 22 years old, nineteen years earlier.

For almost 2 years, this was my life. I gained 30lbs, from the grief of Matt dying and from reliving and rereading my difficult childhood in my memoir. It could have been worse. I could have been in a bar every afternoon.

After I was done writing my book, it took me about another year and a half, to edit and re-edit my memoir.

The only person I did see, from time to time, was Matt’s mother. I found comfort in speaking to someone about Matt. I still felt close to him and felt his presence with me. loss

By 2013, I was working. I sometimes tried to get out of my isolation either by meeting up with friends, going to the beach, or going outside to exercise. I also sometimes tried to move on and date. I wanted to try to find pleasure in being with another. If anything, I at least needed sex. But, I couldn’t. I didn’t want to.

Matt had passed at the end of 2011 and from 2013-2019, I slept with 4 or 5 men. I was disconnected. I put up a wall around my heart. I didn’t want to love anyone else. I didn’t want to be touched by anyone else. I didn’t want to connect with anyone else. Matt felt like my destiny and that was a hard thing to stop feeling.

I knew it was important to get myself out there and that maybe the hurt would lessen if there was somebody that came into my life. I wanted to try to be hopeful, maybe something would bloom, but all that happened was that I would get what I wanted (as far as sex went). I sometimes would not even let them finish. I was cold afterwards. No hugs. No sleepovers. My feelings afterward were – OK, now don’t touch me, I gotta go. There was actually one guy in 2018 that I dated several times and only kissed, but after two weeks he wanted to know where this was going which freaked me out. He said he was ready to have someone fully in his life. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about him. So, that ended.

But to know something about me after Matt passed, I had mostly met guys with the sole intention of having sex. Once I realized I had issues with intimacy, I made a more conscious effort for it to not be just about that. I usually don’t want to always have sex on the first date. I’ve dated a few times in the last two years where I didn’t have sex. intimacyBut, sometimes the need to have that pleasure, not just orgasm, but to really enjoy kissing and being kissed, to wrap your arms around another, is what I longed for.

During these years, the longest I worked at one company was almost 2 years. My patience would wear thin when it came to people and their toxicity, stupidity, or lack of humanity. Death wakes up what is in your heart and soul. And, the way people go on and on about little things that are going to be irrelevant in the end, or the way people chase money and are greedy, or how people aren’t kind or compassionate to a stranger that is obviously struggling, is always magnified for me when I lose a loved one.

Eventually, over the years, I found the grief to be bearable and it would only show it’s self a couple times a year. I found joy in my son’s success. He went away to college for two years. And, then he moved back home when he transferred to UCLA. For the most part, I was starting to feel somewhat back to normal.

Or, so I thought.
By 2018, my suicidal thoughts came back. I think the passing of Matt, rewriting, rereading, and going over my past for completing my book, the fact that I hated doing accounting, wasn’t following my passion – photography, and that I didn’t have someone in my life (or relationships figured out) brought back my suicidal depression. It sucked because it had almost been 20 years that I hadn’t been suicidal or for the most part, depressed.

Two other things that may have also had a part to play in triggering my suicidal thoughts were the passing of my dad in December 2016 (we hadn’t seen each other in over 5 years because I had removed myself from my mom’s narcissism and alcoholism the week Matt passed) and when Chester Bennington killed himself. Let’s just say, that one hit me hard.

So in 2018, I was trying to take care of myself. I was trying to market my book. I was trying to pursue my passion – photography. I was even flown out to New York City to be on the Kathy Lee and Hoda show for the “Pitch Your Passion“ episode. But, what I was also sometimes doing at home while either in my room or walking around my neighborhood was, thinking of where I could hang myself from. Trees? Anywhere in my apartment? I did try time and again to talk myself out of thinking about it because I had to live.

By the end of 2018, I had stopped trying to conjure up a full-proof way of hanging myself. I reached out and sought therapy. In January 2019, I was back in therapy. By July 2019, I was in ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholic) meetings for the first time in my life. Also in mid to late 2019, I dated this one guy. I had actually let him stay the night, one night. I liked how it felt when he reached for me in the middle of the night and in the morning, but I didn’t feel that I wanted it from him. I just liked how it felt, the touch of someone reaching for me. I missed that feeling. The next guy I was with at the beginning of 2020, it felt great to be held by him. There was no longer that, oh gosh, don’t touch me feeling. It was now, yes, embrace me. Hold onto me as long as you’d like. But, I ended that because we were in different places in our lives. Then last month, I met someone who I enjoyed having sex with and wanted to see more of. That hadn’t happened in a long time. I was ready to have someone in my life again or at least ready to see what could develop.

relationships

Grief is hard on everybody. But, when you are either in a relationship with someone or like me, saw that Matt was the first person I had ever seen marrying, it is hard to let go or put that love in a box, on a shelf, in your closet. Sex is natural and we all need that intimacy and connection. Love is harder when you’ve lost someone you thought you would love for forever. But, life is mysterious. For people like me, we think and we feel like we cannot get through the tough shit the universe throws at us. And yet time and time again, in the end, if we just hold on, breathe, and seek help, we find a newer us. We are much stronger and unbreakable than we give ourselves credit for. We must always remember that!

Stay strong, stay sweet, and know you are not alone!

1yr anniversary – R.I.P. Dad

I saw this at the mall and it spoke to me.

I probably have a connection to it because it has water, looks like it was taken under the sea. And, I probably feel a close connection because I’m such a Pisces, water girl, mermaid. I even take baths, a couple a week, and they usually are as long as 30-45 minutes long. Sometimes taking baths like this reminds me of Big Fish, the movie. ☺ But, this #art piece made me also feel and think of how there are days/times in my life that I need to just flow, swim, or reach with what the current tide in life is bringing me.
Today is one of those days. Today is the 1 year anniversary of my dad’s passing. Even though there are important things I need to deal with, calls to return, all I’m going to do and focus on is the time I’m going to have with my son down at the beach. My dad (& family) loved the beach, the ocean, the water. I want to remember him there.
I want to laugh, cry, and feel his love there.
R.I.P. Dad. I love you!

Ode to Court today, 5/23/2017

As I sit here, next to you 

I think of all these moments of time.
The moments of my life, so long ago.

My life was adventurous.
My life had promise.
My life had excitement of new loves, new experiences.

Not everyone gets to live the high life of fun times in West Hollywood’s clubs
the glamorous who’s-who parties in the Hollywood Hills
the adoration and reassurance of self esteem of someone like 2pac noticing you.

The moments you and I shared.
The relationship and things we shared.
All I can think,
while I sit next to you here in court – how did we get here?

Why did you choose not to be part of your son’s life
with not even a care in the world to make sure he was properly taken care of.
Is all you have to say to me
when you sit down next to me is –
“sorry”.
#childsupport

R.I.P. Dad

Rest in peace, Dad (12/9/1933 -12/22/2016)

So thankful for who you were and who you evolved to be.
“I love you so much, too.”

My dad was a man who had four girls, me being the youngest. He was a strong, funny, and sometimes quiet man. He was a man who loved football (soccer) and was a fan of Pelé. He liked the beach, the sun and fishing. He liked action-packed, old westerns and movies with Doris Day. He could cook the best Carbonara and Spaghetti Bolognese. He believed in education, family, and that a woman (especially his girls) could do anything a man could do.

By the time I was 3 years old, he made plans to move his family to the U.S. because of the government issues in Peru, but primarily for our education.

dad-and-me-in-peru   dad-n-me

My dad raised me to be a strong, independent woman. He showed me first hand equality between the sexes (Feminism). Besides being the primary bread-winner, he tended to his daughters. He cooked and showed me how to cook (‘if you love shrimp and bacon you have to learn to deal with being stung by the grease sometimes’). He cleaned around the house and he showed me how to take care of my cars. And, most importantly he taught me how to think for myself, that you needed to do the research-read, learn and find out things for yourself, instead of just listening to someone else or one person’s opinion. I’m sure all this helped me when I was left to be a single mother many years later.

My dad, unfortunately, was also co-dependent to my mother (she is an alcoholic). He kept his family together because he thought he was doing the right thing. He had loyalty and he sacrificed his life for my mom and us. In the end, he stuck by my mom because he could not give up on their vows and he knew what would possibly happen to her if there was no one there to take care of her. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him, even at the expense of losing touch with me back in 2011 because I could no longer accept my mom in my life. He thought that he was doing the right thing and I do not, nor did back then, blame him for the choices he made then and all our years. I realized, back in 2011, that it was okay because it was “their” journey together. Since 2011, I had only seen him once when my son graduated from high school.

My dad showed me in my lifetime, and especially in the last 20 years, that he was truly a loving man and a father that really did love me. Sometimes when you grow up in an alcoholic home, you aren’t quite sure how much the co-dependent parent loves you.

My dad showed me that he could have very deep conversations, expressing one another’s opinions and thoughts that were maybe contradictory to his daughter’s. My dad showed me that he could have these conversations with me that would never lead into an argument (that wasn’t the case many years earlier). I believe it was important for him to share some things with me and to also to really get to know me.

My dad showed me what a father should be after I had my son. The few months we lived together after I had my son, he stepped in-to let me eat, to sooth my son’s colic because I couldn’t, and to let me rest or just have a break.

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My dad showed me what it was to work hard, to never rely on a handout or rely on a man.

My dad showed me to move forward in life despite all the storms that life may throw your way.

I was told in the hospital before he passed that this last decade or so that he struggled with illnesses, like Leukemia, Diabetes, and Anemia that he wanted to be part of any clinical trials, so that maybe by doing so his life could be used to benefit others. I love this!

My dad was my very important to me and I was very fortunate and grateful to see him again before he passed. He wasn’t well, but he somehow managed to say to me, “I love you so much.” I told him, “I love you more.”

I will move on as my dad only wished for me to live. I will countlessly remind my son what it is to be a strong, loving man and father (with the exception of ever becoming co-dependent and sacrificing yourself for another). I will remind my son that a man should also cook, clean, and be a caretaker to his kids. I will continue my dad’s legacy and I hope to continue to make him proud for generations to come.

image-4_sm     2014-08-30-23-16-27

Previous posts on my dad’s final days.

https://gracelozada.com/2016/12/13/making-amends-before-its-too-late/

https://gracelozada.com/2016/12/18/a-week-later/

https://gracelozada.com/2016/12/21/trip-back-to-the…al-to-see-my-dad/

#agingparents #rip #ripdad

Trip back to the hospital to see my dad. 

On the train, back to see my dad. He’s still very critical. He was admitted a day before his birthday, December 8th. I went down from Los Angeles to San Diego that Sunday, a few days after and stayed until late Saturday, living in the waiting room or with my mom in his room. Never knew, whom ever knows, how the end of someone’s life will go. We all just wished that he’d die peacefully in his sleep. He deserved to go that way. He has had a long life, he’s 83, and even though there were very horrendous times, there were also many beautiful times. 

He has come a long way. From a man so happy of the possibilities, marrying a well-to-do, beautiful woman to having four girls and moving to a country that had, in his eyes, a better education (for his girls) and the endless opportunities the U.S. could provide. Mind you, parts of him, I’m sure, would have loved to stay in Peru. But, the way things were going with the government, he made the choice to what he believed, would be a better life.

The transition wasn’t easy, especially for his wife and his unknowing of what it took to raise a family. 

Despite all the heartbreak and turmoil that was endured within our home, there were caring, funny, and educational times. He loves us as best he can and he evolved to a man that could have serious talks with me without it turning into an argument of whether what we were sharing was wrong or right. 

He loved my son and felt closer to him because they both didn’t have their fathers in their life. He tended to my son, each and every day, when I couldn’t ease my son’s colic. He showed me first hand truly what feminism – equality – was. He cooked, cleaned, and took physical and loving care of his children. He showed me how to be independent, check all my fluids and tires on my cars. We’ve shared the love of cars and racing. He showed me to give my all when I workout – make it count! Growing up I heard he came to this country for our education and I hope that despite dropping out of high school, I made him proud with the two degrees I ended up getting and I’m sure he is so happy that my son is a senior at one of the most prominent universities in Southern California. 

I so wish the last few years could have been different. It was so hard in 2011 to close him out of my life, but a few months ago he read my memoir and all I hope is that he completely understands that despite everything I love him.

#agingparents #loss #grief 

A week later.

Hello lovelies!

Just got back home late last night from spending the last week in the hospital with my dad. He’s still in icu, still on the ventilator, and still sedated. They found 2 bacteria strains, which is causing his bacterial pneumonia, but they can’t understand why his lungs are bleeding. Tests still have yet to be back and he’s wasn’t running a temp today – which is great! But ots still a day to day, hour to hour situation. 😔
Hold your love ones closely, tell them you l0ve them all the time.

holding-hands
You never know when you may get another chance.

 

 

 

#agingparents

November 14th – 5 years later

candle-vigil_sm

It is amazing that it has been 5 years since you went away. I feel like it was yesterday that it was the last time I saw you. We were sitting in my car and you were telling me how hard every morning was because of the disappointment you felt that you let everyone down again. I made you feel better by telling you we didn’t care about the past and that you should let go of that guilt that, all we cared about was that you stayed healthy and you were happy. Little did I know how hard it really was for you. I should have known. I had been there – feeling like I can not move on from those negative thoughts.

I will carry a bit of your essence always in my heart. 

He was The Nicest Thing I had ever seen
https://gracelozada.com/2014/11/14/he-was-the-nices…-i-had-ever-seen/

Butterfly Beach Butterfly Beach, CA, 3.7.14He was everything quote297816_2274135206657_1027169808_n

#loss

Who Tupac is to me

There is so much more to what the media said about Tupac Shakur. I was shown a great side of him that I treasure to this day.
He was euphoric and it penetrated off of him, onto you.
He was more interested about you and what was going on with you, than any of his problems he was facing or in.
He was a good friend and the first to tell me, I’d be a great mother. I so needed to hear that at the time!
He was Uncle 2pac and he would be so proud of that baby he took out of my arms on that Mother’s Day, so many years ago.

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Evolving to Grace available in stores now!

Looking for a X-Mas gift for the book lover in your life? Local to L.A.?
You can now find Evolving to Grace in stores at BookSoup in West Hollywood and Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena.

Get your copy soon! Quantities limited!

memoir

#inspire #hope #memoir #book #xmasgift

What remains after…

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What remains after the butterfly has gone.
What remains is sorrow—that I won’t have one last kiss.
What remains is loneliness—that I won’t have one last embrace.
What remains is bitterness—that you had to leave me so soon.
What remains is guilt—that I wasn’t there for you in the end.
What remains is disbelief—that you’re not lying here next to me.
What remains is knowing—that I’ll never meet anyone like you.

Love,
Key

#loss #grief

Tonight – 7/23/15

It’s been 1347 days since you’ve been gone and I cried tonight.
I miss you just as much as before.
It’s because of you that I’ve carried on.
It’s because of you that I finished a dream of mine.
You inspired me.
You motivated me.
You taught me so much.
I wish you were here.

#loss