Dancing & Thinking Out Loud

I follow this dancer, Mark Kanemura, on Instagram. I first saw him as a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance ages ago, and then later I saw him on the same show when he was a dancer for Lady Gaga.

Last week he posted about the show coming back. (It had been canceled in 2020 because of covid, and then was rather suddenly – at least to me – resurrected.) In his Instagram stories, he posted links to some of the dances he did, and told stories about how incredibly difficult it was to be on the show. It was fascinating to me, and I rewatched one of my favorite routines of his just for kicks. He performed this piece, The Garden, with Courtney; it was choreographed by Sonya Tayeh (another favorite of mine). Her dances were always really visual and quirky and fun to watch.

So I’m watching this video and it dawns on me that the music is not familiar at ALL. Like, not one bit of it. But the dance itself was so familiar; I’d seen it quite a bit because they had them perform the dance a number of times in later shows. So why didn’t I remember the music?!

And then it dawned on me. I was deaf the summer that season of SYTYCD aired. I lost all of my hearing in April 2008 and got my cochlear implant surgery in July 2008. My CIs were activated in late August 2008. And it took a long time for things to sound the way they used to; music actually took years to come back and begin to sound good.

I think that’s why I was drawn to Mark’s style of dancing – it was really unusual and visually captivating. I watched that whole season not being able to hear the music, so I hyper-focused on the dancing itself. (On a side note, I also watched a whole season of American Idol without being able to hear anything and that was super boring! At least I had something fun to watch with a dancing show; my main impression with a singing competition was whether the singers were expressive or moved around while they sang.)

While I’m here, I’ll update on a few things. (I’m waiting for it to get a bit warmer before I go outside and mow the lawn.) Mowing the lawn, by the way, is less traumatizing for me now. For a while there, every time I mowed I thought about the day Dave got sick and I took him to the ER. (I had come in from mowing the lawn when I found him sitting in the dining room with his head on the table.)

Other things are feeling more natural too – driving around, running errands, going for walks alone. I used to feel incredibly self conscious every time I went outside, like everyone was looking at me. Those first few walks that I went on by myself were torture, just keeping my head down and getting it done because I felt like I had to get out of the house and try to act like a normal person.

I made it through a big task a few weeks ago – cleaning out Dave’s closet and the rest of his things. I donated everything that didn’t go to my son, daughter and son-in-law to Goodwill. I took all the boxes of his extra medical supplies and donated them to my clinic for their missions. Now I have all this closet and drawer space that I still haven’t filled up, but I’m slowly moving things around.

I still don’t turn down his side of the bed. Isn’t that weird? I leave it intact and just turn down my side. But I did rotate the mattress recently! I changed the oil in the lawn mower. I added coverage for service lines (water, sewer, electrical, internet) to the homeowner’s insurance. (I did this after reading a blog entry about roots in the sewer lines at an old house; my house is 120 years old and I do not have thousands of dollars to shell out to fix something like this, so when this new coverage became available I jumped on it.) I even tried to take my car in for an oil change and was told it was too soon, so I’m on top of maintenance in a big way there. (I assumed since it had been six months I should go in; my mechanic told me no, go by the mileage on the sticker they gave me. Since I drive so infrequently, I still have a couple thousand miles to go.)

It will be eight months on Friday. I have weeks where my grief feels as fresh as it did that first week, and weeks where I feel like I’m doing pretty darn good.

My cookbook club is rocking along, and we meet next Wednesday. This month’s cookbook is super fun, The Mexican Home Kitchen by Mely Martinez. I glanced at it and thought ooh, this looks too technical for me. Then I took a closer look and started making notes of which recipes I wanted to try. Every single one has been delicious, although I did confirm that I’m not a huge fan of frying things. (I made empanadas last night for the first time. Super tasty but eh, frying is kind of a drag.)

I have a couple ideas for what I’ll make, and for the first time it will not be dessert. I’m not sure how much advance notice we’ll get this month; last month we all posted our recipe choices on Monday and we met on Wednesday, which didn’t give much time for purchasing ingredients and testing the recipe, if necessary. That’s why I tested a bunch of possible recipes earlier this month; if I can, I try to pick a recipe that’s not being made by someone else. Anyway, it’s always a fun evening and the whole point is to enjoy the food and the company, so that’s what I focus on.

I am settling in to living alone and being alone. It doesn’t feel so painful now. Traveling alone is still not appealing to me; I am not sure I’m going to go to the beach by myself this year. The botanical garden might be all I can handle. But I did have a wonderful time at the Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan with my daughter! I’ll close with a picture of us from that day. Smiles all around!


About wendiwendy

I'm a real-life bionic woman.

Posted on May 23, 2022, in Cochlear Implants & Hearing Loss, Emotions & Attitude, Grief/Bereavement and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Mom and daughter look so beautiful and i think its awesome that you are close and doing things together.

    I’ll be looking into the additional insurance things to be sure I have coverage on underground pipes and such. Thanks for the heads up. My house is 98 years old.

    Its so good to see you grow and blossom at your own pace. I think youa re doing awesome. Keep on rockin’!

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    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Shari! Yes, that insurance add-on is worth a look. It covers all the things the utilities don’t cover, which aren’t covered under regular homeowner’s insurance. You can usually buy individual coverage from the separate utility companies, but I like that this covers everything at one charge. 🙂


  2. What a beautiful photo of you and your daughter! I have been to Holland, MI – such a lovely area. I bet it’s gorgeous during tulip season.

    And you sound like you are Doing The Things. The hard things, the mundane things, the fun things. You are doing it. This internet stranger is super proud of you. Way to go!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the photo of you and Paige. Losing a spouse is such a huge step beyond losing a Mom. Your slow but steady progress… even when you think there are weeks where you may backslide, encourage me to just keep trying. Love ya so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad to hear that things are getting a bit easier for you. It may never be easy, but easier is no small thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can remember having a similar experience, not because of hearing loss but because of being so busy due to helping a sick family member that I lost a good 6-9 months of time. Later on I was doing something and didn’t recall it happening the previous year and it was like “well duh, you didn’t see/do it because you couldn’t!” So I can relate to your “hey, wait a second” moment!

    I think you have done wonderfully well in adjusting so far, give yourself a big pat on the back and pretend it’s from me. It was a couple of years after my brother passed away before my sister-in-law was up to traveling at all, then when she did, she went with a friend–going to Alaska and Costa Rica!! Now she goes to Florida every year for several months by herself. You’ll get there.

    LOVE that cooking club idea too, very unique. That first plate, whoa!! Great way to meet people and do something you enjoy, definitely a win/win.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Flo! ❤ I am still kind of blown away to have found such a perfect club for me in my little town. And everyone is so nice – the people make it so enjoyable!

      I aspire to your sister-in-law's bravery – hopefully someday! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. nicoleboyhouse

    Hi Wendy! It will take me a while to catch up (new reader), but meanwhile I can say this was a really interesting post. That’s a great photo at the end, and I am so impressed at you taking on all the tasks. All of those tasks seem very daunting to me, never mind doing them while grieving, so it’s pretty incredible that you are rising to them so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Nicole, it’s fantastic to see you here! If it helps, I resurrected this blog in November of last year. Prior to that, from 2008 through 2018, my posts were about the experience of going deaf and then getting my cochlear implants.

      Thank you for cheering me on – it really means a lot to me. ❤


  7. Wendy – I cannot imagine watching those shows while not being able to hear. How great that you are able to enjoy the entire experience now.

    My heart breaks for you. From my perspective, you are doing great – managing all of these new chores and taking steps to accomplishing things while grieving. I hope things get easier. Love the sweet photo of you and your daughter. Love Holland, Michigan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Ernie! It’s funny, I remember that we watched the movie Juno that summer too, and In Plain Sight (a TV series) started that summer. When it came back, I had my cochlear implants at that point and it was SO weird hearing everyone’s voices for the first time!


  8. Glad things are getting a little easier. I can understand about not wanting to go to the beach with just you- traveling on your own can be tough. Enjoy your non beach activities!

    Liked by 1 person

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