It’s here again. The brief agonizingly sharp pain of awakening. Like from a coma. Or a nightmare and realizing that it is reality.
I walk around as an automaton. I feed the kids. I wash my face. I buy chicken feed. I seem to be moving. I seem to be alive. Sometimes, I believe it myself. I think, “Okay. We’ll be okay. I can do this.” People tell me that I look good. That I seem to be healing. It’s not me. It’s the robot that applied my make-up. It is the instinct that drives me. It’s the habit of years of doing before my life ended.
Now, I put the bleach in the fridge. I forget to feed the fish for weeks and one of them dies of starvation. I mean to buy Christmas gifts for people. But Christmas passes and I still haven’t done it. I don’t phone people back. I don’t even remember that they called. I leave the house a mess until I impale my foot on a thumb tack dropped days before.
People say that they too suffer from this affliction. Yes, I used to laugh at my forgetting ways and ‘mommy brain’. This is different. There is no one at the helm.
Often, I hear myself talking. But I don’t really know what I am saying. I am gone. I am asleep. The lights are on, but no one is home.
Then, I wake for short periods of time. I wake and scream. I lock the bathroom door to get the only privacy I can get. I sob and cry out. I pull my hair. I want to throw up. I swear. I rage. I want out of this hell.
I worry that what is happening will cause more grief for my children. Will cause judgement from others. But I can’t help it. I can’t stop crying. I can’t pour out the pain fast enough to get it together to hold these two little souls close and tell them the lie again, “It is going to be okay.”
I have no one to call. Jeff died. Everyone else who lives in this house is under four feet tall. People outside this house have their own problems. Everyone tells me to let them know if I need help. I won’t. They have families and lives they need to attend to. In all honesty, I often don’t want to talk. To see anyone. To maintain these fucking ridiculous social graces that no longer mean a rat’s ass to me.
I know this keeps going. I know that it is too long. I know that my lack of healing is a burden. I know that it is more comfortable for everyone if I just maintain the façade. So I do. And I close up again. And my children can see a mother who doesn't cry out and moan from the loss. I go back to my hiding place inside. I curl up in the foetal position and resume my slumber until the next time I wake to find that it is true. And he is gone.