Friday, December 31, 2010

touchdown



Originally posted Tuesday, December 30, 2008 (after nine months of widowhhood) on my blog.

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.

23 comments:

  1. Your comments are so true...I too wake up and say this cannot be. He is really gone; then try to keep it together for the kids and for others. No one really wants to hear your problems. I understand. I wish it were different; alas it is not.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow- this post resonates deep within me. I'm a true believer in keeping up the facade cause nobody can really handle what's beneath...sometimes not even me. Thanks for posting this and reminding me that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I couldn't have said it better myself. I am at 10 months and feel so much like your post. I am still a reck and people think I am okay and expect me to be okay, some even think I should be "over it". Thank you for validating my reality.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I could not have said it better. that is exactly how I feel. I did not feel comfortable sharing with my son or people who I always considered my close friends. I actually broke off a long term relationship with a very close girlfriend because she had no interest in trying to understand what I was going through.
    Camp Widow was the place where healing took place.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for your honesty. I understand and can relate so well. I feel like I'm a split personality - one that puts the facade on around others, at work etc. and they they think I'm strong and doing well. Then there's the other side of me - the one where the true feelings are - of pain, grief and sorrow, where tears that are never ending at home where it's safe for me. Missing my wonderful husband and our life together. I feel that I'm just existing day to to day. I'm no longer "living" life. That ended when he passed. I hate life now and take it one day at time not sure for what, just I am.

    ReplyDelete
  6. My heart goes out to all of you. I remember so well being at this place. Have hope; it does get easier.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your photo today resonated with me. I have the day off work, which is not always a good thing. I laid in bed this morning, not wanting to move or get up. I stretched across Dave's side of the bed to look at our weimaraner curled up in a tiny ball down below. And then I looked past him to stare out the window to our snowy backyard. Not long ago this scene would have been heaven to me. Right now it's hell.

    Dave died 6 months ago. I too have opened the fridge to find cleaning products inside. I go to work because I know being destitute will only worsen my situation. Jackie, you originally wrote this post 9 months in, and you're posting it again 2 years later. I was truly hoping that these feelings would/will subside 2 3/4 years later. :( Are you still at this place?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am two 1/2 years in and you get to know who your friends and family are.
    The social stuff certainly goes out the window and you certainly could not give a hoot what anyone else thinks.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Debbie LaudenslagerDecember 31, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    I agree with everything you said except I don't have small children thank goodness. But you know what - it is all a facade for the people around us. They don't want to hear us keep going on and on about this and that. So the furnance went out and I had a new ear to hear me out as he worked on fixing my furnance. Still not done - no parts. It is so hard to keep going and dealing with the house, people, etc. I'm not used to it. I feel I am right where you are. Except even got laid off yesterday so now I am unemployed too. Life keeps hitting me. I am looking forward to 2011. It has got to get better.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am 10 months out today.
    The two other people in my house are under 4 ft tall. I function solely for them. I function at work - I hold it together. I don't ask for help. I don't do social graces. I forget everything. I cry in secret. I cover it up. I lie to everyone: "I'm OK". I screen all my calls. I don't return them. I scream. I swear. I break stuff. I don't sleep. I blame God. I don't pray. I don't sing. I smile superficially. I hate everything.
    ...and I just bought a 20kg bag of chicken feed.

    ReplyDelete
  11. No one know precisely how we feel...even others who've lost spouses. Peace may come to some in months...for others, years...while some may never find it, taking it to their own graves like it happened yesterday.

    I don't think we ever get over losing them...we just may get used to it. Try listening to Colin Hay sing his poignant tune "I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You".

    I wish you Peace this New Years Eve

    ReplyDelete
  12. Valerie - I just wanted to assure you that I am not at this place anymore. Life gets easier. It's still different but it's new....and in someways, it's exciting. Terrifying, but exciting.
    You'll get there, Valerie. I promise. Just keeping breathing.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am 20 months out and still feel this way. Luckily, no kids. I feel like I have nothing to live for anymore. Sometimes I want to die. I know people think I have to "make it happen" for myself. How do you do that when you don't care if you live or not? I cannot get out of this stuck place, so I am going to see a psychiatrist next month. I can't take it anymore.l I have lost friends, family because I cannot take their callous remarks...make it happen, right. I pride myself on the fact I never laid in bed all day....I made myself get up every day. I don't do much, but I get up. I volunteered. I went to grief books...I thought I was getting better, but now I don't. I don't ever see my life being exciting. I don't ever see myself loving someone else as much as my husband, or being as comfortable. I don't see a future.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have to grasp the thin thread of hope that this will start to ease up in the new year. It's only 5 months and I know there's a long road ahead of me.
    i'm trying so hard..volunteering, accepting social invitations but move about in a bubble of pain and disbelief, envying friends their intact lives and families. NO one really understands what we go thru- the pain, sadness and hopelessness...I feel my friend' distance themselves as they don't know how to make me feel better.I feel safest at home by myself but am scared this will be the new normal.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I find such comfort in this group of women. I would love to know if any of you get together at different times? My name is Patty and I'm new to this. I've written in here a couple times, telling my story. Today is New Years Day and once again I'm numb. My home is adorned with photos of John, his ashes in a beautiful wooden box on his side of the bed. My home has John written all over it. He gave to so many people and so many people are affected by his passing. We were unseperable, did everything together, he was my best friend. Now I surch for purpose in my life, why should I go on, and how. Being around others experiencing what I'm dealing with would be so comforting. I see the photos of gals together, I would love to participate. I have a beautiful motorhome I now have to learn to drive.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Jackie, your post is awesome. You said what most of us feel. If I ever said out loud that I want to die, my family would be horrified. But honestly, I do want to die. I don't want to live without my wonderful husband by my side. I don't want to take care of the house, the bills, or even go out without him. I don't want to go to work everyday with a smile on my face pretending everything is good when the reality is it sucks. Sometimes I just want to scream at everyone including strangers who haven't a clue! Thank God we have each other.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ah yes a life of duplicity.....who we are supposed to be on the outside and who we are on the inside.....ugh. I guess the positive about living the robot life is that all is not completely lost. We care or love someone enough to still try and just maybe that will get us through enough time to slowly but eventually heal.

    ReplyDelete
  18. beachgal writes,

    i can relate to all of this. be strong and do not give up hope. it has been four years for me now and it is getting easier, believe it or not. don't isolate yourself even though it is the easiest thing to do. try to focus on perhaps a new door opening. for this you must put your hand on the knob to allow the door to open for new things to come. i did not think it would be possible for me but you know what it was possible. i just had to reach out and grab the doorknob. yes, it was scary, but it beats looking at the four walls each and every day, it is called HOPE.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks. I am glad this was reposted as it is my first time reading it. When are you supposed to feel normal again? I am 16 months widowed and feel no better. In fact people around me are less tolerant of my grief. There really is no one to talk to. I want to tell my best friend but he's dead.

    ReplyDelete
  20. My wonderful husband died 2 years ago. I go on simple because he would want me to. We have 3 wonderful kids and I have to keep it together for them. They look to me for everything.
    I hate every minute of it. Friends, family and co workers think I am so strong and doing so much better, if they only new the misery it is to get through one day at a time. I know in my heart I will never get over this.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Your post is so true - it is difficult to be transparent with people. My husband died 21 months ago and it stills hurts so much. I have learned to hide my emotions from everyone. Most people think I should be over his death. I will never get over losing my husband nor will I forget him. The holidays just remind me of his absence.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I just found this site and it's as if you have all been reading my journal. I thought these thoughts were only mine and that there was something really wrong with me. Apparently it's called losing your best friend, lover, the best person you ever knew,the father of your sons, the man you were planning your future with. I lost Joe 3years,4months, 2days and 4 1/2hours ago. Yes, I can figure it out to the minute and do it often. I hated everyone in the beginning because they weren't there for me. I had to figure everything out by myself because I got sick of the attitudes and tones of voice when I asked for help. Joe would have helped before being asked. It's not good to know that there are so many that feel this way but it is good to know that I'm not crazy...completely

    ReplyDelete
  23. I keep coming back to this one post. and I cry every single time I read it.
    Because this is me.
    A year and a bit down the track and I look OK when the robot is being me and I'm curled up inside rocking back and forth, periodically waking, crying and screaming hysterically, and then the robot takes over again.

    ReplyDelete