Thursday, August 11, 2011

The screaming

It started when the policeman told me he was dead.
I was still sitting in my car in my parent’s driveway at the time.
It was loud.
It was hysterical.
It was guttural.
It was primal.
It continued as I was led inside the house, up the stairs.
It went on for a long time before I wore myself out.
It stopped long enough to listen to the police and the chaplain and my parents as I tried to think what to do next.
To search their faces for the next sentence “Oh sorry, we made a mistake. He’s not dead. He’s in the hospital waiting for you”.
It stopped long enough for me to leave a message on the answering machine of my best friend because I could not get a hold of a single other family member or friend to tell them.
To sob this news to them.

But that’s when the screaming started inside my head.

I spoke calmly to people on the phone. They swore at me with shock when they heard the news: I was the calm one.

But inwardly, I was screaming “He’s Dead. DEAD. DEAD......”.

It didn’t stop while I was talking to those other people.
It didn’t stop when I sipped water to sooth my ruined throat.
It didn’t stop when I showered.
It didn’t stop when I stared at the food people kept putting in front of me, only to take it away again hours later after it was cold.

And it didn’t stop while I slept.

I screamed aloud in my sleep.
It rang in my ears for most of the first 6 months.
It screeched in the background to all my thoughts; sometimes loud, sometimes whispered.

That desperate, aching cry “he’s DEAD!"

Now, it lurks inside, waiting for my brain to think too hard about it, just for a minute.

For the most part, I’m learning to ignore it, but sometimes it screeches into the forefront of my mind with alarming speed.

And once more I crumple under the weight of the screaming.

The endless internal screaming in my head.


  1. Amanda, sending love across the wide wide ocean.

  2. This is perfect. Thank you! Tom S. IL

  3. endless internal screaming.

    yes ma'am.

    * (you know I'm not anonymous)

  4. Amanda, sending you hugs. I lost my husband suddenly through heart attack 9 months ago, he was gardening we were supposed to be sitting down to have wine and lunch when I found him! I too feel like you, he is dead, how could he do this to me, in anger I feel it was selfish of him to leave me! Take care

  5. Great post. When I read the title I flashed back to my own primal screaming in the hospital when they pronounced him dead. He died almost 29 months ago and I still have that silent screaming in my head "He's DEAD!". It doesn't happen as loudly anymore but it's constantly there. Every once in a while it screams at full volume. I think I've just gotten more used to hearing it.

  6. Couldn't have said it better. There are days I still FEEL that initial scream... inside my chest, ripping my throat. Thank you for capturing this feeling so perfectly.

  7. I remember the screaming inside my head too! But two years later it says to me you should be here with me!We should be doing this together! Does a part of you still remain behind! But the other part tells me to go ahead and forge a new future with out you in it, but even that is hard. For you will always remain a part of me, forever!

  8. Yes, internal screaming. That's what it is. I had a cop at my door, too. Still, after 2+ years, I obsess about the wreck, especially when I'm driving. I want to believe that my husband didn't feel anything in that split second when he was killed by that stupid old man. But I don't know for sure. I want to believe he didn't see it coming, but I know how he drove, and I'm sure he looked in the mirror and saw the guy coming. He had no time or room to get out of the way. I'm so sorry for your pain, too, Amanda.

  9. Very touching post. I would often what I'd be like if I got the news since he was so sick, I thought I'd fall to my knees and wail when I'd hear those words, but it didn't happen that way, I think I went into shock and denial immediately, it just wasn't true. The months after it hit alone in my home, the primal guttural screams, the pain in the heartbreak that did bring me to my knees, heck straight to the ground gasping for air and heart wrenching screams, tears and pain that would take me forever to pick myself off the floor....unbelievable pain and sorrow that no one can imagine unless you've experienced this kind of loss. It happened over and over for months for the first year and almost two years out next month it still happens but not as frequently these days. Now its more tears, sadness and loneliness. I miss him so much!!!

  10. Thank you for the honesty in your post. That internal scream comes from the core of your soul and demonstrates a pain too deep for words to describe. I pray that one day the blessing that he was in my life will over shadow the pain. I go on each day because I promised him that I would and I am determined to make him proud of me. I send thoughts of peace to you all.

  11. Everyone can relate to this!! I have always felt like I have internal screams inside of me that have not come out, but I've had my share of animal-like crying, and I know the feeling of not being able to breathe and being taken to your knees. It all seems so surreal , every morning and night. Going on two years and it still feels like yesterday. Best to you.

  12. I remember the police and medical examiner knocking on my door, asking to come in and telling me I needed to sit down. "He was killed tonight" they said.....WHAT!?? My head went numb, my daughter (16 at the time) started laughing hysterically. I can relive that moment any time I choose to go there as clear as day. I think the internal screaming has become a constant white noise even now 7 years later. Sending you hugs.