Monday, September 5, 2011


364/365: You Don't Know How It Feels.

I struggle to find something of substance to talk about. Each Sunday comes around, and the awareness that my post is due by midnight is always on my mind. Usually there is something that I have been mulling over throughout the day, or something that has been with me throughout the week, that quickly becomes my post. Today I just feel empty.

I'm not a numbers guy, I don't really turn to them to find order in my life. I don't usually look to them to validate where I am with each given day, which I know is of help to some. Yet it is September again, which for my sons means a new beginning. School begins for them on Tuesday. For me though, September will always be a reminder of the end.

Two years ago I was approaching the final week of my husband's life. I felt like I was running a marathon, as there was so much to do in his day to day care. Yet in my marathon there was no winner, and there was definitely no victory lap.

I'm always aware of how much my life has slowed down since that day. The majority of my life seemed to come to an end that day. And trying to regain the pace of life has not been that easy. I think the main reason for this has been a lack of motivation. I haven't fully come to a place where life feels worth much of the effort, or that there could possibly be a payoff worth the effort.

It's not like I feel this way 24/7. I work hard at my job, and I really feel a sense of pride when I accomplish a goal or receive positive feedback. I keep my family and home together, and have created a new life for us here in San Diego. I enjoy the benefits of being closer to my extended family, like having my brother and his family visit for the weekend. Yet, with each of these, I still feel so empty and stagnate.

I think I tend to compartmentalize each of these areas of my life, and feel the lack of something significant that should string them all together. At the end of each day I sit here and wonder if any of the day's events were really worth the effort, as I just end up in the same place, feeling the same sense of emptiness.

Okay, this is all terribly depressing. Yet, so is much of my life. There is really no reason to sugar coat this. I know it won't be like this forever. Well, I suppose I don't really know that. At least people tell me it won't always feel this way, and I being a trusting soul, want to believe them. Truth be told, I don't expect much to change. I busy myself with distractions. I put out some effort in hope that something will change for me. Whether it happens or not is really not in my control. All I can do us get up each day, get the kids off to school, go to work, come home, make dinner, take care of the household, surf the net, and sit.

After all, sitting is not a bad thing. It is kind of a reward after accomplishing all the trivial pieces of life that sustain me, but do not feed me. Some day something, or someone, will come along and give me reason to get up and do something new. In the meantime, I'm in no hurry.


  1. I was gonna quote a line of yours I really felt back to you, but seriously - I would end up having to paste in most of this post.

  2. Dan,I am where you are at.I keep going ,because I must and hope one day I will wake up feeling differently.I have felt there was something wrong with me.It helps to know I am not alone! What you say is so try. I have lost my enthusiam for life,too-but know this you are making a difference in lives like mine.

  3. You said it, Dan. I feel the same way and am living that same life. Thanks for adding that someone or something may came along to change it. That hope makes us keep trudging. After 2 years I'm still waiting for the energy (physical and mental) to make my life something more than it is right now. I wonder if I'm tough enough to carve out a new life for myself- not to just put on foot forward and exist but to really live again.But right now, as you said, I'm in no real hurry.

  4. Dan, I so admire your honesty! I felt this exact way especially over this long weekend. At the end of each day, when the chores were complete, I felt a sense of accomplishment yet total emptiness. Was all the effort necessary for the yard to look good? Do I really care?

    Thanks for making me not feel so alone with my feelings.

  5. Thank you Dan for another very descriptive blog. You capture so much that resonates. I'm finding myself moving into a retreat mode of music, memories, and writing. We all have our own unique strategies. What's common is the loneliness of no longer having our beloved with us. With affection, David

  6. I'll be at two years in October. I feel exactly the way you do. I've lost interest in lots of things, and my life has not felt the least bit normal. Especially what you said about being a caregiver, it is very hard to adjust from going 100 miles an hour, with such high emotion, to hitting a brick wall of absolute silence and inactivity. I was on superspeed for several years. What is hardest of all is SUSTAINING this grief, day in, day out, with no light at the end of the tunnel. Inhuman torture, really. Thanks for sharing, it's good to know it's not just me.

  7. "After all, sitting is not a bad thing. It is a kind of reward after accomplishing all the trivial pieces of life that sustain me, but do not feed me."

    Dan, this is such a true reflection of how I feel - I (minimally) accomplish the things to sustain my life - but there is nothing/no one to feed my heart and soul anymore. I don't expect it to change for me.

    I think it's courageous to admit that while you're doing what you need to do for you and your kids to survive (no small feat), you haven't found the joy in life that you once had. Not all of us will find that joy again. I'm happy for other widowed people who have found it, but sometimes those "joyful" posts make me feel like a failure. "Joy" is not even a reasonable goal, for me, at least.

    Thank you for such an honest post, that made me feel a little less critical of myself today.

  8. Thank you for your honesty. It is 2 1/2 years since my husband died and while I would like to find a way to "move on" to a new stage of my life I often feel like I'm barely able to keep my head above water with raising my children and working. Recently I read this quote, and it seemed to give me hope, “Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.” Thanks for sharing your story of courage.

  9. I'm going to be widowed 10 years in Oct. Even though my intellect rejects anniversary blues they still get me every year, and some are more painful than others. I know in my head that my extra sadness right now is due to anniversary depression. I'm just doing like what you said--going through the motions. However, I can give you hope that you will indeed regain your zest for living. For me it didn't come back all at once. It was more like a 2 steps forward, 1 step back thing. But now, with so many years between me and LH's death, I can see that the stubbornness I was born with, as well as a tenacious character in general, saw me through the darkest of the years of grieving. And it was years for me. I was messed up in the head for a good 5-7 years.

    But it does get better.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

  10. I want to say BRAVO! You ARE living, working and knowing where you are emotionally and mentally. You ARE aware of your blessings and your movement and accomplishments. That is something to celebrate about yourself. It is a pat on the back, worthy of a party. I think those of us who carry this profound sadness and grief are so acutely aware of how we feel, and what is and was so important in our lives. I know many people who have never had their joy infringed upon and could not begin to know how they really feel. I, too, am just past two years of losing the love of my life and best friend. I understand everything you said in your post. Sometimes feeling down seems counter productive to an entire day no matter what I did. But I pray that we feel better someday, and we once again feel whole, even though a part of us has departed. Thank you for your post. It was not depressing. It is real. We will make it through this! You will be in my prayers tonight.

  11. We go on because we must, there is no other way but forward. The fog lifts, but the grief and emptiness do not end. Finding that "joie de vivre" may take a lifetime for us; yes, we will have bad days/weeks, but the sun continues to rise every day, and we must too. Thank you, Dan, for posting here and on your blog. I find your words to be ever so truthful, and give me insight in my own journey through grief.

  12. I am almost five years and counting. I too still feel the way you do. Nothing has meaning anymore. I go through the motions so as to not hurt family and friends. I have heard it can take up to seven years to start a new life.
    Being older makes this even harder because I know how precious time can be in the winter of our years. I am not young anymore but I am not old either. I am just no where.

  13. I am at 3 1/2 years and feel just the way all of you do. There aren't many things I truly enjoy as I once did. I am so blessed to love and care for my 7 year old daughter, but even that joy has changed since losing my husband. I see all the firsts and think everyday how I wish he was here to witness it with me. Our eyes would fill with tears in complete happiness. Now it is the opposite for eyes fill with tears from complete sadness and emptiness.