Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The language of grief
Me and my new husband, Steve :)
Ever since Jeremy's death, I've noticed how much more careful I am with my words.
The months after he died, I couldn't muster up the energy to write anything with feeling (unless it was deep and utter sadness). Even my texts were void of expression. I remember posting something about not wanting to misguide people into believing I was better than I was. No exclamation marks. No smiley faces. When good things happened, and a lot did, I expressed my gratitude but never joy. Never happiness.
All my widowed friends understand what I mean. Everyone giving you the head tilt and asking how you are....I could no longer give a general "good" - I was far from good. I shrugged my shoulders and said 'ok' or more commonly 'I'm still here.' To me, that was the worst I could possibly be.
I have since continually felt like I couldn't really breathe in pure joy ever again. Sure, good things happen and I smile easier and I can say I'm good again most of the time....but every good thing in my life stems from one horrible worst-moment-of-my-life event.
Yesterday, I came home from a 9 day honeymoon in Jamaica. It was fabulous. Beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, beautiful company. It was a trip I will remember for the rest of my life. In fact, because of grief, I take moments in so much deeper than I used to, writing things down, taking more pictures...I just know how priceless life is now. And even though the trip was wonderful, I still grieved. One night, I grieved heavily and it came at me without warning. The truth is, I can only enjoy this amazing trip with Steve because Jeremy isn't here anymore. I can't think about the depths of that for too long or it'll drive me insane, but every once in awhile, the heaviness of it sits on my chest and threatens to suffocate me. You can only imagine the type of man it takes to sit beside his wife who's shaking and sobbing uncontrollably while grieving her dead husband.
Steve and I talked in depth about the trip and our favorite pieces and how much we enjoyed it, but I expressed how awkward it is to feel like grief has stripped away innocence from me. I will never again use the phrase "best day of my life" or "the happiest I've ever been" or "worst day of my life" without feeling like I would betray my life and love with Jeremy. Even though these phrases can be over dramatized or loose within context, I'm very careful to use other language.
The smilies and exclamation marks have long been back in my texts and writing. When people ask me how I'm doing or how my trip was, I can say without lying, "great." I don't know if the day will ever come, though, where I won't use a different language than everyone else when I carefully compare and contrast life. I call it the language of grief.
I guess that makes me bilingual.