Monday, July 23, 2012

Heart Vacation


After puppy-sitting for friends for the last week and moving into my new place yesterday, I am sleep-deprived and stressed out. This has led to clumsiness, grief set-backs and general screwedupness.

But I'm in my new home and my incredible girlfriends stayed with me for my first night in my new condo last night. This turned out to be a lifesaver because while moving in I received an ominous sounding text from someone I've recently begun to date. It sounded like impending rejection and that was a little too much for the end of an already momentous day.

As always, in this journey, small losses (even half-imagined ones) open my heart up to re-experience all the pain I hold at arm's length every day. The pain of losing Dave.

The floodgates opened and all sorrow was traced back to the hamster wheel thought "he's dead he's dead he's dead he's dead".

I need to settle into my place, catch up on sleep, take care of myself and enjoy my new home, but right now, I'm also battling a little grief resurgence that unfortunately takes up all my energy.

 Every time I'm caught up in a wave of it, it feels the same. It's as though I have concrete in my limbs and the thought of moving is exhausting. Everything takes a concerted effort to accomplish. Small, everyday irritations, like getting lost while trying to drive to a new location, or locking myself out of my place become so overwhelming that I retreat to a place of numbness in my brain. I go through the motions, but no one's home.

Eating and sleeping become tasks that require a skill set I suddenly lose. Food loses its taste and good, deep sleep eludes me.

Last night I finally did sleep, but woke up every few hours with the unsettled feeling of being in a new place.

Somewhere in the early morning hours, I finally dropped into a dream stage and dreamed of rejection. In the dream, a beloved childhood friend and an ex-boyfriend snuck away from me to go dancing together to escape my sadness and reveled in being away from my black cloud of misery, followed closely by two of my girlfriends heading out to dinner without inviting me. 

It occurs to me now, as it does frequently, (this is a lesson I work on EVERY SINGLE DAY) that what I really fear is being alone. It's as though a part of me is waiting for those I love to come to their senses and flee.

I know how loved I am. I see it. I feel it. I logically understand that I have worth and that there must be some reason people I love haven't dumped me already. But that little inner girl who's about 5 years old, has her arms wrapped around her mother's and father's legs and is begging them not to leave her while they pull away anyway, firmly uncurling her hands from their  pants legs and slipping away into nothingness. And then there's the 36 year old me who is clinging to her husband, willing his heart to start again, willing him to come back to her while he gently floats away anyway.

How the hell will this heart of mine survive any more loss? In order to love and LIVE, I have to subject my heart to all kinds of pain. But, oh how I'd love a break from the endless pain. A vacation for my battered heart.

I'd like to send my heart to a beautiful tropical beach, where all day and all night, it's bathed with love and warmth and safety. Where it's filled back up again and thoroughly patched up. When it returns, it will be better fortified to withstand the inevitable pain of living fully.

I want to wrap it up in layers of insulation and a fortress of barbed wire so just for a little while, no one and nothing can get to it.

Then again, there are many beautiful things I'd miss out on if my heart is inaccessible.

For now, though, I've done enough. I've pushed forward again. A new place. The dating world. Those two additions to my life are more than enough for now. It's time to give my poor heart a little break for a while.

Not to say no to life, but to renew my ability to cope.

And it won't be long until I'm wrapped up in the embrace of Camp Widow, which in its own way, is a little vacation for my heart. 


  1. Cassie, so eloquently said! A great post which sums it up for me. I have had a couple of very lonely weekends and starting to date has not gone exceptionally well. My heart is physically handling my body, but my heart is feeling very damaged and beat up emotionally. I, too, would love to send it away for rejuvination!

    Thank you for your honesty!

  2. Cassie, I wish we hadn't lost touch last year...I really wanted to be your friend.


  3. Cassie - Hang in there. Mercy is on the way.
    Just picked up the book "Tiny beautiful things" by Cheryl Strayed.Go right now (yes now!) and get it. I am reading it and it is putting so many things in perspective I laughed and cried and thought - Oh hell, I wish I had read this book sooner.
    It will help. Really.
    Be well.

  4. Cassie, I understand those small (and LARGE) everyday irritations, they get to me too. I just keep telling myself that they are nothing compared to what I've already been through. Sometimes that helps, sometimes it doesn't. Usually a good cry gets it out of my system for awhile, then I can move on to solve whatever problem I am facing.

    I've lost the keys, got lost myself numerous times (I've lived in the same small town for 25 years), car issues, chimney/furnace, on and is just life's stuff, and yes, it was easier when there was someone else to take half the list. Rely on your friends, it sounds like they are many and they do want to do something for you. I was told that tonight, everyone wants to help but they have no idea how. So I am learning to ask.

    Living fully is painful at times, we have seen how much so, but it can also be joyful. I love the image of your heart on a tropical beach, rejuvenated to withstand whatever comes next. I will keep that beach in mind, especially when I lose the keys again!

  5. You are right!! I love how you describe so many parts of my widow life; the life that I have been cast, and never would have chosen. The overwhelmingness, the confusion....
    I esp like the line "small losses (even half-imagined ones) open my heart up to re-experience all the pain I hold at arm's length every day. The pain of losing Dave." because last week, for a reason I don't know yet, my mailman is no longer my mailman and I to most that seems dumb. But what most don't know is this was the one person I could count on everyday to say "Hi, how are you?"; he was the person in the neighborhood who quickly put together that someone had died at our house when he saw the out of town cars, the flowers being delivered and the envelopes I received from the funeral home and wrote a note saying, "Tell me it isn't so". He took care of me, in a very small way by putting my packages under the mat on the porch; by telling me when he was going out of town with his family; just nice, daily conversation.
    And now I am crying over getting a new mailman. Just an indicator of my new life and the fact that it "feels" like I keep losing people.