Monday, August 20, 2012

The Party


I was at a party last night. An amazing party. The setting was breathtaking. There were fun, smart, adventurous, worldly people there and homemade paella so good it almost made me cry and wine from some guests' wineries.

There was live music played by those great people under a starry sky, including a dobro and a mandolin, some of my favorite string instruments. There was laughter and a fire pit and even a beautiful pet king snake I got to hold (I love snakes). The people at the party were friendly, accepting, warm and inviting.

I had a good time.

I keep thinking of how that's all I had. A good time. Not a great time. Not an amazing time. I wanted to have an amazing time. I wanted to flirt with everyone and feel free and easy in my skin. I wanted to be silly and lose track of time. I wanted to feel a part of it all. I wanted to FEEL the beauty of the night.

But that's not how it went. I'm sure I put on a great game face and seemed like I was enjoying myself. And I was, to some extent, but inside I was a bit of a mess. I was miles away instead of right there in that gorgeous setting. I was just existing. I didn't really want to be there, but I didn't really want to be anywhere else either.

I felt like a shell of a person. I felt like I was separated from everyone else by a bubble. I couldn't quite reach them through the skin of the bubble and they couldn't quite get to me either. It was lonely in the bubble. It was awkward and uncomfortable and lonely.

I can't remember the last time I felt completely present. It's that part of me that's been mostly inaccessible since Dave died. The part of me completely at ease and open to all the joy that's available to me at that moment. I haven't fully been able to access that yet because the other part of me, the part that's been so altered by this trauma, has been taking the forefront.

I know it'll take time and that it will come back. Or at least, I have hope that it will. I've not given up on that at all. I look forward to the time when I can be present enough to focus on others' needs more and get out of my mind enough to be fully present, the better to suck all the joy out of the current moment.

I know that 16 months of this is a drop in the bucket and that I have a long road ahead of me when it comes to seeing that side of me again. Patience and being gentle with myself will be crucial in the years to come, but there is a part of me that's impatient to see the light again, to feel at ease and clear-headed again.

I'm doing all I can right now. I'm seeing a therapist and trying to take it easy on myself (no small task) and I'm reaching out for help and connection as much as I can (also a stretch for me). What more can I do?

I often ask the Universe for a little comfort. For someone to hold me and make this better. For a tiny piece of happiness I can carry with me everywhere and never have to let go of again. I ask for peace and clarity and ease of mind.

Unfortunately, I think the Universe expects me to meet it halfway. I have to make the damn choice to find comfort, hold and love myself, make my own happiness and seek out clarity and ease of mind. I think the Universe gave me this task because I can handle it.

Sometimes I just long for a break from proving I can.


  1. You have described exactly how I've been feeling. I have had some wonderful experiences and seen some amazing things this summer, but at the same time I've been conscious that my grief and my feelings of loss have prevented me from experiencing/enjoying things to the fullest. There's always that undercurrent that colours and distracts from the moment.
    I wish the Universe could meet us 3/4 of the way. It only seems fair after what we've endured.

    1. It would seem fair, wouldn't it?

  2. love this, cassie. Well - you know what I mean, love this writing, not love that you have to live it.

    1. I know exactly what you mean! :)

  3. Cassie. You'll get there - because you have a desire to do so.

    I'm at 26 months.
    I subscribe to the 'fake it til you make it' process of grieving my Dave. He was the outgoing one, and I always felts like I was just tagging along with him when we were invited out, and always just wanted to go home and watch a movie with him. (Never happened, by the way.)

    When Dave died I accepted ALL invitations to go out - whether I wanted to or not. (Except for the wedding we were supposed to go to within the month of his dying. Couldn't quite deal with that at the time.)
    I went whether I wanted to or not or I was afraid that I'd shrivel up and disappear.
    I went and tried not to be a downer around my friends. If I teared up, I made sure nobody could see me. (Don't get me wrong. I cried in front of my friends - but tried to keep it controlled to 1-on-1 situations - not group settings.)

    Sometimes it was a bubble - uncomfortable, awkward and lonely. Just as you describe.
    But I still felt I was doing the right thing by putting myself out there.
    I feel that it has been working for me for the last 2 years -> ‘fake it til you make it’.
    I still have moments of deep overwhelming sorrow – but I’ve always woken up in the morning and felt better.
    I also have moments of happiness. I don’t know if I will ever have moments of unbridled joy – but I’ll take what I can. (And if I’m honest, I’m not entirely sure that I had moments like that with Dave.)

    Last week I invited an older friend over for wine on the deck one evening. (She married a widower about 5 years ago.)
    She seemed truly shocked and confused when I told her that even though I was seeing somebody, that I would never be truly over Dave.
    She said, ‘But you seem really happy?! You MUST be over it.’
    I said, ‘I AM really happy... But there’s still a hole. And I think it will always be there. I’ve just learned to live my life around it.’

    Good luck Cassie!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. It's always inspiring to hear from you. Hugs.

  4. Be gentle with yourself.

    This is among the best advice I received. (The others were that grief is not linear, and that grieving is a cognitive disorder.)

  5. I sooo get that feeling of just existing, not knowing of where you are meant to be, not wanting to be in any particular place. I often wonder how I look to others, how can they not see where I am really at? I am still lost after 2 1/2 yrs, and yet their world has continued. I guess that is the way of the universe, and always has been. Time does help one move on, but I am moving oh so slowly in this new life, not sure I will ever find my place.

  6. Perfect post Cassie! I have been in your shoes a few times in the last 2.5 years and I felt exactly the same. I, too, ask the universe for just a crumb.... someone to unexpectedly reach out to me, hold me and make this better!

    You should be proud of everything you have accomplished. You are quite an amazing woman!!!

  7. I'm at almost 2 1/2 years. I have felt exactly what you are going thu. Time really does heal...Oh and Camp Widow, lol!
    Love your blog!!!

  8. been there done that! I have a great group of friends and we go to dinner and movies every Sat night, except for the first week after my husband died 5 years ago. I still feel totally alone in a theater of many. sometimes a movie will strike a cord and I will sit and little tears escape and nobady has a clue. I feel so alienated now.'
    My heart goes out to you and my sisters in grief.
    We all have to just keep trying to move on.

  9. Ty for sharing this... so how I feel too..

  10. Yes - thanks so much. Sounds like a wonderful party. I know that feeling too - the "outsider" in the midst but like Valerie (such great advice and it does help) I fake it until I make it. I have friends I can show the real side of grief but I know that I have to keep trying, keep going out, movies, dinner, the bookstore. Sometimes in the middle of it I am so lonely I could cry but I try to distract myself and find something to enjoy.

    At almost 2 years, I find moments of being okay - not bliss but I am getting to happy and like Valerie's comment I said, ‘I AM really happy... But there’s still a hole. And I think it will always be there. I’ve just learned to live my life around it.’

    I too am learning to live my life around it.
    Yes - we have to hang on and keep living and understand and be gentle with ourselves.
    Cassie - nothing for you to prove.
    Surviving and trying to thrive and be happy again is proof enough!

  11. Cassie, My heart goes out to you tonight. Its been 3 1/2 mos. since I lost my husband. I don't seem to know what my purpose in this life is anymore. We spent every spare moment together. After seeing your pic of "The Party" it really made me so empty inside. Campfires, bonfires, etc. was one of our favorite activities during cooler weather. I so admire all of you on this site for sharing your personal stories and innermost feelings. It has truly helped me keep my sanity at this point.

    I'm hoping that I'll be ready for Camp Widow (East Coast)...that I come away feeling like I can survive this detour my life has taken.

    1. I'm so sorry for your loss.
      It's so gratifying to hear that it has helped you. It kept me afloat in the beginning, especially, like nothing else.
      After camp the first time, 2 months out, I felt enormously better. It was a life-saving trip for me.