My heart is heavy today.
I want to turn my thoughts around and let positivity lift me up and out of this dark place I'm in, but the positive thoughts are breathy whispers that get lost among the louder voices of sadness and fear.
I am physically alone a lot while everyone I know is at work.
This hasn't been easy for me. Before Dave died, I would crave alone time. Now, though, being alone in this new place feels...lonely.
There's nothing I really want to do, and yet doing something would help the seconds tick by faster.
I found myself looking at the time yesterday, hoping it was late enough to warrant the end of the day,
and drinking the last of the wine in the bottle, hoping I'd have a few hours of fuzzy brain from the alcohol. I was fervently hoping someone would show up at my door, take me in their arms and hold me while I cried, but I'm too terrified to ask for help in case my neediness would drive my friends away when I need them most. I was greedily staring at the phone, hoping someone would text me and ask me to spend time with them.
I am jumping at the chance to be with someone else. Anyone else but me. The thoughts and fears and pain inside of me are too much to bear alone and I worry that they're too much to expect anyone else to help me bear as well.
I am not able to read and absorb information right now. The grief is a loud, monotonous buzzing and the words slide in and out without catching on anything. Reading has been my major escape and now even it's not working. I'm not able to access feelings of excitement or hope or truly look forward to any plans I have. Everything has been dulled by the grief.
I am reaching desperately for something to distract me and lift me out of this spiral into hopelessness. I joined a women's choir, signed up for a baking class and a re-entry to life after a death class but I feel no relief for the distractions they'll provide or anticipation for any of it.
Everything I see right now is a reminder of what I've lost. The couples holding hands while they walk by me. The families with strollers and daddies carrying toddlers on their shoulders. The mothers and daughters and fathers. The people I see who seem motivated, purposeful and on their way somewhere. All of it makes me wistful and sorrowful for what I've had to say goodbye to.
I need to take time to be sad and to let myself feel it. I need to have empathy for myself and what I've been through. I've spent so much of my energy on being strong, doing the right thing, being positive, proactive, resourceful, resilient. Now, suddenly, the energy is waning dramatically and I have only enough reserves to plod through the next moment. I can't be strong anymore. I need to be weak and needy for a while. I want to be held and cared for.
While talking to a friend who also had a difficult childhood, it occurred to me again (I need to hear this over and over and over again, apparently) that I spent so much of my young life not getting nurturing or loving care and instead cared for my caregiver. If I think of my soul or heart as a bank, I didn't have a lot of deposits of TLC early on. Lots of withdrawals and not a lot of deposits. My life with Dave filled up my tank again, but once he was gone, the tank just dried up. I've hurt so much and lost so much that I just don't have it in me to give. I need to take for a while. I just don't have anyone (alive) who loves me in that way. That's a mom or dad's job or a spouse's job. I'm 0 for 3.
I have a lot. I can focus on that which I have and not that which I've lost. I know this. I write down at least three things I'm grateful for (or mentally note them) every day. I let them fill me up with gratitude. I let them sink into my mind and heart. I plan to do one thing every day that brings me joy and then do it.
After I typed this I wondered why it is that I feel as though I need to defend myself on this point? Why am I so afraid that anyone reading this might think I'm not trying to be positive? I suppose, like everything, I want to be perfect at everything. I want to be perceived as the perfect griever. A gold-medal-winning widow. God forbid I do anything badly. As if there's a way to do grief badly. What the hell? Well, there it is. A look at the inside of my brains. I don't get it either!
Unfortunately, the gratitude and the joy aren't very accessible right now. There is a wall of pain between me and those feelings. I can see through the wall, though the images I see on that other side are faded. I can remember what it feels like to be grateful. I can sort of recall joy. I know how it feels when my heart is full.
I just can't get AT those feelings right now. They are locked away. I will claw at that wall and I will smash at it with every tool known to mankind. I'll tear it down, chip by chip. If need be, I'll remove it molecule by molecule if that's all I have the energy for. But, oh how daunting that wall can be. How hard it can be to see the light at the end of the tunnel when the light is around a long, long corner and currently out of reach. I have no way of knowing for sure how long it will be until I can see that light again. I don't know when I'll round the bend.
Maybe this particular variety of pain, so flaying and wounding, will break my heart open for some new growth. Maybe I will finally truly access the well of pain so deep within that even I don't know the depths. If it weren't for this pain opening me, maybe I'd never access those feelings and finally deal with them.
Maybe this is the trial I have to survive to get to the next step in this new life of mine.
Maybe I've held in this pain and anger and remorse and desperate fear for too long and this is the only way to finally release it. This is a fire burning through me. I can attempt to put out the flames by staying busy and surrounding myself with people so I won't feel so alone and drinking and reading and sleeping and buying things. But then I never get to be cleansed by the flames. I never get to the stage where everything has been turned to ash and my soul is razed of all the stored up hurt and fear. All I am is flames that get doused and reignite, only to be doused again. If I don't let the flames burn their way out, they'll always be there, ready to flicker to life again.
The scary thing is the visceral sensation of not knowing if I'll survive the fire. It feels as though I won't survive, which feels like a panicky breathlessness. It's as though I've been underwater for too long and I need to come up for air, but can't find a way up. It feels like suffocating. But it's probably like that time I had a facial and the steam being directed onto my face made me feel breathless. If I thought about how it made me feel suffocated, I'd send myself into a panic attack, but if I breathed into the fear and let that initial thought come and go, the panic would recede and I'd relax. It was a panic I created with my mind alone.
Maybe if I let the pain come freely it will be less horrific. Maybe it's in the fighting that I get so exhausted. If I just let the pain come and go without pushing against it, maybe it won't kill me.
It's as possible as anything else, I suppose. I just wish I didn't have to plumb these depths alone. I wish I had someone to hold me while I did it.
But then, maybe I wouldn't be able to fully access the depths. Their arms would keep me from the worst of it, and the flames would get doused, not burned out. I'd never fully address that pain. I'd have a way out and I'd take it if offered. Anything to not feel like this.
It's best I face it alone. One day...one day, maybe, I'll have someone to wrap his arms around me and tell me that I'm not alone. But now? Now it's just me.