Monday, February 24, 2014

Many Me's


Did any of it actually happen? The days surrounding Dave's death seem so incredibly unreal. I feel elementally different than the person I was before he got sick. That world and this world seem separated by a thousand miles and epochs of time.

And still there are moments when it all rushes at me. A smell or a sound. Medical terms like blood oxygen levels or cardiac arrest. The sight of his handwriting. A picture I haven't seen since he was alive. His wallet.

I know that person was me. I know that was me kneeling on the hard floor, forcing myself to read as much of his autopsy as I could until the nausea and fear overwhelmed me.  I know that was me, as I slid to lie face down on the floor boards, unsure of how I'd survive in a world in which I had to read my love's autopsy.

I know that was me, walking into a room full of people who were together that morning to say goodbye to my husband, my best friend. I know that was me, watching a slideshow of his life with hundreds of other people, thinking "he is dead and gone".

I know that was me, taking off the funeral outfit and planning to burn it later, knowing I'd never want to see it again.

I know that was me, struggling to stand up in the shower, eat a bite of food and sleep for more than a minute at a time. I know that was me screaming and thrashing when I'd wake up and remember what had happened. I know that was me.

But it wasn't me. The me I am now. The me I am now knows too much. She knows death intimately and understands things like autopsy reports, myocarditis, funeral homes and memorials. She knows how to get nutrients into a body too despondent to eat. She knows too much about prescription drugs and alcohol and how they can sometimes be the way through to a time when they're no longer necessary.

Just a year ago, even, I was a different me. I wasn't sleeping or eating well and I was riding the raw-nerve-ending waves of anxiety most hours of most days. The me I am now resembles a me I hoped I'd be again.

Never the same. Never that other me, no. But a functional, present, positive me. A person who could face a day with at least curiosity instead of dread, sometimes even excitement. A person who could want a future again, even if it's missing the person I thought I couldn't live without. A person who has a life to live.

A person who can finally, finally look up from the sucking pain and darkness of grief and see the sunset, the waterfall, the stars, the moon, the look of love in another man's eyes. Who can see all of these things again, finally. Who can stand up straight again now that the weight of the grief is small enough to carry around while experiencing life.


  1. Very powerful words. Everything you said registered with me. I sat here in tears reading your words. Completely sent back 7 months to a hot summer day. I knelt in a grassy field staring at my husbands body as the EMT worked on him. I know too much too. I still count the months and days. I can't sit straight up yet, but i'm trying to learn how build new skills to hold this new weight. One day I will enjoy life again.

  2. Cassie, you've come a long way, it sounds like you're seeing and feeling and loving life again, at least more than you were. Nice. We evolve with our grief, and will carry it forward. It's always gonna be there, and as you know, triggers will bring it to the forefront again. Some days it will be heavy, other days not so much. I am glad you are seeing nature again, it has strong healing powers, it is the best healer for me, even as I sit and watch the snow gently falling here. They say time heals all wounds; I think we know better that there will always be a scar, an ache, for the ones we love/loved. But we learn to live with it, as you are doing. Thanks for writing and sharing.

  3. I can understand all of these comments and miss my husband more after 15 months than at the beginning,I tried to move on and joined a dating agency for a month!talked to a fella for a month then met him twice for coffee at midday, was thinking about having more with him when it just hit me I couldn't do it, I emailed him but he wouldn't leave it have just had 2 weeks of bombardment from him, luckily he didn't know my address, so have learned from that, but I am getting very sexual feelings suddenly don't know how to deal with them, I have bought a "friend" but not enough it's so difficult as don't want to get into a relationship yet.