Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dissed~

Dislocated.  Discombobulated.  Disconnected.  Disengaged.  Disjointed.  Disrupted.  Disarranged.  Disoriented.

My career for 10 years or so was in hospice bereavement support.  I facilitated groups of all sorts and one of my handouts contained many words used to describe the emotional/physical/spiritual elements of grief.

In the year since my husband Chuck died, I've come up with totally different words to describe my grief.  I call them the dis words.  Each one of them is more accurate than any words I used back then.

He and I spent 4 years traveling the USA together.  He was my home.  I was his.  He died.  I belong nowhere any longer.  I still live on the road, in a small pink-trimmed trailer, towed by a pink car.  I drive and drive and drive and I honestly don't see a damn thing.  I'm truly dislocated.

My brain is foggy.  You want to hear something pathetic?  I tried a shirt on in a dressing room the other day, after removing my t-shirt.  The other shirt didn't fit and I removed it and when I looked around, I couldn't find my t-shirt.  Anywhere (and the space was small, as dressing rooms are).  And I actually questioned myself as to whether I'd been wearing a shirt when I entered the dressing room!  That's how much I distrust my awareness these days.  I was sure I'd worn a shirt in because how could I not?  And yet I couldn't find it, which made me doubt I'd worn one.  (Yes, I did find it, finally, after starting to sweat for a few minutes.  It had fallen underneath the bench).

As I drive this country, I see that, yes, of course, there is so much beauty.  Sunsets are beautiful.  I love my kids.  I meet people who hug me and I hug them back.  I know I must feel something but it doesn't penetrate to my heart.  I feel disconnected from everything.  And that worries me.

My heart races continually, my blood races underneath my skin and my nerves are on top of my skin.  Body under major stress, I know and I know what I can do about it, in part, (physical exercise and meditation) but, quite frankly, I have no energy to do anything and can't seem to get organized enough to add it into my days.  I'm disoriented.

Dis words.  These and many more describe me best in this, my second year without him.  My world has turned upside down, inside out and there is not one single thing I do or think about in my days or nights that doesn't pound it into my soul again that he is forever gone.

Its all about survival right now.  Just survive today then survive tonight.  Repeat.






27 comments:

  1. Disorganized. Distracted. I've never experienced grief on this level til Mike died and was shocked how my brain just couldn't handle normal life on top of it. I forget appointments if I don't write them down and check my calendar every single day...I forget to eat, forget what errand I'm running. My thoughts are with you Alison.

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    1. Thank you, Stephanie,
      I don't know why knowing someone else is as forgetful as I helps in the process, but it does. Shock is a lifesaver, isn't it, in spite of how forgetful it can make us. It gets us through the early days...(and by early, I mean the first year or so).

      Wishing us each easier days,
      alison

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  2. Next month, I will have been on this grief journey three years and I'm still in the dis-phase you described. Alison, I identify with everything you've written here. If possible, the second year was worse as the shock wore off. I spent the first days and the first year in utter shock that my husband died of a heart attack in his sleep in the middle of the night. He golfed all day, had dinner, played poker here with the guys, came to bed and died. Died, how can that be? Half of me died that night as well. I will never be the same person. I will never love anyone that much again. I went to bed a wife who adored her husband and I woke up a widow. How can that be? How do I go on with my life without the other half of me? No one in my family and none of our friends understand that half of me died in June 2011.

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    1. this is totally me! inching every day to year 3..(december) and I can relate to Alison. And I also went to bed and woke up a widow…How can that be? and yes, lost half of myself, and yes no one in my family or friends understand...

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    2. And what makes it so disorienting for me is that, yes, half of me died, half of my world disappeared, and I don't recognize the me that is left or the world that is left.

      No, I'm not the same person, nor will I ever be. And because of that I'll never love the same way again, but oh, do I hope that I'll find someone to love even more deeply, if that's possible. Grief has carved me into nothing and everything and that is what I now have to offer the next someone who comes into my life~

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  3. You have put into words exactly what I feel. Jon died 16 months ago and with each month that passes I feel so much more disengaged in my life and in life in general. I go thru the motions the fog has lifted and the reality of him being gone forever is a truth I still can not wrap my head or heart around. Safe travels Alison.

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    1. Anonymous,
      I don't know that the reality of this loss can ever truly be fully absorbed, can it?

      I only wish us moments of ease in the midst of it~
      alison

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  4. I think the second year was worse for me. The first year was just so shocking - and made up of getting through those firsts alone. I found people were more understanding that year. But the second year - it just drove home to me that this was the new "normal." He was gone and he wasn't coming back. This life alone without him would go on and on and on.......

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    1. That thought staggers me in every way. The intensity of that realization "forever gone" is too much to bear. I pull myself immediately back into my present and look down at my feet and tell myself that where they are is where I am and I refuse to look further. Which really isn't very helpful for long-range planning of anything but I'm just letting it all be right where it is for the moment, doing what I can~

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  5. Alison, as I read this, I nodded in agreement for everything I feel!! This is my third year without him and it seems the hardest yet. Who am I now? What is my purpose here? I stumble through my days pretending to be busy, telling my friends there is lots going on because they want to believe that 'i'm okay now' so I let them. But I am dislocated and all those other dis words. Safe travels. And thank you

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    1. Kim,
      I know I'm struggling through this second year. Everything is different, everything is new. That really kind of describes it, doesn't it-pretending to be busy? I know I'm doing so much but I couldn't really tell you anything that I've accomplished. Maybe because everything seems to lack meaning in most every way.

      Reaching out to you over the miles, Kim. Wouldn't it be beautiful if you and I could meet when I go back out on the road?
      alison

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  6. "Sunsets are beautiful. I love my kids. I meet people who hug me and I hug them back. I know I must feel something but it doesn't penetrate to my heart. I feel disconnected from everything. And that worries me."

    Agreed. And it concerns me too. I think that my heart may have hardened so as not to feel pain like that again. A coping mechanism maybe?

    Sad.

    In one month (exactly) it will be 4 years. Other than being at the same job, my life is & feels ENTIRELY different. (And I ohhhh so much would like a job change as well.)

    And my mind.
    My mind definitely still has trouble wrapping itself around the fact that he is gone. Yes.

    Thank you Alison. For sharing your life and feelings.

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    1. Valerie,
      Everything in my life is entirely different, including me and I've worried that, were Chuck to return, would he recognize me? And had friends and family tell me that oh, yes, he would recognize especially the part of me that he always saw more than I did. So I don't worry about that any longer, at least.

      Oh, how life has changed. And oh, how I feel like an alien within it~

      Thank you for reaching out to me, Valerie. May we each be blessed~
      alison

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  7. I was widowed at age 39, and when an older widower who had befriended me suggested that the second year would be worse than the first, I didn't believe him. I didn't see how that could be possible. But he was right. In so many ways it was far more difficult than the first.

    "Its all about survival right now. Just survive today then survive tonight. Repeat." That sums up what that second year and going into the third year looked like for me. Putting one foot in front of the other; that's all that I was capable of doing. Life has since gotten better, and continues to, but I know exactly how you feel right now. Thanks for sharing :-)

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    1. Glenn,
      I've always hated to tell people who are grieving that the second year can indeed be more intense than the first-how discouraging! But it isn't much spoken about and I don't want them to be taken in complete shock that it can be so.

      I hate this second year and wish myself ahead to the 5th year point, in hopes that this grief will have eased some (while not believing that it will).

      Its equally as important to hear from others further along that life can be lived again, so I thank you for sharing that with me~
      alison

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  8. You said it all. And so beautifully.

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    1. We're all in this together, aren't we?

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  9. "Just survive today then survive tonight. Repeat."

    Yep, been doing that for 4+ years. The brain fog will get better, I think it is the brains way of protecting one when going through a trauma or loss like we all have had. That first and second year, I got lost a lot, and would have to call my daughter for directions. Couldn't remember where I was even going, I just drove.

    At dinner tonight, out at a restaurant with my brother in laws, I felt so out of place. Looking around at everyone enjoying themselves, I felt like I didn't belong, and never would again.Beginning of my favorite season in Michigan, and I just want to crawl back into my cave. Trying to survive, too. Hoping I see the light again. Hoping you all do too.

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    1. In some ways I think its been a blessing that I didn't have a place to call home because it forced me into the car to start figuring it out. I have so many moments when I just want to crawl back into a cave anywhere but I say (with some humor), that I have no cave and so I have to just keep doing what I'm doing. And I know that I'll connect with Chuck again back out on the open road. No matter where I am, though, I feel so out-of-place, because my place has always been with him by my side.

      I wish you moments of ease~
      alison

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  10. Yes. So much yes. And Valerie, I think that's exactly what it is. After 3 years, I feel the same sort of hardening of my heart for protection. It's so hard to FEEL anything other than fear and loss. Even when I'm not in THIS moment facing either one really. It's just always there. A hum in the background.

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    1. Kind of like white noise, yes? That constant hum, no matter what else might be going on~

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  11. Next month, it will be three years that I've merely existed without the love of my life. I dreamed of my husband last night, like most nights, and I woke up this morning sick to my stomach as reality hit. He's not there beside me. Where are you my love? Sorrow fills my heart and soul; he's gone. Will this pain ever leave me?

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    1. A man in my grief support group told me that he doesn't like to dream of his wife because he's only upset when he wakes up and has to face the reality of her death once again.

      I haven't dreamed of Chuck at all so I don't know how I'd react. I just know my waking time is a nightmare without him.

      I don't know when this pain and grief leaves but its unbearable, isn't it?

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  12. It has been 20 years for me this July. My kids now 23 + 27. Every July 18th I remember. I have found a love 8 years ago and then very grateful for that and didn't believe that would ever happen. Mine was a suicide so overnight my life changed and just like you're all describing the second year was the most difficult without a doubt. When I look back now grief isn't really time consuming guest is the only way I can say and it's a very lonely place hard to explain to anyone who hasn't been there and not everybody wants to talk about it because it could happen to them too. Reading this brings back memories and my heart does not ache like it did then and for that I am very grateful. We just bought an RV and that's how I found you and you're traveling pink RV. I will watch for you on the road. I live in Oregon if you're ever out this way please let me know. Thank you beautiful women for doing what you do you for sharing it and reminding meof a Love from my past. Human beings love greatly and feel pain greatly. <3

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    1. Our Widow's Voice blogs have moved to the Soaring Spirits web site. Alison still writes for us on Wednesdays. You can find them here: http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog

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  13. Disconnect. That's a big one for me. I see people pulling away now, year's later. Maybe I'm the one disconnecting from almost everything I thought was good and right.

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    1. Our Widow's Voice blogs have moved to the Soaring Spirits web site. Alison still writes for us on Wednesdays. You can find them here: http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog

      Delete