Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Red Rock Love, and Grief~

My brain is in overdrive these days and all day today I've been contemplating what it is I'll write about for this week's blog.  I usually let my writing happen viscerally.  So here goes.

Last Sunday our oldest son got married against the backdrop of Sedona Arizona.  One of those milestones of life that will cause our grief to rise up in us, we're told.  But what is it when one of those milestones doesn't cause the grief to rise up because it's already there all the time anyways?  I think, perhaps, what happens is that I restrain my grief and then there's times when it just can't be restrained or constrained and out it comes.  That would be a more apt description of it.

We brought Chuck's presence into the ceremony by twisting his military ID tags into the buttoniere that our son wore on his suit jacket.  Touching and beautiful.

I was, and am, so very happy for our son.  My love for him and his new bride and her daughter and all of our family there over-flowed.  But what do you do when even the love doesn't begin to diminish the missing-ness?  What do you do with the emotions when all the attempts in the world to only allow happiness just don't work and your heart and soul just weep for his not being there too?

Afterwards we all went out to dinner and that's when the enormity of Chuck's absence reverberated through me.  I felt it start to happen in my gut as the server approached me to take my order and I barely got through it.  I was ordering for one.  And, yes, I'd done that before in different places but never has it hit me with such intensity.  He should be my my side.  We should be ordering together. In the midst of our kids, extended family, friends...I felt completely and utterly alone.  That feeling runs steadily through my blood.  Surrounded by people.  And alone.  I don't say that out of self-pity but more out of a sense of disbelief.  It feels un-natural to not have my husband in my world and I suspect it always will.  The enormity of it overwhelmed me and sent me into the ladies room to melt down.

Recently, I've read numerous articles by so-called experts who state, of course, that there is no timeline for grief.  Contradicted a few paragraphs later by the words if, after 6 months, you're still having more bad days than good days, you may be experiencing depression.   Are any of you as confused as I am?  Instinctively, and by training in bereavement, my intellect knows that I'm on a healthy grieving track, but, in many ways, as I approach the 2 year mark, there is a subtle but clearly recognizable message that perhaps I need to be getting on with it.

Mostly, as at our son's wedding, I allow whatever emotions I experience, to just be whatever they are. It's too exhausting to fight them off in any case, and I don't know what to do with them if I start faking it for the general public (enough of that goes on as it is).

We all judge ourselves so harshly in our grief, don't we?  And the outside world, with all of its' what I'm assuming good intentions, doesn't help.  Too much, too little, too late, too's all I can do to let this grief happen naturally.

Here's my bit of honesty for the week.  Our son's wedding?  It was filled with so much love for him, seeing him so happy, knowing that he has his own love story going on now with this wonderful woman.  And, watching it all happen, I was filled with agony, missing my husband and wanting him next to me to watch with joy as this son who has led such a tough life, came full circle.  I wanted to scream my devastation to the red rocks surrounding us.  This sucks in every way imaginable and no matter how I strive to transform it and only look at the love, it fucking sucks and I miss him and the ache in my body makes me feel centuries old.


  1. Congrats to you, your son and his new wife. I so understand that feeling of aloneness while surrounded by people, just went thru my daughters wedding where that was me. I usually am not amongst that many people, plus I was totally exhausted from wedding planning that I did not want to be involved in. And then I had to smile the whole day while I was so aware of his absence. I no longer pay much attention to what the so called experts say, they don't know me, they haven't experienced what I have, my timeline is what it is. Do I like it? Hell no. Yes it sucks. Don't wish this on anyone, and yet I realize it is a part of life and loving someone. Can't have one without the other. Stay strong.

  2. Alison I just love you! That feeling of being totally and utterly alone in a room full of people is I think the worst part of this whole thing. The people in my world who "get it" just quietly put their arm around me. The others (including the experts) I just ignore. Although I hate every minute of it, I am comfortable with my grief timeline. In a strange way I feel that my Tony and I are going through it together, and that helps a bit. Congratulations to your family for this wonderful occasion, and congratulations to you for getting through it. We're all here with you...

  3. Alison, I so understand all that you wrote. My husband died suddenly of a heart attack in the middle of the night next to me in June 2011. The tears still fall unexpectedly and I feel so alone without my husband. I agree with the comments that come before mine. No one understands this grief journey unless they, too, have traveled it. This is a journey with no end.

  4. Love the boutonniere entwined with id tags. My husband called my daughter "Rosebud" (middle name Rose) so she had one red rose bud amongst the flowers in her bouquet. I get that ache in my body too, I know a lot of it is stress related, so I do try to meditate, or walk, or just be outside in nature. Take care, be kind to yourself.

  5. Yes yes yes and yes. Such truth in this blog post. Thank you. Im so happy that I met you ........

  6. Thank you for the beautiful post. Although it is not a wedding coming up for me, it is the first of our daughters' college graduation. While I am thrilled for her and beyond proud, it pains me to feel the fear and dread that I actually do. I think I was just meant to read this to help me again to not feel so alone and to see that my feelings are just part of my human experience. Congratulations to your son and family.