Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Chill

It is 4 degrees tonight in NYC. Four. There is a wind chill factor of negative "what the f**#k???", and I can feel the missing of my husband inside every aching joint and bone. The missing of him sits in my veins tonight like ice - making my eyelids and my teeth and my fingertips hurt. Really.

There are sometimes days or weeks that will go by nonchalantly, where nobody in my universe ever mentions his name. Nobody says his name or talks about him or acknowledges his life or relevance. Of course, my husband's life and very soul sit within me every second of every day, but it can get rather lonely and crazy feeling when you are the only one who is carrying around that very heavy missing of him. It sits there, in the background of everything that I do, and nobody else can feel it.

I feel it. I feel it with each labored breath, when I run through the cold night air to my car, my arms frozen and my knuckles throbbing from freezing wind. I get into the car in the university theater parking lot, where I just finished a full day of teaching college courses, followed by running auditions for the show I am directing this spring. Watching the auditions of about 50 or so Acting students, singing and doing monologues in the hopes of getting cast in our show. I reach the car and slam the door before the cold slides into my sleeves and paralyzes my arms and elbows. I turn on the engine and bask in the glory of the building heat and warmth. My fingers shake and I can't seem to get rid of the chill that has entered my heart. I sit in the car with the cold and the knowledge that nobody ever brings up my husband's name anymore. They are not trying to be cruel. They just do not feel the need to talk about him. But I do, and I always will, and the weight of that and the truth of that and the brutal reality of that slams into me like the bone-chilling cold air - and suddenly, of course, I am crying. I lean forward on the steering wheel and just pour out the tears from my eyes because they won't stop now. The missing of him is so cold that some of the tears end halfway at my cheek, and freeze in time. The missing of him has stayed inside of me and hidden for hours - all day long - through classes, through lunch-time, through conversations with students and colleagues, through loads of auditions. I carried the missing of him all by myself, all day long, because nobody else made mention of it.

What if I don't talk about him anymore? What if I get too busy, and his presence gets lost in the wind or the cold air? What if I have too many things to do, and then the second I sit still, the silence and the pain overtake me, and I'm sobbing because I have hurt him in my neglecting of him? What if his soul gets twisted up with the wind chill, and he spins around in a huge storm cloud, landing somewhere unfamiliar? Will he know it's still me if I haven't said his name in awhile? If Im living my life and missing him inside but not saying it outside? The missing of him is constant, but repetitive. How many times can a person express to people that don't want to know: I miss him. I miss him. I miss him. 

The missing of him is so automatic, so instilled, so natural  - it sits and it stirs and it lives inside the cold, nasty wind. Say my name - it whistles. I am here. 

And I miss him with every breath tonight, as the wind fills my lungs with his death.


  1. Thanks, Kelley,
    I, too, miss my husband so much. I was in a short meditation last night and the tears came, as I sat with the recognition that I will never see him again. Never see him again. How can that be? I have quit attending his friends' gatherings. His absence is so glaringly obvious, yet no one speaks his name. I can't go there anymore, and pretend. I feel like telling them, I am a package. If you invite me, you invite him, because I bring him with me everywhere I go. I bring my grief, my loss my pain. It is a package deal. I can't leave those things at home just to make life more comfortable for you. I also am so tired. Because I spend all day containing my sorrow and trying to concentrate on work. It is exhausting. It has been less than nine months for me, and I think, will it still feel this way in a year, two years, three? Sometimes I am not sure I will be able to do that, for that long.
    I hope the hard freeze melts for you, soon, over there. Your weather is really sucking, at the moment. xx

    1. Thats a good way to put it Tricia - that wherever you go, he goes too. I feel the same. And yes, it is exhausting. The good news is that , no, you will not still feel like this in 2 years or 5 years. Grief changes constantly, so your emotions change and shift all the time. Whenever Im feeling really overwhelmed I try to remind myself that my feelings will shift soon, and I wont feel this way forever. And then I just allow the emotions in, so that they can go thorugh my system and do their thing ...

  2. I have just been looking at your comedy videos and I love the one you did for/about Don and the Valentine's Video. Made me laugh and cry. I hope one day we can meet. xx

  3. Frozen tears for me, too. Just passed 5 year mark, and of course most think (or don't think) I am doing ok in this life without him. Very few even acknowledged date of death, which was twofold, his and my Mom's. Four outta 5 brothers and wives ignored both deaths. Go figure, the 2 most important people in my life, and no one wanted to hear their names, no one wanted to remember them, only me. I just don't get it. I say his name, every day, first thing, and last thing, before I sleep. I greet him, wherever he may be, and whether he hears or not, I hear. He stills matters, and so do I. I believe he will always know me, as I know him, no matter how long between our souls meeting. Our roots are intertwined together, forever, that's just how it is.

    Death is nothing at all
    I have only slipped away into the next room
    I am I and you are you
    Whatever we were to each other
    That we are still
    Call me by my old familiar name
    Speak to me in the easy way you always used
    Put no difference into your tone
    Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
    Laugh as we always laughed
    At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
    Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
    Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
    Let it be spoken without effort
    Without the ghost of a shadow in it
    Life means all that it ever meant
    It is the same as it ever was
    There is absolute unbroken continuity
    What is death but a negligible accident?
    Why should I be out of mind
    Because I am out of sight?
    I am waiting for you for an interval
    Somewhere very near
    Just around the corner
    All is well.
    Nothing is past; nothing is lost
    One brief moment and all will be as it was before
    How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

    Canon Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul's Cathedral

    1. That is so awful and sad to me, Cathy, that so many people in your life wont mention his name or talk about him with you. I do have a couple of people in my life that still help me keep him alive but they are few and far between. It makes me so sad when people try to erase him like he never existed. I also think its really unhealthy to be that way. Love never dies - you keep doing exactly what you are doing. I think it's beautiful.