Monday, March 15, 2010

I didn't die

Well, I made it. I passed the one year anniversary and I didn’t actually die of this grief. Last February I thought I would die. I did not think I could survive this emptiness. I did not think I could survive being alone. I have some things I need to say and someone needs to hear.

My first night in this bed was hell. It was so big and empty. I thought it was my bed, but it was my heart. It was this giant emptiness in my soul. I will tell you truthfully, I tried lots of things to fill it, but alas there is nothing. Then I went to bed for almost two months. I wish that were a joke but it is not. I was safe closed up in my room in this big empty bed. I could find peace in my sleep. I could find peace in solitude. I curled up in my hole and lay there. I went four weeks without washing or brushing my hair. I tried to literally lay down and die. Guess what? That didn’t work either. Is the hole closing? No. I would love to tell you it is closing, but it’s not. Sometimes I have a hole, and sometimes it has me.

I do not dwell on those 24 hours. I know that I did the best for Richard. I know that I did the best for my son. I know that I did the best for everyone involved. But I am stuck in that hospital room because I went into business mode. I took care of everyone and everything to the best of my ability but me. I should have screamed and cried they say. I should have begged him not to go they say. They say a lot of shit. They have never been where I have been, seen what I have seen nor made the decisions I have made. They have never chosen the best thing for the love of their life and let him go with the  grace and dignity befitting the man he was to me. They have never walked up the isle of that church on the arm of a man child who was trying to be strong. They have never held an entire family together by a sheer force of will to hold my head high through the hardest days of my life. They do not have the strength to be me. “I would have” or “You should have” are terms that cause me to stop listening.

I have changed. I am opinionated but I am measured. I do not judge with the same eyes. I am harsher in what I think and I must control my tongue. I am less understanding of peoples faults. I am less tolerant of oversights and excuses. I really and truly do not care what people think anymore. I no longer believe what people say but I believe what people do everyday. Don’t tell me that you will be there for me, I don’t believe you. Show up even if its just a “Hello.” Don’t tell me you care, I don’t believe you. Ask me how I am and then don’t buy that I am okay. Don’t tell me I am welcome in your world, I don’t believe you. Invite me to dinner and don’t glance at me sideways when I speak to your husband.

I am looking at a future that frightens me. I did not plan to do this right now. I plan things for other people. I am in control. Today I am not in control. I was unprepared for this turn of events. I do not function well when I am unprepared.

I have crawled through the depths of hell in this almost thirteen months. I can tell you about a depression so dark I thought I would suffocate. I never broached suicidal thoughts because I am not put together that way. But I can tell you I just wanted everything to stop. I disengaged from everything so badly that my true friends were scared and my fair weather friends were relieved. To a certain extent I am still isolating. I like my own company these days. I reach out but not to much of anyone real. I can go a week without stepping my foot outside my door. They say it isn’t healthy. I say its doing the best I can right now. Learning to live without him is learning to live with myself.


  1. I'm no expert. I can only measure by what I recognize. And last year, I remember thinking and feeling things that were very similar to what you are describing here. And in my opinion, you really have to go through a death like this to even understand it. I just want you to know that I understand. My experience wasn't identical, (although I still barely remember the first three months), but I get it. And I want you to know something that a very dear friend of mine told me to remember: All forward motion counts. You're right where YOU need to be, regardless of everyone else. And you're fabulous. But you knew that. ;)

  2. I'm sorry for your loss. Yes, you do the best you can do. That's all anyone can do. No one should try to have a timetable for any of it, because unless they've lived it, they have no idea.

  3. Amen sister. I am here for you too, always. And the hell with the ones who won't understand.

  4. As one of the "nonreal" people out there, I can only tell you that you have to do these things step by step.

    The Bruni I seem to know has one hell of a sense of humor for someone in your shoes.

    So, yay you!

  5. Without knowing the whole story, I can relate to many of your initial feelings. My husband died two months ago and I'm still trying to crawl out of the wreckage. Glad you survived the first year.