It’s coming on again- the acute pain. I think it’s manifesting physically now- I have another migraine and nausea- so this will be brief.
I was feeling so strong. I think I’ve been distracted by the upcoming events and things I need to plan for this month- A’s birthday party- the concert. Tomorrow night is my first night at the grief support group I joined.
In the afternoon, I heard the bus stopping at our building and I actually just sat and stared out the window while Audrey played with some strange expectation that I might see you get off the bus and start walking home.
I realized a lot of what’s sad about really old memories or letters or cards is not just that we changed. It’s that we grew up together. From the early twenties to the early thirties you do a tremendous amount of that. And we did it together. First jobs, graduate school, moving to different apartments, talking on the phone late into the night every night for five years while dating. It was fun doing this with you Dan. I realize it was the best eleven years of my life.
I am tired of hearing that this doesn’t get better…from the counselor, other widows, the books I read. No one can tell me anything I really want to hear. It’s a “journey” I don’t want to be on, a “long haul” that I am already sick of, a “new normal” that isn’t normal in any sense of the word. This is how the book on raising grieving children ended:
“Behind every joy lies that pain. In times of celebration, the loved one is missed. In everyday life, the absence is felt. These are enormous weights to carry through life, and they shouldn’t be dismissed as dwelling on the past or wallowing in self-pity. This is a loss that never ends, and a recovery that’s never complete. And yet, with help, with patience, with care and understanding, little by little, piece by piece, you and your children will make your places in the world.”
Dear God- I found that a depressing end to a rather depressing book.
And yet, yes- this is a forever loss- not a trial or a challenge like all of the silly, petty, superficial things I’ve dealt with in the past. It has no end. The Julia I was for eleven years is buried along with you Dan. To pretend to be her would be inauthentic. This woman is someone else entirely and I don’t really care for her- she makes me uncomfortable because she is living my greatest fear.
Your observation about being another woman entirely is an acute one. You have been "born" into a different life, not one you would ever have chosen. There is nothing superficial about that.
After my mother died (quickly, from metastasizing cancer) and I got through her last painful weeks, planning the memorial service and cremation etc., helping my dad with stuff he was too overwhelmed to manage… I grieved ferociously. And what I remember clearly was saying to a friend, "I have stepped through a doorway, over a threshold, into another life. It looks just like my previous life, but it is an alternate universe. Nothing feels right, comfortable, familiar, or whole. I want to get back through that door to my 'real' life, my old world with Mom still alive, but it isn't possible." I struggled for a long time with that feeling of being in an alien place where I could not be comforted.
Peace be with you.