The Stone Pillow

by | Dec 12, 2011 | 2 comments

Two analogies for how it is now:

It is just a little bit like when you’re driving someplace you go often and you don’t need to concentrate on the roads you take and turns you make.  You drive unconsciously until that moment when you look around and say, “Wait, where am I?”  You wonder if you missed the turn for a second because you were driving so unconsciously and suddenly everything looks unfamiliar.  Is that house with the blue and white awning usually there?  And then, yes, this is familiar.  And you continue driving a little more aware and a bit amazed at how you got there without even noticing it.  Where I am now, the mysticism lifting, the shock coming to a halt (not the horror which is more prevalent lately), everything looking completely unfamiliar as if I’ve been in another realm for the past 17 months.  I find I am even shocked that I’ve been writing in a blog and all of the details I’ve shared.  The difference is that, unlike the driving example, there is no moment of recognition now- just the realization that I must keep driving even though I’m off any map I’ve ever seen or route I’ve traveled before.  This car has no breaks.   The worst part is not the disorientation, or the inability to stop progressing through time, but it’s the fact that even on a perfectly “good” day where everything has gone “well,” the sense of waiting and incompleteness permeates every moment.  I have been unable to come up with words or analogies to describe this sense of incompleteness.

And second, it is like finding yourself trapped in a basement or bunker with little light or warmth and spending a long while, many months, puzzling over how to get out.  Looking for openings, windows, tunnels, certain that there has to be a way to get out as there was a way to get in.

Then you give up.
You try to get comfortable.
Like Jacob did before he saw his glorious vision, you put your head on the stone pillow.


December 12, 2011


  1. Anonymous

    Julia, I've been reading your blog for a while. I came across it a long time ago via the NYT. You write so beautifully that I've been following since then. I am so very sorry for your terrible loss. I just wanted to say that this post is particularly powerful in conveying how you are feeling. I know non-widows "don't get it", but I think I do get it, just a little, from reading your words. I wish for you that in the future, your journey will lead you past familiar sights that bring you comfort, and new territories, not yet imagined, that will grant you some peace and yes, even happiness. –Andra

  2. mml

    Thank you for this post. It helps so much to read the words of someone who understands. Waiting and incompleteness really do permeate every moment…I could have never found the words to say it so well.


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