The other night, the grief is hitting me. Now that I have left the safety of the bubble- there is the contrast- the “hitting you,” and it crushes. That is why, I think- it is so hard to leave behind the safety of that incessant awareness and pain. The valley is already the bottom- it has no peaks or dips or surprises. If you dare to leave- you’ll have drops that are difficult to recover from.
So, on this night, I decide to look at the young widows board which I looked at in the early days and around the one year anniversary. It is fascinating really- to see the shared emotions many of us feel in our incredible isolation. Someone has started a thread about the dream where they are being rejected by their spouse. Everyone chimes in with their own version. This dream is terrible and I have different versions of it almost nightly. We are trying to get together- but always something has come between us- an argument- another person- you are not the same. You are slightly altered in your affection for me- and I can feel it. I wake up crying with the taste of it all morning.
And then a couple of the threads make me laugh. In one a woman says she just can’t seem to put her finger on what’s going on lately- why she feels the way she does. This is the “One year and beyond” category of the message board mind you. Another widow answers back, “I can, my husband died.” etc. I laugh out loud.
And possibly the funniest thread in that dark sort of way is one in which a woman says how sad she was to file her taxes this year as a single instead of as a qualifying widow for the first time…but that her accountant said this about it, “Well, now you are single and footloose and fancy-free!” By the end of the thread, everyone seemed to agree it was just plain funny.
The more I hear myself say the words, tell this story- the less I seem to own it and the more it seems to be only that- a story. An absurd one. A mother from Audrey’s preschool asks me how my husband died during the intermission of a Cinderella ballet I took Audrey to last weekend and I tell her and it is ridiculous. Absurd. I cannot grasp it.
It is strange living a life each day when you can’t really grasp it. When your life has been, schooling, college, getting married, having a career, having children- it’s not that you can grasp the mysteries of being alive or living here- but you feel like you can- it all seems quite orderly. When something as jarring as this comes along and a major life event feels simply ungraspable- you live tired and always ill at ease- but perhaps more truthfully- more in tune with the predicament that has been there all along.