Archive | April 2017

a kind of out of body experience

Thinking back to those first couple of years after losing Allen, I have a kind of out of body experience.
I look at myself with sorrow and pity, watching me vulnerably stumble and struggle through all of the various efforts I was making.

Now that almost three years have passed, it’s become easier to see all of the mistakes I was making in my effort to gain some healing. And they weren’t really mistakes, anyway; rather, they were efforts to navigate my way through terribly painful circumstances I had never before experienced.

One of the first mistakes (after this I am going to call them muddles, at least until I think of something more descriptive and widow-like sounding) was in thinking that if I met grief head-on I would make my through with less struggle. Wrong.

In those first months I accepted every invitation, no matter how difficult I thought it might be. Some of these awkward invites turned out to be dinner parties where everyone seemed to have a partner, passing me a pleasantry and then hoping I wouldn’t talk much, especially to tell my sad story.

There was an invite to join a couple of ladies for a 10k walk – then suddenly this weekly activity disappeared when one of them bravely told me the other didn’t really like walking in threesomes.

Then there was the time I attended a summer bbq party of all of my husband’s work friends – it became almost immediately obvious no one there really wanted to talk to me (so of course I drove home in tears, wondering why I had put myself in that situation to begin with).

I didn’t want to numb the pain; rather, I thought that if I took every challenging task on that I would feel closer to Allen, that I would somehow be able to work through the despair more quickly and perhaps be able to return to a somewhat regular life.

Wrong, so wrong.

The pain of losing Allen, whose relationship with me was described by one of my sisters as being “a country of two”, rendered me so incapable of getting on with my life that I sometimes couldn’t even recognize what I was going through. The despair, now that was the lowest of my emotional lows; it could hit me anytime and anyplace, just leaving me emotionally spent, my heart literally a hole that felt like it had fallen into the pit of my stomach.

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cracking a cold beer

Sometimes the pain of suddenly losing my husband rears its ugly head and makes me feel like cracking a cold beer. Or maybe six.

Years ago, I always thought that if any kind of tragedy befell me I would just give myself permission to become an alcoholic for a while (not even really being a boozer, you understand). I assumed loss and grief would cause me to want to numb the pain – and what better tonic for that than alcohol, or so I thought.

In fact, what happened when Allen died, after suffering a heart attack and subsequent cardiac arrest, was the opposite. Sure, I tried to turn to alcohol; I sat out on our back deck during that first summer without him, consuming cold beverages, and trying to recreate the enjoyment we’d shared on sunny summer afternoons. But to no avail.

Nothing felt the same without my wonderful husband, truly nothing.

A muddle of effort, non-clarity and stupidity

This blog will be my effort to perhaps make a little sense of what I have been going through since the sudden death of my husband close to three years ago. I hope it will bring some sense and solace to me — and also to any other widows (or widowers) facing the lonely struggle of carrying on in the face of a sudden loss.

Up to this point I have done lots of writing — in various journal formats — all of this practice has helped me in various ways, but I have really wanted to share some of what has occurred to me, what has transpired for me, what has been so painful and also what has helped, even just a little bit.

I am going to be honest and straightforward in my writing — loss, especially of a wonderful life partner, and sudden loss at that, is crippling, truly. My time since Allen died has been a muddle of effort, non-clarity and stupidity; nothing has been easy.

Perhaps what I have learned most of all is that I am just not as strong nor as capable or independent as I had thought I was. I know this because Allen’s passing has been easily the most difficult chapter of my life. I’ve suffered — yes, to everyone else, or at least most everyone, it probably looks like I’ve been capable and strong. 

The pain, the loneliness, the despair, the shock — they have all been deep.