Idle Thoughts~

I read this in a book the other day.  “Grief flows like blood beneath my skin”.   Well said.

People who are grieving aren’t trying to not feel good or not be positive.  They are, quite simply, grieving.

The more I read about death and grief, the more I realize how ill-prepared we, as a society, are to support it.  We want death, and grief, to be wrapped up in a neat little package to make it make sense.  Death doesn’t make sense.  It is simply a part of life that happens.  Whether its’ from cancer, heart attack, other illness, blunt force trauma, IED’s, injuries-whatever.  People live, people die.  God isn’t sitting somewhere in a cloud dealing it out or judging who lives, who dies.  Its’ life.

Grief has no map.  It’s all over the place.  Up and down, back and forth.  One year of grieving doesn’t make it go away.  For many people it intensifies because the anesthesia wears off and the reality of your loved one’s absence smacks you in the face and the gut daily and…minute…ly.   The reality of it can leave you breathless.

You know what I’m thankful for (people tell me to find something to be thankful for).  I’m thankful for Ignatia Amara and Star of Bethlehem, two homeopathic remedies that for maybe up to an hour at a time, slow my heart rate a bit from the adrenalin rush of grief that causes it to pound relentlessly in my chest and helps me feel a little bit less like I’m suffocating.

I’m not thankful for my life (I’ve been told that I should at least feel grateful to be alive).  Though I guess that isn’t completely true;  I suppose I am grateful for still being alive, at least for my kids’ sake.  I don’t want them to have to mourn 2 parents so closely together.  Left on my own, I think I’d head to the desert in my PinkMagic rig and shut myself away.  All that life is for me right now is life without Handsome Husband.  No, he wouldn’t want me to feel that way.  Yes, he’d understand that I feel that way.

I wonder sometimes if all of this is because I’m feeling sorry for myself.  Why do we judge ourselves so harshly?  Why do we put judgment on emotions?  My rational self knows I’m not feeling sorry for myself; I’m just grieving the death of a man who was my life-blood in so many ways and I feel his absence keenly.  I need to stop judging my grief.

I need to email and call Handsome Husband’s friends to ask them to talk to me about my husband, about who he was in their lives, about memories they carry.  The other day I realized that nobody talks to me about him.  Nobody says his name to me.  That is a killer, over and over again.  It makes him seem more gone than ever.  Part of that comes from me being so far away from his community, I know.  But I need to hear people talk about him.

I look so fucking normal on the outside.  My insides, right behind the face everyone sees on a daily basis as I’m out and about creating a life for myself, are a war-torn, shredded mess of blood, sweat and tears.  Believe me, hysteria lurks directly below the surface.

Advertisements

24 thoughts on “Idle Thoughts~

  1. Rich and very raw commentary on losing your soul mate. Thank you for sharing and for reminding me how much I love my own wife. I will hug her extra tight this evening. Keep on.

  2. Grief is crazy and like you said, has no definative map. Grief is like being on the most insane rollercoaster ride ever…so many twists and turns, and heart dropping dips and loops. I think the craziness of the “ride” disorients ppl and causes them to question theirselves. I ask myself almost every day, why am posting so much on TOH, crying so much, and bothering others. My grief has and continues to fuck with my mind and thought process…daily. I have come to realize that I didn’t know shit about the grieving process despite working with death and dying for over 30 years. I am receiving one hell of an education these days, let me tell you. I am blessed to have so many awesome ppl in my life to help guide and educate me on grief. Love you Alison! ❤️ Love all my angel sisters!❤️

    • Elaine,
      Thank goodness you are brave and determined enough to be honest in your grief. There are so many who hear it and don’t feel bothered at all. I believe that you too are a conduit for people to allow themselves to feel their own grief. So, keep posting!

      I knew grief too-or thought I did. The deaths of my mom and brother within 6 months killed me and led me into my bereavement support career and yet…I would facilitate so differently now because of the much deeper understanding of grief that I have from Chuck’s death.

      I know that there is something important for me to do with this next part of my life, resulting from being completely broken open from this grief. No clue what it is-I just know.

      And I’m so glad you and I have this connection, dear Elaine~
      alison

  3. Thank you for sharing your broken-open soul with us. Your Love is so powerfully and cosmically bright, that the struggle you are in opens so many dark places that would remain unexplored without your words. I too lost my beloved husband to cancer in 2012, and am just now finding my legs again. May I ask two things of you? First, that you keep writing – no matter how separated you feel; and second… that you wonder at the ways you are still one, working with HH across the veil, to bring awareness to the love that cannot die. One outcome of my grief journey with my Robert as we walked toward his death, is that this life – amazing as it is – is a temporary place of learning, transformation, and painful explorations. Feeling and expressing your grief and hysteria allows others to feel theirs. Thank you. You are gifted as a brave teacher. But I ask for you, for your broken heart, please spend some time in awe of the love that binds you still… feel the love that says, “there is no separation”. Then, when you feel that gut-wrenching grief again, it will not be all that connects you to him.

    • Maggie,
      The poetry of your words speaks to my soul. Yes, I will always write and some of the things I need to write are exactly what you said; to wonder at the ways my husband and I are still one. The words run around in my head, and I read words such as yours from others also, but until I write them down they don’t seem to have substance or impact. So I need to pay attention to your words exactly.

      Seriously, I’m going to write your words down in the notebook I’m going to keep, so that I can read and re-read them. They’re beautiful words and they are words that make a difference, as opposed to words that people say to make me feel better (and don’t)

      My heart reaches out to you in connection of this common loss~
      alison

  4. Yes. It is all true. I am sorry.
    .My liittle boy died. He loved his life, then it was gone. I believe he is in Heaven. It still hurts no matter what happens or where they go. I am told to get over it. Really? I left this country and went to volunteer There was immense pain and tragedy among the people there. I suppose I helped them some. They accepted my grief, understood it. Allowed it. I came back to “daily life” here at home. They wanted to know if I felt better now. Sigh~~~ Our society as a general rule chooses not to look at death, to embrace those who grieve. Other cultures in some places do.

    • Em,
      My heart breaks for your sorrow over your little boy. And I shake my head at society that wants to wrap grief in a tidy little package that is understandable to them, and has an end point. Yet, if we love, we grieve and how can some of that not always be present?

      Thank you for reaching out to me here. It helps~
      alison

  5. I used to be a romance novel reader. The sex, love, life etc. As a high schooler I’d read Danielle Steele. The same structure of romance novels that had the same themes but different characters. I quite reading romance novels for years and years. Then Nicholas Sparks began writing. So I gave his novels a try. Quite good. One particular novel is called Nights in Rodanthe. I remember grieving the loss of my first romance and true love. I was 20 years old when it began and by age 23 the end of that relationship was a death for me. Yes that man was still very much alive and still is today…but that relationship was completely dead. I grieved so much. No, his body isn’t dead, but my relationship with him was. Quite different than what you’ve gone through and the loss of HH, Alison.

    The book Nights in Rodanthe is my favorite all-time romance book. It’s about and end to a relationship that mirrors what you had with HH. I hate to tell the ending of a book, but ultimately the woman left to “recover” from the death of the man she loved more than life…she never recovered from. It’s a book that brings souls to tears. It’s probably been 10 years or so since I’d last read that novel, but is resonates with me soooo deeply to this day as if I’d read it a week ago.

    If you ever get a chance to read it along your journey, I highly recommend it. If you’ve never been a romance reader and don’t enjoy reading sappy novels, it’s ok. Give this one a try though. The movie with Richard Gere is not even close to the novel. I still don’t read romance novels very often anymore, but that particular novel by Nicholas Sparks seemed to be the “#1 romance novel, EVER” in my humble opinion.

    That book impacted me so because it reminded me of the deep love that my first true love provided me. Even years of therapy and grief occurred after the end of my three year romance with my first true love. The end of the relationship between my first true love and I was not bitter. There wasn’t hate or dislike or any of the like. We were 17 years apart in age. I was very young and he was at a crossroads in his life and we knew that the wants we wanted for ourselves were changing. I wanted a family some day, he didn’t want children. He was in his late 30’s and I was in my early 20’s.

    The love between us wasn’t dead but our journey together we knew was coming to a T in the intersection. We deeply and passionately loved one another. We’d traveled together through states and winding paths and bathed nude in babbling rivers and pitched tents and hiked and did all the outdoorsy things I never would’ve thought I’d do in my life at the time. But we did them together.

    We didn’t want our love and relationship to end but we had directions that we knew were different in life from one another. We knew that day would be coming. We both didn’t want to pick a day to depart ways. He didn’t and I didn’t. However, we knew that the reality of what we wanted for ourselves and our future was destined to happen. So one cold day, in December of 1999, my first true love invited me to his house. What I thought would be yet another love filled day spent together, would end up being our last.

    We knew that spending more time and falling harder and harder for one another each day meant compromising our dreams for the future. He felt that he would be holding me back from my dream of a family and yet, he was an emotional wreck and heartbroken cause he knew he had to let me go so that I could spread my wings like a butterfly and fly.

    I was blindsided by that day and that visit. I remember every picture on his walls, the soft feel of the carpet on the floor. The texture of the upholstery on his sofa. I remember what he wore, what I wore, what he said, what I said. I remember all of it. I remember the scent of his house and the pendulum swing on his grandfather clock. Ticking each second by as he said it was time to say goodbye. His tears, my tears, my screaming and curling up on that floor in ball, wishing that the moment to say goodbye wasn’t coming.

    By the time the conversation and tears were shed, when he finally said what he needed to say was over and me choking out the words I didn’t want him to go, I didn’t want to say goodbye, but I knew I needed to and had to.

    I didn’t think I could stand or walk out those french doors to his very long gravel driveway. In the bitter cold and mounds of snow to my car and drive away without throwing up. I was sicker than a dog. My whole world with him as I knew it was coming to and end. There was no hate. There was no bitterness. There suddenly was silence. I cried as hard as I could cry. Then I realized all that was said, was said. But it wasn’t. Just in that moment.

    You would think a love like that certainly would never die. If two people loved each other that much there’s no way they’d allow it to end. But in our situation, we knew it had to. Our visions for the future weren’t on the same paths. They involved different things.

    A month after I left his house nearly dragging my feet to my car and my lungs burning from the dry cold, stinging winter air, I thought about killing myself. Literally. I thought he was the reason that I loved and loved so deeply. He was the reason, my life, my center of my daisy and everyone else were mere petals. But my daisy died. My daisy wilted….or did it really?

    I found another man. I couldn’t freakin’ believe it. It took me about 8 years but I did. The love my first true love and I shared never really died…even to this day…it just was a different kind of love. That love and the love of my husband of 5 and a half years now cannot be compared. One was not more than another, it was different. The love for my husband is just as deep and passionate as my first true love. However, the paths are the same with my husband. Moving in the same direction…we’re on that road of life.

    So, did I ever stop grieving for my first true love? No, I didn’t. For 8 whole years I expected men to “replace” my first true love. Expected them to “complete me” as my first true love did in my eyes. But that death of that relationship haunted me. For. YEARS. People said, ‘You were never married to the guy, what the fuck is your problem?” I loved him and I loved him completely. That relationship was freakin’ dead. I learned to remember the most passionate and loving things about it, but that relationship would never be what it was.

    People tried to tell me to get the fuck over it. Kick some grass over that shit like a dog and just move on. Who are they to tell me the end of something or a love like that is easy? SCREW THEM! They don’t freakin’ know or they’d shut their mouths and let me grief. Let me handle my feelings the way I need to.

    I became one lucky woman. I found another man who loves me just as deeply, just as passionately and just as kindly as my first true love. It took 8 years. My husband didn’t replace my first true love. He showed me that I could love again. It’s not the same love or the same man, but he showed me that it could be felt. I never thought I’d find it. For some people it’s found, for others, it never will be. So leave people alone who grieve their losses. No one knows how it feels, what it’s like, how fast it should happen etc.

    I’m only 38 years old and my husband is 52. 14 years apart. Yes, I like the older men. I ran into that old-first true love back in 2004. Shear coincidence. We both immediately smiled wide and broad and with tears in our eyes, ran up to each other in hugged. The people we were dating at the time weren’t there and we were able to smile and ask how the other was doing. As if our deep friendship and love was still there.

    It was bittersweet. After talking for about 20 mins and saying our hellos. We didn’t say goodbye, we said, “till next time” in unison. Wherever that next time is, either in this life, the next life…it’s till next time.

    Loss and grieving. I will never “get over” my first true love. But I definitely don’t compare that to my husband. I still reflect on that first true love from time to time and cry. Not because I want him back but because that relationship was so loving and breathtaking and beautiful and I missed the things we’d shared. I don’t want to go back to that relationship, I found a new and different one but one that is just as deep and loving and passionate. I don’t give a flip what anyone says. I’m not cheating my husband out of happiness. I’m still entitled to miss my early 20’s and experiences I once shared with someone I deeply loved and still care so much about. My husband was glad I was able to experience that kind of love. Because I realized—it does freakin’ exist. I was gifted with a man who treated me like a queen. If I hadn’t have experienced that, who knows, maybe I would’ve been in abusive and horrible relationships in my life and wouldn’t know what real, true love is.

    FWG. Yeah, I get that. I survived the pain but no one can tell me when that pain should end. I had to say goodbye to someone I loved and deeply loved and didn’t hate. We didn’t break up and say fuck-you’s like a lot of relationships out there go through. I survived that shit. It never goes away. That day in my mind when that relationship died. I still mourn that. It was a horrible experience when the realization hits and you literally have to pry that person from your hands. IT.SUCKS.AND.HURTS.LIKE.HELL.

    I did gain another relationship for myself. But it’s not a damn replacement. It’s a new and different one. No one will EVER take what I had with my first true love away or make it seem like it didn’t freakin’ matter. Don’t tell me “See, I told you that you’d get over that first guy and see it was for the best”. Who are you to tell me what’s for the damn best? You have no idea what you’re talking about. Let me be the judge of that.

    Yeah…that grief courses through veins like boiling blood that could burn the skin. I’m still alive and living and breathing and I’m still happy and I get sad and I still think back upon those early 20’s. I didn’t just erase that from my mind or my heart. It still stabs at times…because he was my first true love. He was someone who showed me something no one else did. He was there for me when others wouldn’t be. He helped me through cancer deaths in my family. He held me up at funerals when I nearly dropped to the floor in pain to say goodbye to my grandpa who died of lung cancer. That first true love was my rock. How can I “get completely over” someone that was THAT GOOD? Well, I haven’t. I allow myself to say “it’s ok, it’s not wrong” My husband understands. I don’t throw it in his face or make him jealous, but he knows it was a time in my life that I cannot possibly forget and grieve from time to time.

    It may sound weird and selfish but ya know what? It’s my pain to feel. It’s my grief to revisit if I have to. It’s my life and no one else feels it or felt it like I do. Like I did. So just let me be who I need to be. FWG. I get that!

    • Audra,
      I remember watching that movie with Chuck but I’ve never read the book. However, I used to be an avid reader of romance novels and I’d always tell Chuck that if he (or any other guy) really wanted to know what women wanted, he’d be smart to read one too. After all, why else is that genre one of the biggest sellers there is to women? He never read one but he’d listen to me talk about aspects of it and for me he embodied all that I ever hoped for with romance. And I miss that desperately about him, along with everything else.

      Indeed, how CAN we get over someone we’ve loved? Chuck does now, and will always, hold a huge place in my heart at the same time as I know that there is space for another to be there too. Our hearts are, ultimately, huge and space can be held by another special man.

      You’re so right-it IS your pain and your grief and its your history and how can you not revisit at points in your life? I’m glad for you that you have a supportive husband to give space to that.

      Thanks for sharing your story with me, and for the support.

      From one FWG to another~
      alison

      • Absolutely. Chapters of our lives exist. They are facets of who we were and who we become. Pivotal moments shared with others that either transform us, enlighten us, provide us with lessons or simply allow ourselves to discover things about life we really never knew and perhaps-sometimes took for granted. I don’t discuss my first relationship with my husband. Although, he knows that was something that meant a lot to me and he realizes that there are times I’m “having a moment” and he allows me that moment. That’s true love and respect.

        If anything helps you out along your Moonstruck journey, it’s a gift from all of us. All of those that love and support you along the way make the aching pains perhaps dull for a moment. A rest stop to reflect maybe. I truly find your life story inspirational and thanks for having all of us supporters have a peek at what your soul flows.

        Pam Tills’s song “The River and The Highway” is a very good metaphorical representation of love and loss. I think of that song applying to your physical loss of chuck. If you haven’t heard it, it’s beautiful. YouTube has a video where you can hear the song too. Here are the lyrics:

        The River and the Highway
        She follows the path of least resistance
        She doesn’t care to see the mountain top.
        She twists and turns with no regard to distance.
        She never comes to a stop.

        As she rolls, she’s a river.
        Where she goes, time will tell.
        Heaven knows, he can’t go with her.
        And she rolls, all by herself.
        And she rolls, all by herself.

        He’s headed for a single destination.
        He doesn’t care what’s standing in his path.
        He’s a line between two points of separation.
        He ends just where it says to on the map.

        As he rolls, he’s a highway.
        Where he goes, time will tell.
        Heaven knows, she can’t go with him.
        And he rolls, all by himself.
        And he rolls, all by himself.

        But every now and then,
        He offers her a shoulder.
        Every now and then
        She overflows.
        Every now and then
        A bridge crosses over.
        It’s a moment, every lover knows.

        As she rolls (and he rolls)
        She’s a river (he’s a highway)
        Where she goes (where he goes)
        Time will tell.
        Heaven knows,
        She can’t go with him (he can’t go with her)
        And she rolls
        All by herself
        And he rolls
        All by himself.

        Fare the well…

        (end)

        Beautiful.

        Audra

  6. I can’t say that I feel your pain. I don’t know how I would feel. But I do know this, grief is a fickle disease. I am not immune but I have done some time. My husband has MS and it is a spiraling course of ups and downs. Everyday, a new down, rare ups. I miss what he once was, smiling, fishing, working, aspiring…now it is a row of assorted pills, endless conversations of how he feels, headaches, sleeplessness, hurts, aches. I should feel happy he is alive but I am just as miserable with what he once was and how he use to laugh and the mad intense intimacy. I miss all so much. I love him and I miss him. I can’t imagine life without him. But this Merry go round of our life together is a heck of a ride I can’t escape. Mourning takes on many forms. I only hope I am strong enough.
    You must be happy somewhat on your own, but remember in order to grieve, also remembering along with sharing the grief with family and friends helps everyone to grieve together. A loss so great needs comfort from those who need comfort in return.

    • Someone,
      My step-daughter’s partner has MS and its a daily struggle in so many ways, isn’t it? I know that in the time since my husband had his first cancer, our conversations ultimately devolved (because that’s what it was for us) to conversations about nutrition, exercise, supplements-everything but what we really wanted to discuss. It takes a toll in every way. He and I would sometimes say to each other “I just want US back”. There were glimpses of us but we never really got it back and then the 2nd cancer hit. Yet, in all the ways that mattered, our love deepened and bound us even more closely together.

      May love always shine on you, no matter what~
      alison

  7. As always BOOM right on the nose. I feel like I am stuck between two worlds. The world when my family was here: we lived together, spent so much time with each other, And then the world without them where it is now me alone in the house I shared with them. I had an moment when it just hit, their absence, I was at a friends house and I just started to cry. She asked me what was wrong and I told her I just miss my parents and my sister, just missed them to where it hurt. Her response, “Well, I still don’t understand why you are sitting there crying” Having people tell me “I need to live my life and move on” Their deaths shifted my entire world. Who the hell am I now? Like you I know my family wouldn’t want me to feel this but at the same time would understand. There are times when I am alone and I just remember them and I can feel a surge of energy around me, It feels like they are just swirling around me, wanting to convey their love and energy. And if people don’t bring your husband up, you do it, tell stories. Maybe that would help somewhat, get a notebook just for that. Write down your memories of conversations, travels, discoveries, Describe what he sounded like, smelled like, felt like. Record your history, good and bad., I share stories of my folks and my sister, most of them are super silly, and they make people laugh, and I hope make people appreciate what they have with their loved ones. Your relationship with your husband both before and now is such a beautiful gift. You sharing your travels down the path we all find ourselves on at some time after a loss helps, all who read it know “Hey I am not alone” and together we can help others by sharing our loved ones stories with the world,

    • I especially love when people say we need to move on but don’t have a recipe for how. Yeah, I get that I need to create a new life for myself, and I am, but what to do with the feelings and emotions that are so pervasive? THAT’S what people want us to change but can’t tell us how to do that.

      I’m going to take your suggestions for a notebook and I thank you for it.

      Thank you so, so much for reaching out, and may your heart be blessed with the love left behind~
      alison

  8. Alison, I love you Babe. Your grief & writing is not in vein. I just emailed a copy of this to my very good friend in upstate PA. Her father figure and the only adult whom she ever felt loved by, passed away earlier this evening. She asked me how to grieve..I think this article you wrote, describes it quite well and realistically.

    I will share something with you that, thus far, only my inner circle of friends know. It has to do with how I handle myself. I always pretend that I am wearing a tiara. That way, I always have to keep my chin up so that my tiara won’t fall off. It helps my self-esteem and lightens my mood..and keeps me (I hope) from developing a “double chin.” So the next time you are feeling down & nothing else seems to work…put on your tiara and keep your chin up. You are royalty Babe, you certainly are!

    • Judith,
      I’m touched that you shared this with your friend-she’s fortunate to have you in her life. I like your tiara idea. I’ve made it a point, since Chuck’s death, that no matter how I’m feeling, I don’t look down, I always keep my chin level. It maybe only a psychological thing but its important.

      That being said, Rachael and I will, at some point, both get real tiaras to wear~

Talk to me~

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s