As time goes on in this grief, as I unwillingly forge this new life without Handsome Husband, I see more and more that there is nothing pretty or gentle about this process of rebirth. Not for me, at least.
In the last week or so I’ve become physically aware of the battle that rages under my skin, boiling through my blood, running through each of my internal organs. It is a battle between the old that I want again desperately, and the new that must be allowed because, you see, my dearest husband is dead and gone and, unless I choose to kill myself, there is nothing to do but create a life without him.
Writing those words, saying the words he is dead and gone and you’ll never see him again stab into me each time. I don’t want to see them written, I don’t want to say them, but I must. I can’t gentle it up with hopes for an afterlife where we’ll be reunited because I don’t know what I believe about an afterlife and I have to stop wondering because possibilities without knowing torture my heart and soul and confuse my mind and make life more impossible than it already is.
That thinking, at least, is laid to rest. I tell myself that he and I had our love story and now he’s dead and I’ll never see him again. But since last week when I allowed that thought to enter my mind and take up residence, I’ve become conscious of this internal struggle that is raging between letting go or holding on. It’s unsettling in every way and leaves me wandering in circles at times, unable to focus on anything, as if battle-weary opponents are indeed bashing and clubbing and stabbing at each other within me, demanding space. It is an intensely emotional experience that leaves me exhausted and more dislocated than ever.
All the meditation in the world, all the gentle words, all the best intentions in the world will not soothe this wild beast at work in me. I breathe as best I can through it, though my breathing is sharp and raspy, as it would be if I were wielding an axe at an enemy. This grief calls for boots to wade through the mud and muck and desperation. This calls for armor to guard my insides that are raw and bloody from being hacked apart. This calls for heavy sword and axe. I feel very much as if I am in a battle for my life and, because I am still alive and something over there is calling to me, I must fight being taken down into the darkness.
Somewhere over there, beyond my sight, is something I can’t envision but it’s there and I know it. Somewhere over there is the life I’m supposed to live without him, and that life cannot be attained without this baptism of fire and sword.
Grief is a bloody, raw, devastating battle between what I had and want, and what I have and don’t want but what I must go towards.