Battle and Blood and Guts and No Glory~

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.

FWG indeed~ 10613040_10202636499934576_1832024510167418403_n


13 thoughts on “Battle and Blood and Guts and No Glory~

  1. “I see more and more that there is nothing pretty or gentle about this process of rebirth.”

    Oh Alison – what a raw and evocative piece. I am so struck by these words in particular, because the vision in my head is of the birth canal itself, which is violent and painful, squeezing the hell out of a baby and preparing her or him for the pain of life. I feel like you’re reliving that experience in all its hellish, yet necessary glory. You’re on the journey, my dear friend. Those of us who love you have your back as you live the pain you need on your way.

    Much love,

  2. I have been through this terrible torture after losing my husband too. I have only been able to come to terms with this loss and move forward with my life because of my faith and intense belief that Chris’ Spirit/Soul lives on. I will see him again when my own life ceases. Until then, I forge on, with a huge hole in my heart, making a new life (as much as I fight it still) as Chris asked me to do the day before he succumbed to his cancer. I will love him until the day I die and miss him with such burning. I believe with all my heart that God is driving my journey, Chris’ journey as well. I must follow where this leads and TRUST that I will see Chris again and be reunited with him one day in Heaven! Peace be with you! God be with you!

  3. Hi Alison, it’s seems like it’s been a while since seeing a post from you and I have been wondering how you have been. After reading your latest blog, you have said and felt it all that is normal for a grieving wife. Your holding on or letting go that is raging in you hit me the most. If only I could let go…… has been six years since Jerry died, I too watched him take his last breath from lung cancer. If only I could let go…….it got much worse before I feel that I am finally in less pain, the pain of missing him every second of every day. It hopefully may not take you as long to get back to life………..get back to life, how can a woman get back to life after her husband had died? Some can quickly and many can’t as easily. Sometimes I still want to die and go be with him. Sometimes I want to meet my husband all over again but I know there was only one Jerry. I will never find someone else like him. I have no “kind” words, all my words are honest and painful. You are as normal as you can be after losing the love of your life. It is a hell of sorts. I wish you a happy new year, I wish you a healthy new year, I wish you well. Sharon

    • Sharon,
      Words from one who has walked this road before me, who continues to walk with me, as I walk with you…it means the world and I know you know that. I dream of meeting someone like Chuck but doubt the possibility of it ever happening and don’t know that its even fair to expect those high standards of another man. But I do know I’ll never lower those standards. I learn from you, you know, so….please stay in touch~

  4. Alison,

    You are working and growing and moving forward. A process, not an event. I read somewhere….”mourning is a romance in reverse”… true. I wish you strength.


  5. For the first 5 months after my husband died, suddenly at age 44, I was all about yoga, new life, gratitude for what we had, living life to the fullest-because he can’t….ecetera. Then, I fell asleep and proceeded to sleep for 1.5 yrs. I kept all of my commitments- work, family, taking care of daughter…but when I wasn’t doing those I was either enjoying my wine or asleep. Gained tons of weight from lack of activity and alcohol (slowed metabolism, empty calories). Waking up now… Wish I had pushed through the crash, at that 5 month mark, rather than doing it this way. Think it would have been a little easier. Oh well. Hitting the road this summer for self discovery! Good luck to you!!

    • And to you, Donya. I haven’t reached the point of exercising or eating healthy again-and have no real idea when that might happen. But meanwhile, I’m back on the road in mid-April, headed to New England. I’ll be interested to hear of your summer of self-discovery. Stay in touch~

  6. dear Alison,
    every emotion,, every thought, every bloody and battle-weary struggle you describe in this post is exactly where I am – where I have been, the last 2 1/2 months. I have written so many entries in my on-line journal and in segments I call, “writing for my life” when i literally fight to live, i have sobbed and wailed and. surrendered willingly to the most hideous assaults of grief because i know i must to be able to identify the triggers that often elude me; writing it out has always brought resolution to those triggers. but not this time, not one iota of a hint has come through. it has been the most intense, the most visceral, the most confusing and hellacious clusterfuck of intense grief (which i simply could not name), and has left me bereft and feeling hopelessly lost. then i read your words, i read and i re-read them, every single word. and then i realized i actually felt my insides collapsing, felt urgent nausea, and i began to tremble as the truth slammed me to the floor. i am 21 months out from the sudden death of my Beloved – both he and i had cancer at the same time – and both he and i were in remission when i found him dead next to me in our bed (a tiny cluster of brain cells set off thousands of unrelenting seizures in his brain – secondary cancers can occur post 2 stem cell transplants – but there were no signs or symptoms, no loss of function, no clue that those few cells lurked undetected).

    whatever brought me to this post has finally given me the answers to what i needed so desperately to discover. there has been a cataclysmic shift in my grief – he is dead and gone and i will never see him again. and i, too, have heard it calling to me, but only on the surface, knowing, but not feeling, it to my very core.
    “grief is a bloody, raw, devastating battle between what i had and want, and what i have and don’t want but must go toward.” THAT’S IT! THAT’S WHAT IT IS. YES!!! your words have released me from this nightmarish prison as they resonated both with such anguish and such relief. i am imprinting myself over the image of you, standing tall, looking skyward, holding that sword. onward to face the next battle, to envision my rebirthing to the life i am meant to live. (i took note from the “bloody and raw” metaphors that will inevitably be part and parcel of that rebirthing – have a feeling there will be little or none of a smooth ride through THAT canal!) widows should have mid-wives for that phase, but alas, as with all of what we endure, it’s mostly one hell of a solitary ride. but i thank my lucky stars for being aligned to find your words, and for us all to be able to share our stories and know that we are not always alone.

    and as i breathe a great breath of relief just to understand what has been happening, i want to tell you that i am so very sorry that the most wonderful love of your life, Chuck, died. i wish i could sit next to you and just quietly hold your hand, i wish i could make us both a good hot toddie, and we could sit in the beautiful twilight and tell one another stories about our great big wonderful Loves and laugh and cry and comfort one another. maybe your Chuck and my Hugh are high-fiving and laughing and exclaiming – “oh, my god, i thought they were Never going to GET IT!!”. so here’s the thing; as we move forward, lets just hug each other and hang on tight for dear life!

    much love, and with enormous gratitude,

    Karen ooxoo

    • Karen,
      Your words here are SO powerful and I thank you for them. If there is anything that I write that has an impact on any one person who reads it, I’m humbled. Really, we write for ourselves, don’t we? We write in a desperate attempt not to make sense of this devastation (at least not for me) but to release at least a modicum of the agony that is my body and soul. How I would love to meet you and yes, have time to sit and share stories of these men we loved so much. I’m sending you hugs in return and yes, let’s just hang on for dear life, knowing that we aren’t alone in this~
      FWG rising, girl. FWG rising all the way~

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