Nothing fits anymore. I don’t mean so much my clothing or shoes or other tangibles, but my thinking, my being, my sense of place on earth, all of those huge things that bring on such deep thoughts of life and living and, well, all the stuff that results in making me (or anyone of like-mindedness) not the life of the party.
As deeply as I grieve Chuck, I grieve the me that died with him. No, please don’t reassure me that I’m still the same me, that I’ll find that woman again someday. I won’t find her because she, too, is dead and gone and I don’t say that in a self-pitying way but as a simple acknowledgement of what I fully recognize in the here and now.
The many hundreds of people who have met me in the days and months and years since Chuck died (God, why does writing the words Chuck died still shake me to my core with the dissonance of what was and what is?)…I find myself wanting to say to them I wish you knew me before he died. I wish you knew that woman. She was passionate about life, she was spontaneous, she had a great sense of humor, she was flirtatious, she sparkled in crowds, she was vivacious, she loved fully, she was engaged with and in life, she was…fun!
Isolating oneself from others while in grief is one of the great no-no’s; there’s a big red flag of concern raised along with dire warnings about the dangers of doing so, of keeping a griever from so doing. Being a natural people person, even early on in this devastation, I wasn’t inclined to isolate myself and even if the urge overtook me, I counter-acted it and put myself in situations where that couldn’t/wouldn’t happen.
Life goes on, as it needs to, as it always has. And I can only speak for myself here but as I slug my way through this 3rd year of being without him, I struggle with being with more than a couple of people at a time. I have nothing to add to conversations and that feels so absurd to even say, considering the person I was, but I genuinely can’t even find words to put together into sentences to make conversation. Me, who loved nothing more than a roomful of friends (or strangers), interacting with them, laughing, joyous. My sense of lack of place leaves me feeling isolated, my lack of interest in general conversation leaves me feeling like a wet blanket. Jesus, how much fun is that for others, having this silent woman sitting at your table, staring off into the distance, mute? I’ve lost all ability to join in on normal, light-hearted, conversation, I’ve lost all sense of fun.
Who I was. Who I am now. Who I will be. Gone in the first case. Confused in the second. Completely unknowing in the third. This is the time of true isolation. It isn’t a bad thing or a negative thing. I’m long past casting judgement on any of this. It simply is what is for the now. But I understand hermits now. Or, here’s one for you, coming from someone who is not religious at all: I really think I get Jesus now, as the man who went off into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. Whatever it was he needed to find within himself, he needed to be away from the busyness of life, away from using his energy to interact with others so that he could find within himself that which was necessary to find. I get that. Sometimes isolation is necessary for one’s soul.
Life is nothing but confusion for me in this 3rd year. Where do I belong now? What is my role? Who the fuck am I? The true struggle is in even caring about any future, especially my own. How do I feel passionate about life, about anything, again? Can passion for life be forced by simply engaging often enough in life?
Frankl’s search for meaning…I never knew the depth of what that meant, until now. For me, life isn’t about searching and finding happiness. It’s about searching for the reason for my existence, finding the answer, really, to why the fuck am I still here? Why was I left behind with a devastated heart, to miss Chuck for the rest of my life? Why do I need to care and how do I care again? How do I feel passionate again and what does passion mean now? How do I live with the extreme loneliness of soul and body and care about life in spite of? How do I make life matter again when there is this gaping emptiness within me?
That there, people, is why I’m no longer the life of the party, why I find it impossible to be in groups of people, why I’m so quiet.
Kind of just makes you want to flock around me, yeah?