It’s not you, it’s me (and this big black hole)

20130727-092210.jpgIf you don’t mind, I need to curl up in a ball. Right now. Right here. In this chair.

I don’t care that I am surrounded by people. I don’t care that it’s a staff meeting, and we’re celebrating national ice cream month. That’s how these things go down, that’s how grief comes round. I know it’s a corporate formality, but please do not ask me how I am doing today, unless you really want the truth along with my salty tears topping your sundae.

Because some days it hits you so hard, you have to pull over to the side of the road before you drive off of it. Then, you dust yourself off, and head to a staff meeting….

There might be a few who wonder, casually, what was it like to lose your husband? But no one has ever asked me. People are conscientious, careful, and tender-footed around the topic of death. That’s just how it is.

I can tell you this…when my husband died, a big black hole opened up right next to me. And there it remains. It will probably be there for the rest of my life, in some capacity or another. That’s what they say about this kind of loss. Most days now, I am able to drag myself out, and slither around the perimeter, see ya’ later, sucker! I’ve got my cuppa’ joe, gotta’ go, that’s right, watch me get up and walk, (I mean crawl), away. I might even ignore that bugger entirely for a day or two, now. That’s good. That’s progress. I’ll take it.

But no so fast, eh? Not today!

‘Cuz the forces start pulling on you, in the middle of a restless night, those freaky arms start dragging you down. You wake up exhausted, too tired to shower, too tired to care, and very, very confused by the strange, deranged, “fact” that he’s gone. Too hard to imagine what it would be like? It is for me, too. I’m not special, or super-human. I can’t “imagine” it either, that’s why it’s taking so long to process, to heal. I still can’t believe it. But I have to live with it. His death. Who knew, something so concrete, something so undebatably undeniable, would be so hard to grasp?

So, yes, I continue to show up. I’m at this meeting, but I cried on my way down the hall. And I just can’t eat the ice cream at the social today; I don’t have the strength. I’m wrestling the pull of the big black hole, you have no idea how exhausting it is. Sign up for a marathon? Not after this doozy. I don’t even know if I’ve hit rock bottom yet, grief has so many layers. No offense, all water-cooler, work-talk aside, how am I doing today? How do you think? I’m too tired to lie. My husband is still dead, and I can barely swallow the fact. Not after a year, not even as “soft-serve” with peanuts, caramel, and fucking multi-colored, stupid-ass sprinkles on top…

It’s just one of those days, ok? Please let me curl up and ride it out.

(Your love is better than ice cream….)

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9 thoughts on “It’s not you, it’s me (and this big black hole)

  1. Exactly right. Yesterday was one of those days for me too. At sunset I was walking my dog by the lake and an older woman was sitting so peacefully on a bench watching the lake turn pink and purple and she seemed so peaceful and I thought, I want that. All day, even though he has been gone 14 months and 20 days, all that was going through my head was ” I will never touch him again. I will never hear his voice again. I will never see him again.” So I asked her if I could ask her a personal question and asked if she was a widow. She said no her husband of 60 years was at home, she was just enjoying the lake. And I started sobbing. To a complete stranger. But she hugged me and was so kind. But it wasn’t him. And the same refrain of his absence is the most gigantic presence in my life. And always will be.

    • I wish I could give you a hug, too Cathy! While there is comfort in knowing we are not “alone” in the challenges of grief, it breaks my heart to read about other widows suffering. Because we all know how it feels. Here’s to a better day today, or tomorrow…

  2. Ah, the big black hole! It sure does have industrial strength sucking power some days. Now, I’m kind of the opposite of you…I seem to think ice cream can cure whatever ails me. It can’t but my hips prove I’ve tried many times to fill the big black hole in my heart with rocky road ice cream. Black holes do loss much of there strength over time. Hang in there!

  3. I’m pretty sure I found you via MishedUp… Two plus years since I lost my mom and while the scar tissue has formed, some day my phantom heart (just like a phantom limb) itches the hell out of me and I know no amount of ice cream or cookies or vodka could ever fill the void she left when she went away. Other days I accept that she is with me in ways that extend beyond the physical world-and for that I’m grateful. I try to hold on to those thoughts during my black hole days and while they don’t save me completely, like water wings they keep me from going under.

    Love the Sarah. Reminds me of Suzanne Vega’s “Caramel”.
    ~ Christy

    • Thanks for your words, and I am sorry about your mom. It is good to be reminded of the ways in which they are still with us, especially on the darker days. I guess it’s part of learning to live with a loss: first the acceptance of the loss, then the acceptance that there are times when nothing can ease the pain. Escapism only works for so long…

  4. Riding those waves…..I used to surf when I was in my late teens, early 20’s and the idea of surfing when the grief was so hard helped me, the freedom of just rolling with it. I’m so sorry you had such a bad day, and, no…ice cream can’t fill the hole, nothing can.
    No one has ever asked you about his death, about your loss?
    If I was there with you right now we’d have a good long talk…and I’d just listen. We need that.

    • Thanks mishedup, “rolling with it”, that’s a good way to think about it, and to try and be. What I find challenging is that in the workplace there isn’t room for death/grief. Not that I would know how to fix it, I’m not sure I’d want to “talk about it” while at work, it’s just so tiring sometimes, pretending. I do have a few friends who are good listeners, I just think that most people prefer to say “I can’t imagine what it would be like”, because they don’t want to imagine, or hear about it. And that’s ok, too. But isolating. Tiring. Thanks for reading and responding, I appreciate it.

  5. And the bathroom – I’m big on crying in the bathroom, and since the office is small, no one’s usually in there to be scared away. I’ve been having some awful days, too…grief is one burden that is not lessened when it’s shared. It’s so intensely personal. But here we are, reaching out anyway. I suspect it helps in ways we don’t realize.

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