I was just chatting with my good friend Mer about loss. She said, “I don’t think we’ll ever get over it. Somehow, we just learn to live with the grief.”
It’s been 2,277 days since the love of my life died suddenly. I am still not over it, and I’m not entirely sure I’ve learned to live with the grief either. The pain is less of a stabbing, shooting pain like a thousand acid-tipped arrows through my heart that leave a metallic, burning taste in my mouth. Now, it’s more of a dull throb like a headache that refuses to go away.
I miss him every day, but now the reminders aren’t quite as painful as they once were. There was a time when I would break into tears if I happened to look at his razor in the shower or the ugly lamp he left behind.
Only a few hours after I learned of his death, I wrote this post. After I published it, I never looked at it again until today. I read it this morning and it made me cry. Not so much with tears of grief, though I certainly felt that, too, but the tears I cried today were for how palpably angry I was then. I cried for my former self and the pain she was experiencing.
I viscerally remember that pain. It was vivid and blindingly white. It was, by far, the worst pain I have ever experienced. Worse than having my head split open or surviving a car crash.
Anger is always my go-to emotion. I am not generally an angry person, though I do have impatience with idiocy, but my first response to life-shattering events is not sadness or even frustration, but rage.
It’s a defense mechanism I built to protect the little girl inside who was so scared for so long at the hands of a pedophile. Adult me protects the child me with a shield of anger, because we don’t know how much more shit we can possibly take. Anger is an easier emotion for me to deal with than unbearable sorrow. Anger spurs me to action; grief shuts me down.
And shut down I did with spectacular aplomb! Once the anger dissipated, for five entire years, I wallowed. Depression took over and I disconnected from practically everything good in my life. I backed away from my friends (all but the most doggedly persistent ones anyway), because who wants to hang out with Eeyore? I backed away from this blog, because I just had no words.
Yet, here I am! Hello! I’m still here. I survived yet another terrible thing! Aren’t you proud of me? Sigh.
For the past five years, I’ve been emotionally hibernating. I’ve been sleepwalking. I have gone through the motions of daily life like an actual alive person, but I have not been living. Because the universe is made of neutrinos and irony, I started coming out of my shell right when COVID-19 happened. I poked my head out, saw what was happening and went right back under for another year. And now we’re all up to date.
So, here I am with another chance to live again and I’m not sure where to start. This blog seems like as good a place as any.