Thursday, November 12, 2009
University College, Oxford (Shelley Memorial),
originally uploaded by Martin Beek.
Tomorrow will be the two-month anniversary of my husband Michael's death.
Why does it feel like it has been so much longer?
Why does it feel like it was just yesterday?
I believe that these questions are understood by all of us who grieve. I don't claim to be an authority on grief and loss. I can only speak from my own authentic experience. My experience is from losing my spouse.
The pain, the emptiness that is left by losing Michael, has been enormous. Each day, each hour, I experience intense loss. I carry my grief as if walking up a very steep mountain. At times I can stop and take a breather. At times I can put on a smile. But this kind of loss is all consuming. I am constantly reminded that "time will heal," and while I believe this is true, times like this move very slowly. The aching for Michael does not end when the sun goes down. It is with me all through the night. I have yet to have a full night's sleep. Some nights I don't sleep at all. What makes matters worse, is that this early period of grief has cast a shadow on the years of happiness with Michael. The time I had with him feels like the blink of an eye at the moment. Yes, "time" will change this. In time I will feel comforted by my memories, but don't expect me to feel comforted by them quite yet.
When I think of the time I had with Michael, if you think of the time you have had with your loved one, two months is a significantly short period. I loved this man for three and a half years. Throughout those years he laid right here beside me. Throughout those years he wrapped his arms around me. Throughout those years he kissed me each day and told me how much he loved me. Throughout those years I did the same. To expect that I could possibly not wake up and want, need, or expect the same is beyond my heart's understanding.
I feel as though I am caught in a time warp. I know that we don't like to see each other in pain. I know that we cannot fully comprehend someone else's grief unless we have experienced the same loss. I look back on those I have known who have lost their partner or spouse. I now understand the loneliness that they experience. I now understand that while the rest of the world must continue on, their experience of loss remains ever present.
I write these thoughts, these feelings, for all of us who sit alone in our homes or bedrooms tonight. I will be present with you, and you can be present with me. Our grief is not within our control. My grief is not within my control. I don't want to control it. Rather, I choose to be present to it. I choose to experience it, to share it, and to not apologize for it. I know this may be uncomfortable to some, or even worrisome for those who care about me. Just know, this is what I must do, this is what I must say, this is what I must feel.
....a few minutes ago my 11 year old son woke up and was calling out to me. I could hear him through the heating vents even though his bedroom and mine are on separate floors. When I entered his room he sat up, reached out with his arms and said I miss you dad. He then held me tight, and said "I really miss Mike."