Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Outsiders

the outsider
Originally uploaded by

I'm sitting here in the lobby of this hotel, feeling frustrated, and wishing I was back at home in the comfort of my bedroom. Not to say that I am not having a good time with my kids. It's just that I usually end each day with some time alone with Michael. Yes, that sounds strange. My routine is that I light some tea candles that sit next to his urn, which gives me a sense of calm. Sometimes it allows me time to cry, and to unleash the day's pain.

Being away from my home, from the space that we occupied together, makes for a difficult time. I don't know how to feel comforted.

I didn't want to spend time this week writing about feeling sad, or of the agony involved in each day, but I now feel that it would be dishonest to pretend that I don't feel that way. I can't help but look around me, at all the happy, and carefree couples, and feel like an outsider.

I have mentioned this to my therapist in the past. I feel like I am an outsider. I don't feel like the joys of life are meant for me. There have been too many losses. Not necessarily losses with death, but losses of ideals. I look to those around me, and can't help but feel that others have had an easier, more fulfilling ride. As for me, especially in the love department, I feel betrayed.

For far too long I felt like love, and life, had passed me by. Some how I wasn't going to get what other did. Some how I was being denied the happiness that a fulfilling relationship offers. I sometimes wondered if I was being punished, but knew I had done nothing wrong. Maybe I had chosen the wrong path in life. At one time I was studying to be a Catholic priest, and chose to walk away. Was it the wrong choice? Was God angry at me, or disappointed with me? Was I meant to have a life of servitude? I know. This is crazy thought. But what am I supposed to think.

It is one thing to live a life alone. Prior to meeting Michael, I had come to accept that I was maybe not meant to be part of a loving relationship. I was content with my life. I had learned to find happiness with what I had. Then I met Michael.

Our relationship was not perfect. But I was perfectly happy. Even with the challenges of cancer, I was able to find happiness in our love. But to have that love, or that life in a relationship taken away. Well, I feel betrayed. Now I know what I lost. Now I know the difference from my life without him. Everywhere I go I am forced to feel like an outsider. The joys of life are not meant for me. But why?

Do all widows and widowers feel this way? Or, is it just us that have lost our loved ones too soon.? Sometimes I tell myself, that none of us are immune from loss. All of us will die at some point. But why did Michael have to die so soon? He was such a good person. He was needed by so many people. He had so much more to do. And, most of all, we had just started.

I'm so angry. I'm angry at God for doing this to him, and to me. Some may say that I shouldn't question God. They are likely people that haven't experienced this kind of loss. I look to my family and friends, and wonder how can they understand what I feel? They haven't lost the love of their life, have they? Then I have to say, then again, why me?

I am convinced that I am an outsider. I know that I am not alone. I know that there are many others who are outsiders. Maybe they have also lost their loves. Maybe they have never had a love.

This makes me think of the saying, better to have lost in love, than to have never loved at all. Oh, really? How easy it is for those that haven't walked in my shoes. How easy for those that have no clue what this pain is like. I wish I wasn't so angry. Bitterness is not pretty. But what do I care? Unless you are in my shoes, then you don't know what it is like. You are reading this while lying in bed next to your lover, your husband, your wife.

It is not my intention to make others feel guilty. It really isn't. I just want to know why I couldn't have had the same thing. Not more, just the same.

I need a new tattoo. Something that brands me as an outsider. My other tattoos speak of my love, hope and loss. Now I want something that clearly marks me as an outsider. I want others who have also felt betrayed by life to recognize me. I want to look in the mirror and recognize myself. I want to say to myself, "your an outsider. Stop expecting what others have. It is not for you."


  1. i am sorry you feel so badly though i'm not one to talk or give any kind of advice. i do not have any tattoos. i don't like needles. my Dragon did not have any because in his line of work he could not have any identifying marks on him that would stand out. but if i was going to get a tat, i have a drawing i did for a stained glass. it is a phoenix as she's leaving the ashes of her former life behind. maybe, possibly, you could wait out this period of intensity. let it wash over you. just go with it for now. maybe later on you could think about getting a tattoo that speaks to this altered life but in a way that shows the strength you have gained. maybe it could speak to your determination to endure.

    but as i said, who am i to give someone options. i've hit a wall out here plus i'm afraid of needles.

  2. I'll soon be on the road again - in fact, I'll be leaving to head back to the northeast tomorrow morning. I understand very well that feeling of being an "outsider". I felt like one before I met Don, and even after. That feeling has intensified since he died and left me feeling fairly alone again. I do not have much of a traditional support network. In fact, we have very little support during Don's illness.

    Now, I look around and wonder why I am alone. Shortly after Don's death, I began to feel anger -- not at God as I'm not religious, but just at how stupid it was that such a wonderful, kind, good person should have to suffer such a horrendous amount of pain and then death. Slowly, that feeling has changed to one of puzzlement and probably some acceptance of how "what is, just is". Still, I do get mad from time to time -- I was in quite a pissy mood over all of this about a week ago, but it has largely blown over. The intellectual side of me tells the rest of me not to waste time on being angry over something I could not control.
    But now, yes, I continue to feel like an outsider. When I travel, I'm very aware of that status as I don't fit the usual model of the lone stranger wandering into town. I avoid busy campgrounds full of happy families. Much better to find a solitary campsite where the dogs and I can be alone with out thoughts. I think that's much of the reason I went on the road after Don died. By doing so, I did not have to keep being constantly reminded of my loss in every place that I sent. As it is, I can live as though I am not alone - as if Don is along for this journey - and just ignore the rest of the world. Some might say there is no progress in that... that it is a form of escapism. I disagree as I well know al Ive lost -- but in living as I do, at least I have some control over how I wish to see the world. Perhaps that's what you're missing when you wish you could be at home with Michael...

  3. Dan,
    first, i want to thank you so much for your blog. i lost my partner of 18 years (also Michael, by the way) on Sept. 4, '09. since then, i've been searching for a group of people going through loss such as ours. i'm just beginning to explore the community here. i have the same thoughts as you. being an outsider, bitterness at the happiness of others, etc. one day in the grocery store it got pretty bad. you know, people all going about their business, smiling, probably looking forward to going home to a partner, etc. all while i tried to get through another day in horrible pain. but suddenly i realized something. most of the people around me had some kind of losses too. they might be smiling, but who knows what tragedies they've had in their lives in the past. i'm trying to take those bad feelings now and turn them around into compassion or just a feeling of humanity being in this all together.
    so, that's one way i try to deal with some of those dark feelings that are part of most of my days.
    i'm not trying to be preachy, and i know it sounds sappy or simple, and i can't believe i'm even writing this sometimes. i was a very cynical and not very spiritual person most of my life (i don't know how Mike put up with me all those years) but i'm determined to survive this tragedy and somehow come out a better person. i want to do it for Mike.
    looking forward to reading more of your blog and the other folks' linked from here.take care.
    p.s. Mike had a few tattoos too.

  4. Upon reading this, I feel humbled and...just quiet. I don't have the right words for you but I wish I did. Just know that I'll be thinking of you and hoping for the best.

  5. Welcome John and Brooke,

    I really appreciate new readers leaving their thoughts. It's always good to get feedback, and to understand how other's are either experiencing their own loss, or how they respond to my own.

    John, Pleae know that if you don't find a support network in your community, I am here to provide that. I have learned that many of us need that mutual experience in the support we seek. Much of that I have found through writing this blog. Feel free to contact me.

    Bev, I wish you lots of luck as you embark back on the road. I'll be interested in reading of you findings, and enjoying your photographs.

    WnS, I don't know if you remember, but I previously blogged about the phoenix rising from the ashes. It is definitely an image I find comforting, and symbolic of this journey. It is also something that I have considered for one of my next tattoos. Maybe I'll look your way for some ideas. As friends understand, I tend to get my tattoos while I am experiencing something rather than waiting until it passes. Michael used to say, "Dan, it's so permanent. Wait." I'm impulsive, and am like knowing the image marks an in the moment experience.