Thursday, April 22, 2010

Doom & Gloom

gloom n doom
Originally uploaded by

I sometimes check myself as I sit to write, not wanting to get too caught up in the doom and gloom of widow(er)hood. But in all honesty, it certainly does happen.

Today was a very difficult day to get through. I find it the case, that when I have a significant anniversary of...anything related to Michael, I can get through the actual day fairly well. It's the day after that finds me with my guard down, fully exposed to the pain.

I tried my best to focus on my work today at the office. I had so much that needed to get done, and thought it would actually help me through this emotional tidal wave. And on the scale that my grief can take me, I do think I fared better than how things could have gone. That said, it was still a very tough day to survive.

By lunch time I found that the dam I had built up as a way to keep the water works to a minimum, was about to give way to all the pressure. I recognized that I needed time to just cry, and to breathe some fresh air. I decided I would take a walk to get something to eat, and the sun had actually broken through what had started as a cool and wet morning. As I started my climb up the street, I realized that I was feeling so alone. At first I wasn't sure if what I was feeling was the lack of Michael's presence, or the lack of any one's presence. It's quite the challenge to get through each day, especially knowing that the day always ends with me alone in our bedroom. When I wind things down at night, and the kids are all settled into their rooms, I experience the raw reality that Michael is really gone. There is no escape from this.

I get that today would be quite the challenge, as yesterday was our anniversary. But it is because of what I was feeling, and the reality that I was walking around by myself once again, that I began to understand how completely alone I am. During these past two years of Michael's illness, and especially this last year, we were surrounded by so many people. During his last few months there was always someone wanting to come by for a visit. These days, aside from the kids, I don't see anyone outside of the work environment. I am completely alone. Today, this hit me like a ton of bricks.

In my weekly therapy I have been talking about feeling stuck, and feeling so lonely. At the same time, I don't seem to have the inner resources to reach out to anyone. I also don't quite know where exactly to reach out to. Somehow, I have completely isolated myself. Today as I was walking, the tears just kept pouring out. I began to wish it would all come to an end. What do I mean by this? I'm not proud to admit this, but I was really feeling like death would be a better option. At least in death I could be with Michael. In death I wouldn't have to feel these intense, and painful, feelings. In death I wouldn't have to go about each day, fulfilling all the responsibilities that now seem so trivial.

Now about now I'm sure all of my readers are waiting for me to say that I wasn't seriously contemplating suicide. I am also having to fight off the urge to quickly write a disclaimer, or to just hit the delete key. The reality is, that today's feelings are by far not the first time I have felt this way. During these past 7 months I have at times felt that all this suffering is just not worth it. Life just seems to have stacked up the cards against me. I look around me, and I fail to see anyone who is having to live through this same reality. None of my friends, or colleagues, are having to live through this type of pain. All of them go home to their spouses everyday. All of them are living the life that we all expected to have. I know that their lives are not perfect, and that they have their challenges, but really, do their challenges even come close to mine?

So now I will shift gears, and start peddling back to safety. Would I ever do anything to really hurt myself? I don't think so. Would I give a shit if a piano should fall from above and land on my head? Probably not. But I wouldn't be truly speaking in real time if I didn't come clean about these feelings. You know, I'm one of those people who presents very well. People often look at me and say, "you look so good," or "you seem to be handling this very well." The reality is, I am not. I am not fully myself. I am barely getting through each day. If you ask me how I am doing, I am likely to say I am doing fine. I'm starting to not see the value in speaking the truth. What happens if I tell you the truth? Is there anything you can do? Is there anything you would want to do? I'm nobodies responsibility. I was somebodies, but he's gone.

I know that by tomorrow morning I will be thinking, what the hell was I thinking posting such thoughts. I will regret that I put this out there. I am already beginning to worry, but I'm not sure what I am worried about. Am I worried about what people will think? Or, am I worried that it will not even matter. Who knows. Not me.


  1. Hopefully you don't regret what you posted. These are very valid thoughts and I'm sure that many of us have experienced similar. I know that I have. When Don died, I contemplated suicide that night after I came home from the hospital. Our dog was so weak that she couldn't stand up -- she hadn't eaten for the week that Don was in the hospital at the end. If I had returned to the house to find her dead, I'm about one hundred percent sure that I would have put an end to things immediately. I'm a pretty decisive and "take action" person, so it's unlikely that I would have waffled. However, Sabrina was still alive and struggling, and I felt it would be cruel to take her along with me. Also, Don, knowing me as well as he did, told me to try to go on alone. I will admit that it was hard to bother. Unlike most people, and as I have mentioned in the past, we had almost no support during Don's illness. It was as though his illness scared everyone out of their wits and no one would come over to visit other than our long time next door neighbour who is a nurse. The home nurses were our only visitors. When Don died, my best friend who I met over the net and who became a friend to Don as well, flew from Oregon to help me get things taken care of and get on the road. He was shocked at how only two people called to check and see how I as doing after Don died. My friends have now told me that they were just so freaked out and didn't know what to say to me that they couldn't call. Anyhow, I left home feeling very much alone in the world other than the company of my old dog who was in terrible shape at the time. Fortunely, she recovered, but I have to say that for months, I continued to consider whether it would be better to end things. I'm glad I decided to go to Bisbee. If I had stayed at our farm, I am certain I would not be here now. By the way, speaking of "being here", I made it to Nova Scotia and am at the wrecky old house that I bought. It feels very good to be here. It's an amazing property - private and wild feeling with a brook flowing by my doorstep. The poor old house is so terribly in need of work that I feel a bit like a doctor arriving to perform open heart surgery or something. I had to get a few things in one of the local villages and did a bit of driving around. It's so beautiful here that I keep feeling like I should pinch myself to see if I'm dreaming. I guess it's good that I am still here to be writing this and to say that regardless of how alone you occasionally feel right now, my best guess is that there will come a time when you begin to feel comfortable with your aloneness and perhaps find something makes you feel good even during times of sadness.

  2. I appreciate your thoughts Dan. I'm not usually willing to off myself, myself, but I would not resist the piano falling, or anything else that might want to get me out of here. Cowardice, maybe, that I would want to have no responsibility in it, just not stopping it. Get me out of here with no spiritual fall-out: no harm, no foul.
    We don't have kids together, so it is often feeling horrible about leaving our dog that holds me back when I hit that edge - usually while driving on some unpopulated road, while screaming, thinking how easy it would be to let go of the wheel. There is still a large part of me that feels/is afraid if I killed myself on purpose, I would not get to see or be with my love, or anywhere else good, again. I don't have proof that I will anyway, but enough of a need to believe that it keeps my hands on the wheel.

  3. I was really moved by this post and your courage in sharing such raw, real feelings with the world. Also, it's interesting that the day after the anniversary is the harder day for you. I lost my husband not quite two months ago, and yesterday was our first wedding anniversary. I made it through most of the day OK, with a little help from friends, but in bed last night it all hit me... and today is very hard. So I can really empathize with the dark place you've been in recently.