Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day's End

Time For Bed
Originally uploaded by
Andy Valde


Just walked down quietly to my room. I didn't say good night to any of the kids, or to my cousin Fred, who is visiting. I suddenly needed to detach. I was at my limit, and couldn't sustain.

Sustain what? I don't feel like I accomplished much today. Bought some groceries. Busied myself all day, keeping my emotions at bay.

Today was not a bad day. On the contrary, it was a nice and relaxing day. One where I pause now and then to be sure there was nothing I was forgetting about. When I have days like this I often end the day feeling guilty, like I should have been more productive somehow. Maybe the guilt is less about productivity, and more about feeling detached. Detached from everyone.

Some days I find it easier to just stay a bit physically, and emotionally, detached from everyone around me. When one of the kids move in to give me a hug, I try to tolerate it, but find some excuse to move myself from that particular spot. It's not about who is trying to get close to me, it's about not wanting anyone to get close to me.

It hurts. In a real physical way, it hurts. When I get like this I feel like I cannot breathe. I can feel my skin crawl when someone enters my space. It's a terrible way to feel, but it is truly how I feel. I don't want to be touched. I don't want any one's affection. I would rather be sitting alone in my room, surrounded by empty space, and silence.

I walked into my bedroom. I washed my face, and brushed my teeth. There are Michael's things. I run my finger across his tooth brush. I open the cabinet and see his things. I grab two tea candles from the shelf in the closet, and place them gently in the candle holders that flank the ceramic urn that houses Michael's ashes. I light the candles, take off my wedding ring, and place it along side Michael's. My hand runs across the top of the urn. I then reach out, and place my hands firmly on the sides of the urn. I take in the texture, which is beveled, but smooth. I whisper to him. I tell him of my love, and turn away to get into bed. My chest begins to ache. I now realize how tightly I have been holding down my emotions all day. My chest muscles are sore and exhausted. A deep breath in, I wait, I listen to the silence, a deep breath out. Tears, doubled over in pain. I try to keep my sobbing to a quiet pitch. I don't want anyone to hear me. I don't want anyone to interrupt me.

I wonder why I am here. I wonder why he is gone. I try to remember what all my efforts are for.

I have an image of myself. I am sitting here in my room, sitting comfortably on my bed. One small pillow being held closely to my chest. I am needing some kind of soft object to take up space. I have walked this earth too long without his body close to mine. Death is so cruel. Death is so final. Why does he not appear in my dreams? Why do I not even remember my dreams? I know that are there, for I feel their presence in the night. Yet within moments upon waking, they float away. Some kind of abstract mix of emotion and emptiness.

I begin to breath easier. I purposefully stop typing, and feel the pulse within my body. I hear the static white noise within my head. It is so familiar, and brings me comfort. I grab his pillow, and breathe deeply within it. Even if his scent is gone, particles of his essence are there. The fabric has not been washed. I am not ready to release that part of him. Why am I left to find comfort in the night with something so random as a pillow? Why is everyone else around me lying in bed with a warm body beside them? I am alone, yet not alone in my predicament.

I know many of you reading find this oh so familiar. I hurt for you. I know, you hurt for me.

Another day comes to an end.


  1. i hurt for you. i hurt for me. i feel for anyone in this much pain. it is sometimes hard to find your way out of the dark. sometimes it is best not to fight it, but to sit inside it for a while so that you can find some strength inside yourself while there. then the next time it comes, you will know your way around.


  2. I hurt for all of us too. That feeling of detachment and the need to be alone with my thoughts is so familiar. Trying to keep it all together when around other people is exhausting work - more than anyone who hasn't been there can ever know.

  3. I was thinking exactly what Bev has written. Keeping it together around others is too much sometimes. I'm glad you got to your room where you could just let it out.

    And today is a new day. I hope it brings you some peace.

  4. I ended reading this with such a heavy sigh. I closed my eyes and just breathed in because how accurate you have laid out one of the most raw but unseen parts of our journey. Journey. God I hate all this "grief diction" sometimes. I remember not wanting to be touched for so long. For so long I pulled away, I cringed when I was hugged, I stood straight with my hands at my side when someone gave me a hug. It was torture for me. If Warren couldnt touch me anymore, I didnt want to be touched by anyone else - ever. You described that so perfectly. And I hurt so much for you. I don't understand who two people, so deeply in love, are pulled apart from each other by death. I think we all try to ref ourselves, coach ourselves through time trying to believe it will get easier. But at the end of the day - the one person we love the most is still gone - so in so many senses, it all feels futile.

    "Death is cruel. It is final." Even though you’d give anything and everything to change your circumstances, it is the first time in your life that your best efforts don’t count for shit. You cannot change death. You cannot bargain or break a deal or refuse death. Death is the end. There is no turning back. It is a one-way street, and you are not the driver. It is so awful.

    I am so sorry that this happened to you, Dan.
    Love and peace from my heart to yours.

  5. Oh Dan

    (((Hugs))) Gently and only virtually. I am so so sorry. You have expressed your feelings so eloquently---

    My prayers for you....


  6. exactly... so freaking final. doesn't matter how well I align my thoughts, or how well I "envision" what I want - I can't have it. No good effort, no exquisite anything.
    I am up at my parents' this weekend, where matt built so many things, where we hiked and kayaked and explored. He and I were here together just a few weeks before he died. My parents try, and I know they love me. but they don't know me, and the one who does is not here. He made it so much nicer to be up here, able to laugh at my family and the ways they are so different from us. 45 weeks today. Keeping it together - not wanting to be touched, not wanting to make small talk, unable to cry freely when it arrives, knowing they are trying so hard and I don't have it in me to come halfway - is exhausting.
    Reaching for scraps of life, small reminders, instead of the warm, live being who was here. I wish none of us were here. Given that it is not optional, I'm glad to know I'm not alone.

  7. Thursday May 20th you asked for people to share why they visit your blog etc. . .
    I have been where you are. I was married to my Husband for 31 years and he died of colon cancer. It has taken me a long time to feel normal again. And often I still don't. I'm a women 60 yrs old now and I'm just doing ok now. But in many ways not doing ok. My husband has been gone now for 8 and a half years. He died Oct.1 2001 And it feels like yesterday. It feels like when he died time stopped.
    Having a partner you really and truly love die is . . . well I can't even think of the words to describe how it feels to me!
    I sure hope and pray you have a good day today.
    You have a very good way with words and I really hope you keep posting your thoughts.
    Ann (I have a Blog but its mostly just pictures)