The Agony of Defeat

Lately, I feel as if there are no more words left in the universe to properly describe how I feel. The words and phrases just don’t exist, or I’ve already described them multiple times, or I’m tired of describing them, or it’s repetitive and nobody wants to hear about it anymore anyway, or it’s just incredibly exhausting to constantly try and explain this grief crap. To explain WHAT THIS IS, and how its just ALWAYS there. Always, always, always.

Even when you think it isn’t there anymore, or you think: “Wow. I have done so much progressing!” Or your life feels happy or joyful for awhile, or something new happens or comes upon you and its a nice thing. Still, even then, that thing …. that thing of grief that I no longer know how to describe … it’s there. It’s just there, and it always will be.

I suppose that once I learn to just accept the idea that the “grief thing” will always be a part of my life, that my life will be a lot easier to shift through. And honestly, I do accept that I am forever changed by the life and the death of my beautiful husband. How could I not be? It’s just that, on some days, in some weeks, during some months, it all just feels like too much to handle. Life just overwhelms me for long periods of time, and I find myself back in that place where I’m just too exhausted to put the effort in. I slog along through the days, not feeling inspired and not feeling much like inspiring anyone else, and it’s all I can do to not fall apart. Still. After 5 years. Does that feeling ever go away? I’m guessing I already know the answer.

Wednesday, July 13th, was the 5-year mark. I did my usual Pay it Forward for Don campaign, and went out with some good friends that night and toasted to Don’s life, to love, and to friendship. It felt nice. But since coming home that night, I have felt very “blah.” I have felt very lethargic, very lazy, very much like a hermit who could sit here alone for days and days and days and not really mind. July is killing me. July is my enemy, and its really doing a number on me this time around. I have seen friends. I have gone out here and there. But I have to force myself. Its not helping that I lost my summer teaching job back in May, so I’ve been temporarily without work. It’s been extremely frustrating, and Im spending most of my days on the computer or out trying to find work. I’m scraping by lately, and whenever I barely have enough funds to get through the month, it always makes me feel like I have failed somehow. Like, this is NOT what Don wants for me, to STILL be struggling this way. He wanted so much more for me, and so do I.

I have been toying with the idea of leaving NYC. Staying with my parents in Massachusetts, where I wouldn’t have to worry about rent or bills for a few months, and finally finish the book I have been writing for over 3 years now. I wouldn’t stay there forever – maybe for 3 or 4 months – and then I would either come back to NYC and start over here, or I would maybe try a different city entirely. Maybe Chicago. Maybe the area of Florida where my husband used to live, where I feel closest to him. Is that crazy? It might be. But I feel crazy lately. And of course, any or all of these moves would require getting a new job, new apartment, new lifestyle, but I feel like I need something different. Something else. Something that forces me into a new pattern. Im becoming bored with my own life lately. Its such a strange feeling.

I would be leaving my teaching job if I did this – the one I have had for 16 years. And I would be leaving NYC. And that would be VERY hard. These are big decisions, and right now, they are only in my head. I haven’t decided anything yet for sure. And none of these things would happen until late in the year, around Christmas, or early 2017. So whatever I do or dont do, Im still here in NY for at least the next 5 months. But that restless feeling keeps growing inside, and yet, my brain is very tired. 5 years of making every single decision , without a life partner to help, is extremely daunting and hard. I wish I could rest. I wish I had the type of life where I wasn’t always struggling, and where I could just jump on a plane and take a vacation from my own life. That’s what I need. But I don’t have that luxury. And so I’m tired. And I no longer have words.

Except to say this: it feels as if I have been defeated. It feels as if, for now anyway, grief has won this battle. I’m too tired to fight or put up my fists right now. Everything is making me tired. I feel like a slug. The smallest thing lately, takes the greatest of efforts. I just want to sleep, and I don’t mean that in a “permanent” way. I just mean it literally. Lately, I just want to sleep and lie in my bed and not do much of anything. It’s not a great feeling, but I also know enough about myself and about grief, to know it will pass. Eventually. But until then, I feel beaten up by life and by death, and the defeat is agony.

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4 thoughts on “The Agony of Defeat

  1. I know exactly the feeling(s) of which you speak. The 5-year mark for me was at the end of 2010, and the more time went on, the more the fatigue of everything weighed on me. On the outside I looked perfectly functional in every way — and I was — but the feeling of loss is so complicated. I was just so tired. Making decisions, socializing, everything felt like a Big Deal and I didn’t want to deal.

    I won’t talk about turning a corner because as you say, at five years you become aware that there are corners and light at the end of tunnels and all those metaphors. I’m just adding a comment to say I acknowledge those feelings. They are very real, and I get it.

  2. Oh Kelley, I feel very much as you do. I am only on month #9 since my Robb died. (It still feels wrong to even type that, I half believe he’s just away on a trip and will be back soon.) I have decided to leave my very good job in a very good neighborhood and my very good apartment and move in with my parents who live in the middle of nowhere because I too have hit that point of defeat and I know I need to make some major changes in order to live the life I know Robb would want me to. Hang in there, and thank you for sharing your thoughts through this horribly difficult grief process; it has helped me so much.

  3. the day of this post july 22 was my 2 year angelversary. and july 28 would be our 1 year wedding anniversary if he hadnt passed away. im tired too kelley. tired in my soul and heart. im ok some days. others not ok. july is a month i hate. just like you. feel your pain sister xx

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