So last night, I got home from Tampa, Florida, after attending Camp Widow for the 11th or 12th time, I think. I honestly have lost track of how many times I have attended as a presenter and given my comedic talk / performance on grief and loss. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe it’s a bad thing, maybe its just a thing.
At the end of this month, I will be traveling back to NYC for a few days, so I can give my TEDx talk, about grief and love and loss. It will be a huge honor, I am anxious and excited about it, and it will hopefully be something that, in time, will lead to other opportunities to speak.
And, of course, I am still and always in the midst of writing my book, about the love story of me and my husband, his death, and about grief and loss.
Anybody seeing a pattern here?
In this “after” life, the one where my husband is forever dead, I talk and write a LOT about grief and loss and death. And really, sincerely, it is my absolute honor to do so, because it helps ME, and it helps other people to know they are not alone in their crazy thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It is also a healthy way for me to cope and to process what’s going on inside me.
But the truth is, just because I write and talk about these things publicly, does not mean that I somehow have it all together, or that I even know what the hell I’m talking about. I don’t. I’m just a person who is willing to put it all out there in word form, and to take off the plastic mask of widowed life – and tell the brutally honest truth about it. I’m like that with everything. That’s just who I am. If I can’t tell the absolute truth about something, what’s the point in saying words at all?
This public side of me, however, is just one side of me. It’s a small side of me. Yes, it’s the side that most people see, and for most, it’s the only side of me they see. But I have a private, vulnerable, scared little girl, fragile-heart, just wants to be held and protected and loved side – that hardly anyone sees. That my husband saw. That side would come out for him, with him, and around him, because I knew I was safe to let it out.
Right now, I don’t have anywhere or anyone safe to let that side out again. I don’t have someone I can trust or talk to every day, to let that out and release it with. I just don’t have that. And it’s awful to not have that. It’s pretty much the most awful thing in the world.
And so, I don’t feel much like me. At the end of my days, if I can’t let the day fall away with someone, it just all stays inside and burns to a crisp. It creates this hollow feeling in my soul, and that hollow-ness just sits there and lingers. It leaves me crying and aching everywhere, for no reason, and for every reason. I start feeling like everything I do has no point, because I can’t call someone up who is not my parents and not friends who have their own person to do that with – but someone who is mine to call up and share those things – and share it with them. I still talk to Don all the time and I tell him things, but its just not the same as telling someone who is alive aand breathing and listening to your words and then saying words back. I love my husband and I will ALWAYS talk to my husband, but my husband is dead, and this world gets lonelier by the minute as I face all of life’s happenings without someone I connect to, to say words with.
What is the point of anything, if you have nobody to tell it to? Nobody to hear your words. Not family or friends – but that person who makes you feel safe enough that you can let out that little girl who is scared, and who just wants to sit in the stillness and not have to do or BE anything for anyone. Im exhausted from being things. I just want to be nothing and do nothing, and sit in the peace and quiet of that for awhile with someone who understands me.
Those of us who “create something from our pain” – we are an outlet to many. But who do we go to? Who is our outlet? Who is our sea of tranquility, where nothing needs to move or be hopeful – where we can just float and exist and focus on nothing but the swishing of the water, back and forth and back again?
I am like a volcano, with nowhere to erupt.
I am a child, with nowhere to have my temper tantrum.
I am a pillar of strength, a warrior, they tell me – that just wants to curl up into a ball or into the arms of a man, who will protect me and keep me safe. Where is that man for me? Where is that person who will just be there, and nothing more?
Just because I write, just because I share, just because you see me strong and laughing and smiling and living –
that does not mean that you know me.
You know some of me.
The rest of me sits here, in pieces, waiting to explode.
Despite what you might think about me –
and especially lately,
I am struggling.
Very, very hard.
You might not see it,
but that is only,
because I don’t show you.
But here it is:
I am not okay.
I am not okay.
Now, I will get up and I will focus and I will somehow find the damn strength
to do what it is I need to do these next few weeks, and in the weeks after that.
Because that is what I always do. So I will do it again. That is what is expected.
That is what “strong” people do. Over and over and over again.
But each time I have to do that, and then I come home with nowhere to release that vulnerable,
scared, little girl who just wants to be held –
I die just a little bit more.
The truth is,
I have absolutely no fucking idea what the hell Im doing.
I never did.
And I’m not okay.