What brings you joy?
Hi Babe -
Today was a little rough, I guess writing about ‘the pain and emptiness that has taken permanent residence in my heart’ was just too much to bear--it was like reopening a wound that hadn’t healed. I think the sky is feeling my pain today because it’s been raining cats and dogs all day--just like the days after you passed. I couldn’t pull myself together this morning, so I had to pull the “widow” card. I tried getting ready for work but all I could do was cry. I just couldn’t get my ‘game face’ on, so instead of risking a meltdown at work, I worked remotely. I thought I was doing better since my emotions were more controlled and manageable this past week--less crying and more smiling. Although the millennial in our life had to point out, “Yes, I see your personality is coming back but it’s still missing something, you’re still not quite your usual happy self.” Hmm..let me think about? I’m missing a husband so maybe that could be it. I don’t know if I could ever find my ‘usual happy self’ again since I feel like a part of me died with you. It’s probably my ‘spunk’ that he feels is missing. I don’t know if I will ever find that ‘spunk’ again--I guess only time will tell. (Whatever babe, it’s okay for me to use a clique line since I’m the grieving widow--yes it’s a double standard and I don’t care!)
This last week, I thought I was getting better since I could feel my personality coming back (minus the spunk). Honestly, I didn’t think I could even get to this point in less than 2 months after you passed. If you saw me the first few days after you passed, there’s no way you would ever believe I could get to where I am now--even I can barely believe it myself. When I saw your lifeless body in the hospital, all I wanted to do was lay down next to you. I didn’t think I could live or breathe again. I would wake up each morning gasping for air-- like I was drowning and coming up for air. Everyday I woke up, I wasn’t sure if I was happy or sad that I was still alive. There were days where I wake up and ask myself, "is this nightmare finally over?"--only to realize it wasn’t and I was still trapped in the wrong universe. I would ponder and ask myself how could I get back to the right universe where the world was right. I also thought about how much longer I had to live before I could see you again. At times, I truly believe that I will die young also since I can’t imagine living an entire lifetime without you. (Hence I’m finishing up the estate planning we started. Well, it’s just mine now since I’m legally single again in the eyes of the law.) Each day I wonder if this will be my last, and I always feel like there’s this sense of urgency to get our story out (especially since we don’t have any kids or anyone who can share our story if we are both gone). I use to say to you, “We don’t have any kids--our legacy will die with us.” And you would always say, “We don’t need kids to leave a legacy.”
But now I realize that I just put a bandaid over the pain and grief, and when I go to rip it off, I notice it hadn’t heal much, if at all. The wound is still open and the pain and sadness is still there--raw and deep like it had always been since the first day. Then this made me think about how I could ‘get on with life’ if the pain was still as raw and deep as the first day (since there was no way I was able to “get on with life” the first few days or even the first few weeks and month after you passed).
A few weeks ago, my therapist was a little worried since my response to “how are you feeling?” was “Blah--I feel nothing!” She said, “You feel nothing?” I said, “Yes, I feel nothing at all--just BLAH! There’s no pain or sadness or emptiness, just NOTHING!” So she asked, “What brings you joy?” JOY?!--you mean the thing I will never know or find or feel again? I sat in my chair like a deer caught in the headlights and all I could say was, “Sean.” Well, of course that was the wrong answer. So I tried again and said, “I like to organize.” So my task for the week was to organize my craft room--so I could find a spark of joy in my life to thwart the blah-ness. Well, let’s just say the craft room sat untouched since the thought of organizing the craft room didn’t spark any joy for me (I know--konmari must be on vacation again and Marie Kondo would probably be shrieking right about now). But somehow I still found joy, but it wasn’t in organizing or walking the lake or knitting (all the things I enjoyed doing previously). Instead, I found joy when I started writing about our story. I guess you can say my heart still skips a beat and I light up when I talk about you--I guess I should have stuck with my first response. I didn’t realize how much joy and happiness I could find just by writing about you and us--so much so that I actually thought I was getting better and the pain and grief was starting to somehow diminish and I got my personality back (well, parts of my personality but not quite all of it according to the millennial).
Well, I guess my therapist is right again (I know, I really need to listen to her more). Not only is grief psychotic, but I also have to let in other emotions like joy and happiness and not just try to hold onto the pain and grief of losing you. I told her a few weeks ago that I wasn’t ready to let go of the pain or grief yet, cause it meant I was letting go of you. But, what she was trying to get me to understand (which I stubbornly refused to comprehend) was that holding on to the grief and pain wasn’t the only way (or even the right way) to hold on to you or your memory. There are other ways, and now I know one thing that brings me joy in my new normal--telling stories about you and us so that our legacy can live on, even without children.
I came across this article when I was trying to find this quote by Dr. Seuss:
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
I thought this quote would be fitting for this entry (it’s a quote I came across in my old shoebox of mementos from the past--but I was too lazy to find it in the box of stuff so I googled the part I remembered). Ironically, it was part of an article where the author talks about how she hates this quote. (I guess this must be her clique line that she is ready to punch for!) Ultimately, she says cry if you want to and cry for as long as you need to. I agree--cry until you are done crying and smile when you are ready. But sometime, you’re crying and smiling at the same time and that’s okay too. Like how I didn’t realize my pain and grief was still raw and deep because I was too busy smiling because it happened. But that’s grief right? It’s psychotic and it gets even more psychotic when you also let in other emotions--you start deluding yourself that you are getting better--maybe you are, maybe you aren’t, who knows?? It’s all a process, it’s the work I was talking about earlier that heals--NOT time.
Ugh - today’s Thursday! I thought I had gotten over anxiety Thursday--but I guess it reared its ugly head again!! Is there no end to Anxiety Thursday?!
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A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.