Fear has become my boundary...
Hey Babe -
It’s been a few days since I’ve written, I guess being functional at work and trying to escape one’s feelings and emotions takes a lot of time and energy! I’ve been binge watching This is Us. I’ve been meaning to ask you to set-up a recording for this show but I kept forgetting, so now I’m streaming on hulu. Anyways, a few people have told me to watch it since you passed, I guess the husband dies in the show (maybe something I could relate to or use to find some meaning or purpose from). The first episode of the second season was when the show finally alludes to the husband’s death in a big way--all they showed was the wife (Mandy Moore) driving from the hospital (maybe?!) by herself with a small, clear plastic bag of her husband’s personal belongings, which included his wedding ring, on the passenger seat. When she got home, she screams inside the car as they pan out and showed their home had burned down. First and foremost, I don’t even know how she drove herself home; I was in no condition to drive myself home from the hospital, let alone speak or utter anything coherent. She screamed when she got to the front of the house, I screamed before YA could even turn into our street. I couldn’t even walk into our home; YA literally had to drag me inside the house. When I got home, it occurred to me, I never got a bag of your personal belongings, so I freaked out because I wanted to make sure I got your wedding ring back. I guess it’s always better laid out and more logically organized when it’s in a movie! When she screamed, I felt my heart racing; beating like it was going to pop out of my chest. I know that scream and all the pain and grief that comes with it. (BTW, I never told you, when I had brunch with your family last Sunday, a lady runs out of the restaurant whaling at the top of her lungs. At first, we thought maybe somebody broke up with her, but a few moments later, we all grew quiet and realize that we recognize the intense pain and grief behind that whaling. We all knew it too well--so well that we wished we could forget it and never have to know it ever again. Yup, you guessed it, brunch ended for us and we all decided it was time to go home--good thing we were already done eating!!)
When we broke up for that year, I wasn’t working since I was a teacher and it was summer, so I ended up binge watching the entire series of Six Feet Under. Sounds morbid, but actually, it was very therapeutic and healing by the time I finished the entire series. The song at the end by Sia, “Breathe Me,” became my anthem during that break up. (Kinda like how “Rewrite the Stars” is my anthem for your death!) I’m hoping that binge watching This is Us can help me heal and / or process like Six Feet Under did when we broke up, but come to find out, per my therapist, I guess binge watching TV is just an “escape” mechanism for me. It’s the “distraction” that people keep saying is good. Work is not a distraction because it’s a necessity but binge watching TV is a choice. I choose it over doing other things I would normally do when I’m home. Some people drink alcohol to numb the pain, I guess I binge watch TV and drink juice, so I don't have to think about or process anything. Instead, I'm using it as a substitute for the time I would normally write to you (which is my time to process and reflect on my journey and grief). (Yeah, I started drinking a lot of juice again--it’s like I’ve relapsed on sugary drinks!)
I’ve more or less stopped crying in the car and at home. I don’t feel an intense pain or sadness when I think about you anymore. I’m not numb or blah either when I think about you--it’s more or less like I’m indifferent. If anything, I feel like I've entered the hopeless and helpless stage of my journey. My therapist feels that I’ve processed and accepted that you are gone. I guess I can check that step off my list of the grief process. So, what’s next?!
In my mind, escaping is better than being imprisoned or paralyzed by my fears and emotions (I’m sure my therapist would begs to differ). I know, I just said I wasn’t feeling the intense pain and sadness anymore, then how can I be imprisoned or paralyzed by my fears and emotions?! Well babe, it’s the battle I’ve been telling you about; where I’m at the crossroads between hope (my heart) and acceptance (my mind). This battle has been raging on inside of me for awhile now, and while I’m waiting to see who wins, I’ve parked an airstream at the fork in the road and started binge watching TV and drinking juice until I figure out which road I’m supposed to take next. The only thing that keeps me sane and from unraveling is the hope that you’ll be coming home from your business trip soon. My heart can stay at the fork in the road forever, but can my mind do it?! My heart knows that you’re gone, but it hasn’t realize that you’ll never be coming home. My mind knows that you’re gone and that you’ll never be coming home again, but the mere thought of embarking on that road toward acceptance makes my heart race and beat uncontrollably and I get scared and I start panicking I get anxious and paralyzed by the fear of having to relive all the pain and anguish I felt shortly after you passed. I’m barely hanging on to the thin thread of sanity I have right now, so I don’t think I can deal with another traumatic experience of having to accept that you’re never coming home without losing my mind and unraveling into my crazy lady rants again. Not only do I not have time for another mental breakdown, but I don’t know if I could survive another mental breakdown. It’s a good thing I’m in an airstream and not a tent!! Who knows how long this battle will rage on. Right now the clear winner via knock out is hope (my heart). Hope is the only thing that keeps me sane and functional, but it's doesn't enable me to find joy and / or live life fully because I'm stuck at the fork in the road (it's like being stuck in purgatory babe!!--neither living nor dead).
When you passed, I didn’t have a say or any control over the situation. So, processing the pain and grief from your death wasn’t a choice--it was a necessity; it was survival of the fittest. I had to confront it head on or have it consumed me. I chose to confront it head-on, so it couldn't consume or define me. But accepting that you will never come home is a choice. It’s neither a necessity nor survival of the fittest. I control whether I want to accept it or not, and right now, I don’t want to accept it. I can’t accept it. I’m not ready to accept it. I’m scared to accept it. The mere thought of having to accept your death gives me anxiety and scares the S*** out of me. I was fearless before you died. I could do anything. I never let fear be the boundary of my actions, but now, I’m constantly surrounded and paralyzed by fear. Fear motivates everything I do or don’t do now. Fear consumes me, and it makes parking my airstream at the fork in the road the most comfortable decision; even if it’s not the most rational decision.
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A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.