Monday, November 28, 2005

Expect the unexpected

Today was my official first day back in the classroom. My students were lovely, as they have been throughout the ordeal. My colleagues were kind, and warm.

I am not sad right now so much as empty, stalled, stopped. I have the vague sense that something awful has happened, but I can't remember what. My stomach feels vaguely uneasy; my thinking is unclear. I'm tired of being told that whatever I am feeling is "normal"; the word is even more meaningless than it usually is.

I expected grief to be sharper than this; with a loss so great, I almost welcomed the onslaught of despair. Instead, I feel almost sedated.

There are many indignities associated with the loss of a spouse, partner, lover, friend. The chipper voice saying, "Have a great day!" at the end of yet another official call I have to make about his death.

The fact that the my health care renewal form has only two options: "Single," and "Married." "I'm still married," I want to shout; "I will remain married for a long, long time--if not forever. Just because he has died doesn't make me single." What an ugly word that is, now. It's nearly as bad as "alone"; I am that, too. Profoundly.


At 11:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for being brave enough to share what you are going through.....6 months ago I lost my best friend (of 30 yrs) very suddenly and I have only recently been able to write a blog about her....I have found that misery does love company...or maybe its just nice to know that I am not crazy for feeling the way I do. The best way I have found to discribe the pain is...I woke up one day and my arms and legs were sawed off with a butter knife....I am still alive and once the pain dulls a little , I will learn to move again with fake arms and legs,but I will never be the same, I will never be whole again.

At this point I cant tell you it gets any better or any easier....My thoughts and prayers are with you and your daughter.....One thing that keeps me going is that I want my friends kids to be able to remember Amy (my friend) and instead of feeling pain and shutting out her memory , I want them to be able to remember her with a smile and be able to draw strength from her. To honor her by living the best life that they can, and keeping her memory as a good thing rather than a painful one....She is a part of who we are and that can never be taken from us

Embrace your memories. What we have once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us. - Helen Keller

At 11:44 PM , Blogger bitchphd said...

I'm thinking of you every day.

At 1:06 AM , Blogger Lonely Londoner said...

I think about you daily as well, though I'm a stranger, and I wish healing for you.

Here is a poem by Emily Dickinson. I'm sure you know it, and I don't know if it will help, exactly, but it's something and not nothing:

After great pain, a formal feeling comes--
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs--
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round--
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought--
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone--

This is the Hour of Lead--
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons recollect the Snow--
First - Chill - then Stupor - then the letting go--

At 7:29 AM , Blogger Yankee T said...

It's a horrible thing, that which you're going through. I can understand your hatred of the term "normal"'s not normal, and I'm sure it feels surreal. Please know that you and your little girl are in the hearts of many of us out there, wishing for a better time for you.

At 10:37 AM , Blogger ABDmom said...

You are always in my thoughts.

At 1:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear ya. I, too, have lost someone I loved very deeply.

At 1:42 PM , Blogger OTRgirl said...

I lost my mom 8 years ago when I was newly married and 26 years old. I know that losing my husband will be far, far worse. I'm so sad for you.

After Mom's death, a friend sent me The Jewish Way of Death and Mourning. I'm not Jewish, but the way they handle death and grieving gave me an interesting perspective on the structure of grief. I also felt envious of an entire community that is built around accomidating grief together.

The first 7 days after the death, mourners do nothing but receive visitors who sit with them as they cry, talk, or just sit. For a month, the mourner doesn't have to cut their hair or do normal maintenance stuff. For the first year the mourner is supposed to go to the synagogue every morning for a grieving ritual. The final act is that on the first anniversary of the death, the extended family does a mourning ritual together.

You're so right that most people don't know what to say or do. I never did 'til I went through it. Now I know that just sitting and being present to another's pain is the most helpful thing. We're listening to as much or as little as you're able to say.

At 2:11 PM , Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

Thinking of you.

At 5:22 PM , Blogger Ancrene Wiseass said...

Just want to register that we're still here and still thinking about you.

You're right: it's not normal. And yet, in a way, it is. But that only makes it feel more *wrong*, doesn't it?

At 6:08 PM , Anonymous Cindy said...

No words really. Just prayers and light coming to you.


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