And today I can’t stop crying. What is this? Nothing makes sense to me anymore. All I keep thinking is, “I am pretending.” I am pretending to be okay. I can’t really grasp what has happened. Not just his death, all the circumstances surrounding it. Why? Why did it happen? I know that no one can answer this. There is no reason. But I miss him so, so, so much. And some days I can’t keep up the pretense that I’m fine without him. That I’m fine with time rocketing me away from the place where I last saw him. What is wrong with me? Will I never be okay again? I know loss can be transformative but not in a bad way, right? Everyone talks about the gifts. I feel nothing but robbed. It sounds self-centered, I know. Why am I not grateful for the time we spent together? Why do I just dwell on him dying too soon? On his being struck down when he had already been through so much. I was so happy. I feel I will never be happy again. There is the ugly truth. It is wretched. I am wretched. And I miss him so much I can’t stop crying even though it has been seven months. I want him back so badly. Please come back. Please come back. Please. come. back. How on earth do people deal with this? There is obviously something wrong with me, something missing, that I can’t get over this. Will a drug help me? Some magic pill? I tried to embrace the faith that I will see him again, but some days it is so hard and it seems impossible. I went to a party last night and drank too much. I am hungover today and already felt awful. I know this is making me raw, my emotions are bubbling too close to the surface because I don’t feel well. I guess the lesson is to take care of yourself when you’re grieving. Everything is always worse with hangover. I learned that in the beginning, but I guess some lessons keep coming back around. But this wretchedness is almost unbearable. It is a place without hope or purpose. It is like a trap I can’t get out of, because that trap is me. Me without Alec. Everyone says this is the cost of loving someone deeply, and that it is better to have loved. I just don’t know. The price is too high.
I have a little book called Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Though Grief. In the beginning I read each entry every day; now I flip it open occasionally, usually when I need some help or guidance. Today’s entry was, appropriately, about mood swings:
Whereas previously our moods seemed simply sad with occasional patches of light, now we may find an unsettling variety in our feelings, as happy times seem engrossing and satisfying, and then we are plunged into sadness again. Perhaps we can learn to accept these mood swings, recognizing the reality of each, knowing light gives way to darkness and darkness to light.
When we begin to feel better we enter a new range of feelings, maybe even some guilt – How could I feel good when the one I loved is gone? but even putting that false monster aside, the mood fluctuation can be unsettling. We’ll be having a genuinely wonderful time, freed at last from that continual background music of sadness. Then we remember and it feels like dropping through a trapdoor – a much more sudden and upsetting shift than when sadness was our prevailing mood… (March 6)
It does feel like dropping through a trap door, one with no floor, like you will never stop falling. And the thing is, I know that what I am feeling is normal. There will be ups and downs. Better days and harder days. Hope and despair. I know this intellectually. This is grief. Seven months isn’t that long. There probably isn’t anything wrong with me other than the usual. But this knowledge doesn’t help. It doesn’t lessen the pain. Because while there may be nothing wrong with me, my life feels wrong…which happens to be a title of a nice pop song by East River Pipe, so here you go: My life is wrong. Why not make a mix tape out of my grief?
you were a meteor
you were a dinosaur
you were the two by four
that cracked me in my head last night
let me wake up right
let me wake up right
because I know my life is wrong.
Post Script: I banged this out yesterday morning while sobbing and making my way through half a box of tissues, and yes, it was a wretched day and honestly, it scared the shit out of me. I have had inklings of this feeling, but now I realize it’s hiding just underneath at all times and when I get tired, sick, hungover, or even emotional about something else going on in my life, it comes roaring to the surface, snarling and gnashing its teeth, and makes everything so much worse. I don’t mean to imply I don’t miss him every day – of course I do – but this feeling of frantic desperation, almost of terror, is more rare.
I realized this new cheery certainty that I am going to see him again, that this is a temporary separation (it’s like he’s just out of town! [chirp! smile!]), is like the nervous too-wide smile plastered on the face of someone who is perilously close to panic. I am trying a little too hard to convince myself everything is okay, maybe. I didn’t realize it was work keeping that up. I am not doing it for anyone but myself and it is what I need to do, so I have embraced it, reason be damned (intuition be embraced!). But it’s only part of the story. I guess the takeaway lesson is to never let myself become hungover, tired, or emotionally upset ever again lest the demons of doubt, hopelessness, and wretchedness come screaming back to tear away my tenuous and uneasy peace. Sigh. Good luck with that, right?