This road of grieving is not an easy one. I find myself here almost on a daily basis. Sometimes it is fleeting and other times something just takes hold of me and won’t let go and I cry throughout the entire day. I cry for what our children have lost, I cry for what I have lost and I even cry for what you have lost. The damage is great and the healing is ever slow in coming. I grieve what I will never have. I cry because I loved and I lost. I was foolish maybe. I don’t know. You could give me everything financially. The one thing I wanted, the one thing I craved was your heart. Somedays, some moments I still do and I tell myself how easy it should have been. I guess from your perspective though it was far from easy.
I was looking through pictures for fifth grade graduation and I wonder what happened? Our family looked happy. I feel torn and cheated that my kids do not have this anymore. That it is lost to them. That I couldn’t give to them what my own heart longs for. When does it ever feel right? When does this brokenness go away or dissipate? When does anything feel right again? When does my heart not ache anymore for what I had, what we had? When do I quit questioning and just accept that this is what is? When do I quit rewriting history and telling myself I could have done more or should have done this? On one level my subconscious knows the reality of what was and sometimes still is and on another I reason, bargain and justify covering up the reality, not really wanting to accept it as is. And I grieve some more.
I sob. Sometimes I think that I have everything under control and then something happens. It’s not a big thing. Usually quite the opposite. Something small. Something seemingly insignificant. My mom and I shared a swing on the front porch over Easter and all she asked me was “How are you doing with everything?” One simple question and tears erupt. Prior to that I was conversing as if I didn’t have a care in the world and all my mom had to do was ask how I was doing with everything. The tears came first and I managed to choke out, “ok”. I don’t really have a choice. And in many ways I feel this way. I feel like people really don’t understand. They don’t see what the big deal is, after all people get divorced all the time. For me, it’s not that simple and it’s really quite the opposite. It’s messy and I find that most people don’t do messy. They don’t know what to say or do and really seeing a grown woman breakdown with a simple question is a little unnerving and uncomfortable. I know my mom asked me because she loves me. I also know that she feared bringing it up and causing me further pain. The thing is I don’t control any of it. These emotions just happen.
I have not experienced the death of someone close to me. I dare say this is worse. And when I actually do experience death I will say, it is worse. In death you still love. You still care. The person is physically gone. You cannot hold them, see them, feel them, look in their eyes and there is loss of what to do with this love. You cannot experience it like you used to. There is a hole, an ache, an emptiness, a crater that is created and how will it ever be filled again? I feel all of this now, the difference is the person is living and breathing. They continue to be tied to me. I see and cannot touch. They are standing 10 feet away from me and yet it is as if we are strangers and our past never existed. How can that be? How can I not be hurt by that? How do I untangle myself from this connection?
How is it that two people could spend over 20 years of their lives together and this is what it comes to? Common courtesies are gone. You can’t address me in your mail communication with me. You can’t come to my front door, you see me and can’t say hi to me, something we say to complete strangers that we pass on the street. Our daughter invites you over to dinner for her birthday, you decline. I am dumbfounded. I know that you are hurt. I am hurt too. I don’t think one hurt is greater than the other. We are experiencing them differently and processing them differently, still hurt is hurt. Amazingly, I find that you still have this way of hurting me. A friend of mine told me that her husband lost the power to hurt her years ago. I wish I were that strong. That I somehow had some magic shield. I don’t. So even though I should expect it, that I know the things you are capable of, every time the gauntlet is swung I still am surprised and I cry and then I tell myself, see this is why. This is why you are no longer married. The capacity for compassion, care, empathy are not there.
So I sob, I cry like the distant sound of the flute in the wind. It is both forlorn and beautiful in its sound. There is an aloneness about it, an ache and yet there is some comfort in it, some love and despair and forgiveness all wrapped together that floats on the wind. And maybe that’s really what this grieving is. To take what comes, whatever it is in that moment. Experience it as it comes through the wind and to release it back to the wind where it is transformed and sings a different song, a different melody as it is intermixed with what was brought with it. If you look at each individual note you see and feel anger, pain, love, agony, forgiveness, joy, despair, happiness. Mix them altogether and there is the nuance of mystical beauty that catches the soul and you cannot help and close your eyes and listen. This is grief. This is my grief.
I don’t know for how long I will carry this. I may be at the store today and some thought, some words, some person may remind me of something that triggers my tears and my cheeks will become chapped once again from the immense crying and saltiness of my tears. All I really know is that if I allow myself to experience it and then release it back to the wind my soul is being stirred up and there is beauty in that. This realization somehow lightens this grieving of mine and makes it a shade more bearable.