I oftentimes read posts/blogs of people who are grieving who speak about how they feel, after some time has passed, as if they present themselves to the world in a way that isn’t real but that they feel is required of them.
In that, they don’t show their grief to the world. For many reasons, of course, but they feel unable to show who they really are. Which I totally understand.
Our world is unforgiving of grief that continues on for more than, say….6 months. Okay, maybe a year, if you find some really empathetic people.
Other than other widow/ers, I mean.
I do get that argument. We have to function, right? Life goes on and we have to return to jobs and parenting and, I don’t know…everything.
And you just can’t be in a fetal position on the floor, or sobbing in your cubicle, or at the lunch table. Or anywhere in public.
What I would argue is that those of us who present “The Face” to the world aren’t being fake. We really aren’t.
We’re being functional.
It’s all still in there, bubbling right below the surface, humming along our veins as our blood pumps from our hearts to the rest of our bodies. It isn’t that we’re stuffing it down, really. I liken it more to the idea of applying pressure to a wound in an effort to keep the blood from spurting out. We apply pressure to hold down the grief so that we can get our days done, our responsibilities…stuff and such.
We smile because we’re engaged, we laugh if something is funny, we engage with the people we meet throughout the day. Because that’s what life is and we’re still alive.
What I’ve found, for me at least, is that I can be all of that I just described, during one of my days. And every bit of it is authentic.
It’s just that, since Chuck died, even while I do all that, I’m also dying inside. Missing him. Wishing him. Wanting him. Sharply feeling his absence. His gone-ness. Even as I smile and engage with people, the hum in my blood, through my veins, with each pump of my heart, is….he’s gone, he’s gone, he’s gone.
I am two people since Chuck died. Here and not here. Smiling outside and crying inside at the same time. Paying attention and hearing you and listening to my own inner conversation at the same time.
Both of these me’s are real and both show up daily.
This may freak out those of you who have never lived in this widow world, but I’m strangely okay with it. in my world of nothing being okay. And honestly, I can handle this dichotomy, because I’m a Gemini.
I’m one person and I’m two people at the same time. I don’t stuff any of the grief down. It’s just that one of the me’s is the functioning out in the world person, and the other one is the me who is….I don’t even know.
But both of these are real in every way.