You know that thing, where, for days and weeks and maybe even longer, you are strolling along in life, thinking and maybe even knowing that Hey, I think I might be doing more than okay right now - and having this odd sort of confidence in knowing that you are emotionally pretty happy for the most part - and then all of a sudden you are lying in your bed in the dark at 2 a.m. one night, unable to sleep, and you randomly and almost silently start crying because you are so incredibly lonely and you didn't even know it until right that second?
On Monday, at grief therapy, I walked in the door and just started crying. Not a hard cry, but a soft one. A silent one at first, that started to then build up from my insides as I started to speak. I find that, with therapy, I often have no idea what I'm going to say when I go in there. Whatever comes out, just comes out, and that is what needs to be said. It's the same way I write. I don't plan it. I don't know how to plan it. Whatever comes out when I start typing, is what needs to be said in that space of time. So I release it.
"I feel left out. It's been 3 years and so enough time has passed that a lot of the widowed friends I met early on are starting to get into new relationships , get re-married, finding new love, and dating. I feel like I'm so far behind everyone else, and I feel like I will never be ready and I will end up being left behind, and Im afraid that I wont have anything in common anymore with my widowed friends, who are some of the only people I can truly be myself around. One of my closest widowed friends had her first date since her partner's death last week. She is one of the people I feel closest to, and we have always sort of been on the same timeline with our loss and our emotions and things, and I hate how this is making me feel right now." The words spilled out all at once, as if knocked over by someone.
"How is it making you feel?", she asked gently.
"Jealous. Lonely. Left out. I'm jealous that other people have the ability to feel things again and to consider dating again. I don't like feeling jealous of my widowed friends, but I feel jealous. I'm jealous because a huge part of me really is scared I will be alone forever, and I'm starting to get scared that I will just be okay with that, and I will become used to it and I will just tell myself it's fine this way and that I already had my great love. But it's not fine, and I'm really lonely. But I'm also not ready or willing to put effort into a new person. I just miss the person I had so damn much, and it aches sometimes."
Last night I went to bed really early, because I had to be up really early today for my hellish commute to work this morning. My roommate, who is the same age as me and single, has been dating recently after joining a dating site, and she had her first date last night with a new guy. She asked me if it was okay if they hung out here for a bit, if things went well, and I said sure, just send me a text if you're coming back here with him so I can put some normal clothes on and maybe throw on a bra. Yeah. That's how I roll.
Around 11 p.m. I got the text that they would be coming up in a few minutes. I wasn't in the mood to meet anyone new or deal with couple-related-things, so I shut my door to my bedroom and turned off the light and lay in bed with my kitties. After a few minutes of trying to sleep, I started to hear it coming from the other room. The sounds of new love. The sounds of possibility and fresh starts. The flirtatious laughter coming from him, and then her, and then him again, in the ease and flow of an innocent date. I pulled my stuffed Bear that Don gave me all those years ago closer, and I held him tightly, as if his familiar fur would make everything better. The silent, knowing tears came - and I could actually feel my own heart breaking. I could feel the ache that had been sitting there for months, waiting to seep out.
On the other side of that door, was a life that I once had, and that now I wasn't ready for with anyone other than my husband. Every single day, I go out into the big scary world, and I live my life without him. I have lots of friends, both old and new. I have a good job, and I'm pursuing a career in comedy and writing, and trying to use the pain to help myself and others heal. I have a full life and I am generally much happier than I was even just a year ago. But once the day is over and I come home and I close that bedroom door, the world is gone and it is only me. I am then reminded, in the cruelest of ways, that nobody lies in bed with me. I am faced with the cold harsh truth of the nothingness that responds to my voice. I lay there, faintly hearing the giggling coming from the other side of our apartment, and all I can think of in the night is this one thought, like a drumbeat, again and again and again .....
I am so lonely. I am so lonely. I am so lonely.