I'm Not Okay

So next week, Im flying to Tampa, Florida, and attending Camp Widow for the 11th or 12th time, I think. I honestly have lost track of how many times I have attended as a presenter and given my comedic talk / performance on grief and loss. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe it's a bad thing, maybe its just a thing. 


Who cares. 


At the end of this month, I will be traveling back to NYC so I can give my TEDx talk, about grief and loss. It will be a huge honor, I am anxious and excited about it, and it will hopefully be something that, in time, will lead to other opportunities to speak. 


And, of course, I am still and always in the midst of writing my book, about the love story of me and my husband, his death, and about grief and loss. 


Anybody seeing a pattern here? 

In this "after" life, the one where my husband is forever dead, I talk and write a LOT about grief and loss and death. And really, sincerely, it is my absolute honor to do so, because it helps ME, and it helps other people to know they are not alone in their crazy thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It is also a healthy way for me to cope and to process what’s going on inside me. 


But the truth is, just because I write and talk about these things publicly, does not mean that I somehow have it all together, or that I even know what the hell I’m talking about. I don't. I’m just a person who is willing to put it all out there in word form, and to take off the plastic mask of widowed life - and tell the brutally honest truth about it. I'm like that with everything. That’s just who I am. If I can’t tell the absolute truth about something, what's the point in saying words at all? 


This public side of me, however, is just one side of me. It’s a small side of me. Yes, it’s the side that most people see, and for most, it’s the only side of me they see. But I have a private, vulnerable, scared little girl, fragile-heart, just wants to be held and protected and loved side - that hardly anyone sees. That my husband saw. That side would come out for him, with him, and around him, because I knew I was safe to let it out. 


Right now, I don’t have anywhere or anyone safe to let that side out again. I don’t have someone I can trust and who won't leave or abandon me, to let that out and release it with. And so, I don’t feel much like me. At the end of my days, if I can’t let the day fall away with someone, it just all stays inside and burns up my insides. It creates this hollow feeling in my heart. It leaves me crying and aching everywhere, for no reason, and for every reason. I start feeling like everything I do has no point, because I can’t call someone up and share it with them. What is the point of anything, if you have nobody to tell it to? Nobody to hear your words. And I’m not talking about parents or family or friends - I’m talking about that person who makes you feel safe enough that you can let out that little girl who is scared, and who just wants to sit in the stillness and not have to do or BE anything for anyone. 


Those of us who "create something from our pain" - we are an outlet to many. But who do we go to? Who is our outlet? Who is our sea of tranquility, where nothing needs to move or be hopeful or an inspiration - where we can just float and exist and focus on nothing but the swishing of the water, back and forth and again? 


I am like a volcano, with nowhere to erupt. 


I am a child, with nowhere to have my temper tantrum. 


I am a pillar of strength, a warrior, they tell me - that just wants to curl up into a ball or into the arms of a man, who will protect me and keep me safe. 


Just because I write, just because I share, just because you see me strong and laughing and smiling and living - 


that does not mean that you know me. 


You know some of me. 


The rest of me sits here, waiting to explode. 


Despite what you might think about me - 


Most days, and especially lately, 


I am not okay. 


I am not okay. 


Showing 6 reactions

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  • Joe Goldbacher
    commented 2017-03-04 18:15:27 -0800
    Hi Adrienne – in the book of reflections that I wrote is one that I think you can relate to – I’ll see if I can find it in my files and if it’s small enough to post I will. It speaks to exactly what you are talking about. I’ll see if I can do it tomorrow. Hang in there.
  • Adrienne Hood
    commented 2017-03-04 10:13:23 -0800
    This is spot on regarding how I have been feeling these past few weeks. I relate to so many of your posts because you are so honest not only about the inner, deeper, darker emotions inside us, but also how non-widows and widowers struggle to help. It is very hard for me to share these feelings with friends and family, as they don’t let you just “be” in these moments and emotions, as you say. Most of my friends and family see these feelings as weak and childish, and while it may be unintentional, often make me feel lesser for being that girl rather than the strong courageous woman who is carrying on alone as they prefer me to be. While that strong courageous woman will keep me moving forward and getting out of bed every day, sometimes I just need the support and security of being around those who are ok with me being “not okay”. I look forward to hopefully attending a Camp Widow one day myself and hearing you and others in the community speak in person.
  • Lisa Richardson
    commented 2017-03-04 00:19:44 -0800
    Just tonight I was having this very same thought. What is this so called life I have? I’m not okay either.
  • Joe Goldbacher
    commented 2017-03-03 18:15:27 -0800
    Kelley – I finally did write my book like you said you want to. I wrote it a day at a time, a thought at a time and it shows how out of place and time I was. I wrote for almost three years after my wife died in 2009 (she lived for 12 years with stage 4 cancer) and it took me until last year to finally publish it. The family and close friends I’ve given it to mostly have not said anything to me. What are they going to say – “Nice book”? A few have told me that I was very brave to share it. Brave? They have no idea what bravery is. My wife was the brave one, not me.
  • Rhonda Catt
    commented 2017-03-03 17:49:45 -0800
    WOW! 100% the exact same! I cannot get over how bang on this article it!
  • D Schultz
    commented 2017-03-03 16:45:30 -0800
    This is a great description on exactly how I feel. Just because I am going on with my life doesn’t mean I’m okay. I’m not okay and I don’t know if I will ever be again.