Resentment and PTSD

There is so much going on in my head right now. Its hard to think straight. 

I forgot to write in here last week. 

Im a bad, bad widow. 

Im so sorry. 

I forgot to write because I was away in Maine, with my new love,

celebrating our 8 month anniversary, and Valentines Day. 

It was my first really good Valentines Day since Don died, 6 years ago.

And yes, because Im a widow to sudden death, Im now the type of person who likes to honor 

and celebrate my anniversary monthly. 

Because who the hell knows which one might be our last.

Who the hell knows when I might wake up one morning,

and he's just not here anymore. 

Or maybe Im the one who wont wake up. 

This is how my brain works now. 

I have these type of thoughts often. 

It sucks.

I resent it. 

I resent thinking that because Im in Maine and having an awesome time and forgetting for two seconds that Im a widow and that my husband and the life i knew died, that this means I am maybe now somehow OKAY and I dont need to write about my emotions anymore. Im fine. Im over this. Im happy now. 

Thats bullshit. 

And its dangerous thinking. 

Not the part about being happy and having joy.

I can have joy. I do have joy. 

But to think, even for a second, that the joy I now have doesnt come packaged with heavy emotions, terror, PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, and a forever longing for the life I never got to live, is just fooling myself. 

The truth is, its when Im happiest that I need to worry about becoming complacent. 

Because almost every single time,

what follows the clusters of absolute joy,

is absolute terror. Loneliness. Intense sadness.

Half the time, I cant even pinpoint why. 

Or how much of these thoughts I should share with my new love.

How much to write in here.

How much to just stay quiet about.

How do you explain these thoughts to someone else, 

when you dont even really understand them logically? 

I will try to put into words what I mean. 

All the stuff sitting inside my head. 



My new love spent the night here last night. 

Im living at my parents place right now, while I finish writing my book and get my life back on track financially. 

My parents went away for a couple nights, so last night Nick and I had friends over for dinner and hanging out. 

Which was awesome. 

But then afterwards,

I got really sad. 

Im not sure why.

There were moments where the conversation turned toward kids.

Teenager issues, different things each of my friends was dealing with, having to do with their children.

They all have kids. 

I did not get to have kids with Don.

He died when I was 39. 

When he died, we were in the process of "discussing" what a family for us might look like. 

We talked about moving out of our crappy Jersey apartment. 

Starting to get better credit and save money for a house or at least a nicer place. 

We talked about having kids naturally versus adoption, something Don was very interested in doing. 

He wanted to save and rescue everyone, especially animals and kids. 

He wanted to be a great dad, to make up for the shitty dad that he had, that never even gave him the time of day. 

He wanted a family with me. 

Seeing how he was with my little nephew, who was only 2 years old at the time, made me want to have kids with him so badly. He would have been an amazing dad. He was already an amazing husband. 

He picked up a second job on his days off from EMS, so that we could start to put these plans into place. 

He was overworked. He was tired, the last few months of his life. Nothing extreme, just exhausted. 

And then one morning, he went to work, and never came home. 


Whenever friends are talking about their kids, I usually just sort of zone out. 

I go inside myself, and just sit there. Of course they are going to talk about that. 

As they should. 

I just have nothing to add, and then I start resenting that I have nothing to add. 

So I just sit there, and say nothing. 

But pain and longing and intense sadness is stirring inside me.

Nobody knows. 

After 6 years, a lot of the pain and grief is kept silent.

How would I even explain? 

Some things just need to sit in silence. 


The other day, my parents had another couple over to the house. Some family friends who we have known for years.

Before they left, as we were all saying our goodbyes, my mom's friend turned to me and said congratulations on my happiness with my new love, and that she was happy to see me happy again. Which was nice. 

I thanked her, and replied that I cant believe its already been 8 months we have been together. She laughed, and, not realizing what she was saying Im sure, said: "Just wait until you're together 50 years like us! Then you really wont believe it!" My dad chimed in with "52 years for us!", about him and my mom. 

My heart dropped. But I said nothing. What is there to say?

I dont want my mere existence to make others feel badly for having long marriages and entire lives together, so I say nothing. Should I have said what I was thinking, which is that Nick and I will NEVER have 50 years together, because Im 46, and hes 54, and that would mean we would have to live to be 96 and 103, which is highly unlikely. SHould I have said that Don and I only got 4 years and 9 months together, even though we promised a lifetime? Or that not only did I NOT get that lifetime with Don, or our family - but I wont get decades with Nick either, and we won't get to have a family either. Our ages and life circumstances make that next to impossible. Logically, I know that I will never be a mom, never be a grandmother, never have decades with the same person. Logically, I have accepted all of this, but now and then, it just fucking stabs me in the heart , the reality of how sad it is. And then I feel resentment that I dont get to have those things. And then I just get sad, and silent. 

I feel this silent sadness and resentment a lot lately. 

I hate it. I dont like feeling this way. Its a lonely place to be. 

I dont want to ever make my new love feel as if I resent HIM, or as if Im not blissfully happy with him.

Because I AM. 

But none of that changes the very real fact that I will always wonder, 

what that other life would have looked like. 

I will always be fiercely protective of it. 

I will always be sad that I dont know what my husband felt like or looked like or acted like, as an old man. 

He was so excited about being an old man. He used to say "I can do anything I want when Im old, and people will just say Im senile. Its gonna be awesome!" 

Awesome, unless youre dead. 


And meanwhile, while hes busy being dead, Im now 46 years old, the same age he was when he left for work and never came home. I keep wondering and panicking about what if this is MY last year on earth, and I just dont know it, just like him? And then when I think about that too much, I try to put it away because my crazy self thinks if Im thinking about that, then I might bring it into focus and it might actually happen. And then I get all kinds of anxiety and panic with these thoughts, and my brain goes into overdrive. Now, add to this that my new love and I have started to discuss our plans for our future together. Talking about things such as when we might be ready financially to live together, what our future looks like, etc. And he is currently working part-time, and will soon move into full-time and more workload in order to help us with our goals. And he is diabetic, and even though he lives a very aware and healthy lifestyle and my brain KNOWS its not the same and hes not Don - I cant help but think that Don had an undetected heart thing and was a walking time bomb, and what if Nick has that too? What if his family history of heart stuff means he is a walking time bomb like Don was? It was right when Don and I were strting to plan our future together and when he started working more, that he suddenly died. And right now, it just all feels so familiar, that Im having a really hard time not trying to make a connection that hopefully isnt there. 

Im resentful that I cant just be happy with someone, without thinking all these terrible things, and Im resentful that in order for me to have love, I have to also live with fear. I try not to let it rule my life, and mostly it doesnt, but lately, its so damn hard to put it away. 

Last night, my new love stayed over.  Because my bed is so tiny and he couldnt get comfortable and other reasons, he went upstairs and slept on the couch. Again, I got really sad when he left. That sadness came back. And then the panic. He had an appt this morning, so he told me he would come down and wake me before he left. That sounded fine. Then minutes later, I started panicking because a dark room and a shadowed figure entering my room in the middle of the night/early morning, opening my door while Im asleep - thats going to be VERY triggering of the fact that I was raped 22 years ago, and my rapist entered my apartment while I slept and I woke up to see this shadowy figure in the dark coming toward me. Then I couldnt sleep sitting there alone in the bed. I didnt want to fall asleep because if he woke me up that way, it would be awful. And I wanted to maybe tell him this, and ask him to text me instead from upstairs, but I didnt want to wake him up, because he has trouble sleeping like I do. All these thoughts were in my head all night long, and then just thinking about how resentful I am that something as simple as SLEEP is forever altered for me now, because the two worst things that ever hppened, both happened while I was asleep. 


Im just tired. And everything hurts. 

And Im also happy too. 

Did I mention that?

I guess I just wish people would understand, that happiness is different,

after loss. 

Its just different. 

And it almost always includes a tinge of sadness. 

And fear. 

And I resent that happy cant just be happy. 

And that my life is so filled with the re-living of things I cant control. 

Ill be okay tomorrow. 


I just needed to get that out. 

And stop letting it sit 

in the silence.

Showing 4 reactions

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  • commented 2018-02-28 07:12:10 -0800
    Kelley, I like the way you have felt all your feelings lately, that is inspirational to me. Not an easy task! Thanks for sharing them, we can all relate, and feel the dichotomy of happy and sad you have so eloquently written.
  • commented 2018-02-26 13:04:43 -0800
    thank you both, so much.
  • commented 2018-02-23 14:12:03 -0800
    I have felt all of that, except new love. I connect with it so much that it brought tears. Thank you for sharing. My heart goes out to you, whatever is left of it.
  • commented 2018-02-23 07:54:06 -0800
    Oh, Kelly, my heart to you, sweetie. I am not in your circumstance regarding future plans and their double edged sword aspects, bringing feelings of joy and yet PTSD brought on feelings. I’m much older than you are and I had my “decades,” just shy of that “50 years” mark, but I can empathize with how you are feeling and I can understand how those feelings can bring you down so quickly. I’m so sorry. I know, from reading/sharing your story, that, yes, you will be “okay tomorrow,” but for now you just have to “sit with this.” I am glad, though, that I do know you and understand your reasons for this writing enough to know that yes, you will be okay tomorrow, and I pray that you will always remember that. My love to you, sweetie.