In this week of sunshine and gentle breezes and flowers blooming, I have felt a subtle shift in my grief. The warm weather and sprouting leaves have helped me to approach my days with hope. I have cried less often and smiled more. I have begun to consider how I might live this new life without him. I have had hours and days of calm and gratitude. I have had fewer days crouched in sadness. Some days I think that perhaps I will be alright.
On other days, though, a simple slight can open the dam, tapping into the grief that is stored in the deep recesses of my heart, sending it like an electrical surge through my body.Read more
I'm not in denial. I know Chuck is dead. I feel it...have felt it...in every part of my body since 2 years ago, April 21. He's gone. Gone, gone, gone.
And yet, I swear that there is still a part of me that doesn't believe it. That can'tbelieve it. How can he be gone when he and I were so connected? How can it be that I'm walking on this earth, just Alison, without his name said in the same breath? We were Chuck and Alison. That couple who, after 24 years, were still in love with one another, who still kissed and hugged and whose faces lit up when the other entered the room. How can that be over?
I'm in total disbelief not only that Chuck has been dead for 2 years but that I'm still alive. How is it that I haven't died of a broken heart?
I'm going to counseling. Dr. Shima is going to do EMDR and aural acupuncture, both to assist in (hopefully) dispersing the block between my emotions and intellect. That block, she surmises, is what keeps me from feeling connection of any sort to him. It keeps me feeling disconnected to the world at large and keeps me from feeling connected even to myself.
I reached another widow milestone this week: on Thursday Dan had been dead for 617 days. The same number of days that I was blessed to have him in my life. One year, eight months, two weeks and four days. That's all the time we had together.
I'd been dreading this moment for months. For some reason, I even have a countdown app on my phone, so I could watch the days ticking down. You know, just because I seem to enjoy torturing myself! As the days ticked over; 612; 613; 614; the anxiety and dread intensified.
I couldn't bear the thought of being his widow longer than I had known him. I didn't want to be that far away from our last kiss. We were only married for 45 days before he died, so the milestone of 'being his widow longer than I was his wife' passed very quickly, when I was still in deep shock. So I had held this 617 day mark as a point in time, down the track, when surely life would be easier and the pain wouldn't be so bad. I guess that probably is the case, but it's harder to see when you're in the midst of it.
Who would ever think that something as boring and mundane as reading your tax return would send you into fits of sobbing, post-loss? A tax return? Really? It's not like I was even the one doing my taxes. Luckily, "I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy" (as Sal would say on "Breaking Bad"), who does my tax return for me. Actually, I am making it sound way more mysterious and shady than it is. He is a good family friend who also happens to be a tax accountant. He does the tax returns for our whole family - my parents, my brother and his wife, and me and Don. And now, just me. I have always been terrible with numbers and math, and because I have so many part-time and temp jobs and my life is complicated as far as "work" goes, it is a huge weight off my chest not to have to worry about how to make sense of my piles of receipts and paperwork, come tax time. Instead, a few rounds of back and forth mailings occur, a few signing on the dotted lines, and we're done. About 3 days ago, I received my tax return from my tax accountant friend in the mail. While reading it, I suddenly and abruptly burst into tears, and it had nothing to do with the obscenely small amount of money I make, or the fact that I’m now being charged because I can't afford health insurance. Nope. It had nothing to do with that.Read more
Saturday, I attended a family 'do'--a term used in England to denote a celebration, or important event. This was a 40th birthday party for one of Stan's nieces, held at a Greek restaurant, with over 60 people, most of them relatives of Stan's. Two of his sisters were there, as were two of his children. The room was filled with conversation and laughter, food and drink, love and joy. The only thing missing was him.Read more
It's just one of those nights.
I have 40 billion things inside my head all at once, and every single one of them has to do with his death.
I'm not upset or crying or even particularly emotional tonight. Not really. But it's just one of those nights where my brain won't shut off and I can't stop thinking ....
40 billion things.
But one thing more than the other things ...
Things like - why the hell didn't I ever ask him, or actually pay attention when he told me about the very first concert he ever went to in his life? This topic was brought up tonight with a couple friends - naming our very first concert. Mine was Culture Club. Other friends were posting their own, everything from Nirvana to Cyndi Lauper to Menudo to Van Halen. And then there was my husband - the man who lived and breathed music. The man I met in a music chat room online. The man who strummed on one of his eight guitars in our apartment, daily. The man who shared every music-related memory with me, on a very regular basis. And yet, I cannot for the life of me, remember what band he saw as his first concert. And whenever I can't remember a specific memory or fact about him, it makes me incredibly sad and makes me so desperate to remember that one thing
Our culture, I think, is filled with contradictions. In general and most certainly when it comes to grief. Here's a few I've encountered.
People love a good love story. The public especially seems to admire and go awww when a couple long married, die within hours of each other, unable, even unconsciously, to face life without one another.
When we're widowed, and speak of not wishing to go on without our loved one, there is an immediate rush of but you must he/she would want you to be happy, you have to live for both of you now you can't give up it isn't healthy to think that way!
It is 4 degrees tonight in NYC. Four. There is a wind chill factor of negative "what the f**#k???", and I can feel the missing of my husband inside every aching joint and bone. The missing of him sits in my veins tonight like ice - making my eyelids and my teeth and my fingertips hurt. Really.
There are sometimes days or weeks that will go by nonchalantly, where nobody in my universe ever mentions his name. Nobody says his name or talks about him or acknowledges his life or relevance. Of course, my husband's life and very soul sit within me every second of every day, but it can get rather lonely and crazy feeling when you are the only one who is carrying around that very heavy missing of him. It sits there, in the background of everything that I do, and nobody else can feel it.
The other day, my cat Sammy was lying on the couch, when my other cat Autumn jumped up next to him. She looked at Sammy for a few seconds, and then started to slowly lick him and clean him all over his face and neck. This went on for awhile. Then, she sort of kissed his nose a bit, and slowly sat herself down right next to Sammy, leaning against him, and they both went to sleep. In the midst of this, I ran to grab my cell phone and find the video option so I could take video of this unbelievable sight. As I looked through my phone's video, catching only the last few seconds of this madness, I started to cry.Read more