Thursday, December 23, 2010

Year Two

I have stayed away too long. It was never my intention to stop writing this blog. Some nights I was just too tired, or too busy or had writer’s block. Some nights I had so much to say, but it all felt so repetitive, I couldn’t find the strength to put the words down. The New Year approaches and a part of me just wants to try and say something – anything - before more time passes.

I remember when my husband was dead maybe six months; a few people in my bereavement group spoke of how the second year is much worse than the first. I scoffed at them in my mind. Really – how could anything be worse than what I am going through right now? As I am now well into my second year, I only wish I had listened to the wisdom of those ahead of me in grief. The second year is not only worse – it is much much much worse.

Why is that I wonder? I lay in bed at night trying to figure out the mystery of the agony that lies within my heart.

Upon reflection of year one I believe only a small part of me was really conscious of what I was dealing with. There is only so much pain and sorrow your brain can process. For a majority of the year I was just doing the bare minimum of feeling anything. I was merely struggling to just get through each and every day. I spent so much time the first year reflecting back a year – I lived in the past. Everyday I looked back at where my husband and I were a year ago. It was painful to think about, but easier than facing the day I was actually in.

There is a huge part of me that just counted the seconds of the first year trying to somehow make it through each special day my husband missed. Trying to somehow deal with the children and their loss; focusing all my attention to making sure they were eating, playing and not sinking into the miserable abyss that I lived in.

The first year was tough and awful and miserable and everything you can imagine. My first year of his death was the biggest challenge I had ever faced in ways you will never know – but year two – just wow.

I have watched over the past fourteen months as my family and friend’s lives have moved on. They are all back in their normal life. I realize that the world around me is changing and growing and people around me are taking steps forward – I however am not. I feel like I stand here stuck since the moment of your death, not moving, not changing, and not caring. I am still stuck in the grief that occurred the day you died and I have not moved an inch since you left.

Time marches in a different way for me. Year one was spent living in the past, feeling like a mere shadow of my former self. I no longer have that shield of armor. There are no more ‘remember when’ for me. I am forced to live each day entirely on my own. I expected to feel crushed by the weight of my husband’s death throughout the first year. The fact that this sorrow and loss has come with me into year two – makes me realize a large part of this pain is really never ever going to go away. The loss and sadness that were once slightly shielded by my memories are now free to recklessly invade me mind, body and spirit.

I sit some nights right on my kitchen floor staring at nothing and wonder if this is all real. I can’t believe you are dead, that we had your funeral and that I will never see you again. There are some moments where nothing about my entire life feels real.

Year two and the rest of the world looks at me as if I should be moving on. As if I should be ready and willing to throw myself into the world and start dating. As if I am ready to be the person I once was. But it’s not the same – not me, not anything. Sure I could go on a date. What would be the point? I would stare in disbelief at the person sitting across from me and think – where is my husband? What am I doing here? What is going on? I am not ready to look at the world with new eyes. Not when I close my eyes and only see his face.

I miss my husband more now than I ever did the first year. I pushed away missing him for so long because the pain was just too great. I think I spent so much time in year one trying to get through the pain, I never had a chance to just miss him. I lived in the past – feeding off memories. I am not sure if I am even making any sense anymore – I don’t care.

I miss his voice and his laughter. I miss his company. I wish I could tell him everything I am thinking and feeling these days, but I can’t. I wish I could share with him all the utterly ridiculous things people say to me in the second year. I wish he knew how awful his choice was and how utterly devastated he has left the children and I.

No one wants to read about my sorrow. No one wants to read about how the second year is worse. Do I laugh out loud and appreciate my children? Yes. Do I appreciate my family and friends? Yep. I wake up each day with renewed hope that today is going to be a better day. But for better or worse – the day doesn’t change the deep sorrow I feel in my heart.

The pain of loss that changes a person forever – this has not gone away with the passing of the first year. The realization that life is never going to be the same for my children and I – this is truly why year two is that much harder.

2 comments:

  1. This is Oliver's mom writing.

    It is not true that no one wants to hear about your grief. I believe you that the sorrow is that much harsher because the one year mark has passed. It is important to know what you are going through. I think very highly of you for giving your grief a voice. It's brave.

    I saw you today and we spoke briefly about our aspirations in the realm of craft making - quilting, knitting, etc. Thank you for opening up the door for that brief conversation. While reading your entry tonight, I thought of Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, who weaved a funeral shroud every day, and unraveled her work every night. She did this to keep her suitors at bay, because when that shroud was finished she would be considered "available" in her society to find a new mate. But she alone was not willing to believe that Odysseus was dead and so she kept him close in her mind and heart, as you describe. She confronted her society's expectations daily, as you do. I couldn't help but make that comparison. It is good and right for you to tell us (even those of us on the periphery of your daily life) that the grief continues.

    I can teach you how to knit a scarf if you would like...

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