How do we bear it? Bear the unbearable, I mean?
Husband, wife, lifelong partner…there are so many names and relationships, so many labels that our world uses to describe the love between a man and a woman. Or two people of the same gender. It doesn’t matter, really, does it? It’s just about the love and then it’s about the death of one, the seemingly insurmountable loss, and the unbearable grief that explodes our world into unrecognizable dust and debris.
I don’t know how we bear it. I don’t know how I’ve borne it for 960 days. Which I know it’s been only because I downloaded an app on my phone that added it up for me. I’d been keeping track of the years and the months, consciously and unconsciously. It’s always there, in the back of my mind, in the front of my mind…in my mind, in my heart, whether I want it to be there or not.
My counselor asked me the other day if there had been, if there was, looking back, any of the stages of grief (so called) that have been tougher than others. I told him no…it’s all been unbearable and yet…here I am. Still.
We all know, don’t we, about the shock of the first year. Walking around, at least in our minds, trying to take in the untakeable. Unremitting pain, and yet, weirdly, we’re protected in some unfathomable way by the shock being bigger than the pain.
The second year, which, again, we all know, can be oh fuck, even worse than the first, because our brains are beginning to absorb the unbearable fact that yes they’re gone. Forever. The unremitting pain is now bigger than the shock. Shock is no longer giving us any degree of protection.
This third year…well, all I know to say is that it’s the shock AND the pain fermenting all together in one huge cauldron. A witch’s brew. The disbelief of oh god he’s gone, along with hey, life happens, right? Cancer happens and people die, right? It’s just an ordinary aspect of life, right? Followed by oh god I can’t believe I’ll never see him again. Ever Ever EVER.
How is this my life? How do I do this without him? How do I do this with this unremitting grief? How do I find passion about life again? How do I make this work when I don’t really care if it does but I have to care because I’m still fucking alive and I have to do something…right? How do I care again? How? How? How? And, mostly…how do I bear the unbearable? How have I already borne the unbearable for this amount of time?
Other women have said to me I could never live without my husband! I love him so much and I couldn’t live without him! To which I respond I can’t live without my husband either, but I am. But yes, HOW am I alive without him? And I couldn’t, and I can’t, tell you how I’ve done it, anymore than you can probably tell me how you’ve lived without your someone. I don’t know how I’ve gotten up every morning for the last 960 days and gone to bed alone for the same 960 days and not lost my mind. I don’t know. I don’t know that I’ll ever know, in a way that I can really explain to anyone.
You just do it, right?
We just do it.
I’ve done it.
I’m doing it.
Who the fuck knows how….