What I have come to understand about grief and widowhood and the struggles that come with it.
Except that it has the power to eat you up and spit you out, sweating and breathing hard on the other side. When you get to the other side, and it’s anybody’s guess as to when that might happen. There is no timeline for any of this, as I’ve heard repeatedly over the 4 years and 10 months since Chuck’s death.
And the struggle itself is physical and mental and emotional. A holistic experience, so to speak.
It will bring you to your knees and put you in a fetal position in the corner of the room and your heart will break and shatter and in between the shattered pieces there is light that shines through and it might mean something and it might mean nothing or even if it is something, that something, and the fact that there is any light at all, might mean nothing anyways and even if the light is there you might not see it because your eyes are swollen with tears. And if the time comes that you do see the light, that light might be so beautiful that it causes you to squint at it and maybe turn away and it might even cause your heart to hurt even more than it does. Because beauty can hold such intensity that it becomes almost too much to bear.
All of which is to say…this holistic experience of widowhood? For me it’s about my soul. Yes, my heart and mind and body, but it all adds up to my soul. This is a soul experience.
A couple years ago, I went to counseling, both for talk and to help me with trauma resulting from our hospice time and the year or so afterwards. Family dynamics, you know, shhhh….
I asked my counselor point blank if he thought I was depressed. We judge ourselves so harshly in grief, don’t we? As does our culture but that’s a whole different issue. My gut was telling me that I was okay, just grieving, but I wanted to keep an open mind. Did I need drugs to help me through this? Even though I knew that drugs weren’t my particular solution.
My counselor rolled his chair over to me and looked me directly in the eyes and said depressed people wouldn’t be driving a pink car around the country, towing a pink trailer, meeting new people left and right. Also, you’re already numb. Why would I give you drugs that would…make you numb?
Which was reassuring and affirmed my gut feeling. I appreciated his honesty.
I do sometimes wonder, though, why I just don’t take some damn drugs and zone out.
I knew right from the start, I knew in the midst of not knowing any damn thing anymore, that what this…this grief, this widowhood was about, was really nothing more and nothing less, than a battle raging in my soul.
And why on god’s green earth would I want to medicate my soul? If it’s even possible to medicate one’s soul…
This widowhood is about my soul and where it is broken and why it is broken and the process of creating something meaningful out of what is broken.
Sense can’t be made of it. Death, for all that it is the logical end to human life, makes no sense to me. Probably not to you, either. I understand that it happens all the time on this earth and is the normal end to life, but that does not lessen the grievous pain of it when it touches my loved ones.
I will never be okay that Chuck is dead and not at my side. I will never be okay that I am living on this earth without him. There is a huge part of my world that just won’t ever be okay again because he will always be gone and I will always feel his absence…in my soul more than anywhere else.
Chuck’s death is deeper than a broken heart; it is my soul and the marrow of my bones and the blood that flows through the veins of my body and the sinews that hold my skin together and all those unseen parts of the body that I suppose only a doctor knows. The parts unseen.
And my breath, too. His death took my breath away. I don’t believe I’ve ever really gotten it back.
There is a massive hole in my life that is in the shape of…Chuck. Will that hole ever not be there?
I have no answers for life after death. No answers for those left behind. No answers for me.
It all seems rather pointless, really. Life isn’t supposed to be pointless, and it wasn’t, for the longest time, but it is now.
And I don’t have a frickin’, blessed, clue, how to make it otherwise.
I want off this particular ride, thank you very much~