Grief, that is.
It feels like pressure, like a huge hand with me in its grip, squeezing out my breath, my tears, my energy, my motivation, my give-a-damn.
It feels like grey, like brown, like black, like mud and tar and cement shoes.
It feels like hopelessness, like the future is lost, like the past hurts, like crying.
Crying, and crying, and crying.
Tears behind my mask at the grocery store, where I see constant reminders of foods my husband loved, of foods he was forced to eat when he could no longer swallow solids, of foods I bought to tempt his appetite but he never got to eat and they sat on kitchen shelves until they were past their expiry date and I cried as I threw them away.
Tears at work, when I see his name in a file because we worked in the same profession and some of his clients became clients of my boss after my husband's death.
Tears when I am driving and I think of the last times he drove himself before I wouldn't let him drive anymore because he was so weak he could barely walk but he had something to do at his office and he was determined to get there. We argued over that, and my heart broke to see him cry, and hear him say, "Okay, okay, it's easier to give in than to keep arguing with you", and to know it was so hard for him to give up that shred of dignity but it was not safe for him to get behind the steering wheel.
And I am selfishly glad that I could take him to the office that day because I got to see him behind his desk one last time and we sat in the sun and the silence while he worked and I was able to be his legs and take documents up and down stairs to other offices. And as he worked, I looked around and saw how he had made his office a reflection and a collection of his life: his diplomas, his pictures, his textbooks, his ornaments. He had moved into that office just one year before that and I had never been in it. And I am glad I had that time and that memory to file away.
I cry because when we got home that day, he crawled into the hospital bed that had been placed in our family room because he could no longer manage the stairs, and it turned out that it was one of the very last times he was able to walk at all. I didn't know it then, of course.
The last time for everything was only identifiable in hindsight.
I miss him so much and as you can tell my grief has seeped out of the box it's been in, probably partly because the barriers I've put up between my mother's needs and what I am willing to do to satisfy them are now working better and partly because the arrival of fall weather has made the memories of my husband's last everything come into sharper focus and it's like living it all over again except he is not here this time around for me to comfort and take care of, nor for him to comfort me, a job I tried hard not to set on his shoulders but failed at doing sometimes.
Some days are not as bad but other days are very bad; this is one of the those and I needed to get it out.
Thank you for reading in spite of what may be going on in your own lives. We all have troubles; they are all different and they are all relative to what we've gone through before and what we understand of pain and loss and broken dreams. Never think your pain is less than anyone else's or that you have no right to feel sad or hurt. There are so many kinds of pain and they are all valid. I think this advice is equally for you and for me.
I don't want you to worry or think that I am lost or unable to cope. I have not gone to grief counselling but I have found an author online who writes about grief and his words resonate with me and make me feel I am not alone and for now that is enough. I have never felt truly comfortable with the thought of talking to a complete stranger about the things that are most important to me. I seem to be able to work things through without what I see as an invasion of my privacy as long as I can read what others have to say on the subject and identify with their thoughts and feelings and experiences.
And although I know from the page views that there may be complete strangers reading this, I know there are people also reading who I feel I know better than many people in my immediate geographic circle, and I value and appreciate your caring and support and the time you take to listen.
If you are having a bad day today, I will listen also. Drop me a line in the comments. And may we all have better days ahead.