I felt like this needed to find its way out. No more shame, no guilt.
I don’t go to therapy to bitch and complain.
I go to therapy so that tiny voice in my head that has wanted me to give up, just give it all up already, and is so tired of the strife and life, …does.not.win.
Working through my feelings of grieving Shayne, then moving and starting over, all the guilt, all the shame over how he unexpectedly died, then my brother dying 10 months later, all of it was serving up so much.
I barely had time to process one aspect of my surreal life, then another tidal wave was heading toward me.
It was all coming at me so quickly. I didn’t realize how much water I had taken in until I was so exhausted and instead of getting out of the flooded house, decided to sit on the rooftop and accept that I just had a flooded house now and I guess my lot in life is to live on top of it. Settle in, girl. Your shit is all flooded out and your furniture is ruined and nothing is as it was, so just sit on top of the wreckage. Its yours now. It didn’t occur to me that I didn’t need to ‘own’ the house or inhabit it anymore.
And I was, I was telling my people. “I feel so tired.” “I’m so exhausted.” I was.
And it was difficult to explain to anyone, no, it wasn’t that I was running marathons every morning. My brain was tired. My head and heart were so fucking tired. I STILL get tired, yes emotionally and it taxes me physically. And trying to get that across to people who had seen you double down and take on ALL THE THINGS, how do you stop the momentum now? What’s that look like when this chick finally lets this all take her down?
We know how to address physical exhaustion and wounds. We know how to clean a scrape and administer a band aid and wait for the healing.
We talk to the world (in the form of comments and posts) as if dying from a physical illness or ailment is dying with more dignity. It garners more sympathy, as if that sickness of the body deserves more sympathy…
Weak people must have weak minds. False, false, false.
Note: death, a loss of life, is tragic to those people especially close to them, no matter the manner in which they left this world. That person is not their death. Rather, the relationships and love they received and gave during their time here.
How can we be there for our people who are mentally tapped the eff out? And have big, gaping battle scrapes bleeding out …from the inside?
How do we sit and wait for the healing while being witness to someone’s emotional suffering?
What do we do to make sure we are being the grace they need?
We show up and we listen. We just keep showing up and listening. As painful as it may be to hear that hurting person’s hurt. Their unraveling. Its not easy sticking your hand in that fire and staying to feel the burn.
But, we don’t think about our own discomfort when showing up as a witness. We remind them they matter, and to hold on just a little longer, because the light and love is working on them every time they empty out the pain and the healing is coming.
I consider myself a fortunate one.
Very fucking fortunate. Saved by the grace of love. I didn’t know that in those moments of feeling completely and totally alone in my sadness, but here I am. Loved and loving.
In my drunken stupors I thought about ending my life often.
I thought intimately about the hows. Thought about how Shayne died and maybe if I did that, too, it could reunite us.
I can’t even count how many times I thought, “Why didn’t I die?” “Why can’t I go, too?” “They took the wrong parent.”
Who the hell is ‘they’ anyway?
Lots of widowy, lonely drunken stupors. When the late hours of the evening pressed on, around the time no one was answering their text messages or Voxes, there I was left with the merciless bitch in my head called grief, hiding in plain sight as loneliness, depression, anxiety, guilt, shame and just plain sadness.
Those were heavy duty, lonely nights.
Your mind is betraying every part of you and your body.
Its an invisible, havoc-wreaking cancer of the spirit.
You cannot see it, there is no physical indication that you need anything, but just a witness to your pain. Just a hand to hold, a witness, a listener. And the fact that no one shows up, makes it all feel that much more hopeless. How do you ask for a witness to your unraveling? When you don’t even know or have any guarantees what it will look like…
It isn’t like childbirth when you remember everything about it but your body somehow allows you to forget the pain. No. This isn’t like that.
I remember the pain. I remember the emptiness in my heart that crept into my mind and told me I needed this emptiness and was deserving of it.
This was proof that all those times I had said in the past of our (in hindsight) trivial struggles, “We’re doomed,” had finally showed me, “Told ya so.”
What you focus on, truly does become your reality.
Night time was (& even sometimes is) the worst time. The thoughts I was busy playing hide and go seek from all day, seem to find me in my hiding spot just when I am about to fall asleep.
I realized one night after thinking of my own death for more than 2 hours, sober, crying alone in my bed after the girls had gone to bed, I was just too tired to even do anything about it. Wishing maybe I could figure out a way that I could go, let this all go, and no one gets hurt.
I knew I couldn’t set any of this down and be completely absolved of it.
I was a burden. I was difficult to talk to, listen to, be around, I was sure.
My grief was a burden. I felt too much, and it all felt so big to me all day.
I wasn’t faking my joy, but it was as if I had thrown and locked my grief in the closet for the day and at night when no one was watching I could barrel down the hallway to that closet, unlock it and let it all screaming out. No one was watching. No one had to see this. No one needed to for it to do its work on me. But that was exhausting.
So how could I back away slowly from all of this and no one gets hurt? I’m so tired.
How do I completely eradicate these circumstances, this grief, being a widow, from my life and stop being so tired all the time?
Do I end my life to get the result I want? …Peace?
I realized and realized and thought and thought until I was just too god damn tired, and fell asleep. And then a thing happened… I woke up the next morning.
“Fuck,” I thought. I was disappointed I woke up.
Why won’t the universe help me out?
Why won’t it let me quit and just do this one thing for me?
Why won’t it help me find a way to do this gracefully, painlessly (for me and everyone in my life who’s hearts would break if they had to live without me in theirs), and quietly? Where do I go to give this up and surrender completely? Do I have to give my life in order to do that? Me dying, is that when I’ll finally feel the peace I want from this?
I realized afterward, in my distressed attempts of controlling and conspiring, that another tiny voice presided over all this. Just watching me make these frantic assumptions about how I needed to completely erase myself from life itself to solve my problem of this pain.
And I had been suffocating it in the corner with tape over it’s mouth and a thick rope around it’s neck. I knew I was holding this part of me hostage, but it felt too powerful to let off the leash. And I didn’t know what it was really needing of me. What is really going to be required of me when I let this voice be heard: “But you do matter.”
Maybe to someone else, not to me in that moment. The one thing I could hold onto in a moment of despair… my girls. Our girls. I hate putting that pressure on them, but I have admitted, they need me just as much as I need them. Just in very different ways.
They had already lost one parent, and if I gave myself enough pause to really sit in a reality where I didn’t exist, the thought of them having their little lives and hearts broken to pieces again, and being raised by anyone else but me… terrified me more than living the rest of my life with this pain of widowhood.
Because the person I was supposed to matter to the most accidentally, unintentionally killed himself. I have to believe that. And do.
And now who do I really matter to?
I was tired.
And I got too tired in that particular moment to think anymore of my death and the consequences, and fell asleep. I wish it was more profound than that but, it wasn’t. I overthought to sleep.
I have thought and still do, I probably wouldn’t have thought so heavy about the people that it would cause pain and harm to so much if I was not a widow. And been a person left behind.
Because I do know what it is like to be blindsided by a sudden death of your person.
Not from sickness, him withering away in my sight over months and years. No warning. But from his own detrimental mistake. That hurts. And hurts. And hurts. And keeps hurting.
I have said this before and it wasn’t even an intentional suicide like those of recent in our news feeds, Shayne’s mind betrayed him before his body did that night. One moment. One single moment of error.
And I was the one left living the consequences of that. He is gone. He feels no more. I do. I have absorbed our life, our future and the what could have been’s and all the pain.
The truth is, I am not afraid of my own death and dying, I am more afraid and concerned about what the pain my absence is going to cause to the people I care about most. Especially, Audrey and Brooklynn.
I worry about what that will do to their hearts and lives. I see what the loss of their Daddy has done to their hearts and lives and does going forward every day.
That’s enough for me, and has been in moments when I think I am useless here with all this grief and these big, overflowing feelings no one needs to be burdened with. Just shut up and heal already. My ‘favorite’ passive line, “Quit overthinking.” I understand you’re wanting me and others suffering to quiet our racing minds of struggle but that’s like telling an alcoholic, “Quit drinking.”
The thought of them suffering even more because their only biological parent left died, is enough to get me to pause. They need me. I am needed. I want to see them grow up. Don’t take me until I have hugged on my own grand babies.
Which is why when I have another day to look myself in the mirror, I don’t shit-talk me into going about my day. I have reserved that time with myself to look at me, right in the eyes and say out loud so all of us that try to call emergency shit-talk meetings in my head can hear me, “I am so glad you’re still here.”
And no sooner I am overwhelmed with the grace. With the grace, by way of gratitude, has arrived.
When I am having a moment of anger toward any part of Shayne’s death and even Shayne, I don’t shit-talk myself out of it. “You’ll never be anything more than just a lonely, sad, overthinking widow who did nothing with her life.” I’ve surely echoed that fear (false evidence appearing real) in my head. It has almost stopped me from writing in this blog.
Instead, I have given that grief and sadness space to move through. Ok, grief. Its you and me. And I know you’re going to wrestle with my resilience and my strength and you’ll take me down but, just like all the other times… we both know who prevails. My track record shows. I’m never out.
And in order for my head to stop sabotaging my earthly walk here, I go to therapy to talk the thoughts out. I finally got to the tipping point in my heavy heart that going it alone, only truthfully sharing bits and pieces to my trusted circle and Jessep, was not going to empty me out all the way. I was still carrying a heavy load.
And I needed to feel like I wasn’t crazy for coming to some of my conclusions.
I have not gone the route of any medication, to each their own.
But I do get these things HEARD.
That’s what I think we all need. Just to be heard.
I don’t treat the symptoms, I bulldoze right into the crash site, diving right into the hurt and discomfort of what this widowed life has felt like.
I want to sit with my pain, own it, and be heard. That’s it. That’s why I go.
I want to empty out, get clear, and be completely honest in doing so.
That is just my own method for saving my life, the rest of it.
And I won’t be ashamed to admit.
I do know, we don’t, as humans, want to be alone.
Its our pain and suffering that want us to be alone.
It wants us divided from each other, it deems us worthy of only loneliness.
It catches fire when we isolate. And will burn the whole damn thing to the ground the longer we keep it hidden and inside of us.
So whatever pain you’re holding onto, whatever past you’re punishing yourself for… don’t do anything else. Just pause with it. Harness it. Pause again. And let it up and out. You don’t have to do anything.
Try to remember, you’re stronger than any pain you have ever felt.
That pain matters only enough to see it, tame it and release it.
We just need a witness.
A friend, family member, stranger in a parking lot, partner, meeting group, therapist, journal. Whatever method you choose to clear yourself and release the beast…
Get it clear.
Your life depends on it. You matter.
Send your smoke signal if you must, just clear out.
And hold on for the cavalry. The ones who have slayed, and are still slaying their beasts. They’ve gathered the fury to conquer suffering in all of us.
We see you, and we’ll come with the strength of a thousand slayed beasts of suffering.