Day 114: the weight of emptiness

I just finished a really good, cleansing cry. It is funny how going through this has made me realize there are different kinds of tears. There are the silent tears that fall against your will, sliding down your cheeks undisturbed and somehow reaching the corners of your mouth, at which point you are reminded to rub them away from your face. There are the desperate tears that demand utter surrender and seem to come from the deepest pits of anguish like an unstoppable flow of lava. Then there are the cleansing tears. Like a cry of anguish, you have to give into it but after, somehow you feel a little bit better, if only just slightly.

I had a dinner tonight with friends tonight. I had been doing better with getting used to being just me, but tonight was hard. I felt really alone. The weight of my husband’s absence weighed on me so heavily I considered leaving several times. I didn’t leave. I tried to joke and smile and be the old me with old friends, but instead I was reminded I am not the old me any more. The old me would have had my husband to verbally spar with, to pick up on the punchlines of my jokes and lovingly squeeze my hand as though to congratulate me for being clever. Tonight, I didn’t feel clever. I felt like my thoughts were wading through a chest high pit of mud. My heart hurt.

As I struggled with trying to find my footing in this strange old world, I suddenly realized no one even mentioned him. I was sitting there picking at my spinach enchiladas feeling like I was screaming and pounding my fists against my carefully maintained calm expression, just daring someone to say his name- to acknowledge how wrong everything is. No one did. And that, ladies and gentleman, is how people let you know they have moved on from their pain. Sure, at the end of the night I got tight hugs which was nice, but time has clearly marched on. That is hard to accept.

When I got home, I let myself cry. It began as anguish but slowly turned into cleansing tears. I took a few deep breaths and realized people moving on is not such a bad thing. We can’t live in the past. The option to do so is not even on the table. All we have is right now, this moment, because there is no guarantee there are more moments to come. I have not accepted my loss, but I have accepted that no one, no matter how powerful or weak, has any control over their fate so it is all about making the choices that make us feel alive right now. That is what I plan to do.

Good thing for today: I stepped out of my comfort zone and actually interacted with my neighbors. It was pleasant.