I am learning to live with the longing.
Hours after Tim died, I sat on my back porch with a friend and the two county appointed crisis counselors. My friend rubbed my back and sat there, silently present until she needed to answer a question or wrangle my cell phone away from me. The crisis counselor sat in the chair across from me, leaning forward on her elbows with her hands clasped. I remember her voice was patient, and her questions rhythmic rather than rehearsed. Behind a facade of kindness, her and her colleague had eyes that fixated on my actions to try and determine if I was a suicide risk.
Of course we all know now that I was not a suicide risk.
It was in this setting, fading sunlight and buzzing mosquito as the four of us sat on my back patio, that a moment of clarity came to me amidst my panicked grief – I will never be the same.
And I’m not the same writing this now, five months later. What I didn’t know in that moment though, was that this didn’t need to be a mournful revelation. I didn’t know that one day I might like the person this situation made me become.
I’ve never had an experience that rocked me down to my core like this has. It’s like I’ve taken the world in my hands, cracked it open and stared at the contents. Feeling what I’ve felt and knowing what I know now, I could never go back. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I am not afraid of it.
There are more good days than bad days now, and I act more selfishly than I did before. Pieces of the puzzle that was my husband still confront me. Whether it’s an old text message dug up, or a conversation with a mutual friend that reveals something new, I am less driven by madness and grief to solve everything.
Though I’m not as compelled to determine every lie and solve every mystery of the past year, don’t get me wrong… I still suffer from the madness that is grief. This has manifested itself in different ways – mainly obsessing over impossible situations. Partially because my brain wants to make sense of a senseless lost, and partially because I need a distraction from this grief. If I sat around and thought about nothing else except Tim dying and life without Tim, I’d need to be committed. It’s much more fun to ponder about unattainable people.
Eventually the roads of that mental folly reach a dead end, and I get back to myself again. At this point, I feel like I’ve thought out all the distractions there are to think and I’m left with only me. I’ve done a lot of healing, but now I feel mostly restless.
I still get surprised by my own sadness. Sometimes it’s watching True Blood, when Lafayette asks his deceased partner how he’s supposed to go on without him?
Just keep breathing is the response, and I burst into tears. On the days when you feel so empty and alone, it’s the only answer.
Or it’s a song that sneaks up on Pandora, with lyrics so perfect I feel like they were written for me. When that happens, I’ll wipe some tears away at my desk and take a deep breath before I go back to work. Compartmentalizing has become a skill, and it’s not something I ever did well before.
At four months, I closed hoping that I would learn to live with the longing. I’m getting there. I won’t say that every day is easier, because every day is unpredictable and wild. I feel like I’m setting out on a long tail journey, and loosening my grip on the broken pieces behind me.
18 thoughts on “Five Months”
That quote about fairy tales is one of my favorites, and I’m glad to see you’re slowly beating your own dragons. I don’t have anything to offer by way of insight, but I will say I like this Lauren just as much as I did the old Lauren, and it’s good to see you growing instead of being defeated, which would have been entirely understandable.
I would have to agree with Heather, I like this Lauren just as much as the old Lauren.
I love the section about liking the person you’ve become. Yes. 🙂 Hard things are miserable and not to be wished on anyone, but the way they change us can make all the difference.
I love some of the phrases you use in this post – “loosening my grip on the broken pieces behind me” is my favorite. I don’t know if this is a new piece of you or not, but your way with words is amazing.
I’m in awe of your ability to see your own growth, to feel, to accept the feelings. Keep breathing. You’re doing an amazing job.
I read this quote this morning that really resonated with me and now I am sharing it with you, “You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens.”
Simply beautiful. As usually well written post. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.
Beautifully written. My favorite was this: I won’t say that every day is easier, because every day is unpredictable and wild.
“Just keep breathing is the response, and I burst into tears. On the days when you feel so empty and alone, it’s the only answer.
Or it’s a song that sneaks up on Pandora, with lyrics so perfect I feel like they were written for me.
When that happens, I’ll wipe some tears away at my desk and take a deep breath before I go back to work.”
Both of these sentences resonate with me. Been there myself a few times.
Your writing is beautiful in so many ways. New Lauren is just as amazing and awesome as the Before Lauren. My $.02 🙂
You amaze me everyday. I never feel like I can’t say the right thing to you in my comments, but I think of you often. I love your writing and it is so powerful. Sharing your journey through everything I’m sure gas helped others through their own grief (whatever it is) and I have used your quotes often when comforting (or at least attempting to comfort) my father-in-law who just lost his wife of 45 years.
beautiful sentiments. i especially love the idea of looking forward to liking the person you’ve become
So many quotes in this that I like, some your’s and some that you shared. You are sounding less weighed down, and it makes me happy that you are looking forward to the future again. Thank you for being so candid and sharing your journey.
I *literally* JUST WATCHED THAT EPISODE 2 NIGHTS AGO. And I was *literally* sitting there thinking, “damn it Lauren, why do you convince me to watch this confounded piece of… ” when all of the sudden Jesus passed away and later that scene happened. Like… WHAT? Where did that come from?! Where do the writers of that show go when they’re not writing the bare minimum of one profound scene every 2-3 episodes!?
Ugh. He was one of the best characters too.
Is the whole show just about sh*tting on Lafayette and Tara? “Trueblood: Black Characters are Screwed” could be a byline at this point.
Ok I’m done.
PS. Good post. <3 you.
Can one befriend a dragon?
It almost sounds like that is the direction in which you are headed. Either that or superhero.
Your writing is so beautiful, and raw. I love the way your blogs tells of all aspects of your life.
I love your writing. Your blog inspires me to feel open about my feelings. I feel the same way about becoming a new person. I’ve really had to grow up and turn into an adult this past year.
So much <3. And one of my favourite quotes, your Eliot opener, I've loved his perfect description of exploring life ever since my high school English teacher shared it with us way back when. Thank you for this beautiful reminder that just because we can't go back does not mean we can't go forward.