Two Months

Two Months

When I wrote the one month post, I felt like I blinked and thirty days had passed. Things are slower now – slower and different than before.

Foolishly, I thought this would be a linear process. While I used to define my grief in good vs bad days, now there are just days. Lots of little things come up during the course of a day – something someone says, a song, a memory or an item I find in the house. I will cry over it. I’ll leak or sob or have some degree of shedding tears, and then it stops. The day goes on. Life happens with or without me, and I’m mostly trying to roll with it. I’ve become an all out pro at wiping tears away at my work desk before anyone notices.

Then there are days when the only reason I put on pants is to answer the door for pizza delivery. You know, that happens too.

I’ve done some reading on the subject of grief and loss, and realized that grief is actually characterized as a psychological disorder with physical side effects. I felt many of those physical effects which I wrote about last month, and am happy to say that they are subsiding. What I didn’t realize is that grief and sadness are classified as two different things. Sadness follows grief. Even when the physical effects are gone, the sadness still prevails.

In Prague of Winter 2007. My 2nd happiest trip ever
In Prague of Winter 2007. My 2nd happiest trip ever

The best way I can describe this is that I now have an imaginary friend. His name is sadness, and he follows me around everywhere. Sometimes I talk to sadness, but usually I’m silent. Even if I try to pretend he’s gone, I still know he’s hovering over me like a cloud. Sadness is my constant companion. I can deal with it. I can function and live with it, but I haven’t been able to shake it yet. I may not be able to for a long time.

My new friend sadness has eaten the goofy side of my personality. Tim was always the person who saw that side of me the most, because I was always so comfortable with him. There was no danger of Tim ever thinking I was an insane moron (I am). He would just laugh at me sometimes and say, “You’re so weird!” He always said it with a smile though.

I’m sure one day there will be a point to my previous acts of silly dancing, singing and dumb voices… but for now they are all gone. I’m too sad to miss them, but I notice the absence.

This was my "lion face" at an IMAX movie in DC with Tim
This was my “lion face” at an IMAX movie in DC with Tim

There is so much happening in my brain that is hard to put a label on. In a book I recently read, The Magical Year of Thinking, the author talks about not wanting to throw her late husband’s shoes away because her “magically thinking” brain thought he would come back home and need his shoes. When I read that I thought, “How stupid! Shoes were one of the easiest things for me to get rid of. That’s some pretty crazy grief talking.” Yet, I find myself following into a similar but different line of my own magical thinking.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my life and the person I was from 2005-2007, the time period right before and during when I met and consequently started dating Tim. I find myself wanting to transform back into the person I was then. I should start wearing makeup again, I used to wear it every day in college. I need to read more. I need to be less frivolous. I need to be fun again. I need to be artistic.

Circa 2005
Circa 2005

The closer I can get back to that version of Lauren, the closer I am to the person he fell in love with. If I could have stayed that version of myself, would he have been so sad? It could be seen as a futile wish for the clock to unwind and all of this to have never happened. It could also be seen as a healthy re-finding of self. After all, there’s a lot I liked about the 20 year old version of myself. Either way, my life seems almost comically cyclical at the moment. Ten years later, and I’m back where I started.

I find great comfort in music, both songs that he loved and songs that I loved independently of him. At first (or second or third) listen, the lyrics punch my heart and induce lots of tears… but the more I hear them the more they feel like a familiar old friend visiting. The closest thing to “our song” is a poignant example of this. Other times I’ll hear something entirely new on the radio, a song he never heard, and feel a deep connection to the lyrics. I wonder if this new song is a message he’s sent me? More magical thinking.

Pre-cell phone selfie with Eliot. Early 2006
Pre-cell phone selfie with Eliot. Early 2006

Late last week, I started writing. It’s been so long since I’ve written prose that wasn’t destined for this blog, but I have felt compelled to do so. Part of me rolls my eyes at myself, because every widow blog I’ve read has at least one post when they triumphantly declare that they’re going to write a book about their grief process since they are a special snowflake. I’m not a special snowflake, but I am writing a lot.

I don’t know what I’ll do with those words, if anything. They’re not blog material for sure. Right now the writing, as with many other things in my life, remains an unknown mystery for the future. I feel something stirring deep inside of me, but I don’t know what it is.

26 thoughts on “Two Months

  1. I think it is incredible that you are documenting this process. That sounds terrible the way I just wrote that, but I wanted to thank you. I’m sure it is cathartic for you, but I just imagine some young widow googling help and coming across your blog and it helping her (or him) through their own grieving process. I think it will help those of us support friends and family as well. Or if it happens to us. you never know… You are opening a door that not many people do. Again, I wanted to thank you. I know that isn’t much condolence, but you are so special. Don’t forget that. *Hugs*

  2. I’ve never commented, but I keep up with your blog. I so appreciate your posts right now, partly because they help me understand the journey through grief (through? do you ever get through?) so I can better relate to some people in my own life, and also just because your writing is honest and raw. Thank you for allowing us to be beside you right now and sharing your heart, even when it’s messy. You are brave and I hope you can see that. May today be a good day….

  3. Writing is therapeutic. Those prose can be just for you! Or maybe you ARE a special snowflake and those prose will find their way to someone else in your position who maybe needs a little guidance. Time will tell. But keep doing you.

  4. Whatever girl, you ARE a special snowflake. In a good way. You’re very special to us, your loyal blog readers. Whether no one reads it or everyone reads it, your writing is good for you and good for others. Also, I hope you don’t dwell on feeling like if you hadn’t changed from who you were in college, things would have been different. It’s a perfectly natural feeling, but I hope you can shake the thought when it pops up. You two grew up together and we are all different people than who we were in college. Don’t blame yourself (easier said than done). Big hugs. And a margarita.

    1. I definitely don’t blame myself for this, although I knew that people would ask that when I wrote the statement you’re referring to. It’s more of a feeling I didn’t predict, but can’t exactly shake. Hard to describe, but I wanted to try and document it to some extent.

  5. Amazing post, Lauren. Your documentation of this process is so thoughtful and helpful…

    It’s not the same at all – and I’m not trying to say it is, not even close – but my BF of 7.5 years and I broke up around the time Tim passed. Some of the things you wrote in here, about being the 20 year old version of yourself and wondering if you had stayed that “same person” really resonated with me. I feel that way often.

    I can’t say much to the rest other than thank you for sharing with us. I feel such heartache for you, and wish you only the best.

  6. hard to believe it’s already been 2 months. wishing you the best of luck in reconnecting with your goofy side that feels so distant right now

  7. Not much to say, other than you’re a pretty amazing human being to walk through this and still be able to articulate so poignantly what it’s like.

    See, I didn’t say “strong”, so don’t be mad. 😉

  8. Wow 2 months. Sending you hugs as you navigate grief and magical thinking. Listening to that inner voice telling you to write, telling you to reconnect with pieces of you that may have changed or gotten set aside over the years, it is wise to listen to yourself.

  9. Change is inspiring, even when the change is sad. It’s both a great and terrifying moment to realize you can change everything about yourself, if you just try.

    I’d be careful thinking about your past self and how it could have saved your present one or your husband. I know you know that. But, I do the same sometimes. It’s an attractive thought. There were fun things about all of us 10 years ago. But we’ve taken those fun things and turned them into something really cool, and experiences, and memories. I also know that, despite the differences and changes, my husband still loves me just as much as when we met. Maybe more, because I’ve grown with him. He’s lent me things from his own personality, and also helped me grow in the confidence of my own. That’s pretty cool. You have that, too. And you know what? You always will. You’ll always be the person shaped and changed and loved by Tim, and now it’s time to that that cool person you both made and make new memories and experiences. And to keep laughing. And singing at your dogs. (I bet the dogs miss the silly voices, too.)

    Hugs and love, lady. I’m so impressed by you.

  10. Your posts about this process are inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time. I find it incredibly brave of you to write what you do, about a process that is so deeply personal. And yet I think everyone who has experienced grief can relate to what you write about. *hugs*

  11. You are a special snowflake. Everyone that walks this earth has their own unique story. Never doubt your ability to captivate an audience or help someone through a similar situation by sharing your uniqueness. Thinking about you. Hugs.

  12. re: Erin Sager, pants, deliver man, HILARIOUS. I make it to pants, but not bra.

    re: my friend Lauren, and my friend Tim, and the sadness. I send the love and the hugs, and the solidarity that two months out I miss Tim ever day…something makes me think of him every single day. Today I was thinking I want to rent a house in Sedona for a long weekend, and was trying to figure out what couple would be best to meet me and Michael there. Of course my first thought was Lauren and Tim.

  13. Wow — funny how things line up & I should stumble on this post today. I apologize (I’m just going to get that branded on my forehead, it’ll save time for everyone…), life is…well, you know. But not 2 hrs ago, BFF & I were having an eerily similar conversation after a truncated trail ride (both horses had 3 functioning legs, shouldn’t that be enough, geez?).

    I write lots of little paragraphs here and there and I was telling her about one from the other night (will try to skip unneccessary ADHD brain details) that included my realization that there are two lines: a “before horror ate me” and a hypothetical “I can get at least some of me back.” The question was whether I could make it to the 2nd line, or more accurately, if someone could show me where it is, in time. Because I’m flat wore out, as we say here, heh.

    So I definitely agree, pounce on any urges or opportunities to exercise the “old you,” and yes, sadness is really a drag as a stalker, but I did find beautifully put the other day by author Italo Cavino, what sadness does evolve into: “Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness.” Many nuances which I’m still pondering, but I think I like the connotation…

    Hugs as always, glad you are enjoying veggies (I count chocolate, since it comes from a bean, right, so I’m in!). <3

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