Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I've been stuffing. I don't mean putting bread and spices into a turkey's nether regions. I mean my emotions.
It's been too painful to deal with this loss. I avoid Jeff's photos. I redirect my thoughts. I do things that seem to take the pain away for a moment. When I talk of the loss of Jeff, I refuse to feel the sadness. I push it down. I turn away. I try to forget. Like a door closed to a fire, the smoke eventually seeps under through the cracks.
I almost felt smug with this coping mechanism. I thought that I had found a way to survive with out crumbling at least once a day. We all hear that you 'should' allow yourself to feel emotions so they don't come back later to get you. But I guess I thought I was the exception. "I can do it", I told myself, "I'm strong." But it turns out that I'm not strong. I'm a coward. I've been hiding under a blanket and hoping that it will be gone when I emerge. Like a child hiding from a monster. But I am hiding from sadness, loneliness and fear.
But now, I can't hide. The last two days have been really hard. I am on the verge of tears constantly. I feel lost and beyond sad.
It's like a wound that superficially closed over but still brews infection. It looked okay but beneath the surface the infection has been pushing at the scab and pulsing. The pressure has been building and causing a lump to form. Suddenly, the wound has broken open again, spilling its' pus and reminding me of the initial injury. I scurry to find a band aid but what it really needs is fresh air and an occasional cleansing.
I have still have dreams that he's alive and I am happy. Suddenly, he can't breathe. Instead of trying to save him as I did in real life, I run away. I hide. He dies alone.
What I'm learning is that there is no convenient time for grieving. I can't hide. I have to feel this. I don't want to. I want to curl up in a ball and sleep. I am tired and I don't want to do this.


Wendy Mewhort said...

The greatest type of courage comes in the form of surrender Jackie. You can do it. We know you can. Allow yourself to surrender and feel the feelings. You ARE courageous! Our love and light surrounds you. And in answer to your earlier inquiry... Yes, absolutely, Jeff will be there to greet you when you 'cross over', if that is what you desire... but Jackie, if there is anything you would like to discuss with him now, say it- he can hear you- he is with you always, at your intention.
Take care,

Poppy and Mei said...

Well... I don't think I've ever met anyone braver...XXxx

Anonymous said...

No matter how hard we try to make like we are 'ok', we are not... I did that all year, and then exactly that.. crashed hard. It is hard when there are little ones, because I feel in a way, we HAVE to be 'ok' for them. I'd love to go away to ... have that healing time, to deal with the trauma & grief.

We are only given what we can handle, and holy shit we must be able to handle A SHIT LOAD!

I am here for you friend. Call me anytime. I wish I could be there physically with you at those times, sharing tears, snot and tissue... but I am there in spirit.


Crash Course Widow said...

Hey, I think I stuffed it for about 2 years...and then it all went to hell in a handbasket when I couldn't stuff it any more. And yet I never thought I *was* stuffing it as it was happening. I thought I was being mindful and cognizant of how I was grieving and when and where...and I was, but in hindsight I also realize there's only so much a persona can bear, only so much pain you can feel before you have to shut it off.

Grief isn't meant to be finished in a few months, or in a year. Or even two or three years. It takes years to work through the bulk of stuff in grief, to sift through every possible facet and hue of your loss, and it's impossible to survive the onslaught if you didn't stuff it some in the first year.

You already read so much how numbness and shock are your body's automatic protection against loss. I think stuffing it is just another form of the same phenomenon. It'd be too much to feel all you're feeling all the time.

I know it's hard, but try to cut yourself some slack and be gentle with yourself. Stuffing's not necessarily a bad thing, so long as you don't run from it forever.

You say you've been weepy and losing it the last few days. Don't underestimate just how hard the month of December is that first year in grief. It's just awful...probably one of the hardest hurdles to have to get through the first year of widowhood. And you're hitting the holidays at a shitty time too--at 8 1/2 to 9 months out you don't have the same blissful stores of numbness and shock to help you float through the month in a bamboozled fog. You're not as numb and everything's starting to hurt more--or else you're doing a dandy job of fooling yourself that you're "handling it all" quite well--but the truth is that 8-10 months out is often a really difficult period (as much as it's possible to draw any patterns in grief). And the holidays are really, really, REALLY hard.

And you're right. There isn't any convenient time to grieve. And eventually, when it all builds up too much and you've taken a reprieve for just long enough--i.e., stuffed it for supposedly too long--it'll come back for Round 357 and let you know that it's time for your regular Grief Bashing ring match.

Hang in there, Jackie. This is so tough right now for you....


Leslie said...

i don't know if i have commented before but i read your blog often, and i am always moved by your story and how open and honest you are about what you are feeling and how raw those emotions are. you are so brave to share all this and i wish that i had something to offer, words that would help in some way even though i don't know you..all i have is a little prayer for you and your sweet children

Skye said...

Be gentle with yourself Jackie. You are by no means a coward! You are a survivor. I read your blog posts and feel your pain because your words and emotions echo my own so closely sometimes.

This is a long, hellish road and you are doing phenomenal. I believe that the stuffing is integral to survival. For if you were to delve into all the emotional pain of loosing Jeff…it would just be too damn much to bear. So, your mind and body dole it out at a pace you can handle. And you are grieving…but it takes time. It feels like forever. I know. We all do. And we are walking along this path with you. I send you a hug from across the miles…