It’s 1:30 in the morning as I start to write this. I can’t sleep. Again. The cycles of sleeplessness haven’t changed much other than becoming less frequent. I still have nights when it feels like the world has ended and my tears won’t stop. This has been one of them.
I recently heard someone describing the first year of her loss as “it’s like you are lying broken and bleeding in a ditch while at the same time, a part of you is going through the motions of life”. It’s the most accurate metaphor I’ve heard. I would never share it with friends and family. I’d rather they are free to believe I’ve been OK – that my grief is a quiet peaceful thing with a few tears leaking out after a sad thought or memory. I don’t want them to know that the reverse is true, and every now and then I have a moment when I’m not actively sad. I don’t want them to know how many nights I’ve spent sleepless and sobbing. I don’t want them to know how empty and rudderless I still feel. I understand why so many elderly people don’t survive long after losing a spouse. Who would choose to live like this?
While that first year was hard, what I’ve experienced of the second has been just as bad in some ways. At the end of the first year I was forced to acknowledge that this is it. This is my world now. To borrow another grieving widow’s words, “I know I will never know uncomplicated joy again”.
Still, time has brought and continues to bring progress. My head is clear most days and I’m starting to take an interest in the world. I’ve been connecting more with the people in my life and starting to go out because I want to, not because I think I should or can’t stand to be alone with myself. I’m dabbling in activities that interest me. I can picture what a brighter future might look like. I’m not happy, but I don’t hurt with every breath. Bed time is the one lingering window when I consistently struggle. I resist going to bed because I know that when all the distractions are gone I have no choice but to confront the reality that I am alone.