I had a talk tonight with a good friend. She said something to me that was interesting.
I can’t remember the exact words, but she said something to the effect of, there are a lot of people who don’t know I’m sick with an auto-immune disease, and she wonders if they should follow my blog (since I’m not on FB right now) because otherwise they’re just thinking I should “get over it” and move on after Michael’s death. We also talked about how people hear Rheumatoid Arthritis and they think I have sore joints, oh they have arthritis so they get it, etc. This is SUCH a mis-named disease. This is a disease. An auto-immune condition. My body is attacking itself. It happens to be attacking my joints, so it presents like arthritis. But this isn’t granny’s arthritis. This is serious shit. In fact, since I’m so very helpful 😉 I’ll put a link to information about RA right here! From a reliable source, an easy quick read. Say, Mayo Clinic – what is RA?
My reaction to this was that it was so interesting, because I had planned to take this leave from social media and my overall job far before I became sick, so that I could allow myself to grieve, mourn, and put my life in some sort of order. This sickness is actually robbing me of that leave/grieve time. I also needed the break from social media over the holidays, BEFORE I knew I was sick. But I found it interesting that she said what I know to be true. People are sick of my grief. They don’t understand my mourning. They’ve never experienced loss like this, or maybe they have but they handled it differently.
I had another talk with a friend of mine last week along the same lines. “People are going to get sick of your shit. You’re going to lose them. They can’t handle your life.”
Both of these conversations were loving conversations with trusted friends. Honest conversations that I truly appreciated. THEY weren’t in this place of ditching me. They just honestly told me their perception of others’ perceptions. And they are both right. I was wondering when the time would come that people thought, “Okay Lisa, get up and get going. Enough is enough.” Maybe the time is now or maybe it’s my friends’ perceptions, but I’ve been feeling it too. The overall vibe that people are just kinda done with me and my situation. This statement doesn’t come with any bitterness or negative feelings attached at all. I don’t blame them.
Now, I’ve been an insanely busy reader lately, absorbing as much as I can about my new life ahead. I take so much comfort in the words of others who are ahead of me in this journey. And one thing I’ve seen consistently in almost every writer I follow, is a version of this story. The Get Over It story. Usually nobody has the nerve to say that to our faces, but they get really sick of us. They don’t want to hang out with us because we’re a reminder of their good fortune- they’re not in our shoes and maybe they actually feel weird because of that. They get fed up with our solitude or our lack of accepting their offers. They get tired of chasing us because we don’t want to chit-chat or meet for coffee. They get indignant when their texts aren’t returned. They get chased away by our rejection. I don’t blame them. It doesn’t make them bad people. They just don’t understand. And it doesn’t make me a bad person. I am just doing the best I can.
It’s really sad that widows oftentimes lose so much more than their husbands. It’s quite common that they lose friends in large numbers, finding themselves with a couple of die-hards that hung on if they are lucky. I really feel that so much needs to be talked about when it comes to grief. It’s such a taboo subject. Nobody likes to talk about it. It’s too sad. But it’s real. It happens and sadly in every marriage one partner is going to lose the other. People die and leave people behind. I don’t know why the whole thing is so uncomfortable and why relationships among the living have to be lost. He died. It sucks. Why can’t we be friends anymore?
The other common truth I see in other widow’s words, is that you never, ever, ever, ever get over it. Some widows are still exactly where I am, years and years in. Some women say it was 2-3 years of darkness, others remarry within months. But no matter how people choose to grieve, they never get over losing a life mate unexpectedly. And the deeper the connection, the deeper the love, the greater the loss is felt.
It’s just interesting is all.
Lately, my grief hasn’t been so much over missing Michael himself although that’s constant. My pain has been more about me. My life. My future. My outlook. My state of being. My serious PTSD at watching my dad and my husband die within months of one another. Hospicing Michael really, really affected me in ways I’m still dealing with. The compound grief and loss and those affects on my body and my spirit. Of course it all goes back to being alone and how this wasn’t the plan, but it manifests itself in other ways. I don’t cry as often as I used to. It hits me more unexpectedly than it used to, though, and when the bouts of crying come, they come full force.
I worry a lot. Mostly about money but other things too. I’m not a fan of having no plan. And right now, I’m in limbo. I won’t let myself make any major life decisions for one year, thank goodness. My “life plan” has changed a hundred times since Michael died. I don’t know what my finances even look like, and I’m trying to find my groove and see if I can sustain the house with just my income. It’s not looking promising but I really need more time to see how things shake out. If not, I’ll look at selling. And that opens a whole new overwhelming set of decisions…where will I move? And HOW will I move? I love love love love this home. WE loved this home. It’s a deep connection. I have dog’s ashes planted with trees that Michael and I planted with our own hands. This is our home. I’m not ready to leave it and my connection to Michael through it. And that’s significant. I have moved every three years throughout my entire adult life until we bought this home. It’s finally where I planted roots. I thought we’d grow old in this house together.
I’ve never, ever been alone. And now I’m painfully alone. It’s a stark contrast to the past 50 years of being the youngest of 5 kids, then a young mother so I always had my children with me, a wife, a nana, and now this. Alone.
So to those who think it’s “time” I get past it and “move on”, I’m not angry at all that you think that. You’re ignorant and that’s not your fault. I want you to understand it isn’t so simple. It’s not only about missing him (although yes I miss him terribly). It’s about grieving the part of me that died with him, grieving the entire rest of my life that I thought was pretty set, it’s about the fear of the unknown that lies ahead, it’s about being faced with horrible decisions and horrible realities unexpectedly when you weren’t prepared in the slightest way, it’s about having nobody to bounce the day-to-day things off of, to help counter-balance my stuff. It’s about having WAY too big of a life for one, and trying to acclimate to/ simplify that life while battling lots of physical pain. It’s about missing him, yeah. Big time. But it’s about so, so, so much more. And this shit takes time. I loved him deeply and wholly with every fiber of my being. It’s going to take me some time to unwind those fibers and find my life. I’m moving ahead and choosing to wake up each day. That’s a hell of an accomplishment. I’m staying fully engaged with and contributing to the rescue even though I’m not on social media. I’m trying my best to take care of myself. I’m trying my best to stay connected to someone. That someone varies but I’m staying connected to human beings.
I didn’t realize until late this evening that it’s been 4 months today. So much has happened in that 4 months. It feels like forever but at the same time, it feels like yesterday. I don’t want to make a habit of marking these anniversaries because that’s not who I am – but I noticed it so I needed to mention it.
Thanks for listening.