It’s amazing how one small word can encompass so many things all in one. I always thought that it was a word reserved for feelings when someone dies but what I wasn’t prepared for were the amount of facets that have shown themselves to me, kind of like a disco ball once it is hit by the light.
I find myself in a stage of actively mourning so many things in regard to my relationship. What it was. What I thought it was. Who I thought he was and who he probably isn’t anymore, or never really was. What it won’t be. What I wanted it to be but we just never got that far. Where I hoped it could have gone and I just never got to a point where my head could fully break the surface to fully breathe to get there. It’s just so much to process. In hindsight, this started unraveling a lot farther back than we care to admit, but up until a couple months ago, I never really had wrapped my head around the reality of where it truly was. And here I am: two months of learning to be on my own again, working to learn how to slow my mind, to undo the enhanced state of hyper-vigilance that had become my new normal. It is a scary yet peaceful place, to be alone with my thoughts. Almost half of my lifetime, a triangle without one side, that has shifted so drastically in such a short amount of time and continues to almost daily, sometimes in the form of closure, salt in a cut, a trigger in the smallest of sounds or things, or an unwanted finger prodding me in a gaping wound I am desperately trying to heal. And yet, I will still grieve.
Then there is our Mother. She has been in the throes of Alzheimer’s Disease for a while now but this year it seems to really have advanced. She doesn’t walk anymore, barely speaks, her mobility is pretty impaired. On top of it all, she started experiencing seizures and well, the illness advances until one day it is done with what remains of her. I have been preparing myself for that day, in my own ways and on my own time. I have been grieving this one for years now.
And of course, then there is the inevitable shift in direction of my friendships. When someone goes from key to the background, even when the most well intended distances arrive, it still hurts when things head where I never thought they would. When you experience magical connectivity and humanity only to watch it dissipate to background noise and silent observation… especially when you know you need it the most, now more than ever. You can’t help but miss what it was.
I do. Every. Single. Day.
So you can imagine the maelstrom in my ribcage. An ice cream parlor of grief. A freezer of cardboard gallons filled with a type of grief that you are probably familiar with. Except I am living several of those types. Simultaneously. And it doesn’t smell like waffle cone or sweet cream.
The loss of a friend, lover, partner and spouse of 18 years
The loss of my daily family unit as I knew it.
The loss of the safety in knowing my Mother and who she was.
The loss of her physical vessel that is slowly but surely coming.
The loss of one of my best friends who has been painfully silent
The loss of my faith and trust in the integrity of people that should have never had it from me in the first place.
The loss of who I thought I was and what my life would be.
And all of this is met with a form of grief. And no one has died. It is a term I read and refer to quite often as “mourning the living”. You got to wonder what is worse, having someone pass away or watching something or someone wither away and disappear over time?
This is what I carry around with and in me.
Almost daily. Silently.
And I won’t be silent about it anymore.
And yet, I still grieve.