Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Grief Lives Inside A Cardboard Box.

Two nights ago, I was going through a box, with an eye to unpacking it, and found first the beads my friend had draped around my neck when he greeted me at their door, last Mardi Gras, then the material I purchased on our trip together, and finally, at the bottom, the earrrings I had worn for the 2 days of cleaning up the blood from his partner's attempt at suicide just after my friend died.

The thought of going on without him, was impossible for the one who'd loved him on sight, and for 21 years thereafter. I didn't deal with the death of my friend, or the pain of cleaning up all that blood because I couldn't, at the time, I was trying to be strong for the one alive and trying to find a way to go on without him.

When we lost our mate, whether to divorce or to death, the loss is the same. We're faced with trying to construct a new life without them, without all the little shared jokes and shared history, without this person who knew us when we were younger. What I'm discovering, is that I never did have what I thought I did, it was founded upon a web of intricate, convoluted lies.

 I recall driving home to sit on my couch, and ask aloud. "Who are you? I do not know you in the way that I went for so long believeing that I did."

I can struggle with this reality, or I can do what Syd has written about this week, and simply trudge through, with a faith that I will understand at some point, or maybe never, but in the meantime, I can give kindness to those around me, and for today, that has to be enough.


  1. I have thought this very thought after each of my long term relationships ended. The person I knew had become a stranger. What I know now is the person I saw was the person I wanted to see.

    When I thought I knew them I stopped seeing the changes. The shoes didn't fit quite as well as they did before but I ignored it I didn't want to see it. This goes both ways.

    I couldn't admit that I was changing too. I was shocked both times when the relationships ended. They both found someone else I felt betrayed.

    I blame myself at first for not paying attention but you can't see something someone doesn't want you to see or something you aren't ready to face.

    Life is just life and we are all seeking happiness where ever we can find it. I am grateful now they had the courage to move on and now I am free to do the same.

    This time it took me 5 years to feel that way.

  2. I think that I saw what I wanted to see, not the reality of what was there. I was in denial for so long. And fortunately, through God's grace and recovery, we are seeing each other for who we really are and it's okay. I know that we are fortunate because some don't make it through these kinds of changes. But I don't think that either of us can imagine life without the other. Keep trudging. I'm there too.

  3. I remember that in learning the concept of detachment, I found a sense of freedom, but also a profound sense of sadness. I tried to absorb the idea that there will always be things about my loved ones that I do not know, and do not understand. It was scary to me, but I now understand that was likely because it's hard to control that which I cannot know. I've since learned to honor that space between us, and appreciate how the two of us share a space in the universe - without gobbling each other up. It's a delicate dance, for sure, one that takes respect for the other person and a whole lot of grace. But before I could participate, I had to begin to know myself, which was the truly scary part in all of this.

    Thank you for your share. Beautiful and brave.

  4. We grieve and we go on. One day we are able to look back with gratitude that we are no longer there.

  5. I have been reading your blog for almost a year, and this post was especially helpful to me, as I was given a surprise divorce this very week. Every friend and relative has asked the same question his week: "Who is this man we thought we knew?" I can so relate to your post. Sadly, I could not recognize who my husband was any more, and Al-Anon opened my eyes. As you said, I never had what I thought I had. I have changed too. Throughout a roller-coaster week, I have realized that with the help of my Higher Power, I am going to be okay. I was given everything I needed this week exactly when I needed it to provide what I need. I feel free, but also sad for my spouse. But if he is about to self-destruct, it's much better for me not to be tangled in his mess. You will make it, too.

  6. I carry fear with me. Obsessed with my son's addiction I drag this weight around waiting for the disaster to strike that will prove my senses were right all along. While dreading the worse I miss out on the joy laid right at my feet by those I choose to ignore. This addiction to my son is killing me. I need help.