Thursday, April 13, 2006

Questions Hard to Answer 2 (and not nearly as pleasant as 1)

"Where are you? How are you?..."

He sent me that in an email yesterday. How do I answer that? Do I tell him about how my body crashed when he bailed? I who am never ill finally laid out by some common bug b/c grief is the greatest anvil of them all, pounding me into oblivion. Should I tell about the three days shivering under covers unable to get warm yet sweating like it was 110 in my house, all the while remembering lying next to him while he was sick, taking care of him, feeling his fever break then come back in the night, trying to keep him warm, cool him off, take care of him while he was down & out... because I had to, because I wanted to, because I love him, and that's what you do with people you love? Do I tell him about how going to bed at night alone sucks? How about waking up in the morning & how much that sucks too? Do I tell him about how putting my watch back on (I haven't worn it in a year) feels like a heavy symbol of loss: I stepped out of time to be with him, now it resumes. Do I tell him about how I can't seem to be in the car for stretches longer than 15 minutes without my thoughts straying where they've been used to going for so long now... and having to dry my face & compose myself before I go in anywhere? How about how I finally realized I just have to keep kleenex in the car for awhile b/c my face was getting sore from wiping it off with napkins? Let's see.. should I tell him about all the long walks I've had to take before I go in to my friend's houses because once I start mourning this loss, I can't quite stop... and there's nothing they can do, they don't need to see this any more than they already do. How about how two weeks later I STILL have laryngitis that took my voice completely for four days, and would probably go away if I could just stop screaming at the sky in utter fury & frustration now & then? Maybe I should tell him about how Stacy's grandpa died, about trying so hard to be there for her & badly needing his shoulder to lean on? About how the grief of loss seemed to swirl up and get all confused with losing him & how that felt like such a betrayal? How about all the thoughts while I'm standing there in the middle of other people's pain about who will be with me when my family dies.. and knowing he no longer belongs by my side in that picture in my head? Maybe I should share all the other times that kaleidoscope after that - pictures of times that will not be? I could go on & tell him how that was amplified by realizing that all the people around me were having the same thoughts - grief is grief / loss is loss. Some may be greater, some lesser, some may have more tendrils of connection to severe... but it feels the same when you're going through it. How about I tell him how my daughter misses him too? Should I tell him that? Or maybe I should tell him about how even talking to someone new & interesting flops, because in the end, no matter how new & interesting they are, they're just not him, & I really thought I would be sharing all the new & interesting people that came along with him? Oooh.. I know.. maybe I should tell him about accidentally logging into his calendar because I was on autopilot & that's what I've done darn near every. single. day. for the last year and a half... then actually throwing up when I saw it? When, in a horrible split second, my mind's eye saw all those days & things he's doing that do not & will not include me? I don't want to go there any more... that was rough. How about finding his picture in my purse where I had forgotten I had folded it so carefully so long ago to carry him with me? Telling my co workers yesterday that there would be no more anecdotes & watching the look in their eyes change as they realize that once again I am the undesireable? Finding him out of my head only when I'm fourteen sheets to the wind drunk on my ass stupid? Then realizing that if I can think that, then he's not out of my head after all? How about telling him what an odd mix of warmth, grief, comfort, anger, torture and happiness it was to be in someone else's arms for a couple of hours when that someone was someone I can believe in? Maybe I should share how my friends have snuggled up around me, stepping in & taking turns, being there & supporting me without being intrusive? How they just appear here & there... taking time & initiative to simply BE there with & for me, taking care of me? ME! I who never lets anyone take care of me... and I let them... because I finally have nothing left to take care of myself. Should I then go on to point out how often he failed to do just that? Maybe I could point out to him how little he really cares about me with the example of a single incident: while we were talking together about this part of my life coming to an end, he answered his fucking cell phone. Twice. (No, it wasn't an emergency, or anyone in distress. They were purely social calls... & from the next love of the moment, no less.) I almost can't think of any better way to show someone how truly insignificant they or their feelings are to you than to answer your god damn cell phone when you're in the middle of an intimate conversation. How about I think of more pleasant things & explain how my friends silently seem to understand how great this grief is to me, how far into my soul I let him step, & how supperating is the wound with him gone? And then I would have to tell how there are no words to say how sweet it is that they know there is never any way to the other side of anything but through it... that grief must be felt & released & felt again & heal from the inside out. How they seem to understand it's not a matter of expunging him from some tiny corner, but a matter of removing him from every second that I breathe, & that's just not an easy thing to do? I could explain that this is a helpless place: his absence is shards of glass in my soul, but his presence - even once removed - just grinds them deeper. I cannot even imagine trying to explain what seeing him would be like, it's difficult to even consider. Maybe I could explain how my friends understand that I didn't ask him to be my man, my boyfriend, my lover, my only other.. I asked him to become family, I made him family in my heart, and in one short conversation he showed me he had never really accepted that invitation, nor understood it. How they don't ask me to hide this grief, or put it away because it's embarrassing to them, or not feel it at all... they just love me, & stand there reminding me with actions instead of empty words that they, at least, will remain... because they ARE family. They get it.

I can't possibly answer his questions with all that... or even any of that! It's just not socially acceptable. Not that that has stopped me all that often, but we're in a new ballpark now. I stepped into a sort of trust with him that he did not understand, that he rejected, and I can't go backwards... there is only ever forward or through. I can't trust him with my heart any more: he doesn't understand that, either. So how do I answer those questions?

The only socially acceptable answer I can think of is "I'm fine." And that would be a lie: I'm not 'fine' at all.


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