Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Grief: The Empty Space

I haven't been feeling like I have much to say.  Haven't even posted a line on the status bar on Facebook.  I have been thinking about the empty space left by someone who has died.  I talk about filling that space and then it occurred to me maybe that is not the way to think about it.  Maybe that space is already filled with love and joy and pain and sadness and has to come along with us whatever we do.

I met a friend I hadn't seen in a year whose only child had died.  How would this friend be now?  We were in an open space with a lot of people and we both started to cry.  This person has a delightful spouse who can't fill the space their child filled by being alive.  I have a delightful daughter who can't fill the space my husband filled.  We both talked about how things that once excited and cheered us seemed empty.  I said I had even seriously considered suicide but decided against it and was surprised to hear that my friend had as well.

Even people I know who have new love relationships or other children or other friends don't stop missing the person that has died.  I had ended my solo show by moving from grief to a middle ground to having the life force pull me back to life.  I realized I had to change the ending.  I have to spend more time in the grief space and then take it with me to the middle ground (which for me is doing more things but still feeling lost and homeless) and then take the grief and the middle ground into my living.  It is all part of who I am.  Jan Warner after Artie's death is a different person than Jan Warner before his death.  Maybe I should get to know her better instead of fighting with her to do more - be more.

Maybe that is why I am silent.  A new level of acceptance.  Artie is dead and with all the love and accomplishment I pile into my life none of that will ever replace Artie.  Artie's space will always be full of - Artie.  If I try to push Artie out of his space and put something or someone else in it I am bound to fail.  I love him too much.  But...if I can make Artie's space more full of love and inspiration and less full of pain and loneliness and even anger - then he will be a more comfortable companion even though I have only his spirit - real or imagined - and not his living breathing body.  We think of a dead person as not breathing - but perhaps what that last outward breath means is that spirit is pure breath.

Another puzzlement.  Artie's space is too full to be empty; and too empty to be full. 

How do I allow his space to be everything as he was and is to me and at the same time be small enough to allow me to feel love and joy that doesn't fade with the end of the day.  I had lunch with a wonderful new friend today and met someone else who is delightful.  I had a massage from another dear friend and yet until I started writing this I was in bed watching DVDs again.  How do I face my aloneness with the capacity to accomplish things - hearing Artie cheering me on.  I have an old audio tape of his that is part of the end of the show - in which he says, "I wish you were in your corner as much as I am and as much as you are in mine."  That's his voice in my life force.  How do I learn to be in my corner without him when I had a hard time even when he was holding me up.

Watch this space.  Wishing that when you are given love you can hold it close instead of pushing it away because the loss overwhelms the gain.  For me too.  xo

1 comment:

  1. I totally understand how you feel, I lost my
    beloved husband Peter in 2010 and I feel I will
    never recover from the loss. i am also revovering from breast cancer in 2008 when Peter was there for me.
    We have one daughter who thinks I should now be
    getting on with life, bur emptiness in the house is more than I can bare. kathy