Sunday, October 16, 2011

Grief: Loneliness, Acceptance, a Sigh

I don't know if I am the only one who is ashamed to say I'm lonely. As if loneliness were a failing on my part. I'm usually so honest but I like to pretend I don't mind solitude.  It's not true. Without Artie I am lonely.  With Artie sometimes I was lonely.  I wish there was a way someone could die and come back so I could take all the things I have learned since his death and go back and do things better.  One of those things is how precious every moment truly is.  I used to get so angry at the stupidest things.  Part of me took for granted that he would always be there.  It didn't occur to me that if I was busy with something and he wanted to kiss me that one day there would be no more kisses.  It didn't occur to me that if I felt bad that he wanted to do something late at night that there would come a time when I could never do anything with him at all so why should I mind if he came downstairs at 10 pm instead of 6 pm.  I know there are things he would do diffferently too.  It's not a blame game.  Relationships have two people in them.  I'm the one left alive so I'm the one left to wonder about the things I could have been more understanding about, the things I could have been more creative about. 

If he could walk in the door I would be so grateful if he interrupted something I was doing.  There is this unending silence; this emptyness.  Even in a room full of people, in the middle of a laugh, of a great time - a triumph - the silence creeps in.  The loneliness creeps in.  For him.  For that one person who is dead.  I think that even if I had another great love the Artie loneliness would persist.  I used to say his smile lit up the world.  I nicknamed him Dazzle because of that smile - he called me Panache. 

I have a recording on a small alarm clock of him singing a song and then talking to me - I think I wrote about it before.  I hold it up to my ear and it is like he is whispering to me.  Then I make myself put it down.  That voice doesn't exist any more.  I think he still exists - but my earth me in my earth body can't adjust to not having his warm earth body next to me.

Am I choosing loneliness by relentlessly staying married to a ghost?  Maybe.  I don't know.  It's hard to think how I could not miss someone who was the biggest part of my life for 23 years. 

I went to see the Buddhist monk Thict Nhat Hanh (sp?) Friday night.  He talked about mindfulness, about listening to your sufferering.  I sat still when I got home and cried for the first time in a long time.  I bought something he wrote that said Let Go, dear.  It was the gentleness of the dear that got me.  I could hear Artie saying, "You don't have to let go of me, but let go, dear.  Let go of the pain and the sadness."  That's why I cried.  I am doing more - feeling better - yet the sadness doesn't seem to leave.  I've never been very good at acceptance.  I can't change his dying.  I can't accept it either.  He is more alive to me than the living.  Especially when I am home alone - when I wake up in the morning - in the evening.  Acceptance.  Come hither acceptance and surprise me that I have discovered you. :)

Most of the people I know now have partners or spouses.  Not everyone but most.  I relate to widows who stay widows and yet wouldn't it be nice to have someone to share things with again.  It is a puzzlement.

So, I may not admit it to the world - but I admit it to you.  I am lonely.  I am grateful for being loved - I am grateful for so many things - but none of the leftovers - even the beautiful ones like the love letters and the photographs - replace the real living man. It will be strange to be with him again.  What will that be like?  If we don't have our bodies - will I still be lonely?  Will he laugh at me for saying that even in Paradise where all might be perfect - I miss the way we used to be together.  I'm lonely for your mustache!   That would be very silly.  I do hope that some day we are together again, that we really do tumble together through time - in whatever shape whatever form.

Sigh.  I hope tonight you are not lonely - or if you are you find a way to comfort or accept that loneliness and in embracing it find at the very least an awkward kind of peace.  xo

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jan, I've been following your blog for the last six months. Your thoughts and insights bring great comfort to me. Thank you.