Broken shell

Day 93: 06/02/2013 Entry

I don’t understand how it has been this long, how I have gotten to such a high number of days already, and at the same time, it also feels like it has only been a week. Time isn’t the same when your mind is processing death…it’s bizarre.

Today while at the beach, I was walking along the water, picking up sea shells. There were only small ones on the sand, but I kept walking, looking for a bigger shell, something like the ones I used to find out at the beach all the time. Finally, I spotted a big conch shell, but when I picked it up, I saw that it had a big hole in the center. Before, I would have looked at it, thought about how pretty it would have been if it was whole and complete, and tossed it into the waves without a second thought; I only wanted shells that were whole, not broken. Yet that didn’t happen today. Today, as I held this intact shell with a hole in its center, I felt a sort of kinship to it. From far away, it appears to be whole and pretty, yet if you look closely enough, you notice the weathered exterior, the jagged, broken edges, and the gaping, empty hole. Still, from certain angles, it looks normal and whole.

It seems like people are starting to think I’m doing better, that I’m progressing forward. Sure, I go to therapy, I take the antidepressants, I go to work, I smile and laugh more, I go out and do things with friends, I talk about everything more openly, I don’t cry every day, my appetite has come back to normal, I’m not drinking as much as I used to, and I don’t need to take pills to help me sleep every day.

But like that shell, that’s only one angle that people are seeing.

If you tilt your head, and look from a different angle, you will notice the smiles don’t always reach my eyes. When I’m on my way to go do something, sometimes a wave of choking sadness washes over me, and tears stream down my face, because I know if he was alive, I would be at home with him, and not in his car driving to go do something far away from home; later, on the way home, I cry again, because I can’t walk through the door and tell him about whatever it is that I just did and experienced. When I hear certain things at work, just normal, ordinary things, like someone’s wedding story, weekend plans, something sweet a husband did, or even about an argument, I feel a punch in the heart, it knocks my breath away, and I have to fight back tears. When I make jokes and laugh, it’s not always because I’m in a good mood; sometimes the only reason I’m upbeat is because I feel like if I wasn’t doing or saying something to distract myself, I would collapse into a sobbing heap on the floor. My heart hurts every day; there isn’t a moment where I don’t think about him. Every day is filled with little things, tiny insignificant, meaningless things that are such huge reminders of him.

I feel broken. There is a gaping hole in me, and nothing I try fills it: shopping, staying busy, distracting myself with TV, spending time out in nature – nothing fills the hole. It’s always there, making me broken, incomplete, not whole. People seem to think that I’m better, and I don’t have the energy to explain it in person, maybe that’s why I’m sitting here writing about it. True, I’m not painfully miserable to the point I can barely breathe anymore, that has lessened, and it now comes in waves. Waves that ebb and flow, so I can go a whole day, sometimes longer, be okay, function, not cry, but then inevitably, the wave drowns me.

The angle people don’t see is when I’m at home. Sometimes I will be lying on the couch watching something, and feel tears stream down my face, without any provocation or reason; they just come. Other times, I’ll see something, like one of his tools, his computer, his jacket, a present he got me, something we bought together, and the sorrow and pain hit me so quick, I don’t have time to recover, and the tears that come are so hot and heavy, they drip to the floor in big drops; my chest aches, feels like it will split open; I make these sad, pitiful, almost animal noises I never knew I could. Sometimes when this happens, I just slide down to the floor, lay there, sob, and shake. I don’t know how to describe the feeling I have during these episodes…it’s excruciating, it’s deafening, it’s paralyzing, it’s hopeless.

So, like with that shell, it just depends on the angle you view it from – sometimes it looks whole and complete, and other times you can see the jagged edges and the cavernous hole. It’s all a matter of perspective.

I still don’t understand how this is my new life; I don’t understand how I will never see him, never talk to him, hug him, kiss him again. I don’t understand how he just doesn’t exist anymore; my mind still doesn’t understand, not fully. Ninety three days into this new existence and I still don’t fully understand what has happened to my life.

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