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You Look Great They Say....So How Come I Feel Like SHIT?

I don't know why, but during the summer I had some weeks when I felt numb, or weeks when I actually felt okay. Yet, suddenly with Labor Day weekend, the feelings of grief have returned. Partly it is due to the fact it is a holiday weekend, as holiday weekends were usually the only time my departed workaholic husband would actually spend time with his family.  Partly it is due to the fact my husband did not live to see his son begin high school, did not live to help me buy our son his first suit. And perhaps I am grieving in anticipation of my husband's birthday next month. It has been nine months since he lost his battle with a rare cancer and the depth of my sorrow is still so great.

Oh, this thing called "mourning"- I just wish I was done with it because I am so tired and wore out from it. Mourning, the expression of grief, takes many shapes and forms, and it is not a smooth, linear road, but rather a twisting, turning, bending path full of ups and down, dips and turns, trips and falls, bumps and bruises.

Lately people who I run into at a restaurant, church, or the store have been telling me, "Gee, you look great!" I politely thank them, but inside I am thinking, "Really? I do? BUT I feel like SHIT!"

Yes, I still feel like SHIT. And exactly what does feeling like SHIT really mean? Hmmm-  who wants to know the  ponderings of a widow with a brain impaired by her grief.

What does feeling like SHIT really mean? To feel like shit could include FEELING:

Drained, in pain, sad, sorrowful, angry, needy, confused, lonely, isolated, misunderstood, displaced, bewildered, anxious, overwhelmed, miserable, distraught, broken, shattered, unhappy, exhausted, depleted, overcome, hopeless, helpless, upset, devastated, distressed, disappointed, regretful, bitter, heartbroken, heart-sick, despondent, dejected, full of hurt, full of angst, fragile, gloomy, disconnected, wounded, and burdened.

Did I leave anything out? I am sure there are more words that could be added to the list.

So on this journey of grief, still feeling like shit, I stubbed my toe on a "rock" in the path and tripped. The rock happens to be a small thing. This "rock" was the problem with the toilet- it would not stop running. I took off the lid to the tank, tapped the arm to the valve thingy, and managed to get it to stop running. I went on the internet and researched the symptoms and discovered I had to get parts to replace the malfunctioning ones.  I went to the Home Depot and bought the replacement parts, watched a "how to" video, read the instructions, only to find that nothing sunk into this brain of mine. I am not mechanically inclined or good at fixing things. The very purchase of these parts made me feel so alone and it was a reminder of the absence, a reminder of the void in my life.  This stupid toilet malfunction brought up some major emotions. However, as I study the situation, I see my own resourcefulness, I see my own attempt to problem solve and to move forward. To solve this minor issue, of course, I ended up calling a friend who could help. So.....I tripped, but I did not fall. I maintained my balance even though I was feeling like SHIT.  I hold onto hope, and I know one day things will get better.

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Comment by Mariposa on September 19, 2012 at 7:07am

AlanRRT- Sorry you can relate so well, but I wish you peace as well. We will all get through this somehow. Mariposa

Comment by AlanRRT on September 19, 2012 at 7:04am

I get the "You look good" a lot.  Translation: I've lost weight because I'm too upset to eat, and I'm tanned because I'm getting outside because I can't stand being in the house alone.  My hair is falling out, I'm wrinkled from worry, my eyes are puffy from crying, but I "look good."  Like you, I smile politely and say thank you, knowing that they mean well.  I only wish I felt as good as I allegedly look.

May you find some peace and comfort on this miserable journey.

Comment by Mariposa on September 19, 2012 at 6:39am

MissingRKK, Dusty, honey spuddin, Diane in Nevada- it is comforting to know that I am not alone in feeling the way I do. Yes, we have to move forward, put on a public face, but it takes so long to heal the gaping wound that is inside. Hugs to all! :-)Mariposa

Comment by MissingRKK on September 19, 2012 at 5:03am

Camry, I am sorry your day is off to a rough start. I send you many hugs! I wrote you a longer message and managed to delete it. Sorry! Huge hugs to you and your kids!


Comment by honeys(puddin) on September 19, 2012 at 3:41am

One thing I've learned is that even though we put on make up, comb our hair and heck sometimes even take a shower that it does not mean that we are "getting over" our grief.  It doesn't mean we love our spouses any less.  There was probably one person who could read our souls and see when we were hurting when no one else could.  That person is now gone.  No one else can read our souls.  They cannot fathom our pain.  It isn't their fault, it just is what it is.  So when someone says I look great I now just say thank you because I know they're just trying to be nice and not meaning anything bad by it.  They just don't know how badly I feel inside and really that's not their fault.  I promise you though that things may not get better but we do learn to get used to the way things are.  I am almost 20 weeks out and I swear I did not think I would survive this long but somehow I have.  I hope you find some sort of peace soon:)

Comment by MissingRKK on September 18, 2012 at 7:02pm

Are you in my brain? : ) You just wrote my thoughts out loud!  I am so sorry you/we are here. Thank you for your words.  I think I am still at the point where I both look and feel like shit. I too, know that one day we will learn to live with our new lives but sometimes the "rocks" feel like mountains.  Many hugs to you, Mariposa.

Comment by Dusty on September 18, 2012 at 2:26pm

I am so glad someone else "feels like shit".  My husband passed Mar 30....I feel all of the words you wrote plus  'being in a fog' part of the time,  It seems like things just keep breaking and it seems to be a test if I can make it.  Even if I had taken care of that probelm when he was is even harder to do now . AND I hate having to learn 'how' to do all of these things...put gas in the cars (washing the windsheild, I suck at it), getting the cars washed, getting brakes fixed, car repair period and all of the house stuff, water leaks, lights fixed, celling fan falling, computer all seems so hard and i don't remember it being that way.

Comment by Dianne in Nevada on September 18, 2012 at 11:52am

Wow, Mariposa ... I can really connect with your post and have felt all of those words you listed.

I hate it that just because I'm making an effort to actually look decent when I go to work now or that I’m forcing myself to get out and do things, that people think all of this grief stuff is behind me. It is not. I wonder if it would be different if I never had a Facebook page? They make assumptions when I post that I'm going to Camp Widow, going to Broadway shows here in town, going to Brave Girl Camp. These people who know me, who know that I have always forced myself to express the positive side of life regardless of the reality, don't even stop to think that there could be something else going on here. If they couldn't read of my activities on FB would they reach out to check up on me? I honestly doubt it. Actually, I know it. 

So I continue to grieve in private. And I continue to do things alone. And I continue to miss my dear Vern. But I’m making new friends.

And the positive side of all of this is that yes, I've done some really fabulous things in the nearly 2 years since I lost my husband. Some things that have helped me to heal, to grow, to see that this new alone life could be better than just ok. I’ve really had no choice. I must do this well to honor the 41 years I had with my husband.

Hope does matter, Mariposa. Hold on to it.

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