Just Show Up

This week I’ve been on Momcation. My kids have been at their grandparents’ house for Spring Break. In the past I enjoyed Momcations. My husband was still alive, and it gave us time to do things as a couple without the normal parental distractions. After about 3 days, I get really lonely; Momcations are not as enjoyable now. 

Yesterday, I came across an Instagram reel about dating and attachment styles, which led me to a podcast, Do The Work. It really hit home. It appears I lean towards an avoidant attachment style when it comes to friendships and familial relationships but have an anxious attachment style when it comes to dating relationships. 

I am not sure if this came into play in the emotions of the evening, but either way, last night was just hard. I decided to go out by myself. I walked down to a bar, had a cocktail and mac-n-cheese. I went to another bar had a shot. I was home by 10pm feeling incredibly depressed. A friend of mine tried to get me to come out to another bar around 10:30, but I’d already been crying and was deep in my depression. I fell asleep watching The Burbs.

I woke up at 1:30am. I couldn’t fall back to sleep. I got up washed my face and brushed my teeth (I went to sleep without doing either). I thought it might help. It didn’t. Around 3:30am, the feelings of intense grief I’ve been repressing (and nearly came up while at the gym yesterday) finally surfaced. They surfaced with a vengeance. I loudly cried and sobbed. I felt it in my whole body but most intensely in my heart, lungs, and stomach. I didn’t feel much better when I woke-up this morning.

The Big Lie

I lie to everyone about how I am doing. I’m functioning. I laugh. I smile. I make it through the day. I seem okay. Friends, acquaintances, and even strangers tell me how proud they are of me and how strong I am for doing as well as I am. On the outside, it appears I am handling things quite well. The raw naked truth is, I’m not. 

I can go through the motions of life, but I am not okay. I feel the loss of my husband every day. I can’t seem to connect with anyone no matter how badly I want to. I feel like I am failing my kids. They lost their father. I lost my husband. We are all grieving. We are all surviving. 

“It GeTs BeTtEr”

While I understand the sentiment and a person’s intentions when I am told, “It gets better,” I find the entire statement bullshit, unhelpful, and more about the other person’s emotions and their discomfort in my grief or negative emotions. I don’t need their toxic positivity. In this moment I cannot look on the bright side. I do not have the ability to see beyond the deep despair I am feeling. Literally, one of the worst things that can happen to a person has happened to me, to our children. 

This is why I lie. I lie to spare others from the discomfort of my grief. I lie because when people ask me how I am doing, most of them don’t really care. They care enough in the sense they want to feel like a decent person, but not enough to actually show up in the way that I need them to. It’s not much different in the “if you need anything let me know” crowd. They say it, but they only mean it if they can show up for you in the way they think you need, not in the way you actually need. 

What do I actually need?

I need people to show up without putting it on me to reach out to them. I need people to come by and spend time with me. I need people to ask me how I am and make it clear that they don’t want the lie; they want the truth and are willing to sit in the trenches with me no matter how uncomfortable it is. I need people to come by on a whim (I mean text first, but doesn’t have to be some far in the future plan) and just sit on my porch and talk to me. I need people I feel emotionally safe with, people that will let me ugly cry and not shy away from it. People that won’t try to force me to look at the bright side. Or, the “after grief” time. By the way, there is no “after grief” time. Even if I were to get remarried or have a long-term partner, I will always be a young widow. My children will have always lost their father during their childhood. My grandchildren will never know their grandfather. 

I need validation and not in the context of I am doing a good job or I am strong. I need validation in my grief. I need people to tell me it’s okay to scream and cry and are willing to scream and cry with me. I don’t need to be cheered up. I need to know that I am seen and heard. I need people that will let me be negative. I was told by my last therapist I need to feel the feelings. Understanding why I’m feeling an emotion is just intellectualizing the emotion, not sitting with it. I can’t release the emotion if I don’t allow myself to feel it. 

I need safe friends and a safe space to be real because in essence that is what I lost when I lost my husband.

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