Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The hand of death

*I say the word "we" in this a lot because I was talking to a dear friend of mine today and I think I am speaking for all of us who have lost a lot of the same influential people in a short amount of time*

When you lose your husband you kinda think and hope that the worse is over. You've lost the one you love and treasure the very most. The one that you choose to spend the rest of your life with, so the worse must be over, right?


It has been proven to me time after time again that that is just not true. The hand of death doesn't stop just because you've been broken once before.

I've never lost a good friend until now, and the emotions and feelings I have been having are much different and more difficult to accept and express. I am much more seasoned in the area of loss than a 22 year old should ever be. I've experienced more loss in the last 2 years than I ever thought was possible. I feel kind of like an expert in the subject.

Through all the people I have lost, I have found that I unknowingly and unintentionally put up a front. I appear to be so much stronger than I really am. I look at the positives, I remain optimistic, I remain confident that I will see them once again. Around people I have the ability to be my normal bubbly self. I walk around telling myself things are okay, that I have to much to be thankful for and that I will be okay. I do my best to not express any sadness what-so-ever. I would almost convince myself that everything was okay even though my whole world was shattering around me.  I realized several months ago that the only change that happens when my strong front is up, is that with each person I lose, the more light I lose, the duller my eyes get, the weaker my smile gets. Only those close to me recognize these signs of hurt and the signs that I am breaking down. Through all the losses I have become a lot more numb to loss. I experience sadness, but none as deep as what I did when my Spencer passed away. When I'm by myself and I am actually able to put my strong front down, the numbness sets in and I'm unable to cry, get angry, be sad.

But through this loss of my dear friend, most of the above has went out the window. That strong front is getting so much weaker and I am unable to convince myself that everything is okay. I can't look at the positive, I can't be optimistic, and I certainly am not longer certain that I will see the ones I love again. When I'm in public and trying to keep it together, on the inside I am crying out in pain, wishing anyone who saw me would understand the inner turmoil I'm going through.

I'm not certain that this will make sense to you, but half of me feels numb while half of me is feeling every single thing that I could possibly feel. Losing Molly has kind of pushed me over the edge. The part of me that feels numb, I think is in part disbelief that this happened. We all knew it was coming. I knew for several days and in all those days I have been incredibly angry. But the part that is feeling every single thing that I could feel.... well it is just too big to even begin to sort through the emotions and piece them together. It's too big to be able to express, in writing or in words.

With every loss that we experience, the more we continue to be broken down; The more tired we become; The more we tend to bottle it in, whether we mean to or not, because it all added together becomes way too much to process; The more we become afraid to express the hurt that we feel because we are terrified that the hurt will never stop, that the tears won't stop when they start; The more afraid we are to start the process because we know how much it hurt from the previous loss and we know it will be even worse this time.

With every loss that happens, the more vulnerable we become.

And because I am vulnerable? I am feeling completely 100% broken and shattered. More-so thank any other time. There is too much going on in my mind and in my heart and I almost feel like I can't be in my own skin right now. Because I am vulnerable I am experiencing emotions from my past that I have dealt with and moved on from and those chronic emotions that are now only temporary, only coming and going every once in awhile. Emotions come flooding back that I forgot were even possible.

I'm naturally really missing Spencer all over again. I want him here for comfort. My emotions for my husband are very high right now. Molly and Spencer were best friends and shared a lot of memories together. It really hurts me that I feel like I've lost another part of Spencer. I have lost memories of Spencer. A connection to Spencer that I no longer have. I am so thankful that I spent time with Molls last summer and heard some of her memories of my husband. I will cherish them even more now that she's gone.

I am so, so heartbroken because of the empathy I have for Molly's new husband. I'm so sad for her family. I'm now understanding some of the feelings Spencer's friends went through when he passed away. The helplessness. The anger. The hurt. It's all different when you lose a friend compared to when you lose a spouse. I didn't expect it to be.

We continue to add to the number of people that we need to grieve. It makes it so hard to even start the process because we know how much more time it is going to add onto the process as a whole. I know that Molly's loss is going to tack on a significant amount of time to my grieving. For me, I am finally starting to get to a good spot in my healing journey with the loss of Spencer. But with that, I am noticing the loss of my mother-in-law more, my grandma more, and my grandpa a little bit more. I am just now starting to grieve their loss. It's been 18 months since I lost my husband. I'm just NOW getting to that point. I still have 3 other people to grieve.... and now 4. It seems like a never ending process. This loss has really thrown me for a loop. Every loss I experience the more complicated my grieving process becomes.  Each and every time things get harder.

For some reason losing Molly has me questioning every single thing I once believed -- and that's really hard for me to swallow. Before I was very firm in my belief that I was going to see Spencer again. We were going to live eternity together. I guess what other choice did I have but to believe that? I needed that comfort and that reassurance. That through the heartache and pain I was experiencing there would be a reward in the end. There have been several times where I have briefly questioned my beliefs... My belief in the afterlife and even my belief in a higher power. But I was always able to recover and dismiss those thoughts very quickly. It hurt to much to think that I'll never see my husband again. But with Molly being gone I feel like I have lost all of my faith. How can this happen AGAIN. Why does this happen so often. I am so ANGRY that this has happened. I am torn between whether to believe Spencer and Molly are together, or whether to dismiss that idea and wonder if we will all be reunited again. It's a very, very hard thing to think about. Right now I'm just going with it because I don't have the strength to try and correct it and work through it.

People say to give it time. Time will heal you. With time things will get better, easier. But as a good friend put it today, "That's the one thing I feel like we don't have. [Time] is what we keep losing to." I can't express that any better then she did. When I have now lost 6 very close people whom I love very much in less than 2 years.... I feel like I am rushing against the clock. Our concept of time has completely changed and it's very hard to alter it back to the way it once was.

And with so many losses in such a short amount of time.... it makes one question who is going to be next and when is it going to happen. I mean how much time do we really have with one another? It's an awful thing to think, and a thought that I hate, but it's too hard to get it out of my mind whether I want to or not. I think of our close knit group, all of us living with chronic illnesses. We're more susceptible to death (I guess you could say) and it's scary to think about who might be next. You think that it's finally done now, at least for awhile -- but then life is cruel and steals another one away. I know for a fact that thought gets a little bit better the further out from a loss that you get, but it's a hard thought to live with.

I don't know how to end this. I have no words of advice for my friends experiencing her loss. I have no words of encouragement or hope. I am completely broken and I'm struggling to hold it all together. I am glad I have a close knit group of friends who understand most everything expressed above. Talking out things with one of them was extremely helpful for me to sort through a couple of my thoughts.

If I know anything, I know this -- I feel an overwhelming need to tell those I care about and love just how much they mean to me. It's so important to let them know, and often. I hope to be able to make more of an effort to do just that.

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