Monday, March 22, 2010

Difficult Days

The last several days: very, very difficult.

At lunch, a friend sat down with someone new to me, someone who, as it turned out, lost her husband ten months ago. A midlife marriage, no children, deep closeness, and then ~ just over, she said.

We talked, a little.

I didn't have much to say. I was aware, in some vague place I hate, of how little of her experience I comprehend.

It's a place from which I recoil because it's the one in which I am aware of how profoundly alone we are.

I wandered through it a couple of weeks ago when Musical Friend, on the second anniversary of her husband's death, was challenged by someone else about how she had spent part of the day.

And then a few days after that when the funeral of a friend was the occasion for further acknowledgment of how different our apparently similar experiences are.

And then this lunch. I said that my inner, deepest core is a place of such complete sorrow now.

I said that most of the day, although no one would know it, my mind is engaged in thoughts and images far from what lies before us or from what we are discussing.

And our mutual friend said that that will go away.

With all the confidence of someone whose children are all alive.

I said that I didn't think so.

The woman who has lost her husband said that hers, her inner core, is filled more with anxiety. She is, evidently, quite shaken by the speed and completeness with which life changes.

I said nothing. I know quite a bit about that, but nothing at all from her perspective.

I thought that it would not be wise to try to challenge her, or to insist that things will change.

I couldn't see any reason to sharpen the blade of loneliness that slices the space between us.


Karen said...

ooh, it is so lonely, walking the grief walk. so individual and so alone. wise to just to let people be where they are. the sad core will be fixed someday, but not in this life, from what I can tell.

Lisa :-] said...

Why focus on the dissimilarities of grief? It is true, grief is a singular walk, each different, each personal. But I think, out of our personal grief, we each can find something to give another. And to accept from another.

Purple said...

Do you sometimes feel like you are living in two different realities? The deep interior soul sorrow and then navigating the interactions of daily life?

Cynthia said...

The absolute, utter aloneness of it all has been about the worst of many terrible things about grief. Even among other widows, I've found our experiences are all so different. I feel the need to find similarities, to find someone who has had that I've-been-there experience. Yet knowing how easy it is for something, even something meant to comfort, can cut to the bone, has contributed to my withdrawing farther -- both from having been hurt and fear of hurting someone else.

Michelle said...

I was perhaps 10, when I went to funeral of one of my school mates mothers. I can still see her mother -- Angela's grandmother -- coming down the aisle, bent over in grief (she looked ancient to me, must have been not much older than I am now, in fact). My own mother murmured, "You never stop mourning your child." I can still hear her voice, one of sharp experience.

Grief divides us in so many ways. It separates us from each other, from our own interiors, from the hopes we had for our lives...

It's not an accident that Psalm 88 is in the canon, nor it's last line.

Mompriest said...

Gannet, a deep sensitivity to interior life and the disparity with outer life as its lived. Many of us have this disparity, but as you note, for very different reasons. It is a gift you bring, this sensitivity...born from the depth of sorrow. A gift, even, to chose to listen and be silent rather than emphasize the loneliness further.

Mary Beth said...

I came over to say what MomPriest said. Just listening is the best gift many times...deep, authentic listening.

troutbirder said...

I lost my eldest son 12 years ago now. There are no words....

Robin said...

Troutbirder, I am so very sorry.