I am morbidly amused, or perhaps angered and annoyed, at people who seem uncomfortable with my present state. Perhaps uncomfortable is the wrong word. But some people tend to get a little edgy when I bring up Dave, as if to say You haven’t gotten over it yet? Um no. I don’t even think I’m out of the denial stage. This is a long process and the Sheri you knew is not coming back. Please, my friends, if you want to help just start getting to know this new me. It’s going to take me a long time to adjust to the new world I’ve been thrown into and the new person who has invaded my thoughts. I’m sure it’s disappointing to some – your friend Sheri has disappeared and is in a world of grief you can’t rescue her from. But if you could live for a moment in my head you would understand that you’re the ones getting off easy. As difficult and frustrating as I have been for the past six weeks, it is a fraction of the angst I have experienced. I try not to unload on anyone. I try not to discharge my energies in a reckless fashion – alienating all of you. My mind is mush. My mind is numb. I function not by choice right now, but by need. If I’m not too talkative, it’s usually because I don’t have any strength left.
There are people who have tried to offer me advice, like alerting me to the five stages of grief, telling me Dave would want me to go on, telling me Dave would want me to be happy. I am an educated woman and I know of these stages. Also, I appreciate the attempt, but until the love of your life vanishes into oblivion you cannot know and you cannot understand that these words do not help. Do you know when you feel such an intense connection with someone? How the first thing you think of when something amazing happens is to tell them all about it? How just lying beside them can make your day better? How just a smile in your direction can lighten your mood? How all you can think is how great life is with them, because of them? It’s deeper than this, of course, but I’m just saying. When that connection disappears there is a void. It’s like a pit lies before me, but it actually engulfs me, swirling around me like a cyclone of raw biting succubi disguised by darkness. I long to connect, to touch him, to see his smile, to lie with him, to talk to him, but I get nothing and it causes my heart to constrict and my stomach to drop. I imagine it’s how an addict in withdrawal feels, at least the bewildering part of this feeling. The thing I’m learning about denial though, is that it is a protective process. This void surrounding me is numbing and powerfully hurtful. Constantly I feel as though spikes are being driven through my chest. The thoughts associated with Dave never returning to this planet, to our life, to our home, to anywhere are potent doses of instant agony. I have collapsed on the floor from them. I have burst into sobs and tears and held my chest in fear that my heart would break. I have held my pillow and screamed at Dave for not knowing the future and climbing that damn mountain. I have wished for death. It is all irrational, supernatural and still so intense, even after six weeks. Denial allows me to take this in small doses. If it all happened at once, I doubt I would live through it.
I’m not saying you can’t help. What I’m saying is telling me that I am strong seems retarded and ambiguous. I know I am strong, but Dave’s death has incapacitated me to the point where part of me has suddenly changed so drastically that I don’t know what’s going on most of the time. What I’m saying is that I don’t know who I am without him. Not yet, and I probably won’t know for some time. The way you can help is to just accept that I am different. Accept that I will go through a billion emotions, sometimes all in one minute. Accept that I need to talk about him, even if this makes you uncomfortable, it helps me. Accept that I haven’t accepted any of this yet. If you want to help, accept that I may be unresponsive a lot now, i may not want to play, i may not want to go out, but be patient. The time will come I’m sure when I will want to have fun again, when I will want to talk about other aspects of life and when I will seem more in control of myself. This I’m told will happen if I keep letting myself grieve. I’m sure that when I begin to feel the true loss of Dave, things will get much worse in my head. So if you want to help, maybe you can just be ready for that too. I don’t want any of this. But for some reason this is my life. I don’t wish this on anyone, but I would give it away in a second – especially if it meant I could have Dave back. Don’t push me away just because I don’t know how to cope with this. I am trying my best to survive, but mostly I’m trying to experience it, because I have no other choice. For some reason this is my life.