grief doesn’t seem to follow rules

I’ve been having internal arguments (and some that I extend out and ask Todd about).  How do you pin down and quantify how much you’re “allowed” to grieve?  Is it wrong to want to begin healing and finding a way back to some sense of rightness – because everything feels so wrong right now?  Why does moving on and finding something to smile about feel like a betrayal of him, when he really loved to make us smile and laugh?

Why did I sit at my keyboard, unsure if I should report that I wouldn’t be in to work tomorrow or just toughen up and go in?

Why was he alone and was he scared?  Was he mad?

Todd keeps it all quiet and inside, so I’m just trying to figure things out in my own way.

When is too young to die and when is it just “life”?  Is almost 15 years of marriage enough?  What about 20 – 30 – 50?  Is it easier when someone is terminal or really elderly?  What about frailty?  What will the autopsy say?  Did he suffer (and I can’t stop thinking that it’s probably yes, no matter if it was physical or if it was the fact that he couldn’t hold her again)?

Why do I feel like I want to hide from sympathy and want to yell at the world that it isn’t fair?  I’m not the one who needs the sympathy and support.  I am a supporting character in all of this.  I’m dreading work, but I need to get back in there and put that face on everything – get back to the routine of doing all things and making that paycheck.

How is she going to be able to figure things out and keep moving?  I know she will.  Logic says that she’ll do it, that she’ll pull together the pieces of her heart and each day will pass and she’ll keep doing what she needs to do.  One by one, the milestones will fall down – one day, one week, one month, the first family holiday, their anniversary, then his birthday and Christmas, and a year, then more.  It won’t feel like it’s getting a bit better, though.  Not for a long, long time.

I don’t want to place this thing on her – the permanent assignment of grieving widow.  I want to be able to give her what she needs from us and I don’t understand what it is.  I’m simply no good at this.

What do I say?  What do I do, when there’s nothing I can really do?

And I miss him.  Not in that “see him every day” kind of way… but in that “family dinner” way that we’ve had over the years.  13 years of us being family.  It’s kind of tiny, isn’t it?

We gave him a season of “Arrested Development” for his birthday one year.  It always seemed perfect, given his sense of humor.  It cracked us up when we were in the store, just thinking about them watching it and laughing.  He tried the Brussel Sprouts Jones Soda one year, during a holiday dinner.  It smelled awful, but he was game and tried it anyway.

After the first surgery that took 1/3 of his stomach, he showed us the staples.  I wanted to make him something yummy – like a roast turkey milkshake – so he would be able to enjoy it with us again.  I did the math, back then in April, and thought about the odds and how I wondered if he’d make it to see his birthday.  Then I started to truly believe he was beating it because we were outside the daily living of it.  He was a big guy, with a tummy that jiggled when he laughed (usually at the end of one of the crazy stories he was telling us).  Last week we heard that he’d gain a pound up from 135.  It struck me that he was so thin, but it was such a wonderful thing to hear that he’d gained weight.

We didn’t visit because we were sick.  And that sounds so feeble now.  What a stupid reason.  When someone’s white blood cell count is bad and infection is dreaded, it seems smart, doesn’t it?

I look at the pictures of them together and every single one is smiles.  Every one.  Even here in the last week.

Where does that energy go?  There is the law of conservation of energy.  Where does it go?  How can you be a smiling, loving human being one minute and gone the next?

I don’t understand.


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