Loosing him, ripped me wide open. Left me horribly raw and extremely vulnerable. I didn't know how to take it, or how to deal with it. I didn't know who I could turn to, who would hold me up like he had. I don't know how I survived the first week without him. I don't know how I managed to do the simplest of tasks every day. My head pounded, my muscles felt like the weighed a million pounds, my chest and heart hurt in the way that words can not describe. And yet, I went on. When I didn't even want to breath anymore, let alone get out of bed and eat or shower. I did. I went on.
I stumbled my way through a job interview, and somehow managed to get the job. I endured 2 horribly long, painful days of wake, a funeral and reception at home, the loss of my dads dog, and a first day on the job.
I remember the horrible sympathetic looks from everyone who came to say goodbye, an endless parade of people who were strangers to me. I spent hours, on a couch in the corner by the casket, alone. Watching as person after person approached and bowed their heads for a moment. How my family rallied around one another, supported each other and my mother. How empty and alone I was in those moments. How trapped and resentful I felt towards everyone who had someone, and yet I sat there in my grief, without a shoulder to cry on.
I started drinking coffee in the employee lunch room at the funeral home, snuck out for way to many smoke breaks, and hid in the bathroom in an attempt to escape it and them. I felt alone, utterly and totally alone, without people looking at me as if I was something horrible, some sad charity case. My family had been together, had had each other. I didn't feel as if I did, without my Dad I didn't feel as if I fit anymore. And by lunch on the second day of viewing I couldn't take it any more. I was exhausted from fighting the emotions, from fighting the emptiness.
For that second afternoon, for lack of better words, I was stoned. I'm not even sure if anybody noticed or knows that. I just wanted so much not to feel anymore, or to feel anything but the darkness that kept threatening to close in. I wanted something to make it go away, to make it hurt less. I didn't want to be pulled into a dark fog of tormenting emotions and emptiness. I wanted to be numb.
I didn't have the courage to say a goodbye at the funeral, though I wrote him a goodbye poem. I didn't have the energy left to speak to anyone. I was comfortably numb, the ache in my chest gone, the darkness at bay, and autopilot was safely in place. For that little while, it had worked. It had helped me to survive the worst of it. It had kept me from loosing myself all together, but I knew it wasn't the answer and it wasn't a long term solution to a problem. Because no matter how empty it made me feel inside, the tears kept coming.
That first week nearly ruined me. Getting and starting that job was a welcome distraction, and a major part of keeping me from loosing myself completely. It had given me something else to do, to think of, and kept me from being reduced to an empty shell.
This was the beginning of the end to the me that used to be. The glue had come undone, left me fragile and vulnerable and ready to fall to pieces.
(Continued next Monday)