I haven’t written in exactly a month. Well, I’ve written fragments, thoughts and random strings of mostly coherent sentences throughout the days but ultimately, I couldn’t seem to make them connect. I’d begin a thought, get down a few words and then stare blankly at the taunting, blinking cursor. And even with that, I wasn’t really seeing the screen or words in front of me. It was like I starred a giant, black hole onto the screen and my mind fell willingly into it, a million miles away. It was as though my mind, heart and body were in three different places and I couldn’t tell you what one was thinking and what the other was doing.
And now, I’ve realized I couldn’t connect the words because I couldn’t connect myself, my life. In fact, for the last four weeks, I have felt overwhelmingly disconnected. And, this bothered me. I could sit in a room filled with people, often my people and feel totally out of place. Conversation flowed, decisions were made and I’d walk away recalling the bare minimum if anything at all. I’d find myself watching mindless YouTube videos or reading random Yahoo! News articles (not that I retained much) just to avoid the growing number of red dots popping up next to that green and white speech bubble on the bottom of my phone. What is happening? Not only did I feel disconnected but I also had no desire to connect. This has never been me. I love connecting with family and friends and you better believe I am the “clear all notifications as soon as they come in” category of human. At this point, I decided that mind tricks are very much real and grief can be the ultimate Jedi.
If you were to look at a quick snapshot of my life today, I think you’d see that a huge part of it has changed in losing Joe but my daughter, family, friends, job that’s all stayed the same! Right? Not exactly. I suppose in a technical sense, yes, those parts of my life didn’t physically change but emotionally, mentally and socially, everything, every.single.thing has changed. Or at least, that’s what it feels like. This is a new realization for me. One that comes only a day or so before sitting down to write this. In these last eight months, I hadn’t realized how much nothing in my day to day can feel the same anymore. Cliche as it sounds, the initial shock, the numbness, the newbie fog, it’s all real and when that fog lifts, life likes to throw the new reality at you hard. You know, just so there’s no confusion about your new life, the new you. And this is where that disconnect comes in.
I have found that although I am seeing, doing, talking about all the things I always have, I don’t, I can’t do any of it in the way I used to. This has caused a very intricate and conflicting ball of emotion and I have found processing it quite difficult at times. In this new unchosen, unwanted reality of deep loss, we crave any sense of normalcy and comfort and yet a huge part of this new reality is that the normalcy and “sameness” we desperately cling to have become fleeting moments, never really staying very long. I’m no longer a wife in the traditional, “normal” sense, the way that I envisioned (I’m still a wife though, very much so). I often struggle to continue finding and growing into the motherhood part of my identity. I struggle to find my new, adjusted place as a daughter or sister in law, as the elephant in the room friend and as the daughter who is forever thankful for her family and all they do but has realized that not one single person could make this any better. No one can be Joe.
My identity was not defined by Joe, I am my own person. But many of my favorite parts and even the not so pretty, in need of a lot of patiences and grace, parts of me were created, nurtured, challenged and inspired with him, with us, together. Without him, I struggle to feel connected to this life, the one that was ours, and to this life, that has essentially, become just mine.
So, I can’t help but wonder (what’s a blog without a little CB) if perhaps the disconnect comes from my mind, heart and body leaving the old me and now beginning to figure out how to connect with the new one.