January 2, 2013
Went to a grief counselor on December 30, 2011, with the big kids. They were so wonderful. They talked about their feelings. Talked about missing their dad. Talked about what they wanted for the future. I wasn’t able to talk at all. Uttering Eric’s name brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat.
New Year’s Eve 2011
Eric would die 3 weeks after this picture was taken
The grief counselor told us that the “physical” pain of grief will diminish over time. She explained there’s a real physical reaction your body goes through when someone you love dies.
The physical pain isn’t always there - neither is the emotional pain. When it is there, there is nothing like it. I find myself searching through my computer for any pictures, letters, momentos of the time that before Eric died. I don’t look for pictures from before Eric was sick, mostly after I knew he would die and he was getting more and more sick.
I look at these pictures, videos and letters, and imagine (or can’t imagine) what it must have been like for him on his last New Year’s Eve. The picture above shows a man with his family, everyone smiling. If you look closely you’ll see a little bit of something shiny underneath Eric’s right arm. That’s the wheelchair he had been bound to about two weeks prior when he became paralyzed from a tumor in his spine. How the fuck did he muster up a smile? How was he able to face his imminent death with such bravery, honesty, and assuredness that all would be ok, for him and for us.
I sit here and scratch at my neck just to feel something. Almost wanting to hurt myself so I can feel the pain Eric must have felt on the inside that he almost never showed. I find myself sometimes unable to focus my eyes clearly. It’s as if I don’t want to be able to see at all. In the supermarket you’ll find me with my head buried intensly into a grocery list, when in actuality my eyes are closed as I can’t manage to keep them open without feeling faint.
I feel so pathetic that I am sometimes unable to function when he was able to, until his last day, be present. Spending conscious time with all who loved him. Asking for one on one time with each person to have private talks about his feelings. How embarrassing that I’m unable to talk about my feelings one year after Eric died. “Don’t be hard on yourself. Everyone grieves in their own way,” the experts say. (I roll my eyes.)
My son asked me last night, “Who’s going to be Lorelei’s father figure?”. What kind of a damn question is that to ask me?????????? Do I dare tell him the truth...”Um, nobody will be a father figure for your sister sweet boy. There won’t be anyone that can teach your baby sister what your father taught you. I won’t allow anyone in our circle unless they have the moral righteousness of your dad.” Saying it out loud reminds me of how I’m assuredly going to be alone.
Being a widow at 45 is just dumb. Being a widow at 45 with young children is cruel. Not for me, but for them. Leaving these children to my care alone is just so unfair to them. I am selfish, I am afraid, I am imperfect, and I am incapable of being the father they need. How will they be able to “rise above” growing up without a father? My husband and I gave the kids examples of many people who succeeded in life, despite the fact, that there was no father in their lives. In other words, you too can succeed in life even though you got shitty cards dealt to you.
I stop writing to reflect on how whiny I’m behaving. I focus on how strong my children are and how brave my husband was. I am so selfish to be crying over my life as it is, when there’s is so shitty. I’ve already had the opportunity to live my life, make my choices, have my fun.
Buck up little girl, I say to myself. We’ll see how I do.