But I am alone and there is no place to hide and no one and no thing that gives me feelings of comfort for very long. I rage. I cry. I sit still and feel terrified. I sob my abandonment and loneliness. I look in the mirror and hate my wrinkling face and body. I torture myself with anxiety about getting old and sick.
The size of my grief bag is enormous because I am not only dealing with my present situation but also with a lifetime of losses and pain that I have never grieved. All my life, in order to survive, I protected myself from the emotional cost of grieving. But now, a precariously built protective dam has finally burst. It is the toughest and most turbulent time of my life.
On one of the many days blurred by their sameness, my loneliness is so acute I think I will die from it. I open the sliding glass doors and step onto the porch with a book in my hand. But it is too hot to sit outside and read and the buzz of the groundskeeper’s lawnmower is annoying. I go back into the cool of my study and open the book. I cannot concentrate. I try to write. Drivel … delete. I go into my bedroom and lay down on the bed and suddenly I am sobbing. I think I will never stop. But I do. I am still for quite some time and finally pull myself up and go into the bathroom and wash my face with cool water over and over again.
As I take the face towel from its ring, I look into my clothes closet. It is dark and quiet and I smile, remembering how I’d find my daughter Rachel in my closet when she was three years old, hanging onto my white rabbit fur coat (I can’t believe I ever owned such a thing) and sucking her thumb. It suddenly seems like a good thing to do. No rabbit coat or thumb sucking for me, but I sit down under my clothes, breathing in the scent of my perfume, my arms over my knees, feeling the exhalations of the breath of life on my skin. It is a wonderfully comforting experience. Surrounded by the things that make up my everyday face to the world and the woman I have become I am suddenly overcome by a returning feeling of love for myself and compassion for the difficulty of my journey. It is a sweet, sweet moment and I feel peaceful and safe.
I am so tired of feeling terrible. I want to duplicate that feeling of sweetness and safety of sitting in my little closet in the larger spaces and places of my life. But how?
The next morning, as I lie in bed listening to the awakening birds … good, long sleep eludes me … I decide that this day will be a new beginning for me. And I will begin it by taking a sunrise walk on the beach. I love the ocean, one of the few things I do love about Florida. As soon as I make the commitment, that hopeful feeling returns. With a cheerleader’s gusto I think, I know I can do it. I can become the woman I’ve longed to become. I can learn to create my own happiness … my own fulfillment ... a new purpose and meaning for a new life.