Dramatic Ramblings from the Swamp of Sadness

Sheep in Rain

My mother once told me that sheep were the dumbest animals, because they never had the sense to come out of the rain, and could actually drown if they held their heads up.

I don’t know if that is actually true, but for the past couple of days I’ve been dancing this slow dance of muddled sadness, that both feels sort of painfully good – like stretching out a painful Charlie horse; and at the same time it feels like I’m slowly drowning in a very light rain. Like the aforementioned sheep, I wander in confusion and consider just accepting the drowning.

I am precariously balanced between light and dark emotions. Gratitude. Anger. Overwhelming Sadness. Guilt. Love. Shame.

I worry that I am secretly a masochist for the dark depths of any emotional pain because I’m not doing anything but existing in this feeling, but at the same time know I can flip a switch and turn this off and feel nothing. Just go blank, where the only existence of this pain is this dull throb in the pit of my stomach.

Fellini Clown

Neither is right, but the latter is closer to what I do, because one must get up in the morning and exist. So I surround myself with people, and put my clown face on. But in some Fellini-esque poetic way, I see this clown mask looking back up at me, while silent tears glide down my cheek. Dramatic in thought, but the reality is I greet you with my same soft shoe dance, loopy painted on grin, that ultimately ends with a squirt of seltzer in your face. Everyone claps and the clown moves on.

Kurt’s ashes were spread recently. I can’t go into any more detail than that, or I will lose it. I can’t talk to anyone outside of my youngest about this, and even that is a bit censored. She’s my champion in this, but one can only take so much.  I think the truth is, I’ve lost my ability to be vulnerable with people regarding this. No one gets it, no one will, so shut up about it already.

It fucking sucks.

As usual, this situation makes me angry at the world. Anger is my go-to for sadness once the tears dry up. Actually I don’t even need the tears to dry up, because sometimes those really hot angry tears are cleansing too.

I battle this logical side that tells me everything I am going through is normal and natural. I hate the logical side that tells me I can’t claim being excluded if I left this party decades ago.  Have you ever been so damn angry at someone for being right? Imagine that anger pointing inward.

Then as always, at every emotional party Guilt comes dragging in last; looming large like some over-sized Henson Muppet, bumbling around, bumping into everything while constantly apologizing. Sometimes I feel if I had a nickel for every apology I issued, I’d be drowning in coins.

I want to soothe the emotional side of me that carries on like a toddler, screeching at the world. Aiming my misdirected anger at anyone ignorant enough to get in my way. I am at this crossroads and I don’t want to talk about it, but moreso I don’t know how to talk about it. So I write a jumbled mess of descriptive emotional words learned in therapy years ago, when it seemed like Angry, and Scared and Happy were the only ones I knew.

I understand that there might be people out there who can help carry this burden but I’m angry at all of them. I’m angry at the entire fucking world today, but when you see me I will smile. My chest will constrict and I will look upward, the oldest trick in the book on having your eyes re-swallow tears, but I will smile.

Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I need to figure out a way to take a 15 hour car ride to this beautiful lake in the Rocky Mountains and finish my good byes. I don’t want to do it alone, and I don’t want to do it with anyone. I relish the idea of the drive alone, and I dread and fear it.

Maybe this is why the sheep die in the rain. They aren’t stupid, they are just vastly confused.


The Flowers


The advantages to being home when dealing with a personal crisis, is that the people surrounding you are aware of your circumstances. For moments, some lasting longer than others, you can forget that your world has been turned inside out. The pain can be turned down to a trickle instead of a steady gushing stream. There are no questions. There is limited pity. Strength seems to overcome sympathy as the needed shoulder to lean on.

Eventually though, people need to move on with their day to day lives. Head back to work. Head back home. You find yourself left alone and your options start to narrow down to silence. I love silence, but in this situation, with silence come the thoughts. That’s the worst part for me. Not just getting into my head, but remaining there. It’s like my brain wants to squeeze every memory out, and look over it like a beautifully polished stone. Admiring the flaws and the beauty of the memories. But when it’s time to come back to reality, I don’t want to. So my head? It’s not a healthy place to remain.

I decided to come to the office. Some think it’s too soon, but I can only do so much laundry, or clean my house so many times. I suspect staying at home was beginning  to feed into the sadness, which for me can quite easily become depression if I am not careful. I could almost feel myself getting a tad agoraphobic at the idea of venturing out for anything.

So this morning I put on my best face, refused to adorn myself in all black like an old grieving Greek woman, and drove to the office. The worst about the drive, is that I sort of don’t even recall how I got here. Just auto-pilot. Which in Southern California can be a blessing. I figured – I hoped at worst I could work half day, and maybe immerse myself into a few reports, therefore stepping out of that dark cave of mourning.

I came in to find a beautiful arrangement of flowers from my department. I knew about it ahead of time, because a close friend and co-worker asked if I would mind. I said no, that I enjoyed flowers, and would appreciate the gesture. Our department can be very cold in times of sadness. This meant something to me. They were simple and sweet; Daisies, mums, carnations, and roses, tied up in a beautiful vase with a white bow. Nothing about the flowers screamed sympathies, bereavement, or death. They almost looked like they could have been birthday flowers, or maybe even a sent from a guy.

But with flowers came what my co-worker feared; Comments from others not in my department. Not in the know. I’m weird about what work people know, versus the rest of my world. I like work to stay separate from everything else. So, for as much as I post about life publically here, this situation was something I didn’t want my entire office knowing about.

Or so I thought.

“Birthday?” … “No!” I snapped, never intending to sound rude. I just wanted the person to stop. To go away. I immediately felt remorse, but she was gone. Moments later another comment of “Oooooo … who’s the admirer?” and all I could manage was “I don’t want to talk about it.” And before they could utter another word, I repeated myself, “I DO NOT want to talk about it.” And they too scampered away, probably wondering what bug crawled up my ass. When the third person came up and sweetly asked, I simply grabbed the vase and said something about how these had to go, leaving the girl with a stunned look on her face as I raced out the door, tears in my eyes, running down the stairs to place the flowers in my car.

In retrospect it felt dramatic. Like I drew more attention to myself with that temporary exit, then the flowers just sitting there did. I feel guilty that the flowers will wilt in the warm car before I get home, and that the money invested by co-workers was a waste. I feel bad that they tried to do something nice, and it back-fired.

Most of all? I hate to be rude to co-workers. You spend more time with them then you do your family. I’m already misperceived as not the warmest, fuzziest person in the entire world, this confusion just cements things. So I asked a close co-worker to please extend my apologies, and to go ahead and explain my circumstances. Just let people know I don’t want condolences or sympathies. I know it’s in our nature to feel like we must extend some sort of warm wish or thought, but truly, sometimes it’s best to just let the flowers be flowers, and the thoughts be thoughts.

Damn I just want this all to go away.





This is my first attempt at writing about Kurt, and it won’t be the blog I eventually write. I guess I want to write about me more so. It’s been so long since I have written about grief this deep, that I have forgotten how it works. Losing Steve was a slow process, so as hard it was, I could do it in baby steps.

I come from a long line of women who are too strong for their own good, and those haunting of words of pulling it together run thru my head. Logic battles emotion so strong within me.

I’m tired of saying “Thank you”. I feel like an autobot.

“Thank you for your kind words” comes second nature to me the past four days. I mean it, but it feels — false. So I try not say anything. I’ve insisted in going back to work. Being home has no place for me. I just wander, and I think.

Drinking hasn’t helped. Well it did. The second night. I drank a bottle of wine on an empty stomach, and then opened another, wondering the entire time why I wasn’t getting drunk. But the pain was diminishing. It was dulling. I felt sober, because of the adrenaline I imagine. I even noted to a friend that they should take my blood because *I* had finally figured the cure for non-stop drinking without getting drunk. Shows how sober I thought I was.

Friday I had Steve’s memorial service. More of a like a gathering of good friends. I drank like a fish that night and got very drunk. Aware drunk, not like the night before. I am sure to some I looked callous. “Hey look — that woman’s son just died and she’s partying it up like it’s New Years with her gigantic glass of champagne!” Word had embarrassingly come up about my own loss and I was mortified at the mentioning of Kurt. Like I was trying to steal Steve’s thunder. I cried when they spoke of Steve’s life. For Steve? For Kurt? Both I imagine. Then I drank more. My two friends kept forkfuls of food in my mouth like an errant three year old that wouldn’t sit still to eat her dinner. First food outside of two bites of popcorn in 48 hours.

When my mother died, I needed people around me all the time. The alone time was this sharp knife that kept slicing me like a thousand paper cuts. I couldn’t take the silence.

With Kurt’s death I neither want to be alone, or with people. I had to cancel plans with my best friend last night. I was exhausted. In every sense of the word I was exhausted. Probably a bit hungover, but just typing words out to people tired me. Banal conversation would have been fragmented at best, and talking about him — I couldn’t do it anymore.

When I was in Mexico a few months back I obtained a prescription for Xanax. I already had one from my own doctor for panic attacks, but I figured if I ran out of those, I’d have these without going back to my doctor. I always hate asking him for those, even if a sixty day supply lasts me a year. I usually only use them on Sunday nights to help me sleep. Even then I can only take half because drugs stay in my system so long, I wake up groggy. The Mexico ones are strong. Even a .5 feels three times stronger than what I have. I took a half of one of those yesterday because I felt a full blown panic attack coming on and I was alone. When they hit I feel like I cant breathe. I have to logically and slowly remind myself of what is happening but it wasn’t working, which is fuel to a panic attack. So I took another half and sleep hit. I slept the entire night on the couch — the jewelry channel on TV, and all the lights on. I woke up thinking it had to be about midnight and was shocked it was six AM. I crawled back into bed, and when I finally forced myself up, about twenty minutes ago I felt that tightness in my chest that only meant more tears were coming.

Instead I decided to write. Cry my words out here. Writing is my drug. It silences. It heals.

Work will be hard. My director thought it was best that everyone know, but I hate being treated with kid gloves which is how it will come. I don’t want to talk about it, I texted a friend. Please spread the word. She asked if flowers were okay and I said yes. Except now people who don’t know will wonder why there are flowers. I want to put a sign on them that simply says “Don’t Ask”.

I know there are phases of death; Grief, denial, anger. Others I think. Five? Doesn’t matter. I feel like I’m in none and all at the same time. Like some weird mud ball has encapsulated me. I want people to live their lives without worrying about me and at the same time I hate that the world has gone on like nothing has happened. I DO recall THAT with my mothers death. Being mad at the world that everyone wasn’t stopped — motionless in grief.

Anyway, the coffee, the writing has helped a bit. I have to get his story out. Our story. It’s the nail driving this for me. Maybe later today. I also need to stop for a moment here and there and remind myself strength isn’t the be all and end all. That numbness is natural too. That sometimes life WILL feel normal, and its okay to fall into natural rhythms and then fall back out for a moment.