I find myself saying this to people a lot: what you’re living makes absolutely no sense at all, it’s utterly illogical, and your brain cannot make it make sense.
Grief, and this daily life you’re living, seems surreal. Dream-like. Like you should just be able to shake yourself and wake up.
There are days like that for me, still – nearing the 5 year mark very soon. But I remember when the sense of unreality was the strongest, and that’s what I write about in this week’s Friday personals.
Writing without the deeply personal is not the whole story of grief. To give the whole story, to give as many handholds as possible in the steep climb of grief, we need to hear personal stories. Each Friday, I’ll post something from my own experience of grief and love. It’s an inside look at love, at grief, at life.
This week, a post from 2011, when I first started venturing out into the world of work and humans again. It was not an easy transition:
It used to be, in the Before, if I was feeling stressed or anxious, I could look around at my reality and root myself in it.
I could easily say, sweetheart, look: everything is fine. If it is ever not fine, you will deal with that then. I can’t do that anymore. I cannot look around and say that anything is fine.
Reality is crazy. Reality is wrong. Nothing is ‘fine.’
Lately, I’ve been feeling completely upside-down, confused, waking up thinking this has all been a dream – really, not just wishful thinking – I’m forgetting where I am and where I’ve been. It takes several minutes each morning to realize that this isn’t a dream.
It’s a bit like the early days: my mind is confused, my time frame is off. I forget things.
I leave myself notes to remember what day it is and what time I am supposed to be somewhere; I find myself thinking it’s morning when Boris and I are out for an afternoon walk.
I start to answer a question I’ve been asked and feel like I’m not making any sense.
Part of all this mind muddledness is trauma, part of the picture of trauma.
This is what trauma does.
There are also lots of changes going on, new stressors, new uncertainties – I’ve started working full time hours for the first time in two years. It’s bizarrely stressful, and physically exhausting.
But the biggest most huge thing of course is that this life is utterly entirely unreal.
It’s insane. It’s not logical. It can’t be real.
I go to work and see people behaving normally. I go to the café, and people are behaving normally. Everywhere I go: people behaving normally. Everyone going on about their lives, sun comes up, sun goes down, tra la la, it all just happens, and excuse me, but are you aware that matt DIED?
It has been over two years I have lived in this insane reality. Of course I’m f-ing nuts.
I don’t know why it’s worse this week. The confusion and sense that I’m asleep and dreaming this has been so intense. The weirdness of the world, the discordance of all of everything – it’s all just getting me.
I’m not sure if it’s better or worse now, as I write this post today: over two years have passed since I wrote the section above. That I have become more accustomed to the surreal nature of this, that I can take the repeated smashing into an impossibility and somehow just roll with it – I’m not sure if that’s better or worse. It just is. It still doesn’t make sense. It never will.
It really never will.
How about you? How does the insanely f-ed up nature of what you’re living show up in you? are you losing time, forgetting dates, having to leave yourself notes everywhere? And if you’re somewhat beyond the early days, and the bizarre, dream-like nature of this has lessened some, what’s that process been like for you? Leave a note in the comments, or send an email. I’d love to hear from you.