GAWD! How do I get myself IN to these situations. (Shut up! Don’t answer that! Who asked you? No I didn’t, it was a rhetorical question!)

My friend Charlena recently said, “But is there really any other way to go but in over one’s head? Full out baby, that’s the way you play it, and it’s the best shit even though doing it this way hurts like hell.”

You know what? I’m tired of hurting. I’m exhausted by pain, anguish, uncertainty, soaring hopes dashed to pieces on jagged rocks. Flying without a net.

Truth is, I’m soft.

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Bless me blogosphere, for I have sinned.

OK, so I don’t actually believe in “sin.” I believe that there are some things that are bad and some things that are good, with most things somewhere in between.

But this feels like a confession. In my head I know I’m not really “bad” and that probably many (most?) have gone through this “stage.” But the feeling I got in the pit of my stomach when I realized I felt this way told me I had crossed a line. So, thank you, blogosphere, for hearing my confession.

It hit me like a ton of bricks, as I was walking today. Having tried running for the first time three days before at a friend’s encouragement (and survived), I was eager to exert myself more than I usually do on my lunchtime outings. So, armed with the trusty psycho-mind-reading ipod, I charted a new route, and it wasn’t long before I was huffing and puffing up the quiet, winding, narrow streets of Portland’s West Hills. Sure enough, as I began to twist and turn my way downhill, a song about grief triggered a flash of realization:

I no longer miss Julie as an individual as much as I miss the roles she filled in my life.

The details of her as a person have started to fade, to lose focus in the haze of memory. How she spoke, how she would act, what she would or wouldn’t do in a given situation—these are becoming less and less clear. What looms larger now are all the things she is no longer here to be—wife, mother, partner, companion, someone to talk to and share all the joys and burdens and tasks and events of life.

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winter sky

Grief and exhaustion, the yin and yang of loss, the Bonnie and Clyde of surviving. It’s the biggest un-kept secret in the world of the widowed. People far more eloquent than I have blogged about it to death (Ha, ha. Get it?), most recently Kim at Widow’s Voice: Exhausting Part 1.5.

But it still surprises me. More than surprises, it whacks me upside the head, knocks me on my ass and kicks me in the ribs a few times for good measure. It square dances with depression who doe-see-doe to tunes of loneliness and futility.

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