The Grief Pool

by Pool Builders on 08-20-2011 in Articles

CAMP WIDOW, SAN DIEGO, Summer 2011. Went on a total whim. Wanted to experience what I missed as a new griever.

Highpoint of Camp Widow? The ribbon on my nametag...purple with an all inclusive tag: 6-10 years. I survived...I thrived...I no longer counted the hours, days and months since I lost Rob. So much like my grandson Alex, who would proclaim, "I am 5 and 3/4 years." I now was officially an "old hand" at this widowhood gig. Thank God.

I felt together but apart. Hearing the stories of fresh grief was wrenching. Took me back to that fateful August, two weeks into widowhood...watching Rob's memorial service DVD while drinking wine for the first time in months...falling and smashing my head against the stone floor in the kitchen because I had too much wine to drink. Sitting alone in my dark house with my cat and dog and a bleeding skull. Grabbing a quilt, wrapping it around my head and wondering, "Do I have to go to the hospital? Shit, it's midnight. I am drunk. I am ashamed...embarrassed and alone." I could have called my best friend and she would have gladly driven me, but I had already leaned on her way too much. Figured I had worn out that welcome."

The bleeding didn't stop for a couple of hours. So, I got myself in the car and drove SLOWLY the mile to the hospital. Of course, I was terribly humiliated. The nurses were wonderful. They knew me, they knew Rob and they knew about his death. He died in their hospital.

They sutured my head up...telling me my friends or my adult daughter would have to attend to the wound. Nope, I would have the doctor change the "stuffing" he inserted into my wound.People would have to help me wash my hair. I fucking HATED that. Dependent. I was alone, dammit, and I didn't want to NEED anyone to do anything. This grief thing sucked.

So once repaired, I ended up having to call my dear friend. She came. She was pissed that I hadn't called earlier. She was kind. She made me breakfast. She put me to bed. After I woke up, I walked into the kitchen and the wall was soaked. A copper pipe with a pinhole leak had burst.

And the circus continued. Plumber, contactor, sheetrock, painting. All the stuff that Rob did and should have been doing...All of these events in 48 hours. Felt like widow karma.

So, this morning, six years out and mopping the floor, I dipped into the grief pool. Remembering the in-laws pulling up with a huge camper and a U-Haul trailer to take "family stuff" from my home. Me, speechless, filled with grief, unable to deal...them, sorting through our/my stuff. Taking what they believed was their family birthright. Knowing all along that all that stuff belonged to my beautiful soul daughter. Couldn't cope. My two girls and I vanished that night.

Following the floor mopping...that toe dip into the Grief Pool, I realized...for a year after Rob's death I wasn't dipping my toe in the grief pool, I was submerged in the Grief Pool. I couldn't even catch my breath, reach the island, catch a break.

Now, more than 6 years out I can visit that Pool, splash around a bit--but that's my choice.

So, as I left Camp Widow, I smiled. I know that all my friends who are grieving alone and driven wild by pain will be fine. They need the time to swim out of that pool, lie in the warm sun, be comforted by the Love that surrounds them and know that one day grieving and mourning will be a spot they can visit, but they are no longer sentenced to be there.

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