The Secrets You Keep.

But I suck at keeping secrets – well, my secrets, anyway – so here’s a few that my grievy little heart has been bottling up. And because I’m not special, odds are, if you know someone who is grieving, these are their secrets, too.

  • You’re not okay. But you do a pretty good impression of it. And it’s exhausting.
  • There are different kinds of grief. I’ve had the normal kind…lost people I loved and missed terribly. Now I realize there is a different category when you lose the person that was your foundation and this type burns you up and remakes you from the ashes and you suspect you’ll never be the same. (Plus, some of the most honest shit you say sounds super melodramatic.)
  • You feel isolated. You feel like you don’t see the people in your life much. Logic tells you that life is busy – nothing more. But grief tells you that it’s too much work to be around you. So you do your best to be cheerful when you’re with people, but this only makes the isolation worse because now even when you’re with people, you feel like they don’t really see you.
  • The people that assume you’re actually still a mess are the only ones you can really connect with. And that friend that tells you “it doesn’t matter if you cry every time we’re together – you’ll always be worth it” said the one thing you needed to hear more than anything.
  • Life looks different. The good things aren’t as good and the bad things are worse.
  • After four months, you still live in the theater. And the movie hasn’t stopped playing yet. It’s the background noise of your life.
  • You still cry all the effing time. And you’re sick to death of it.
  • That good spell you had gave you a false sense of security that you were coming out the other side. But now you realize that this is actually the most messed up tango ever and you don’t take a step forward without taking a step back.
  • You miss your old self. You want to be that upbeat and optimistic again. But you aren’t driving this train and apparently you don’t get to decide when you get off.
  • And you keep these secrets because nobody likes a whiner.

  11 comments for “The Secrets You Keep.

  1. Lori
    April 21, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Oh Erin, I’m so sorry. We don’t know each other well, but I feel like dropping everything to give you a huge hug. Sending positive thoughts your way.

    • April 21, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Awww. Thanks, Lori. Your cyber-hug is appreciated 😉

  2. April 21, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I feel weird, liking this, but you know what I mean

    • April 21, 2015 at 11:14 am

      Lol. Of course I do. Thanks, Jonas.

  3. A.PROMPTreply
    April 21, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Ah, you’re back! Good, I was starting to get concerned that we weren’t hearing from you on here.

    You know, I think the very best thing about blogging is that you can just type it all out as it is without having to dress it up at all and when you start getting comments and such then you know once again that you’re not alone and people do care when you let exactly how you’re feeling out and show us right here in black and white. However must mention here that this writing is awesome! You really do have a gift for getting across your feelings (awful though they are right now) in such a way that it’s almost a pleasure to read (though of course we wish you were in a better place right now).

    But you know, I think you must be something of an overachiever. You’re condemning yourself because it’s been four months and you’re not through it yet. I mean give yourself a lot of slack here….as you said yourself, this is the foundation of your life! It doesn’t get any more basic than this mother/child thing, you know? And she was a good mother and you loved her and she loved you and it was just how it should be. And then BOOM! The earth shakes and she’s gone and you’re alone and why the heck should you be okay by now?

    It’s like you’re a skyscraper and they’ve just taken the foundation off one side of the building! You’re teetering and you’re tottering and you’re trying hard to stand up and you’re trying to stand up so you don’t hurt anyone else by collapsing, but damn, you just need that foundation wall put back in. It’s going to take a whole lot of patchwork to ever get yourself back to feeling stable. And no, that won’t be the same stable that you had before, but it will be stable and you will use that stability to propel yourself to the next level and the next until this whole life your mother gave you, helped you build up, and shared with you is so full that you’ll actually be back to being sorry to leave when the time comes.

    If you haven’t already, do a bit of reading on the stages of grief. I think you’ll see it’s not a short road and that you’re actually right on track. There are gonna be good days and bad days, and all kinds of crazy emotions for a long time to come, and many more stages to go through, but you know and I know that you’re going to be okay in the end. And you know we know that because that’s exactly what you have to do because your mother would expect no less from you than the very best that you can do.

    Also, sending hugs ’cause I don’t want you to think all I do is lecture you. I just care very much that you know that I’m out here listening and I think you’re doing just fine! More hugs! 🙂

    Oh, and yes, you’re always worth it! I can tell you that from here without ever having met you. Definitely.

    • April 21, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      So lovely, as usual. I was actually just texting my sister-in-law today (she talked to my mom *every* day too…which says a lot about my mom…I mean how many daughter-in-laws are that close to their mother-in-laws?) and that was our consensus…it’s awful but we don’t get to control when this trip began or when it ends, we just have to ride it out because there’s no alternative…but that one day, we’ll realize that the suffering is less and that will be the beginning. But damn, what a long ride.

      • A.PROMPTreply
        April 21, 2015 at 3:29 pm

        Yes, I loved how you said that in your writing that you weren’t driving and had no control over when you got to stop. I thought that was not only a great description, but a great realization on your part. (Also yes, I wish I had that kind of MIL relationship…that is truly a gift). Sorry for the long ride on this one but don’t fight it. It’s all part of the process. Promise!

  4. April 22, 2015 at 4:25 am

    This. A thousand times this.

  5. April 22, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    A big cyber hug – hugs help – just to know you’re not alone and someone cares. Thank you for sharing what so many others can’t express in words. I’ve just farewelled the first girlfriend I shared a flat with at uni 44 years ago and it brings back the grief of all the others I’ve lost. My writing, two daughters and friends are my saviours, but they wouldn’t want to see inside my head! And yes, who would have thought we could cry so many tears! Take care Erin and seek support wherever and whenever you can and believe me it will come from the most surprising people and places. I lost my husband, lover, best friend, soulmate 13 years ago and the girls and I still feel the pain of the void. I lost my Dad and Mum not long after, a couple of years apart and yes, you feel as if you are choking in grief – drowning, not waving! But the sun still rises, the breeze still caresses, the birds still sing. There is pleasure in the warmth of the sun, the comforting predictability of the sea, the beauty of sunsets and the perfume of the flowers. You begin to look forward to the morning birdsong, but the most beautiful sound is shared laughter with family and friends when we remember the good times. It takes a long time, but we manage to concentrate on the best memories, especially on those days when everything seems bleak. One day you will laugh or smile and it won’t be forced, you will be on the journey of healing.

    • April 23, 2015 at 7:20 am

      That is so lovely. Thank you for taking the time to share that with me. Yes, I know all that is on the other side. It just feels like a very long road to the other side.

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