When I lost you I gained a demon. It lives within me and can be cruel. In the early days after your loss it probably saved my life. Taking me over and systematically shutting down my connection to feelings and thoughts. It made me cold, numb, and robotic; in the early days it stopped me from going crazy. I remember when it started to take hold. Only moments of screaming with loss of control, and then so quickly to took over. It had me emailing and texting my commitments for the week telling them I would not be in, as I was being driven to your families to tell them. It kept me high for months, and away from the pain of reality. The reality that you died. Away from the literally unbearable pain of the sudden loss of your life. Without this beast in me I believe I would have gone insane. A shock to all the systems, my heart, my soul, my body, my consciousness, and my mind, so catastrophic insanity a viable option. But with it, I gracefully kept myself together; although it was no longer really ‘me’. I died in the moments following those words. I don’t remember them. Not the actual words that were spoken, confirmation that the worst was true. I remember where I stood and have been told who told me, but I can’t remember it. I can’t fill in those blanks, somethings are so vivid and others completely erased. This new creature took over. As though my body became a costume for this new thing, this shut down disconnected shadow of myself.
Over time I started to come back to life, and then the battle began.
I battled this other thing for space in my own heart, in my own head, in my own body, and in my own soul. Only it had taken up residency and I fought to be allowed to return to what was rightfully mine.
The battle was bitter.
The dark engulfing me and putting up a good fight to keep me.
Coming back to feeling meant months of a pain so vicious I thought it would kill me. This creature would thrash in me, fighting me at every turn. It feels like I have a wild beast in me. Like I was trying to cage it and it would fight harder. Only really calming down when I would give up. When I would go numb, live like a zombie, completely disconnected. It would be still as long as I stayed O so far away from what happened. As long as I stayed icy cold, and distant. Baseball caps and gaze to the ground. Bitter with a bit of an edge. As long as I said fuck you to the world it would remain mostly still. The more I could disconnect from your death, from this life, from a life of feeling, the more tame my beast.
But all Hell would break loose if I attempted to soften. I danced this place between all or nothing for a while. A complete submersion in a hurt I could not handle, or nothing. However, over time we developed a rhythm. I learnt its tendencies and needs, eventually being able to lean into them. Once I stopped fighting it, things were easier on me. It likes to be in control so I often surrendered. Understanding that it was no longer about me, that I was at the mercy of the beast, and we would all be better off if I could befriend it.
The beast and I started to make peace.
It didn’t go away, but I turned it into my guard dog. Instead of being held prisoner by its vicious will I learnt how to use it to my advantage. It has given me the ability to move on, to keep my shit together in a time when I could easily have fallen apart, and to live through your death. We, for the most part, have an amicable relationship. It steps in when something is to overwhelming for me and shuts my connections to feeling down, and in return I allow myself to be numb. I don't fight it or resist it much anymore, I wait it out. It used to be weeks, but now it is usually less. Sometimes only lasting moments, days at most. We wait on guard until the level of torment would be manageable for my psyche and then I feel.
Then I fall apart, then I hurt.
It still seems like it has more of a say in when and where I unravel then I do. When it chooses to step aside, I am left in a puddle of tears, a huge disassembled mess. Sometimes I can feel it starting to step back, and I grow restless as I fight the feelings. Like it is giving me permission to be in the sorrow, but I know how much that is going to hurt so I resist it. On my own terms I run from the reality of your loss by avoiding any and all triggers. I will stop practicing yoga, I will disconnect from my body, I will not go a moment without music on, I will isolate myself, and I will try to sleep a lot.
Only it is futile, because once the guard dog is gone, I am left vulnerable and the tornado of emotion is going to rip through. Leaving me exhausted in its wake.
It hurts so bad. Babes, it thrashes at my insides like in the early days. There is no change. Once I am lost in the sadness of your loss it is like I have made zero progress, like no time has passed, it is as though no healing has happened.
The only sign of hope in those moments where I am lost in your loss is that they come less often, they are further apart.
Less frequent, but no less intense.
I have something most mortals don’t. I have a beast that lives within me. When we align I am more powerful than ever before, but when we fight my mind goes to war, my body becomes the battlefield, and I am the casualty.
Rene, I love you so much and while I am making progress at life here without you I miss you more than words can express. I hope you are well.
With all my love.