The Phantom Pain

Most days, to some degree, this mourning hurts. It weighs me down.  I feel it pressing down on my chest and the air feels thick.  I can sometimes get it to go away for awhile by being engaged in some activity: work, laundry, exercise, etc. It might not last all day but it is always waiting there for me in the back of my mind and the shadowy parts of my heart. 

My throat hurts like I have swollen glands. It is inflamed with the very emotions that make it difficult to speak about them. It wants to keep me voiceless and mired in the grief.  If I don’t speak of it, it sends me drifting off on a solitary island telling me lies about how I am alone and without hope of rescue. The antidote, I’ve found, is to express myself.  I have to take the initiative to come to my own rescue.  I have to write, to cry, to talk, to sing. I have to do this whether or not there is anyone who listens or sees, and even if those around just don’t or can’t engage with me. These things actually bring a physical relief to the pain. Then like any medicine, it wears off and has to be repeated.

Night after night I get tired, turn out the lights and sleep. Then I wake up in the dark an hour or two later. One night I was finally tired enough to sleep around midnight.  I fell asleep and woke up some time later only to discover that it was only 12:20. Seriously, only 20 minutes later? I’m not sure if my mind is trying to wake up into a new reality, repeating over and over like the movie Ground Hog Day until I get it right.  Maybe it is disturbed by the silence.  There is no sound of breathing from the other side of the bed.

I have a sort of pain that feels like something has been ripped out of the right side of my body.  I know its no longer there, but I can still feel it. It is like the bruise you can’t remember how you got.  You run your fingers over it in hopes of relief, or maybe trying to remember how it got there in the first place.  It is the phantom pain of where my husband used to be. I hope that someday this will fade, like all bruises do, and either become a companionable presence or just go away.

In the meantime, expect more of this from me.  It is my therapy, and you as my readers have become my community and my help.  Thank you.

6 thoughts on “The Phantom Pain

  1. The mornings are the worst.I can be busy all day, go to bed utterly exhausted in trying not to think about the pain in my heart……. and then I wake, and remember again…. Nothing has changed….

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  2. I am listening.
    And you should start texting me at the weird hours. Turn your volumes down at night; I’ll text you, too.

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  3. I hope you start waking with a feeling of hopefulness that surprises you and gives you room to feel optimism and happiness before you start your day.

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