Spilled Milk

The last 30 months of my life have consisted of hanging on by a thread. They have been the darkest days of my life. Perhaps, the most disheartening adjustment of all is wearing a mask in order to appease others. One heartbreak after another fills my days, one tragedy after another just continues. I think one of the most sobering moments occurred when I realized that I could drink milk out of the carton if I wish. I was pouring myself a glass of milk when it hit me. I spilled milk everywhere when I fell to my knees. That realization hit me like a brick. I…am…alone. I do not want to drink milk from the carton or eat food from the container. I want to set out two dishes and two glasses for milk. However, I never will. I will never again experience the simple of joy of pouring a glass of milk for someone else. What is it the kids today say? Fml—fuck my life. Yes, I believe that is it.

     People permit you a short time to grieve, believing that you will recover and become yourself in a couple of months. They do not understand two things about losing the love of your life. First—you remain numb for a long time, possibly up to a year. You are breathing, eating and sleeping, but you are numb. The finality of the situation does not sink in immediately at burial. After the first year, it slowly begins to sink in that the person you love is not coming back and then the depression becomes a part of your soul. After the second year, you realize that you will be alone for the rest of your miserable life. It is then that the widow or widower reaches out for understanding and receives none. “It has been so long, you should be over it by now. We gave you time to grieve. Now you must let it go.” Yes, I have actually heard those words.

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     As I approach the 30-month mark of death (I died on that day too), I have reached a point in which I just wear a mask for the public. They do not want to hear about the way the little squirrel I braked for reminds me of the time Doyle yelled at me for slamming on my brakes without looking in my rearview mirror. They also do not want to hear about how this song or that song reminds me of something Doyle did. What they want to hear is praise for their endeavors and encouragement for their problems. Fml. It is what it is.

     The fourteenth marked 30 months since I heard my husband say, “I love you.” I had to fasten my mask so tightly that morning to ensure that I did not mention what the day meant to me. I held the tears in until I was alone. It is remarkable how many tears one can shed at one time. If I could save them all, I would have a lake home. I did not think I could cry any more than I did on New Year’s Eve. I was wrong. I can cry that much and even more. I no longer drink milk.

     I am so sick of people whispering that I am suicidal because I miss my husband. I pray that those people never experience what I have and learn the truth. Yes, I have my family—I am fortunate to have my parents and I have my children. I love them all. It is a different type of love. I wish people could understand that. Doyle and I were married for nearly 20 years. We were inseparable. We made love; we did everything together. I do not know how else to explain the difference to people. Kisses, hugs and sex will never be in my life again. Apparently, that bluntness is required to explain the difference of losing a husband and losing a grandparent. I am sick of people whispering behind my back “it’s been over two years, but she doesn’t handle it very well.” Really? I work 10 hours a day, I am a full-time student who graduated summa cum laude for my AA degree and have made one ‘B’ while earning my BS degree. I take care of my home and my yard. I do everything I am required to do and more. What the hell do people want from me? Do they want me to say, “Oh, Doyle’s dead and buried so I think I will just forget about the last 20 years and pretend it never happened.” They hope for that in vain because I will never pretend that my love meant nothing. Fuck it—I’m putting my mask back around my heart to make everyone else feel happy.

©2012 Relinda R.

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6 thoughts on “Spilled Milk

  1. I’m coming in almost a year after you wrote this, but it’s exactly how I am feeling.
    I’m on a search for some relief and that’s how I found your post. I doubt I will find a answer.
    I am at 19 months and it’s still so hard, and getting harder each day…..as most have said. I just hate my life right now. I see no future, no new beginnings, no purpose or reason to be. When your already past age 60 what’s left to do now? I don’t feel like starting over and doing it all again with someone I don’t know yet. I just want to go to bed and sleep off this nightmare.

    • Hi, JoAnn. I am so sorry for your loss. Although I can relate to the magnitude of losing the love of your life, I cannot claim to know exactly how you feel. I do know the feeling that you describe. It is a familiar feeling. People keep telling me that there is always hope, and I believe, for some, there is. We just have to hang in there, JoAnn, we have to hang in there…

  2. Excellent writing. I was just telling my dad today when we were talking about someone who lost their husband, that she’s been numb and slowly she’s going to unthaw. Then will be the time that you start to feel again and it’s horrible! The longer it is, the more you miss them. The longer it is since you saw their smile, heard I love you, or just had a hug. In some ways, time makes the pain even worse. People just don’t understand and if God is merciful, they never will.

  3. Having stumbled across your blog accidentally (I am new to this) I wanted to say just two things. The first is that you write beautifully, and the second is that YOU ARE ENTITLED TO YOUR GRIEF. It belongs to you. It’s not my husband, but I know what it is to lose someone whom you love so totally, you cannot imagine life without. Some 12 years on and the pain in the same. I have just found a way, not to get over it, but to weave it into the fabric of life, respect it, encompass it, feel it, and understand I am allowed to do it. I wanted to punch the air when I read “FUCK YOU! WHAT DO YOU KNOW?” because that is the truest thing I ever read about grief. One day you should allow yourself the pleasure of saying it. Never feel ashamed of what you feel. You should feel proud that you had someone in your life to love so much. I wish you only the strength to bear your burden.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. In life, not often, but every once in awhile–someone comes along and says (or writes) just what you need to hear (or read) at the time. You are that person in my life today. Thank you so much.

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