Monday, June 05, 2006

The Pit

Has anyone ever figured out the medical cause of the pit? By the pit, I mean that horrible, gripping, sinking, frantic feeling that radiates from the center of your torso when you realize something horrible has happened. The pit hit hard on Saturday morning and despite distraction, company, church, and a wonderfully, ignorantly cheerful baby, it hasn't receeded. It's as if something is sitting on my chest every waking minute.

Best I can figure, my body was in shock and functioning on autopilot for the first week. There was so much to do and think about that even in the moments when I would shut down, the pain was still held at bay by my own defense mechanisms. Saturday was the first day that I woke up and had nothing to do. Sure, I had a baby to care for and thank you cards to write, but I didn't have Dalton. And, it was real. It's real as I write this and feel the sob building up from the pit looking for someplace to escape. Crying in this situation is so much more than tears. The pressure is so great, that it's vocal and angry and physically painful. I remember seeing people sob in the movies and think, "No one cries that way." And then, I experienced it firsthand. Thankfully, the crying episodes are just that - episodic. Most of the time, I just live in constant awareness of the pit.

Our friend Eric (it's going to take a long time before I stop saying our) has been staying with me and it has been a bit of a double-edged sword. I've really appreciated the company and he's been a tremendous help around the house, but something feels wrong. Eric has stayed with us before and it's always been great, but this time it's just awkward. I don't know how to explain it except to say that the only man who should be alone in the house with Iain and me is Dalton. And, the only man who should be having lunch with me and carrying my baby and pushing the stroller and strapping him in to the carseat is Dalton. I've found myself almost hostile at times saying, "I'll get him." and "No, I don't want you to cook steaks. That's what Dalton cooks." And Eric isn't doing anything my girlfriends wouldn't do if they were here, but because he's a guy, it upsets me. So, while it's been really good to have him here, I suspect after he heads home tomorrow, that it will be quite a while before I venture out with any of my guy friends on my own.

I'm going to keep blogging for now and hope that some of you keep reading. With that in mind, I want to say a few things.

Dalton and I always imagined a happy ending to this story. He was going to recover. We were going to cooks steaks on the patio, go to baseball games, fly kites, and play with our grandkids. We were going to share our story of hope with others. This was not the way it was supposed to go. And, emotionally, I really wish I could end my own story here too. But I can't, so now I have to discover another ending. This is not a story whose arc I already know, so I don't know the path it will take to arrive at an ending or even how I'll know that I've reached it. I suspect that the next few chapters will be sad and depressing and generally yucky and if no one wants to read this anymore, I understand. However, I also know that at some point in life, most people will lose someone they love. And, maybe reading my struggle with finding a new ending or even a new beginning to my life will someday help someone else do the same. With that in mind, I will do my best to share this process with you as openly and honestly as I can.

And, let me start by clarifying that the five stages of grief as defined by Kubler Ross (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) do not all happen in a nice neat little progression. It's more like an onslaught of all five at different times of the day. So, when you read one post that represents all five stages, just know that I am not an anomaly. I'm normal and real and at a loss, just sharing my life.


Anonymous Kat Michaels said...


I don't really know you well, but I have met you. I don't have anything to say to help you with your grief. I wish I did. But I do want to share with you that God is using your blog to help me.

I got married about 2 years ago and my husband and I are madly in love. I love him so much that the thought of losing him comes to mind on a regular basis. I guess it's my biggest fear. Your blog calms those deep inner fears because it takes me to a place that I have been afraid to go. I have lived this vicariously through you. You've taken me there and shown me that even if the worst happens, I don't have to be destroyed by it. You have still continued to live and breathe and have friends and do things.

I'm sorry that you have had to go through this, but thank you. Thank you for walking this terribly painful path that God has put you on. He is using your pain to bless others.

Much love to you.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

HI Tricia - I am so glad that you are still blogging. I will be reading for sure. Mike and I are very very sorry we couldn't attend the funeral. We were on a long planned family reunion at a Christian camp in Colorado last week. I mentioned you one night during corporate prayer and many people who don't know you took time to pray. We have also been sharing your story with our small groups at Bel Air and have had many people praying for you there as well.

I am so sad that the story didn't end the way you wanted it to end. It didn't end the way anyone wanted it to end. But my instinct about you is that no matter how low things go, you and God can handle it. So don't be afraid to feel whatever is out there to feel and keep remembering how many people are holding you in prayer. Let me know if I can do anything at all.
Love, Michelle Lowe

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am still here reading. I knew Dalton many years ago and have sporadically posted on your blog over the past six months.

I can't assume to know you but please know that your writing resonates! I lost my mother 4 years ago, my best friend, and it took at least a year before I could even talk with people who had never met her and say aloud she had passed on. I still struggle with the idea she is no longer here.

I want to wrap you up in a blanket similar to what we do with our newborn children and hold you. You must be so tired. And still, I suspect you have yet to crash.

Everyone will revel in and admire your strength but if I have any advice to offer as I look back, you have to allow yourself the pain and insanity of actual grief.

You must find a way to make peace with yourself and discover new ways of being. Having to care for my children helped me, but don't use that as an excuse to not deal with yourself.

I can't believe this happened. I was one who thought this would go differently. I didn't come to the funeral because I lost touch with Jim and it seemed...

Your blog is a gift in ways you can't begin to count...

I can't presume to ease or abate what you must now live. And here I am a stranger to you suggesting we're somehow kindred in spirit while I listen to my husband snoring loudly and attempt to envision what your reality truly is right now.

All I can say is nothing, really. I have never met you but I think of you and Iain and Dalton Jr and your extended families and I try to make some sort of sense of this.

I want you to "wake up and live" after you allow yourself some real rest. You have lived an aspect of life none of us wants to know firsthand and yet we all face it.

I guess I am talking in circles because that's the nature of this. I guess not knowing you personally ia also a reason for my rambling.

I'm now speechless and groping for waht to say next - so I'll stop here.

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Tricia, All I can say is "thank you" for sharing such close, personal feelings with those of us in the blogging world. I am 54 and my dear husband is 63. I know that one of us will no doubt have to live the remaining portion of our lives without the other. I can't imagine it but I must think about it for it is reality. Your posts help to think about it more though I cannot truly empathize with you. I have also felt the grief of losing a mother and father but I know that the loss of my husband would be a depth of grief that I cannot imagine, but one that I may well have to experience. Again, thank you for your unselfishness in sharing your journey with me and others. I, too, will be praying for you, Tricia. I hope it helps in some small way to know that you are thought of and prayed for.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Tricia, I just posted and wanted to add another comment. I don't sit around and worry about my husband and I dying. We have such a wonderful life. We are so blessed and we endeavor to share our life and blessedness with those around us daily. Still, at our ages, death is more of a reality than when we were younger. It must be thought of and considered. We have concientiously planned our estate and finances as much as we possibly can but how do you plan for the loss of eachother? There is no you have discovered and chosen to share here. Again, thank you, Trica....I think you are brave.

8:39 AM  

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