So, I made a deadline for myself to have a book finished about my grief in the first year of losing my husband. What was I thinking? I forgot how much of that initial raw grief this whole thing dusts up when I work on it. I forgot how much it brings back my widow brain.
So, obviously, I am not making my deadline. However, I did learn something from this! Never set a deadline on a project dealing with my grief! Never. Oh you guys, never ever. The last thing I should have done was compound the grief flashbacks with a feeling of pressure to meet a deadline. Not a good combination.
And so, as an apology and hopefully a way to make this up to you, I give you an excerpt. It was written in the second week after losing Steven. Beautiful Steven. It was written in the deepest grip of my grief. It is one of the reasons I want to put this book out there. To let that raw grief out for anybody who needs to connect with it.
Please accept this excerpt as a promise that I will be putting this book out soon. Very soon, but no more deadlines for these kinds of things. Lesson learned. I’ll keep you updated, that I promise. I will tell you that I’m aiming for the 2nd week of November and I think that’s very doable but I will let you know as I go.
Excerpt from I Hope They Have Email in the Afterlife:
I have to stop drinking at night. It’s so easy, though. It really does help get me through but then I end up smoking and feeling terrible in the morning. That is not living well in his memory. I am stronger than that. I know I am. I have to find that strength without him. He always helped me find it before.
I miss him more than I ever thought possible. This yearning, this painful void, it travels with me everywhere. There is no escape. Leaving the house or staying home both cause pain. Every single decision I make causes pain because it’s a decision without him. Everything exists without him. His absence is everywhere.
I try to imagine him talking back to me when I talk out into the ether but it’s hard. I’m losing his voice already. I have videos and I have a lot of things he wrote but it isn’t the same. None of it is the same. Nothing replaces him and nothing soothes this ache, this need for him. There is only the ache and then the ache intensifies until I can’t breathe and have to stop and take in deep breaths to stop my grief attack from cutting off my air.
I used to get panic attacks every once in a while with my depression. Steven helped me through a few. When people say that grief causes panic attacks, that is an understatement. My panic attacks were nothing compared to these grief attacks. Losing a part of your soul is full of so much pain that nobody could possibly comprehend unless it has happened to them. Calling these panic attacks is an insult. It’s a grief attack but that is so much worse than it sounds.
After the funeral and all the family went home, I thought I would be relieved. There is no such thing as relief in this new life. I want to be alone and then I don’t want to be alone. When I’m alone, the emptiness crushes me. When I’m around people, I just want to run away and be alone with my grief so I can let it out. There is no winning in the aftermath of losing him. There is only losing. A life surrounded by loss.
Making myself do things isn’t making me feel better, it only fills me with dread. Staying in bed and doing nothing doesn’t make me feel better, it only fills me with dread. I try to ignore the feeling that this will be how life is and how everything feels from now on. How does one live like this? This is no kind of life. This is no way to exist.
My husband helped me find who I was when we found each other as I did for him. We had both experienced a tragedy and we bonded deeply over our recovery together. He helped me find happiness and joy and he did it in such a way that it feels like they are elusive without him. Everything I do is now a painful reminder that I will never see him again; never hold him or have him hold me, never laugh with him, never kiss him, never hold his hand, never get another sweet email from him, never hear him hum or sing, never see excitement gleam out of his eyes, never get to see him create again. I will miss all of these things more than anybody could ever know. It hollows me out to think of how much less my life will be without these things.
As you can see, this book will be full of pain but don’t worry, there will be some hope in there. There is always hope. That is one of the biggest things I have learned and am still learning as I move through this world as the grieving yet hopeful nomad I am becoming. I laugh again, I have fun again, I love again, I am silly again. Life is life again, only I see it for what it is now and I have much bigger scars that make me feel the ups and downs stronger than I ever have before.
I am Rachel Rumbelow and I am going to show my wounds to the world in hopes that whomever it helps will also one day announce themselves to the world and the hope will spread. Or, people will hate the book and it will drown out into the nothingness. Either way. I am Rachel Rumbelow and this is my grief.