26 March 2010

The lump

A hard aching lump is nestled about 4 inches from my throat somewhere in the middle of my chest. It refuses to budge, to rise upwards and outwards, to erupt into a cry. Instead it stays fixed inside, forcing a smile on my face, pushing me ever on to do all the million and one things that are asked of me at the moment. Officialdom, paperwork, decisions, insistent phone calls.

A few people commented on my previous post what is blindingly obvious, when you think about it. Greg didn't die a few weeks ago: he died five years ago. I lost him to something else a good while ago. Not another woman, but something more dangerous, more subtle. The person he used to be, the one I fell in love with, disappeared off the radar eons ago. I have been on my own, dealing with the minutiae of everyday problems, making decisions, bringing up Kay, socialising on my own for some considerable time. Nothing in the last three weeks has changed in that sense. The only difference is when I come down to the kitchen each morning I am no longer met with the smell of cigarette smoke before I enter the room; no longer faced with the image of him sitting at the breakfast table with his half-empty whisky glass; no longer forced to watch when he later slumbers half-on, half-off the sofa or on the floor. No more watching him retch first thing, before he takes a drink to still his rebellious stomach. No more whisky runs at the supermarket. No more emergency dashes to the hospital. How can I miss these? But the kind-hearted individual, husband and father that he once was is long gone. I grieved for him in my tears by the bucketload over the last five years.

The funeral is next Monday. Family, friends old and new, and many work colleagues will be there. They have been phoning, writing and emailing about what a wonderful man he was, how proud he was of Kay and me, what a difference he made to them. A man they still remember as he was. They did not see the Greg that was left behind once the whisky had done with him. They did not know what a slave to alcohol he had become and how it sucked him in and spat him out on an intensive care bed.

I see my mother and my daughter watch me like hawks. They try to protect or to hover when a subject comes up that might make me waiver. They look for a wobble in my voice or tears in my eyes, but that aching lump stays firm in my chest and refuses to budge. I just cannot cry.


Nota Bene said...

Addy...I'm sure that your feelings will take a long time to work themselves through. Your mum and Kay are looking out for you...

Elaine said...

It's so hard to know what to say. I have clicked here at least three times to see what others have said, and hurried off again, scared of saying the wrong thing, scared of being useless.

I don't know much Addy, but I know you were a beautiful wife to Greg. I know that he had already died for you, yet you carried on protecting him and being his wife, and not walking away. You carried on being the mother to your daughter, the friend to your friends, the person who held it all together.

If there is a heaven, and Greg is in it right now, he will have so much love and respect and gratitude and godknowswhat else for you right now....for staying by his side...for bringing up your daughter...for being so fucking amazing through all of this and for sticking with it.

I know you have cried so many tears already, and the next lot may not come for a long time, if at all. But you've done so much, so so much.

Just do what you're able, feel whatever comes naturally, and don't think you have to DO or FEEL anything other than that.

You're an incredibly strong and wonderful woman. God Bless You. x

Furtheron said...

Like you say I think you grieved for Greg a long time ago - and now no doubt there is relief but that makes you feel guilty maybe. I could understand all of that.

Don't be hard on yourself - no one can deny how you are feeling or not now.

As I said before the best thing is that his suffering and your worrying is over. Hold to that and the old memories as much as possible.

Hope Monday is as good as ever that can be for you and Kay.

nappy valley girl said...

I don't think there is any right or wrong way to grive. But you will get through it, in your own way, and hopefully you will be able to look back in a few years and remember the good times, while the bad ones will recede. The horror of it is all so immediate now, but it will fade, I promise you.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Just to say thinking of you Addy - take care of yourself and God Bless You. A x

aims said...

A time will come when you cry your heart out - long and hard. All it may take is a touch of a caring hand or the soft nudge from your lovely dog. Perhaps a leaf falling silently - floating through the limbs to land at your feet, or a new sprout coming up in the garden.

Something will remind you of the best that you had with him and when the loss hits once more - then it will all come out and your chest won't hurt as much anymore.

You don't have to be strong Addy. It's okay. It is allowed.

Kit Courteney said...

Does it matter if you can't cry yet?

Your body and mind are behaving naturally; as they wish to behave.

There's nothing wrong with that at all.

I hope the funeral goes as well as can be expected.

Flowerpot said...

I was like that when my dad died Addy - the tears will come but you've got such a complex muddle of emotions going on at the moment. You take care and I'm glad you have people to look after you - let them. Take care xxx

Monalisa said...

It's hard to know what to say.
I think you are very strong, you must have been to have looked after Greg all that time.
I hope you carry on being strong, it will get you through this awful time.

Millennium Housewife said...

Yes you lost Greg years ago, but what you have lost recently is Hope. When he was alive there was always Hope that he may improve, Hope that he'd give up the whiskey, Hope he'd become a semblance of who he was, Hope that he'd take notice again of the family he loves. Stranger and more impossible things have happened.
There are few things that tax us more than the loss of Hope.
Here's Hoping for you Rosiero, Hoping and praying and loving. x

AnyEdge said...

I hope that Greg's funeral will be a celebration of the good of his life. It seems, though the filter of these last years which were shared with the world here, that so much of the way his life ended was already funereal. As I've written here before, I didn't know Greg, and don't know you Addy, but I wish I had.

Greg must have been a fine man, to have inspired so much love and devotion from so intelligent and kind and longsuffering a woman. Too fine a man by far to have gone they way he did, the way we alcoholics do when we cannot steer from drink. And while Greg became a shadow of himself, his portrait was painted in great stripes of colour here, for us. The irridescence of his self, bleached out of his body through alcohol, reborn here with the agonised palette of his beloved wife's words.

And even if there were no other goodness to him -- and there was, so manifestly, other goodness to him -- he would have served a fine purpose in this world. A reminder to us all what ravages this disease does, the great men it has brought low, the love ruined, the lives abandoned. Greg's life has rebirthed my own. So many times, I havebeen angry, or hopeless, and I remember how much I have to be greatful for in your story. And I am reminded of the great feats of courage to which the human heart can aspire when I remember how you tell it. The excruciating misery that you bore, Addy, that you shared, with us in this forum, reminds me each day to be courageous in my life, in telling my story. Reminds me that even when I am feeling lost and abandoned, there are people who need to hear from me, as I have needed to hear from you. That humbles me, and inspires me.

Your story, Greg's story, recalls to me that God has a purpose for my story. Greg's life reminds me that I am to live my life to God's glory.

You have all my love.

Gill - That British Woman said...

everyone grieves in their own way, there is no right or wrong way to do that.

I hope Monday goes as well as expected and that you finally find peace.

The hard work will begin when it's all over and everyone has gone home and Kay back to University and you are on your own.

Just remember we are all here for you.

Gill in Canada

Nechtan said...

Hi Addy,

We do all grieve in our own ways. Try to think on it too much and it will come when you are ready. I hope in the meantime you are keeping well.

All the best


Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi Addy,

I cannot get the right words out for you...just know that we are all thinking of you and sending you a huge hug. If you feel up to it there are awards for you over at mine. :) Hadriana xx xx

Linda said...

Addy, like many of your blogging friends I am finding it hard to write words to comfort you. I have been thinking of you and Kay and pray that each day you become stronger to face your future without Greg. I know many of us will be thinking of you both on Monday and will hold you close in our hearts♥ ((((hugs)))) Linda xoxo

Achelois said...

No one says one has to cry to grieve - perhaps not crying is grieving.

I have a feeling that you may be holding on until after Monday.

I hope the lump that is stuck eases.

You have been so long in a caring role the very pattern of your days have been broken by Greg's passing. Time perhaps will play a role in how your emotions will develop. I think as many have said already much of your grieving has been done already.

I can only speak for myself but right now I would possibly be feeling downright angry.

I can only say that albeit in a virtual way I am thinking of you and if you come here to write whatever is on your mind I will be reading if not always commenting.

After Monday perhaps you will be able to put some of your needs and wants for your life first.

Take care.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

A day, a week, a month, a year. Keep going, for Kay's sake. Keep brave, it's early days yet and you have so many 'rooting' for you both.

Ellen said...

I just want to say that I will be thinking of you and Kay tomorrow as you honour your dear Greg. Despite his dreadful addiction, Greg must once have been an incredible man to have inspired so much love and loyalty in those close to him. He was blessed with a devoted family, and despite only 'knowing' Greg through your posts, I feel certain that he was aware of this to the end. Be strong. Dx

http://reluctantmemsahib.wordpress.com said...

that lump will dissolve. it will. Something will prompt that, but it may be weeks from now. and the prompt may suprise you. My mother couldn't cry for months and months after dad died: suddenly the grief poured out on a ferry across to the isle of Wight. just because he'd have enjoyed the trip. I will be thinking of you Monday x

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Sometimes we have no need to cry. But always a need to move forward. Recollections and momentos may always provide us with a reason to reflect but they too, will help us to make new memories.

Take care, CJ xx

Ham said...

It's a funny old thing, you probably know it it was a disease like any other that took him, but you may well have to deal with others who see it otherwise. And watching someone dry and shrivel through disease is quite shocking, you build up ways of coping and getting from day to day. For you, maybe this blog. For me, many, many years ago nursing my mother through cancer - it was work, immersed in the work of an alternative therapy.

And yes, after it all, emptiness - almost guilt that there was so little grief. And one day, when you least expect it there will be a moment. A point in time when you step through some unseen boundary. No point trying to hurry it or guess what you will feel, but it will give you a touchstone. A rock solid pivot that will crash through the years and give that part of your life to date real feeling and meaning. More, it will let you really remember the good. And it will hurt.

For me, even now nearly 30 years on I remember that moment and the raw emotion comes back.

Don't think you are wrong, don't think you need to blame yourself, there are endless numbers of us, bonded by this common experience - a read through your comments should show you this clearly. You will need all your inner strength for this, especially after all the fuss has died down. Cope with it whatever way you see fit.

My very deepest and sincere condolences to you and your daughter.


And maybe, you would find strangely familiar echoes in the short story by Susan Perabo, Explaining Death to the Dog

Not sure why I'm here said...

I've followed your posts for a while now and always lurked, may you and Kay find peace and rejoice in your release and may Greg rest in peace, god bless you all

dulwich divorcee said...

So sorry, Addy, and I do know the feeling of the lump that won't let you cry. Hope that will melt soon and let you grieve.

cheshire wife said...

When it is all over and there is nothing left to do I am sure that you will cry. Shock and stress can be unpredictable.

dragondays said...

When I divorced ten years ago, a lot of tears were shed. Someone said that divorce is worse than death, as there is no body to grieve over ...
When the X died two years ago I cried for my children, but not for him (even though we got on well after the divorce) - my grieving was done long ago.
Take good care of yourself and Kay and if you can't cry, it doesn't matter - it will happen when it wants to.
Louise x

Working Mum said...

I'm sorry I haven't called in to this post until now. I hope the funeral went well and that you and Kay are starting to rebuild your lives without Greg, but with cherished memories of him before the illness took him from you. WM x

Eliza said...

There is nothing more to add, nothing I can say, it will all take time. Hugs to you, I'll be thinking of you.

婉婷婉婷 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elaine said...

Thinking of you. x

Shammickite said...

Your story is so familiar.
I experienced the same story. My alcoholic husband died 11 years ago. I don't think I ever cried for him after his death, but I shed many many tears as he was on the inevitable downward spiral. But once he died, I admit it..... I was relieved that I and my sons wouldn't have to endure the same difficulties in our lives again.
Life goes on, and in a better way.

Robert said...

"I just cannot cry."...your time will come. Probably after the funeral and after everyone has left you to your own devices.

Best wishes.