“It’s better to be there when something passes away. If you don’t see it happening, there’s always a part of you that thinks it might come back, whatever it is, and that’s the part of you that keeps you from seeing what God’s going to do next.”Bishop Greenleaf
I’ve been watching the final season of Greenleaf on Netflix. In the first episode a couple of pieces of dialogue really hit me at my core. I’ve lost a lot of people who I haven’t been able to properly mourn because circumstances meant there was no visitation, no memorial service, no wake or funeral. It’s just a phone call or a message, or in one case, a Facebook post alerting you to the fact that someone you love is gone. No goodbyes, no warning.
The most difficult loss has been my ex-husband, Jay. He was only my ex because of circumstances. We still spoke frequently. He video chatted with me several times a week, sometimes multiple times a day. We were friends. We still loved each other very much. We just couldn’t be together. I wanted more than anything for him to find someone who could love him and take care of him as good as I knew I would have if I could have been there. I wanted him to find happiness and peace, even if it meant we wouldn’t speak as much anymore.
In the end, I learned of his death from a phone call, but that’s all I really got. I don’t know what actually happened. I know what some people told me happened, but the person who was actually in the same state as him is someone I don’t trust. His account of circumstances leading up to Jay’s death, don’t match what Jay was telling me and how Jay seemed, in what would be his last days. What is true? I don’t know. There is no way for me to ever know. Was there a memorial service? I don’t think so. I believe his step-mother, who was his only surviving relative in the country, had him cremated. I believe so, based on third-hand information from Canadian relatives who only know what someone told them. It makes sense that she would do that, that she would intend to bury his ashes with his father. Though he would have wanted some ashes to come home to Canada, to be spread at the family homestead. And he would have liked to have some ashes buried with his Mom, whom he adored. I know none of those things happened.
There is no obituary online. There is no news article that I can find in the archives of his local newspaper at the time. There was no criminal investigation that I’m aware. I don’t even know exactly which day he passed away. March 23 or 24, 2019, roughly. He was 53, didn’t make it to his 54th birthday at the end of July. The gap is closing toward the time when I will be older than him. These are the things I think about. How will I feel on my 54th birthday?
There is no way to contact anyone who might know something that could ease my ignorance and pain. It is absolutely the worst thing, the not knowing. It eats away at me, every day.
I google him frequently, hoping something new will turn up, following rabbit holes down deep into the internet looking for clues. Maybe he isn’t really dead. All I have is what was told to some relatives here. They didn’t go there. They didn’t check. His brother went. I think. Even that I’m not sure about because I didn’t talk to his brother and by the time I had finally gotten to a state where I could talk to his brother, he was also gone, passed on, the last member of the immediate family. Now, they are all gone. The only person who might be able to alleviate some of my constant suffering is the step-mother who has likely returned to her maiden name, a name I don’t know, who I only have a vague idea of a city where she might live, who would be in her mid to late 70s now, so time is not on my side for finding her. If I could find her. Would it help? I don’t know.
Somehow, I have to figure out a way to let him go and stop obsessing over all the things that I do not and will not ever know. I can turn it off. Turn it off and feel nothing. Dry up the tears that overwhelmed my life the first eight months after he passed. I did that successfully for quite awhile, but then I started meditating and the emotion switch flipped back into the on position. The tears flow freely and consistently now, all the time. Now the emotion is raw and bubbling just below the surface of my skin. Now I snap, and I snap quickly. It takes nothing to prompt some kind of explosion. It takes nothing, but I have so much. Triggers, triggers, everywhere I turn.
I don’t know what to do. Counselling, they say. Well, I’ve done counselling, therapy. And either this therapist is no good or this isn’t what I need, because it just makes me more frustrated. I want answers. I want a program to follow, a book to read. I want a suggestion that actually makes me feel better. I want someone to tell me what to do, something practical, something I can physically do. Something besides crying. Crying is so unproductive and unsatisfying. Years are passing by and I either shut down/ shut it off, or I cry all the time. I try to be present in my life, to be more mindful, but all I get is tears and an aching in my heart. I pull back but then I miss so much. Things happen around me, I smile and joke and pretend, but if you look in my eyes I’m sure you can see I’m not really there. I’m not present in that moment. But I feel like nobody ever looks into my eyes to see if I’m there or not. As long as I’m not exploding, I am invisible. I must be okay.
People forget I had a husband. I mean it’s probably pretty easy to do because it was a part of my life that I went off and lived separately. They weren’t there. They didn’t see us together. They didn’t see how I looked at him or how he looked at me or how good we were together or how happy I was. They likely heard more about our disagreements and arguments, because I don’t talk a lot when I’m happy. So they didn’t see it and they didn’t hear much about it. But they saw the end, they saw my heart break. They were there when I was falling apart and had no vocabulary to express my devastation. But even that they didn’t seem to get. I felt pressure to snap out of it, to just get on with it and say bygones. So I did … kind of. Appearances are great, as long as nobody looks into your eyes and sees that you aren’t really there.
Drinking: black coffee, tap water
Listening To: Terry Seguin
Hair: needing a shampoo