Because I’m All Alone

Saturdays can be busy days when you’re a parent. There are always errands to run, laundry to wash, and kids to feed. This Saturday is extra busy though because Eleanor was invited to a birthday party at Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park.

I thought the busy atmosphere and crowd of people would be a good distraction for me. However, as I stood there in the middle of the trampoline park and took in all of the hustle and bustle, I couldn’t help but feel more alone than ever.

I Always Felt At Home With Emily

As you might imagine, I’ve never been part of the “in crowd.” Yes, I’m very extroverted and enjoy talking to people. But, let’s be real: I’m more than a little weird. It’s hard for me to fit in with people. And, even when I do find people who are nice to me, my social anxiety and trauma history cause me to question everything.

Now, Emily and I couldn’t have been more different. She was athletic and very flexible. She loved makeup and cute dresses. She watched every medical show ever made, and she was 100% an adrenaline junkie. Meanwhile, I’m not athletic at all. I wear graphic tees anywhere I can and own zero makeup. I love “Grey’s Anatomy,” but hate looking at blood. Oh, and I have passed out on roller coasters before, so not a thrill seeker.

Yet, somehow, I never felt out of place with Emily.

I think, despite our differences, Emily and I shared a lot of the same experiences in life. We both experienced a fair amount of bullying throughout our childhood, we took honors and AP courses, and we both were very active in band and other artsy activities (dance for her and theater for me). We both lived with mental health conditions that our families didn’t always understand, and we both hid parts of our identity from people because we worried about how they’d respond.

Neither of us were part of the “in crowd,” but it didn’t matter because we had each other. We could stand as a united front anywhere. Emily just felt like home.

The Loneliness of Grief

I think grief is one of the hardest life experiences to weather. It’s complicated, it’s messy, and it makes you feel so, so lonely.

Now, I’m not trying to isolate. In fact, I’d say that I’ve done a fairly decent job of trying to stay connected to friends and family. But it doesn’t seem to matter who I am around or what I’m doing — I still feel alone.

I think part of it is that this experience is something very unique. I don’t think anyone can truly understand what this loss feels like unless they’ve lost a partner as well. What’s worse, the unexpectedness of it all doesn’t match the experience of others I know who lost a spouse to something like cancer or another terminal illness because I didn’t even have time to prepare my brain for this. It doesn’t make my pain worse than anyone else’s, but it does make it different.

I also think that the way society responds to grief and other painful experiences sets people like me up to feel this way. We try to make everything look bright, shiny, and fun. We avoid discomfort at all costs, even when the discomfort is warranted. So we ask people if they’re okay, but if they say anything other than “I’m fine,” or “Doing alright,” we take a step back and try to find an emergency exit.

People don’t want to watch someone fall apart. They don’t want to sit and listen to stories filled with tears. They want that “crazy” person who is sad to keep everything inside and only unpack it for one hour each week in the presence of a therapist.

Here’s the thing: that’s impossible. Emily is on my mind 24/7/365. I miss her the moment I wake up. I reach for my phone to send her a text message at least a dozen times each day. I cry as I open the fridge and see a Dr. Pepper she put in there a few days before she died. I wish for her as I fall asleep.

Even as I sit at a table and watch the kids run and jump all over this trampoline park, I can’t help but think about what Emily would be doing here (jumping and climbing), and what sort of ridiculous thing she’d con me into doing with those beautiful blue eyes, a very convincing, “Please, babe?” and a possible promise of a “reward” for my cooperation.

I have never felt this lost and alone in my entire life. It’s gut wrenching and impossible to convey in words. Because of Emily, I found my home. But because she’s gone, I feel like I’m wandering aimlessly, by myself in an ocean filled with waves upon waves of sadness, fear, and anger.


One thought on “Because I’m All Alone

  1. Pingback: … Because I Never Want To Say Goodbye | Because Of Emily

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