Stuck

stuck by redheadwritingI used to write four or five days a week. Most of you know – you read every word. The past two weeks have turned practice into torture, the words coming only when I have the energy left over. Rare moments when the world doesn’t seem so heavy or fucking unfair. I never fathomed the energy it takes to spend all of your time doing something so you do not do nothing, because the minute you do nothing, you begin to think.

Some days, and most as of late, thinking sucks.

Sport drinking still feels like shit. Consuming till you stop feeling only makes you feel all the wrong stuff more. Then you get to be pretty: a sobbing, hysterical, drunk ass mess with a stomach that can’t be fixed by puking and leaving you with only a day wasted. The shittier part is you get to spend that whole wasted day thinking. Kinda fucked up when you consider your goal was to not think in the first place. Biochemistry: 1 / Erika: 0.

When I’m not walking around with my head up my ass, however, there are some pretty incredible things. A voice on the phone you’re so happy to hear early in the morning. Surprise invitations for pancakes. Trips you never thought you’d take to say thank you to the ICU staff that did everything they could to save someone even they knew was special. The news that one of your best friends for over 20 years just had her first baby (and that her hubby’s already wrapped around his new daughter’s little finger). Dinner with a new friend where I learned about her and myself. A car ride home where Ingrid Michaelson crooned and I couldn’t tell that Zoe was singing along because their voices are both that rare stuff: pure, raw talent that makes you ready and willing to sit up a little taller while you smile inside.

I still hyperventilate…something I’ve never, ever done in my thirty-seven years until thirteen days ago. I still cry if a stiff breeze blows. But today, for all of my bullshit, was a good day. And while I don’t yet know the meaning of words like “okay” and “better,” I could see that today was good.

I can never sit down and write unless I must. Something has to be stuck and wanting out. I’ve got a lot of shit stuck right now and only bits and pieces are seeping through, but at least most days, I don’t feel like I’m going to implode. I get angry. My sense of humor goes into hibernation (and I reckon it’s in the Blanket Cave with my heart). But laughing…hugging…smiling. They all feel good and I know I haven’t forgotten how to do them. And since this world is one big asshole that decided to keep spinning round, I can choose to let it either throw me off like a haunted, whirling carousel at a cheap county fair or tell it thank you for giving me a reason to hold on and ask gravity to become my friend again.

There’s not a moment I don’t think about Jason. He helps me. He says hello. I see his smile and feel his hand in mine in my dreams. And while there’s a gaping hole in my heart left behind by what was ripped away, there are things and people that still remind me that I’m the luckiest…even on the days where the longest losing streak in Vegas can’t match my feelings that I’ll never win again.

I. Am. The luckiest. That’s the one feeling inside that’s not stuck.

30 comments
Michele
Michele

Erika, I know you are surrounded by love and support and countless encouraging messages. I'd just like to say that your courage is inspiring to more people than you know. Thank you for putting so much of yourself out there. We're all standing with you.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Sadly, I'm more of a cyclist. Swimming, however, is an excellent metaphor for being dropped into a pool of unfamiliar (and unwelcomed?) emotions. :)

Lauren Constance
Lauren Constance

I was stuck for about a year. It was a different kind of loss, but a loss nonetheless. All I could manage most days was to just keep going. Wake up, find things to fill the hours, then go to sleep. When some hours didn't completely suck, I knew a teeny, tiny little piece of me had healed. Overall it got better, then worse, then better, then worse... such is life. I'm still stuck on many days--but grateful for the days when I feel un-stuck. So yeah, I have no advice except to quote Dori: "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming."

asplenia
asplenia

It seems natural that as you're grieving, you're feeling less fluid. However you need to be, be. I am impressed by how striking your post about not writing is. Just wanted to offer a small voice of support. I'm thinking about you. ::hug::

The Redhead
The Redhead

Funny - I felt it was anything but "fluid." Chunky. Like canned soup. Meh - goes so show what I'm capable of seeing at this point!

The Redhead
The Redhead

Erika, meet horse. Horse, Erika. :) Thank you, Greg.

The Redhead
The Redhead

MUAH, Ms. Kramer. Thank you for the call today :)

Kellie J Walker
Kellie J Walker

In my experience, you don't get "okay" or "better" when grieving the loss of a loved one. Over time, it seems that the "gaping hole in heart left behind by what was ripped away" does fill, though. It's as if all of the memories and love and laughter and everything you shared with the missing person is pulled into the vacuum that they left behind. Your heart encapsulates all of that - keeping it safe and warm and there for you for whenever you want or need to bring at least a small part of them back into your life. It's not as good as having them there with you. But, at some point, it becomes enough. Well, almost enough. Bearable, at least. Until then, feel free to keep your head where only you and your proctologist can find it. Hyperventilate and get angry as often and as much as you need to. Those "pretty incredible things" will keep happening for you. Until gravity decides to become your friend again, your other friends will help keep you anchored or buoyed or both whenever you need it. We'll all still be here for you. Ready to read about those other bits and pieces when you're ready to write about them. Lots of monkay love comin' your way.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Thanks, Kellie :) Appreciate the monkays.

Cherry Woodburn
Cherry Woodburn

Grieving is very painful. My experience is that trying to keep the thinking, well really the feelings, at bay is what sapped my energy. Much as I fought the crying, wailing, throwing myself on the ground, I'd feel better after I did it...at least for awhile. Hugs to you Reds, Cherry

mary
mary

a. the world is a big asshole b. there is a lot to be thankful for c. I can't wait until what's going on in you hits the page!

The Redhead
The Redhead

And I appreciate you always stopping by, Mary...

Brennabsmith
Brennabsmith

Love the Ben Folds reference. :) Ericka, be patient with yourself through this process. Its ok if you have feelings stuck in there. What you are doing, writing when you feel you can dislodge some of it, will help soothe the hurt. Letting go will be a process. Loss sucks eggs, but we find our greatest strengths when we climb the mountain of hurt that stands in front of us as we process that loss. You are awesome. Keep findiing those little things in life to smile about and know you don't have to stand strong when that stiff breeze attempts to knock you over.

The Redhead
The Redhead

That Ben Folds reference...yes. I am The Luckiest.

Morrigansl
Morrigansl

Thank you for putting to words the last few weeks how I feel, because I just don't have the energy or talent to do so... Grief is evil... Morrigan

The Redhead
The Redhead

And thanks for your messages on Twitter, too :)

Killian
Killian

Grief is a nasty, sneaky motherfucker. It holds no schedule, can't read a calendar, and doesn't give a rat's ass about your time line of when you -should- feel "better." (Whatever the hell "better" means.) It also hits you out of nowhere, at the most inopportune times, in the most inconvenient of places. But somehow, after the initial onslaught, it does seem to ease back. The attacks become less frequent, and the force with which they're thrown lacks the same level of gleeful enthusiasm. From what I'm told, that means you're "moving on," "getting better," and oooh, the best one!..."getting over it." I cannot tell you the depth of my loathing for that phrase. I will say, though, that for me, as the grief starts to look elsewhere for other victims, the sun appears a little brighter, the brilliant autumn colors are rich and layered again, instead of being infused with grey. You can listen to music without sobbing at a red light, and you can smile at stupid things without the mantle of guilt and sorrow that you're still here to do it. I'd hold your hand through this, but as we don't know each other, that might be a little creepy, and a lot weird. Instead, I'll send understanding nods, cyber hugs that are never stalkerish, and the knowledge that someone else shares your pain.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Oh, hell...you don't have an ounce of stalker in you :) I'll hold your hand. And thank you for holding mine.

Greg Smith MD
Greg Smith MD

Erika, I can feel through this post that you are waking up and feeling better. I am so glad. I have been traveling this journey with you this week with the loss of my mother-in-law via a chronic set of illnesses plus an acute event that proved to be her last illness. The work of grieving is hard. It is necessary. It teaches us a lesson about life that we can put in our back pocket and take out again the next time we need it. To me, there is something comforting in that, since I know that I can get through this. You can too, and you will. I love your writing and your view of the world. Please get back on the horse and ride. Daily. :)

D.T. Pennington
D.T. Pennington

Also: Laxitives.

TheDudeDean
TheDudeDean

Jersey Shore is more like a brain enema.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Really? Jersey Shore references on my blog? Ow.

Extreme John
Extreme John

Not at all, I lived that life and get lucky enough to still do so every once in a while, only difference is those hooks (hookerz) get paid for it.

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