I drive by the same 2 cemeteries almost every day on my way home from work. I know a handful of people in one, and none in the other. I gaze at the stones, some dusty and broken; others, standing strong and proud, fresh flowers or flags gracing the presence of the deceased.
A source of comfort for some: a resting place of a loved one, a spot to visit, placing flowers on the headstone and losing time speaking to those gone from here.
For others I know it is a place to fear. So many of us fear death (myself included, at times), so we can't handle to have it shoved in our faces, so loud, so cruel and final.
But what about the final resting place of something so very integral to our lives? Where do you go to mourn the death of a marriage? There is no stone, nowhere to place flowers and fill the air with our apologies.
For two years, I have felt this post brewing inside my soul. I have talked with close friends who have gone through divorce, and there are similarities. There's a sense of alone-ness, isolation, unforgiveness.
I mourned the death of my marriage by burying myself in my last 2 semesters of grad school. I sought comfort in my girl's face: her broad smile, her sparkling eyes, the never-ending affection in her words. I turned my back on the pain all day long, pushed the thoughts away, so I could keep putting one foot in front of the other. I smiled, I reassured everyone that I was okay as I bandaged their own wounds (mine gaping open, draining me of necessary energy).
The day I moved out of my home, and into my mother's, my bed was the last thing moved. I vividly remember standing in the middle of my bedroom, empty except for the elliptical machine, a pile of his belongings on the floor, and that bed. I thought of all of the ridiculous things said about "the marriage bed", and how many nights I had spent alone in that bed. The space and silence in the room overwhelmed me.
I have mourned the death of my marriage in this bed.
It has been a comfort. It is where I long to go to cuddle my girl at night. It is where I curl up around the ball of fur that is Max in the dead of the night. I have cried here, slept, had nightmares and daydreams, died, lost sleep. It is where I have rehashed every conversation, every word, and where I cried for apologies unspoken. It is where I hide, when things get to be too much. It is where I have spent so many nights alone. It is where I have lost hope, begging and pleading for peace and touch. It is where I have cried myself to sleep, and prayed myself to sleep as well.
Over these 2 years, this bed has become MINE again. Not ours. It isn't ours anymore. I cannot fathom that this is the same bed I laid on with the man I was married to. I cannot fathom that this is the same bed where we whispered in the dark, hushed voices full of dreams and plans.
It is now MY BED.
As I have grown to feel that my loneliness is MINE. My isolation MINE. My fear MINE. I have all these feelings and beliefs and truths and semi-truths tangled in these bed sheets with my bare legs, and I realize that this death is long over; the slate was wiped clean of this marriage. Yet, just like the death of a loved one, the grief never really goes away. It hangs, comes and goes, ebbs and flows, and there are little (or big, king-sized) reminders that bring it all back sometimes.