THE SILHOUETTE

sil·hou·ette
silo͞oˈet/
noun 1. the outline of a solid figure as cast by its shadow.

The silhouette moved slowly down the hallway. If only I could slow my manic mind down to this speed, she thought, as she began another day in the life.

She headed straight to the coffee pot. Her husband was the sweetest man, always having her coffee ready when she woke up. She sat down and stared at the TV, not listening. She wasn’t tuned into the weather or the tragedies that had occurred while she slept. Just as it had been every morning since her son had died, she knew she would be fully immersed in her own tragedy before her coffee mug was empty. Life’s routine was set. Wake up. Realize. Continue the perpetual inner battle with the pain. The Pain. The constant pain that so exhausted her.

The silhouette kissed her husband good-bye. Love you, hope you have a good day, she said as she hugged him and smiled. And then she sat down at the table with her oatmeal. She ate alone. She liked to be alone. No need to pretend. She’d been working on it for nearly two years, but she hadn’t yet figured out how to fix her disconnect. The further she moved beyond That Day, the more disconnected she felt. She didn’t know how to re-baptize herself into life. How can you re-connect when you no longer walk in the world you knew? Of course there’s a disconnect when you, and your heart, are bruised beyond repair and so very few understand, she thought.

While ironing her clothes for work, she marveled at how well her thoughts stayed together in the morning. They were cohesive. Is it because the brain gets filled with so much “useless stuff” during the day? She wanted to stay home, to be alone, to sort through those coherent, connected thoughts. She wished she had time to process the feelings, to write down her thoughts, but she didn’t. Responsibility had been instilled in her from an early age. She went to work.

The tears fell from the silhouette as she watched the rain drops hit the glass and bounce upward, not downward, on the windshield. Same place my tears are directed, she thought. Up toward where I believe my son may be. And she wiped her tears as the windshield wipers continued their rhythm, mimicking the relentless rhythm of her life. So much of me became lost when Ben died. So much of me is gone, she thought. But life’s sameness remains. The rhythm.

Morning, she said as she walked into her office, conscious of the fact that she seldom said “good morning” any more. She knew by the time she arrived at her office each morning that she had already been mourning all morning. How could she possibly say “good morning” after she’d already spent hours with The Pain? I’ll have to work on that, she told herself. Program “good” into your vocabulary. Maybe then you’ll feel connected to that world out there. Work to fix that disconnect!

The silhouette went about her day as usual. She worked. She smiled. She worked. She joked. And she focused. Responsibility had been instilled in her from an early age. Do they see what I see when I look in the mirror? Do they see that dead zone within me that I see if I happen to look in my eyes when putting my make-up on each morning? Every morning,  because I am mourning? Or do they only see what they want to see? Does it hurt to look at me? I mean really look at the real me? Are you afraid you too will hurt if you look into my eyes, beyond my eyes, and connect with my pain? They pretend as I pretend, she thought. She worked. She smiled.

Home. She threw her work bag on the floor. She sat alone. She liked to be alone. No need to pretend. She connected with herself. She kissed her husband as he walked in the door. She smiled, “Hi, dear. How was your day?” They share. They joke. They laugh. His heart is broken, as is hers. He knows. He understands. They love each other even more so than before their son died. He makes her laugh. He knows me, he is me, she thinks, so I feel most alive when he makes me laugh. She feels connected to him. They kiss good-night as he heads to bed. She sorts through the crazy thoughts, trying to find the coherent ones that must still be in there somewhere among the tangled mass of useless stuff that had accumulated during the day. Hours pass as she sits alone.

The tears fell from the silhouette as she moved slowly down the hallway toward the bedroom. If only I could slow my manic mind down to this speed, she thought, as she ended another day in the life.

“I love you and miss you with all my heart, Ben.” I whisper as I mercifully drift off to sleep.

The rhythm of a silhouette’s life. After death.

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4 comments

  1. I find myself crying as I read this post. This is me. I am stunned. Never have I read a post which describes exactly how I exist now. I am so sorry you feel this way too. You have answered the question I have been asking myself for the past almost 20 months? Who am I in a world without Amy? The Silhouette. My mourning starts the minute my eyes open. I am familiar with those endless tears. I walked into that familiar office as I had done for almost 29 years and played the game of life for the last time on 3/17. I had to retreat for the first time in my life. Always responsible and strong. I tried, but I couldn’t do it one more day. I had to say “uncle.” I could say it a million times and it wouldn’t be enough, I am so sorry for your loss.

    1. Oh, Dee. I cried as I read your comment. As we live in a world such as ours, it is such a tremendous chore to survive each day. I struggle EVERY minute of every day, just trying to survive til I get to where I’m going, wherever that may be. My heart hurts for you. I read every one of your posts and always connect with what you say. I feel your pain and feel your hurt as you try to understand how the world reacts to your pain. I too struggle with the inaction and indifference of those who don’t understand or even try to understand. I fight hard not to become bitter toward those who have chosen to walk out of my life, as well as my husband’s and other children’s lives, when our hearts needed them. Many times I fail. That’s why I like to be alone. I can count on me to cradle my heart. I hope you can do so too since you don’t need to walk into that familiar office any longer. I am so very, very sorry for your loss of your beautiful Amy!

      1. Susan, thank you for your compassionate response. Yes, thanks to the autopilot way I am able to exist now, I find I am able to get to where I need to go most times. I save most of my limited energy for my Nick and Kris as well as my husband. TrustIng remains difficult. We attended a support group meeting on Friday which has set me back months. Or is it just the more time that goes by without Amy is setting me back? My head hurts from trying to figure it all out. I remain forever sorry for the loss of your Ben. My heart aches for both of us.

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