Both my hands are filled with guiltI'm here.
Give me absolution
Both my eyes are blind with filth
Give me absolution
I keep starting to write and then deleting everything, which isn't what a journal is supposed to be. It doesn't have to be wrapped up in a neat little package every day and sometimes I don't get around to writing it early enough because I can't seem to express myself the way I'd like to be heard. To top it off I'm having an incredibly self-conscious late morning, in which I feel like a virtual pariah, and that I have to lie to my friends when they ask me how I'm doing, how I'm feeling. I say fine through gritted teeth and a small fake smile and they accept it as the truth because they've probably grown tired of my emotions flooding them out of their contented zones. We ran out of comfort words and platitudes a hell of a long time ago and so I worry that if I say the day sucks and I feel like I'm raw and I'd like to go and cry somewhere so I don't break things, that they might roll their eyes, or find a reason to wait longer between visits or phone calls.
Because eventually, yes, that is exactly what will happen. Not because they're jerks or they're not truly my friends (because they aren't jerks and they are my friends) but because human nature is such that when confronted with negativity and grief over and over again we shut down and begin to go through the motions to preserve our own selves.
And so that's what I do, fake it, and I'm hoping it will preempt the need for them to pull away.
I graduated this morning, you know.
From Sam's grief program at the church, one he conducted just for me because I wouldn't do a group thing and one we thought was going to continue until the middle of next month, until he looked at his notes last week and realized we had mere hours left to complete. I think poor Sam knows the inside of my head better than anyone at this point (Joel included) and I feel a little sorry for him, but at the same time, I admire him and am ashamed of myself for the behavior I demonstrated most days as he tried to help me and I refused to help myself. I'm so honored to know him, and Jacob would be proud of his charge, I think. Jacob was Sam's mentor.
I came home and didn't like the fact that I've been denied the relief I thought I would feel when I was finished. That I would somehow be able to weather Jake's upcoming birthday a little better, that I would cry less spontaneously and act less fake to protect the comfort of others. That I wouldn't be in such a drive to feel something different that I resorted to trying to quash an overwhelming need to slam my head in the truck door repeatedly until I felt something other than this. But then I realized I finished something, something just for me.
Sam said not to be in despair, that there isn't supposed to be a great big instant improvement, I only have a better understanding of my feelings, and some tools to use to help myself work through them on a continued basis. That mostly it's a way to help give voice to feelings that I wasn't recognizing so easily, and also to pass the time, and have a dedicated time to talk as much as I want about Jacob, and about Bridget, and that Sam will never roll his eyes or fail to call or visit because one of his duties as a minister is to tend to those who are suffering, and sure, maybe some others are suffering worse and Bridget is a spoiled child who can't get her head on straight but she still deserves this time and she will get his time.
And you know who's proud of me, even though I came home proclaiming that I didn't feel any different and that Sam isn't any good at what he does or maybe I'm just unworthy, unfixable and pointless?
Ben is proud, that's who.
Like Sam, he ignores the fake parts of my facade, he never runs out of patience anymore with me and he's been really incredibly generous about indulging me in my whims, whether they are good for me or not, including too much affection from friends looking to get their share, and deals with the devil, never a good idea. He's weathered everything I have ever thrown at him, and the one request he made when we got married, was that I do this program with Sam, because Ben did it after his father died, and while he said he didn't outwardly feel less sad, he felt like he had accomplished something personal, something important, something good. Something just for him. And now something for you, because Ben is a really really private guy and didn't tell a lot of people about that.
And I don't know what comes next or where life is going to take me, I just know that I think I can handle it. Possibly kicking and screaming, so it will be noisy, whatever it is but I'll do it anyway. And maybe someday soon this smile won't be a fake one.