Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lonely, but not Alone

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Today is difficult.
I can't even pinpoint why I am struggling so much today. I had a hard night last night and then I just woke up completely drained of any energy or emotion.
But emotion found me this afternoon. It is difficult to hold back the tears when there isn't anyone around. Today I drove around for quite some time with Aaron Jr. sleeping in the back seat. I didn't have any purpose or destination, I just drove around. I pondered, I cried, I felt so much emotion, but at the same time felt a little bit numb.
I feel very lonely. I am not alone very often, there is someone around most of the time wherever I am... but I still feel so lonely.
Today has been a more difficult day than I have had for a while. It is approaching four months and in some ways, things are harder... in other ways... I know that I have not yet accepted certain aspects of my life to be real. If there was EVER anything in my life that I wish I could escape... it would be this nightmare.
I miss Aaron so much. I never realized what it meant to be lonely until Aaron passed away... and even now, I feel more lonely than I ever have.
People have been so great... it doesn't have anything to do with people not doing enough for me... it has to do with the fact that Aaron is gone. That half of me is missing. I never realized just how 'one' you become as a married couple until I lost half of me. I don't feel complete. It is just so difficult to explain... it is just something you have to experience to know how incomplete you feel losing a spouse.
I feel bad writing such negative feelings today, but I am not having a good week at all.

I got something in the mail the other day from the Mortuary that handled Aaron's funeral services. The front cover had an article written by a lady named Elizabeth Cross McDonald. It is titled: 'Silence is not an answer in the time of grief'.
In this article, she talks about a loss she experienced and then talks about something that I felt like I should share so that others can know how to help someone who has lost someone close. I will type out a few excerpts. She says:
"Some people undoubtedly kept silent int he hopes that I would approach them to talk and they could then be duly supportive. This was a gross error of judgment. I needed to have friends [and family] voluntarily open their hearts in sympathy, as I was feeling vulnerable and afraid that those I turned to might turn me away.
"Still others made efforts to engage me in conversation, as long as I was able to be cheerful and not talk about Albert. To these people, my casual comment like, "Oh, I remember when Albert and I visited that person" was nervously ignored and met by an embarrassed silence. I needed to be able to remember my brother reflectively, without self-consciousness or shame. ...waves of grief, anger, and depression affected me in ways I myself could not understand. How I needed their patience and support, their faith that I was not angry at death, and not at them.
"My grief is now settling into the long depression that is a necessary step to healing. If someone you know, whether closely or just vaguely, is bereaved, please don't be shy or afraid. Take the initiative, walk up, look into his or her eyes and say, "I am so sorry to hear about the death."
"You need not give your philosophy on tragedy in life or your favorite remedy for depression. The bereaved person does not expect or want this. Listening -- not avoiding the bereaved's sadness or being afraid to have [them] cry to you -- is essential. And don't try to stop the tears -- they are also a step to healing and must flow freely. If the bereaved are surrounded by people who care, the grieving process is made less bitter and devastating. Yet caring and concern for [them] is meaningless unless you directly tell her that you do care."

This has been on my mind lately. I know that people care. I know that people are trying to do their best to help me get through this devastation. But I also know that it is difficult for people to know how to help me. So, that is why I wanted to share pieces of that article... so that people will know how to help me.
I am grateful for the love shown to me. And I am pleading with those who want to help me, please don't keep silent about my trial, it is real. I need support and love more so now than I ever have through this. I NEED to talk about Aaron. I love him.

Missing you always, Aaron...


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27 comments:

LL said...

Leslie. This was really helpful to read-that feeling of fear is so real, it's fear of saying the wrong thing or fear of making you feel worse. I appreciate your honesty. I also hope you don't ever feel the need to apologize for being "negative"
You're NOT. I think anyone reading your blog wants to hear what your feeling. Let it all out, as often as you feel comfortable. We love you, and would love to hear more about Aaron and your memories and feelings. Isn't his birthday this week?
I'm always thinking about you and wish I were closer, I would love to hug you and talk.
Love to you from across the county.

Mindy said...

Leslie, I remember how hard it was for people to know what to do when Brandon's sister died, and I STILL feel like I don't quite know what to do for someone who has lost a loved one, even though I've experienced it. I appreciate the things that you shared, and hope it will help us all be more open and loving.

I am so sorry that Aaron died, and that you have had to suffer so much. Please keep sharing with all of us whatever you need to get out, and you don't need to apologize for it, or feel bad for writing "negative" feelings! We all love you, and want to help.

Kristi said...

Sometimes for me, not knowing what to say has caused me to be silence. I am glad to hear what does help.
We love you and wish we could be there with you as you go through this.
I enjoyed the times when we talked about Aaron while you were up here. You seemed to light up, even though it was sad.
I am sorry for your loss and the extra difficult days you have been facing.

amanda said...

My heart broke for you the day I heard of Aaron's passing. And my heart continues to break for you every time I read your blog. No one should ever have to lose a spouse so young. I don't know you very well but I feel your pain as I read your words.
I walk by your house every morning and wonder what I can do to help you. Know that you are thought of often and inspiring many to have a little more faith.

Sadie Joy said...

Leslie I know just what you mean. Sometimes its more awkward when people dont say anything. Its difficult on all angles. People want to have the magic phrase to heal the wounds, but there is none, so nothing is said. We ache for Aaron, I love my brother. It hurts to see his son without him and you missing him. We all miss him with painful keeness. Come up we'll have a laugh at Aj saying truck.

E and T said...

Even in your time of devastation, you are thinking of others and teaching us all such valuable lessons based on your tragic experience. You are an inspirational woman.

You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Emma-Kate Castricum said...

Oh Leslie,

your not being negative your being human. You've lost your partner and these feeling of loneliness are unfortunately totally normal. No matter how many people you have around you at times you will still feel lonely because that one person who felt like your other half is not there. I hope I'm not sounding negative now, just trying to be honest.

As for your comments on other peoples way of handling you when you have lost someone, thats so true. A family very close to ours lost their son to an accident when he was 21. His sister who was a good freind of mine and was 19 at the time lost so many friends because they were young and felt awkward approching her so they just didn't. And then after a while the gap has been left too long and friendships can never be the same.

In hindsite now she can look back and say those friends were never true friends of the heart or they may not have known what to say but could have just sat with her and let her do the talking when and if she wanted.
I guess that's what makes a true friend, yes it's hard to face someone and to know what to say in a time of grief but sometimes you don't need to talk at all do you?

Your little Aaron will never fill the gap left by his Father but I hope he's bringing you some comfort right now.

with much love and kind thoughts

Em

T said...

Thinking of you!!

smart mama said...

Leslie- I found you through LLs blog- my name is leslie too- First I am so sorry for your loss. I actually was blogging today about loss and death. I am actually going to email you something that has helped me alot in dealing with loss (hopefully that isn't to presumptive from a stranger- my feeling though is it is always better to reach out than to stay silent). Thank you for sharing your experience and feelings- I think often people don't know how to help and they mistakingly think keeping quite makes the pain go away-- like if they remind you of the person it will hurt you more, they fail to understand you think about them all the time and you don't want to forget them - It is hard to trying to find a new way of living without a person who is such a part of you there. It takes courage to talk about your experience with death and loss, and it also a service. In your sharing, you are teaching other people how to help when someone they know had lost someone close to them. Sending strength today!

Seesalou said...

i love you leslie. i'm so sorry you are having such a sad time. i can understand your thoughts here and hope that those of us that love you and are close to you can help in some way.

Matchbox Mom said...

Oh! This post made me cry!! I'm so sorry that you are going through this! One thing I do know, is that our loved ones are still with us occasionally. I am sure Aaron must have been busy yesterday, maybe that's why you had such a hard time. I am sure that he loves you so much. I, too, have grown to love you and Aaron Jr. I know life is rough and challenging, but we can all get through it together. Us strangers are still praying for you!!!

Tami

Liz said...

I feel horrible now that I did not get your call yesterday. Call me.

Amber said...

Les,
I appreciate you being so open and honest during this very challenging time. I am really grateful for this post. I have often struggled with knowing to do/say to those who have lost someone. I have finally come to the conclusion that it is best to just talk to the person about their loss. And, like you said, if they cry that doesn't mean you made them sad, but it is just part of the process.

How wonderful that we can all learn from one another. I love you and all of your many insights. I am praying for you.

Amber

Joann said...

Thank you so much for this post, Leslie. I know that I haven't been to see you (or when I did, you were off galavanting in Oregon!). I want to help you in any way possible. There are times when Justin and I will think of Aaron and his little quirks and have a good laugh. I think that when we talk about him, it makes us grateful that we did know him. Celebrating his life makes it a little easier for us to cope with being left behind. I know that because it has been true for every loved one I have personally lost. Anyhow, I hope that all of these messages help you. You are so strong! Love you!

Lynette said...

Oh, Leslie, I am so sad for you today. My prayer is that you can find something small to find joy in today.

I remember a particularly sad day I had once (although I can't even remember why I was feeling down) and all I could do was kneel down in my bedroom and pray that I might feel loved. Not a minute later my youngest daughter who was probably five at the time pushed a handmade heart under the door. It had the words "I love you, Mom" written on them. I think children answer more prayers than we realize.

You have such a talent for writing and expressing yourself...even in the darkest hours. The lesson you share is invaluable, not only for your own personal healing, but for all of us. Keep on sharing your feelings...and thank you for letting us into your world.

Extra hugs to you!

Karey said...

Love you Leslie. I'm sorry you're hurting. I'm sure there are so many things that feel different and foreign to you now. I hope you'll be able to heal. It is good to let people know how to help you. Give Aaron a hug and kiss.

amy said...

Leslie-

I read your blog weekly and am so impressed with your way with words. I am so sorry that you have to go through this, it's ok to scream and shout or cry because it just doesn't seem fair but please know this that there are so many people who love and care for you.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you Leslie and wishing so much that everything was different.

Love,

Jane

Sasha Fisher said...

Leslie,
You are so justified in your thoughts and feelings. Keep on talking and writing about them. It has been 4 years this month since my mom died and I still find it hard at times to come to the realization that she is gone. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

love, Sasha

Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie,

How about an entry about how you and Aaron met? I would love to know the story.

Love,

Jane

Anonymous said...

Hi Leslie,

How about an entry about how you and Aaron met? I would love to know the story.

Love,

Jane

Heather said...

Leslie,
Hey it's Heather (Scott) from jr high. I found you through Laura. I read your blog the other day and bawled my eyes out. I can't imagine what you are/have been going through. You are an amazing writer & photographer. May you find peace & comfort during this hard time. You are in my thoughts & prayers.
Love, Heather

Brenda said...

I'm sorry things have been especially hard lately. You're in my thoughts and prayers!

K&K&kids said...

Les,
I am sorry you are having a rough time. Please hang in there. So many people are thinking of you and praying for you. I hope that knowledge helps. Hopefully you and Lisa will make it down here soon...I would love to be your listening ear for awhile. Love ya. Karrin

Tammy said...

I found your blog today and boy did I need it. Thank you so much for reminding me not to take advantage of the things that I hold most precious. You are an inspiration to me. I came so close to losing my loved one and I am so glad that I have you telling me to remember how precious life is.

You are so strong and I can feel of your spirit. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. You will never know how much your writings have helped me.

Andrea said...

Hi Leslie,
Sorry it has been awhile. I've actually thought about you a lot. I'm sorry this is so hard. I can't even imagine. It's scary that we take so much for granted; we just assume the people we love will always be there. I wish there was something that I, or anyone, could do to lessen the hurt. I know you don't know me at all, but please know I am a person who cares about you and feels for you, and am here if you need ANYTHING. Whether it's to talk, cry, whatever. As I don't know you very well (just what I read on your blog!), would you mind sharing with me how/why Aaron passed away? I think you have my e-mail. If it hurts too much please don't. I just don't know a whole lot and am not sure if it's personal or too hard to talk about. I want to get to know you better. Sending my love and compassion always...
Andrea

Emily Jex Boyle said...

Leslie,

I have been crying my way through your blog. What a beautiful record you are making. I appreciate your quotes from this article you mentioned. What a perfect example of what we all need as well as what we must give to others in their sorrow. I loved your idea of the zoo with Aaron jr.'s t-shirt.
I don't know you very well, mainly through Sasha but, you're in my heart.