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Understanding Distraction

by LP Steinbeck 3 years ago in humanity
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Dealing with loss in a letter to a friend

Holding hands at Brandy Bar, Oregon

Letter to my friend…

How can I make you understand that my phone is not an addiction, but yes, a distraction, from the pain? I know what I know about you, and the many others that have no idea about my pain, and I realize there is absolutely no way to explain it in a way that you could grasp this anguish; the days and nights without his touch, the dreams, the nightmares, the memories, and now, the worst yet, the inability to remember certain things about my late husband. Oh, I remember him, because he’s unforgettable, but in my efforts to distract myself from the pain that made me want to die a thousand deaths to avoid the waxing and waning from emptiness to sorrow, the sharpness of certain things dull. Ironically, now I mourn for the loss of the feeling, though cerebral, of his hand in mine in the middle of the night when my sleep was disturbed. I mourn for the reassurance from the times, in our beginning, when I still had the horrific nightmares that had plagued me for years. He bore it with me, and held me, even as I fought the invisible demons of the night.

I mourn, unable to hear the sound of his breathing in my mind.

There are no heroes now. Mine is gone, and everything we experienced together is all I have to remember love that accepted and didn’t judge. I am not ashamed of the desperation, and the seeking for comfort and care in the time since his passing, because it was real. I AM REAL. There is not a damn thing wrong with wanting one, at least ONE, person to hold me in the most empty moments, to soothe me when my heart breaks again, and again. It could have been anyone, not necessarily a lover, yet at least a friend. Lovers should not be jealous of a dead man, and the time he occupied, or the place he does still have in my life. No. You are not my lover, I know, though I would not assume more between us if you had empathy, compassion, concern, and chose to hold me long enough for the sorrow to go.

I know you care. You are eager for my life to progress, and for me to flourish, be strong, have new interests that have nary to do with the past. Moving on and letting go are two different things, and as a writer, the stories of my life, and those of the man I loved, burn within me to be shared, though I couldn’t bear it if even one soul mocked them. So, that which is most precious to me stays inside a little longer, as I pretend to be ’okay’ for a world, and a friend, that will never know what I had, or what I lose again every damn day.

You say I am addicted to my phone, and inside my mind, I claw at my invisible cage, sobbing through maniacal laughter. Yes, I will lie to myself that even one person cares, and look at pictures from the lives of family that is far away literally, and figuratively.

Animal videos, poetry, short stories, petty news, and not so petty all serve one purpose; to turn my attention somewhere else, albeit briefly.

Dear one, you are my friend because you have cared the most! Yet, my heart and soul remains beyond comprehension.

Must I grieve that now as well?

I woke in emptiness and pain again, instantly recalling our discussion from before I had gone to sleep, and how you said you could see me on my phone at different times in the night, and that I have it as a constant throughout the day. Oh, believe me, it is much less than it once was, and more, too. It has replaced the presence of some in my life that only sought to use me, as takers often do, making my little phone rather innocuous in comparison.

Last night, I sat my phone aside, determined to make it through the night, and life, come what may. I awoke three hours later, stifling my sobs until they finally stopped, your voice coming from the living room to ask me if I was alright when you heard me blowing my nose.

I did not lie when I said I will be alright.


About the author

LP Steinbeck

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