Untethered means without ties or anchor, floating free, and it’s exactly how I’ve been feeling lately. My husband was my anchor (and I his tether to the Earth if a certain woman with psychic abilities is to be believed), but somehow that rope broke back in April, and I have been floating aimlessly since. There are sometimes hours (and even days) where I feel solid ground beneath my feet again, but before long, I’m floating away again feeling lost.
This past weekend, I dipped my toe in the water of society again. Our community was hosting an event so I contacted my neighbor and asked if she would like to join me. Before the night was over, we ended up supporting a couple of the local businesses, but I never did actually attend the scheduled event itself. We spent our time on the fringe of the crowd (which was a curious little fact given that some of the conversation that evening drifted into television shows and she told me that I must watch Fringe), neither of us quite in the mood (or in my case, ready) to be right in the heart of things.
All in all, it was a pleasant evening and a welcome distraction from my normal routine of holing myself up in my room, alone save for my daughter’s dog, while my children work. Sometimes I blog, sometimes I read, and sometimes I binge-watch Netflix, generally fluff television. And I allow myself to cry in private.
I’ve got a pretty good game face in public (at least I think I do) and can hold it together fairly well when there are others around. It’s not that I’m embarrassed to cry in front of people; it’s just there are so many people who tell me I make them sad when I do. Apparently, my heartache is contagious and it just seems unfair to subject people to random acts of sadness.
But without my husband – my anchor, my counterpart and my best friend – I’m just plain lost. Granted these last few weeks have been a bit more difficult with the remembrance service and the fallout afterwards, but I’ve found myself sort of waiting for my husband to show up so I can talk to him about it all. As if he has merely taken the dog out for a walk, or is changing the oil on the car, I fully expect him to pop back in so I can discuss with him everything that has been going on lately.
That’s not to say I don’t talk to my husband. In fact, I have this strange habit of having a full-on (if one-sided) conversation with him while I’m driving. A miniature urn of his ashes sits in a cubby hole of my dashboard alongside a pair of rubbery-plastic, semi-nude Menehune dolls, souvenirs from tropical cocktails at Trader Vic’s at the Hilton on Park Lane in London that my husband would constantly rearrange into compromising positions when I wasn’t looking. (He also did that with my Easter bunny salt and pepper shakers and any other little male/female figurines he came across in our household. We were never quite sure when and where we might happen across a figurine couple in the midst of a conjugal visit.)
In any case, when I’m alone in my car, generally during my commutes to and from work, I often turn down the radio and just talk to him as I would before. Every day when I was driving home from work, I would call A and we would talk for quite awhile, sometimes about specific things, but more often than not just about “nothing”. We were the first person the other wanted to talk to when something funny happened or we read an interesting article. Those behaviors don’t go away easily, and I decided rather than to fight the habit, I would embrace it. Now my commute is “our time” and I talk to my husband the way I always have. With recent events, these conversations have occasionally become quite unpleasant, but I try to steer myself away from the negativity and focus on the good things that have been happening in our lives.
Admittedly, occasionally I do simply cry and yell about how I miss him, and I beg him to come back; although I’m not delusional enough to expect him to, it still seems a “valid” request. Most days, there are tears streaming down my face, and I’ve become quite adept at driving without perfectly clear vision (thank goodness for autopilot). Sometimes I wonder what the other drivers are thinking if they see me, this seemingly crazy person who appears to be talking to herself and sobbing. Mostly, I don’t care – I’m having a discussion with my husband, period. Perhaps they think I’m simply on a handsfree call, and that’s OK with me. Makes me seem less of a loony that way. (Not saying I am less of a loony, just that it makes me appear that way.)
What I hope to happen with all of these “conversations” is that slowly but surely, I will regain my footing and not walk around feeling so discombobulated. Perhaps next time I can join more people at a function rather than sitting on the outskirts. And perhaps my tether will become retied, either through this new relationship I have with my husband or I will become my own anchor. Either way is fine with me, just so long as I can be tethered once again.
That is not to say I want to be bound in any particular way, but simply have something that allows me to feel connected. To other people. To society. To life. Because right now I simply feel as I felt on Saturday, on the fringes, an interloper hoping that no one will notice me. And that they will.
Until then, I will continue my conversations with my husband, and try to enjoy my moments of connectivity when they occur. And I’ll keep hoping and praying that wherever I finally land is the right place for me.
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