The Invisible Pain

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night.  I miss you like hell.  ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

My relationship is over, abruptly and with absolutely no warning. The man who won my trust and my heart arrived for what would turn out to be our last evening together and shattered me, without ever removing his coat. The reasons he gave are completely out of context with his actions and behavior and I am still struggling to make sense of it all.

The one thing I know absolutely is this is the first time since my divorce that I have allowed myself to be completely vulnerable with someone, without holding back. What I saw as his strong values and ethics, along with his consistent progression of our relationship, finally allowed me to trust. Trembling, I gave him my heart, believing he would value and treat it gently. Instead, with timing, delivery and abruptness that bordered on casual cruelty, he broke my heart and my trust and left me sitting there weeping.

I wish that heartbreak were like riding a bike and once you’ve learned how to do it, you never forget. Logically, I know all the right things to do and say. Emotionally, it’s like this is my first time. I feel such intense grief there are moments I can’t breathe and my chest hurts. I walk around trying to project normal, when I feel anything but. The loss of this relationship, this man, is like a death. Yet I have no corpse to weep over, to hold a wake for, to gather family and friends to mourn with me. Perhaps real death would be easier to understand and grieve than this loss that seems so confusing and unnecessary. Yet now, friends and family try to help as well as they can, without truly understanding. Afterall, my pain is invisible. There is no corpse, no funeral. There is no tangible, visible wound. My heart aches, I can’t breathe and my brain won’t stop replaying every conversation and scene. I can’t stop remembering the scent of his cologne or the way he called me sweetheart. Yet it’s all invisible and the bulk of what I receive are well-meaning platitudes about time and moving on and how it wasn’t meant to be. I even say them myself, to try to make other people feel comfortable. Because I know they couldn’t handle the screaming, crying, broken thing that is inside me right now. This raw and primal creature that wants to crawl out of my shell of normalcy and rend the smiling, carefully made-up, professional, good mother, caring friend persona I am trying so hard to project. That grieving creature wants to howl and weep and break the entire fucking world right now. She would not be welcome at work, parties, or in general society. So I wake every morning and carefully dress and put on my mask. Then I go and pretend, hoping one day soon I won’t have to pretend anymore.

When I’m alone is when the creature comes out and I find myself curled in a ball, keening out my loss and grief to an empty room. When my chest feels so tight it’s painful and I’m having a hard time getting enough breath, then and only then will I take one of my prescribed Xanax. I let her howl and hope that if she does it as long as she needs to, away from polite society, perhaps she will slowly fade away and that like this man that I still love, will only be a ghost of my past.

Until then I will breathe and try to give myself the space I need to heal. No dating, no relationships….the thought of attempting one makes me feel sick. Just holding for now…

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2 Responses to “The Invisible Pain”

  1. *hugs* sweetie.

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