Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

photography of person peeking
Photo by Noelle Otto on

Apparently, there’s a world still going on. There are actually other things happening in our country, in our world while I’m in mourning.  I can’t tell you about all the happenings, but I know I’ve read some dribbles.  See, since the death of my husband, I have cut myself off from the world. Yes, I have gone out a few times.  Yes, people have come to see me. Yes, I get emails, phone calls, messages, and texts. And yes, I’ve read excerpts from social media. But most of the time, it’s been about me.

When I see a friend, text a friend, talk to family and message family, the entire conversation revolves around me and my emotions. In the beginning, I didn’t care. I didn’t have the compassion to ask about anyone else’s life.  My heart was too broken, my feelings too numb and my concern or curiosity didn’t exist. I’m getting better. I think. Not a lot better, but somewhat. Maybe it’s progress. Maybe I’m pushing it out of me due to fear of losing important people in my life.  Insecurity rears its ugly head yet again.  Maybe I’m trying to grab onto some normalcy. Or maybe I’m tired and bored, bored and tired, of me and my emotions.

I’m not proud of closing off the world and all the people in it. For now, it seems to be my coping mechanism. Compassion has taken the back seat in a busload of issues I dealt with since Death ripped Peter from me. This sucks because it’s not who I am, who I was.  I’m not even sure of who I am anymore. My definition will probably keep alternating until I learn to adjust to life without him. Oh, I’ll never be who I once was. Once was have gone. I just hope I emerge a still compassionate human being with some fire left in.

See, that’s the other thing missing from me, any spark for social justice.  BPD (Before Peter’s Death) I was that person who not just spoke out, but shouted, against injustices. Words would never stay jailed in my mouth, or in my writing when it came to racism, anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, islamophobia, the horrific border situation, misogyny,  child abuse, and on and on and on. Any time people were treated unfairly or poorly because of who they were, how they loved,  who they were to become, why they wanted in the USA, I jumped on my soapbox and yelled from the mountain tops. Now? Meh. I have no shout left in me. Yup, that’s gone too.

My very first conversation with Peter was at a volleyball game. We were both sitting out while we waited for our rotation back in. We struck up a conversation about Chicago politics. Being a political science major with an emphasis on Chicago politics and a Mike Royko groupie, I dug it even with our disagreements. When I felt the pang of disappointment from having to go back into the game, I thought, maybe there’s something to this shy boy with the nice butt. Yes, I kind of did objectify him.

As our relationship grew, so did the recognition of the similiarities of our beings. We held the same indignation for the treatment of people because of the color of the skin, who they love, who they are meant to be and the importance of being part of the solution. We chose the town we live in because of its diversity and the importance of this exposure to our children. We taught our children the wrongs of any types of prejudices. We accepted people for their personhood and nothing more. And, I had so many years of Peter having my back when I went too far expressing my feelings, even when they were directed at people close to him.

I know there are so many opportunities I missed these past few weeks to have my voice be heard.  I know there are things going on with my family and friends I don’t even know about. I still don’t. But my compassion and my fire are gone because Peter’s gone.  The person who was my soft place to land after an ugly protest or a heated exchange fueled by my beliefs will never be in my life again.  And with his exit, my fire, my compassion, my caring for either or both, has left me.

As I’ve said so many times before, the death of my husband caused multiple parts in me to die.  It saddens me. It angers me. It confuses me. And it scares me. I really hope, with whatever I have left in me, those things will resurrect, particularly my passion and fire. I hope they are hiding right now behind the brokenness of my heart, of my life, of me.  And maybe, one day, they’ll come out again.