Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2009 Hair of the Dog....Rage

Hangover. I have a hangover from yesterday.

School, first day of school. Mis-managed, mis-timed. Tears while dropping Langston off. Art was looking forward to taking Langston every day to school with him. First day at Pallas and Ezra's which involves a locked gate, teachers on a balcony blowing bubbles and a count down. No oj, not enough eggs and toast eaten on the drive. No make-up, and hair .... can't remember what I did with it. Two weeks of no sleep clear under my eyes.
Parent coffee and I watch someone avoid me.

The fall is saturated with him. September is Art. Under these circumstances, a new routine causes the ground to sink. I remember that my life is not steady. I feel his loss come in closer, like it's not close enough, ready to smother me.

Today, the day after I'm tired, achy, have a headache. A realization arrives. That break, that allusive get away that I thougth school would bring is not coming. It's just another routine, another adjustment to make in this life without. And the kids ate toast again while I tried to see through the tears on the way to school.


"Is it too late to help." she wanted to know.

To late? Is there an expiration date on this experience?

At least she asked. She wanted to know, but you! I see you and I hate your inability to approach me. I hate your guilt, your shame and your excuses.

"I thought about you all summer. I keep meaning to call you" then comes the smile in which you want me to forgive you like I'm some priest.

Don't confess to me! I am not about to absolve you.

Bone the (@)*# up! Your cowardice is not my responsibility. Your inability to be willing to risk, your inability to say ANYTHING, to make a mistake is NOT my responsibility. I simply refuse to help you. I am the one who needs the help.

I hate when you run from me, without even having the decency to telling me you're running. "I can't deal with death right now. This is hitting too close." someone else said to me. That's an acknowledgment of where I am and of where you are. It's perfect. And she was not running, she was stepping in, closer and being real.

But no, you're so afraid, so in your damn head, that you actually think you might say something that would make me feel worse? How in hell can you make ME feel worse?!

Saying "I don't know what to say" is a good thing to say. And then afterwards there may be an uncomfortable silence and that's ok too.

But you can't even do that, can you? I hate you for all of your other friends you have left behind in your shame and your insecurities.

I hate you for the 700,000 women in the US who will become widows this year and then be abandoned by their "friends." How dare you! I hate you for all the widows from 9/11! How dare you not be able to face your own demons around this while I, we the widows, face our own every frickin' moment of every frickin' day.

I hate you for reaching out only sort of, pretending to be a friend but only when it's convenient for you. I hate you for your self-absorption. That's what it is, you're so self absorbed you think my pain will spread to you like the H1N1 virus and you think it will make you just as sick, too.

I have been kind and patient to you in my grief. I have told myself over and over "This must be hard for them, not knowing what to do and say." I @()$#* gave to you when I should have been receiving! I did it because I thought you'd bone up. Cause I thought you would have the courage to say "I will do something, even if it's the wrong thing. I will take action." And then follow it with action. Instead, you slunk away.

You slunk around in the beginning, saying to yourself, I should, I will , I'll wait until...and now here it is and you haven't and now you are filled with shame and instead of walking into that shame and acknowledging it, you slink past me as if I'm not here.

Real life is not clean or neat, and not lived in emotional boxes. You can't wave in love, joy, respect, courage, envy, hurt, disappointment then decide which one you want to take on. Life is not safe. It's dirty and deep and musky and raw and filthy. And you lose every time you ignore that. You lose by not at least sticking your toe in the discomfort and keeping it there for a moment. You lose yourself. You become less of a person. Discomfort makes you HUMAN!!

I will no longer extend my life vest. You built your boat. Damned if I know if it'll float. My energy is going to those who have stood up and said "OMG, I need to help" and have helped in their awkward, not always great ways, but they tried, they opened their mouths and words came out. And they did not want me to forgive them their errors. They owned them and I lovve them for that.

For now, I don't want you to come near me. I am done with you. Don't call, dont' try to make it better, unles you are willing to show up as a real person. Then all will be absolved, not by me but by you.


  1. Amen to that :-) Excellent post Kim. It hurts more to be avoided than to have someone say something stupid ... the thing that people say the most to me that p*sses me off is this: "You know where I am." Yes I do. And????? (Then I get angry and think they say it to make themselves feel better, not me). This whole thing makes us re-write our address books, that's a fact!

  2. Anonymous2:03 PM

    Your rage at your loss is understandable. But nobody owes you anything. And if people are uncomfortable approaching you, perhaps it's because they didn't feel close to you before Arthur's death, and don't wish to pretend to, now. Your sense of entitlement is alienating. People do whatever they can, and whatever it is, it should inspire gratitude, not contempt. People have given you and your family so much.

  3. No wonder you're livid. You've lost so much, and this time of year is such a vivid reminder.

    It's so much easier, though, to rage against the people who are still here -- and whose lives have gone on comparatively unchanged -- than to rage against death.

    People can respond. They can feel guilt or even irritation at you. When you rage, they feel something and just might do something. (Or give you material for another blog entry. :-) )

    Anger at others is undoubtedly a distraction from the great aching pain.

  4. Commenter #2: SHOULD implies there is right way and wrong way to grieve. There isn't.

    Anger is hard to read about. You are not alone in finding it alienating I am sure, while others find it honest and understandable. It is what it is. Today anger is how I am dealing with this monumental loss.

  5. Anonymous11:05 PM

    I'm sure I'm not alone in my uncomfortable reaction to your lashing out at absent helpers. I hope it subsides because it may make people who read your blog think twice about wanting to be in touch with you.

    We certainly have no way of imagining what you have been going through. Your blogging helps communicate, but when you say you hate the people who care enough about you to read your blog, but have not (who can know why) shown up to help, it's likely to keep them away.

    Just had to say it.

  6. Anonymous11:10 PM

    I hadn't read your blog in many weeks and I am appalled at your 9/11 entry! Give me one sensible reason why you think anybody owes you anything! Instead of making scathing remarks about good samaritans (who themselves may be going through difficult times), I'd say you go volunteer in a home for senior citizens, or find something else to contribute to society with all the free time you have on your hands. What have YOU done for anyone lately? You SHOULD be grateful for everything people have sacrificed for you! Stop hiding under the cloak of grief as you reveal your true self. After reading your post today, I'll be sure to quit doing anything for you and avoid you. All the best!

  7. Anonymous11:39 PM

    Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

  8. Anonymous9:43 AM


    I know you are raging at the world and you have the right to, especially here, where you should be safe. I do not think you are raging at your readers, or your family, or your supporters. I read this as one friend(or maybe a collective of friends) has not been there as you needed them to be. Forgive them or not- that is your decision, no one elses. I will say that I am worried about you- I hope you and the kids are seeking grief therapy- everything you are expressing is expected, and you need an outlet to express it- please make sure you are doing that for yourself- and go easy on yourself- each new season will bring new realities and frankly new pain. PLEASE take care of yourself and the kids first and worry abou the rest of the world later. You are surviving- remind yourself of that.

  9. Anonymous9:49 AM

    To post #6-- Are you kidding me-- Kim's FREE TIME-- where do you think that is? Huh let me see-- she is a widow raising 3 children, trying to manage her grief, her kids grief, a home and what seems to me financial worries- So I would like to find out where all that free time is- if anything people should be volunteering in her home-- you can be angry at her post- that is your JUDGEMENT- but she has every right to feel it and write about it. Stop reading if you must- Kim does not need to be JUDGED by you

  10. As always, I admire, and am grateful for, your bracing honesty.

    And i am grateful for the ways your honesty sets other people off, for that helps give insight into how opaquely complex everyone else is....

    Commentator #6 or so writes,
    "Give me one sensible reason why you think anybody owes you anything!"
    Well, I guess, really, that applies to all of us, doesn't it?
    Who owes any of us anything?
    No one.
    It's only our heart-driven belief and hope that we will help one another - and do so in a way that looks to that other person for guidance in HOW we can best help, rather than self-assured "knowledge" that we know already hoe best to help -
    that guides us on....

    We're all playing without a full deck and with incomplete instructions, and we'll only get there holding one another's hand.

    You seem to getting from there to here to the next place pretty admirably....
    Take care.

  11. Anonymous1:41 PM

    I'm grateful for all the brave comments here, because we each need to stand up for the validity of our own emotions, when someone else's understandable anger causes them to lash out at us in an objectively unreasonable manner. If there is no right way and wrong way to grieve, why is there a right way and wrong way to relate to an acquaintance or friend who is grieving? I too feel quite unsettled and judged, but that said, can continue trying to understand and support, not reject for all time.

  12. I struggled with how to interact with a friend who faced a loss. Someone was kind enough to teach me two simple words which I have used many times, "I'm sorry."

  13. Anonymous7:52 AM

    From the outset of Art's illness you have taken from the community around you, and really had nothing to offer in return, from people who didn't know you or your family well. People who through their own generosity, offered you help and time, , and received and probably will receive nothing in return. And then after two years when they probably have nothing else to give, you turn on them, probably with never so much as a Thank you. The gratitude you should be feeling seems to be absent, after so many have done so much for your family. Everyone else has their own lives, too. Full of just as much complexity and challenge as yours. 700,000 women will become widows this year. It is not such an unusual occurrence. Other people have children, careers, relationships and illnesses. You are not the only person on earth with challenges. There is a narcissism that runs through all your posts and actions that certainly existed before Art's illness, and separate from your grief counseling needs to be explored to help make you a more whole person.

  14. Anonymous12:11 PM

    I've had similar feelings about many commenters here especially the previous one. I've just not been brave enough to voice them for fear of seeming insensitive and unkind. Even though my family and I have been in a tough financial bind for a couple years now, I still found a means to do what I could for Kim and family, sometimes anonymously. I never felt that Kim truly appreciated it as she complained constantly about the way people help her. It was very off-putting, but I managed not to be critical and still "helped" in my own way. Now I feel that I must speak up. Kim, it's time for you to reassess your attitude if you want what's left of your community to do whatever we can. I know at this point that if I choose to continue "helping," it'll be for the sake of your kids. And in Art's memory..