Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I never thought I could cry so many times in one day. Each day.

Telemarketers call me asking for Rick. Every time I have to tell a stranger he is dead, my heart stops beating for a second and feels stony. I don't like that feeling. And then because 1) it hurts and 2) I don't like that feeling, I cry.

These meltdowns often happen out of nowhere, slamming into me like a ton of bricks or a punch in the face. It's like I'm coping and then suddenly I'm crying. And not pretty, silent crying either.

The first meltdown happened before Rick's funeral and they've been part of my life ever since. I felt like I couldn't wear the black dress I always wear to funerals to my own husband's funeral. So I needed to buy a new dress. My mom took me shopping and we went into White House Black Market.

A perky, happy saleswoman approached us and said, "And what occasion are we shopping for?" with a huge smile. I burst into hysterical tears right in the middle of the store. My life has been like that for the last 10 days. Here and there, amid normalcy, grief, and "regular" crying, I have meltdowns.

When I finally ventured into the basement and my mom and I came across a cardboard box, she asked me what it was. It was Rick's miniature Christmas tree for all his Star Trek ornaments. I bought him a new one every year. Cue meltdown.

Tonight, I achieved enough normalcy to work (day two was slightly better than day one), have dinner with my mom and her best friend (I ate an actual meal instead of just soup), and visit my brother's new house. Then I drove home...and it was dark...and I missed Rick...and as I pulled into my lonely driveway, in my lonely car, my lonely house stared back at me and I could hardly face it. So: meltdown.

I sobbed my way into the house and cried so loudly on my living room floor that I was sure the neighbors were going to hear my awful wailing. I imagined my heart as a flower that was wilting, all the petals drooping and falling off one by one, like whatever was inside of me keeping me alive was dying. I was crying so hard I could barely breathe. I was so exhausted I could barely move. I called my mom and probably scared her half to death with my sobs as she answered. Rick always comforted me when I cried. Now I'm back to needing Mommy.

I could hardly calm down, could hardly be understood. And then someone called in on the other line while I was on the phone with my mom. I didn't recognize the number, so I told my mom I had better answer it in case it was important.

I answered the call and said, "Hello," but I was still sobbing. It was Dr. Black, the director of my graduate school of social work. And yes, I graduated a year ago.

She knew I was crying and she talked me through it. She asked if she could call me again soon. And she told me that she put a photo of Rick above her computer so that she would think of me all the time and also think of him. That really touched me.

It's good to know that even during meltdowns, my angels have my back. They send people in my life to intervene on their behalf when needed.

I checked my first "widow" box today on a form. It sucked. But I like to end on a positive note, so here's the new wall art I bought:


  1. I thought of you so, so many times today. A, these "meltdowns..." they are normal. Okay. Expected. Whatever way you need to grieve is the RIGHT way. You are strong and good and brave. I am still thinking and praying for you. Kisses to your cats, please. xo

  2. I love the wall art, hate your pain. So sorry, but understand as much as one can who has not lost a spouse. But "my mother's best friend"?!! I love you honey!!

  3. I understand exactly what you mean by the tears (meltdowns) that come out of no where. More than 20 years ago I was forced to end a pregnancy at almost six months into it. It was awful because I had the knowledge than no one knew that baby except for me and therefor no one else felt anything when it died. I was horribly alone in my pain. One day I was eating in a fast food place and thinking without realizing I was thinking. All of a sudden I looked up and people were staring at me...I was crying without even realizing it! Of course I knew right away what was making me cry but I felt so lost in that moment. As long ago as that was it still happens on occasion. You don't stop loving someone just because they are gone. The pain and grief get better with time but it never really goes away, you just learn how to live with it. Just let the tears come as they may. It does no good to hold it in. Hugs, Arielle.

    Rose in Nebraska

  4. Im a young widow, I lost my husband 2 years ago and the meltdowns were bad in the beginning but as time goes on meltdowns are getting less and i can look back at happy times and him and smile.

  5. My name is Renee. Im from the Lehigh Valley too. Im 39 with a 3yr old and 11 year old now. My husband committed suicide 2 years ago. In Allentown there is a Survivors of Suicide group. It is free. Netting is first and third Monday of the month at 7pm. I would recommend believe me it helps. Your support will always be there but in time it dies down and its hard this is a great group.

    1. Thank you, Renee. It's funny - I just called that group yesterday. I hope to begin attending on June 16. I am a social worker and I lead a support group myself on Tuesday nights for those with eating disorders, so I know how powerful and healing support groups can be. Thank you again for the positive info.

  6. I have no words for you but just wanted you to know you are in my thoughts.

  7. Arielle, I have been following you for many years through your blog. I just don't know what to say. I am thinking of you. Time is a great healer. You are in my thoughts x

  8. Hi Arielle. I'm Jenn's friend. We never actually met, though I hope to someday soon. I'm so sorry for what you're going through right now. I've been thinking of you and hoping that you're alright. Just from what Jenn's told me and reading your blog, which I started to today and am sure I will continue to do, I'm sure you will be more than alright. Thank you for sharing all this- you give strength to others even in your darkest moments. That is amazing to me. Again, I'm so sorry and I'm wishing you love and healing.

  9. Hi Arielle, I'm your friend. Have been for years. I have these wonderful cards with oranges on them and sticky notes that accompanied them. Yep, still have them. I've been thinking of you daily and sending warm, healing thoughts your way.
    I'm glad you're going to go to that group, as it's true about the support piece. Also the shared experience piece. Those things that others (like me) will never get no matter how much we try. Yes, I know suicide way, way too well, but not from a spouse's point of view.
    Keep writing. Keep talking. Keep crying. As the words of an old song say it well, "crying gets the sad out of you, crying gets the mad out of you. It's all right to cry, it might make you feel better."

  10. Sweetie - I know these melt downs feel so epic, like breakings I guess from what you describe - but I believe you're living in the opposite. You are a person currently in a lot of pain trying to adjust to something nobody should have to try to adjust to. You're hurt and grieving and yet there is this fighting and striving and surviving. You experience the emotions you feel and have risings - going to work, functioning, seeing people, eating meals, trying, pushing on, dealing with life. You rise so much in the midst of all this hurt. You are not having meltdowns so much as finding yourself in a pool of the feelings you carry with you all the time. And thats ok baby, more than ok xxx

  11. Hello! I am a stranger for you. And I live on the other side of the world. But through your writing I feel like I know you. I have no idea if you would even read this comment, but if you do... I would like just to say you that pain and greaf are all emotions that are a part of our lifes. And thou I know how badly you feel know, just remember that this is a challenge, a new journey. You will get wiser, you will know see the life so differently. But you also will be able to appriciate much more and much deeper. Remember that Rick is always watching. And now he does not feel any pain, just peace. I know that it will get better. But memories - good, warm memories will always be in your heart. Just be strong! I pray for you! You are one of the gratest and smartest and strongest people I know.
    With love,
    a stranger


Help me feel less alone.