Sunday, June 8, 2014

Grief on a Bench

Today it is 3 weeks since Rick left this world. Last night, after keeping my grief in a box all day, I cried on my best friend's shoulder at the beach. The positive is that if I was going to cry anyway, at least I could do it on my best friend's shoulder. At the beach.

I was around people all day - including my best friend's future step-daughters. Her fiancé's two little girls were an adorable distraction and I enjoyed being with them, but as the night hit, I knew I was going to cry and I knew I was going to cry hard. In a panic, I told Sarah I needed to take a shower right away, because I knew I was going to cry and I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. I wanted to be able to cry in the shower so I didn't freak out the kids.

She took me for a walk instead. As soon as I got out into the dark, open night, I began to cry. The grief just couldn't stay in a box. There was too much of it.

We walked down the street from her house to the beach. She steered me to a bench in front of the water and we sat. My grief poured out into the night.

We talked, I cried, we talked, I cried. I had the overpowering sensation that Rick was listening to the entire conversation.

I looked out over the water and breathed I'm alive. I'm still here. My hands move. My legs walk. My lips speak. My heart beats. I can sit on a bench on a dark June night with my best friend because I'm alive. And Rick is not.

My mind leapt out over the water, up into the sky, and I could see myself sitting there with Sarah on that bench, tears streaming down my face. Is it really me uttering the words "ever since Rick died?" Is it really me talking about the Survivors of Suicide support group I'm going to join? Is it really me talking about being forced to start a new life?

It didn't feel real. It felt like some other woman was sitting there, detailing her grief and loss. Wasn't it just yesterday that Sarah and I were in college, talking about being each other's maid of honors in our future weddings? But the night kind of set the tone... pushed in on me... and reminded me that Sarah and I met in college almost 12 years ago. Time has happened... life has happened... everything is different.

My marriage is over, cut short by suicide. Her marriage will begin in March. College dreams pan out one way or another. She was my Maid of Honor in 2008, and now I'll be her Matron of Honor in 2015. A widow is still a Matron of Honor, even though no longer married. I know, because I googled it - one of the weird new things I do in my new life, like wearing mascara on my upper lashes only so that when I inevitably cry each day at some point, makeup won't run down my face.

Sarah and I talked about the unfairness of life. What is there to say?

That's the best part about a best friend. You talk and talk and cry and cry, but really you're already nodding your head to what the other person is saying before it's all said, because it's already known and understood. Talking isn't a necessity; it's a bonus.

If Rick can't sit on a bench with me ever again, there's no one else I'd rather sit next to than my best friend, Sarah. My heart was still broken, even in Connecticut...but on nights like last night, I wish everyone could have a best friend and beach at the ready.


  1. My love and best hugs for you Arielle XOX

  2. Despite the depth of grief and pain that language cannot tell I smile at this post. I smile because you have Sarah and because you have that rare friendship that carries an 'i know' without anything ever being told. I smile because you are loved deeply, because you are leaning on a shoulder, because you are allowing yourself to cry and because there is life - however strange, hurtful, bizarre right now - there is life for you. And I believe you are right - Rick is there in the night, listening and loving xxx


Help me feel less alone.