Sunday, June 1, 2014

Paint It Black

"I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors any more, I want them to turn black..."

So it turns out the Rolling Stones knew exactly how I feel. Since the day Rick died, I have worn black every single day. Today it is exactly 2 weeks since he died...and I think maybe it's time I wore a different color. 

After Rick died, I found myself standing in my closet, unable to choose bright colored work clothes or even a white t-shirt. It just didn't feel right to wear something vibrant or colorful from my wardrobe when my heart was so black. There have been days I've attempted to choose something from my closet that was not black, but I just couldn't bring myself to put something on my body that didn't fit my mood. Wearing black felt right and I intended to do it as long as I desired. 

In truth, I still kind of want to wear black every day. It's awkward for me to think about putting on pink or blue or green when my husband is dead. But I found a way to ease into color again.

Today, I went to a salon and got a black gel manicure. My nails are a shiny, long-lasting black. And I think if I wear color to work tomorrow, I'll be okay. I'm going to keep my nails black for as long as I need. 

"I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door, I must have it painted black
Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts
It's not easy facing up when your whole world is black"

For now, I'm coping the only way I know: there's a cat on my lap and golf on my TV. 


  1. Black nail polish covers the tips of my fingers
    You notice it but you do not say a word.
    Your gaze gives it all away.

    I place my hand on the countertop.
    I reach out to grasp the paper you’re handing me
    And your eyes fix themselves on the dark, gaudy gloss.

    My sadness is channeled through the black, shiny covering.
    My emotions balanced nicely between my heavy heart
    And the heavy fingernails.

    I can return to me when the emptiness is revealed.
    You feel alarmed.
    I feel stronger.

    I wrote that when we were in college. I know it's not happy or encouraging or anything like that, but it's personal and I thought maybe it'd make you smile a little to know that someone else has done the same thing. I still paint my nails black when I'm upset or hurting because it's something subtle that allows me to cope in my own way.

    I haven't had the right words to say to you since hearing of Rick's death. I just want to come hug you because I know it can't be easy and I'm glad you're writing and getting things out. Remember that you are a beautiful woman who is doing beautiful things. Rick would be proud of you for that.


  2. I remember when I was studying for my eng lit degree reading about enforced grieving - boxing grief into a process - a period when the widow could wear only black and if she were to alter from this then she would bring shame. I remembered thinking how odd to name a day for someone you didnt know that said 'time's up life goes on'.
    Grief is rule-less, lawless, classless and listless - one experiences it how one experiences - one grief is in many ways incomparable. Its often used but the WH Auden Poem Funeral Blues always says so much on grief and that inconsolable unreachable feeling of loss

    "The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
    Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
    Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
    For nothing now can ever come to any good."

    And yet there is colour in the world
    colour to be seen and loved and worn in times to come
    the stars still shine and their beauty waits to be noticed one day again
    but until then cats, golf and black nails is perfectly ok my love xxx


Help me feel less alone.