Another night without Rick.
Whether cats or friends fill my house, there's a loneliness that seeps into every part of me. As my work day ends, I enter into a world of isolation and grief. I envision myself ducking underneath yellow CAUTION tape to enter my house. In my head, there's a sign out front that says: GRIEF LIVES HERE. At the front door, my mind sees another sign in the window: BEWARE OF LONELINESS.
As I leave my car, where I can now listen to music within reason, I slip into a new world where crying is a nightly affair and my cell phone is a lifeline to the world outside the Grief Zone.
The Arielle of day gradually becomes the Arielle of night, a more subdued version with extra heaviness and fewer distractions. The Arielle I tuck in bed at night has stayed up so late she can't possibly keep her eyes open. She fears nightmares and emotional pain. The Arielle I cry to sleep is lonely and in mourning.
When morning comes, the Arielle who wakes up in my bed gradually becomes vibrant with life, ready for challenges, and hopeful to a fault. She gets things done and is glad the night is over. The Arielle of the morning prepares to leave the Grief Zone by putting on makeup with the intention of keeping it on rather than crying it off. She makes a cup of comfort in the form of coffee. She reminds herself that she can create happiness.
Both Arielles are there, always, part of me. One takes a backseat to the other at different times of day.
Sometimes I want to take a roll of yellow CAUTION tape and wrap it around me. How else will anyone know what's waiting inside me? I look at myself in the mirror. My childlike face doesn't scream WIDOW. My eyes look sad in the weirdest way. I've never seen them like this before, even when I smile. It's as though all the pain of my heart had nowhere to go, so it floated up to the top of me and peers out through my blue eyes.
Grief is such a strange thing. I can't wait for the day when I can cut through the CAUTION tape, air out the Grief Zone, and look at myself in the mirror again without a pit in my stomach.