It’s just a little knot in the morning.  A hard ball of blackness behind and under my gut.  As the day goes on that loosens and spreads, somewhat dissipating but in another way growing, slipping between the atoms of my skin, into the sweat on my palms, into my tears, between muscles in my legs making them quiver.

I feel the blackness in my breath.  I see the world twist in my eyes, flip over and fall heavy on my retinas.  It is a way of being that I have never felt before.  I do not like it.

The afternoons get easier.  Music always helps as do notes from friends, bright flowers landing on our doorstep, emails and calls.  But the hours are long and I’m uncertain of how to fill them.

Yesterday I went to the bank.  It was torture.  Not just the silly little line and the brutal small-talk with the clerk but the driving and deciding, the sharpness of facts and the brute force of everyday life.  I drove like a zombie.  The non-functioning ATM machine made me panicked and angry.  I had to focus on my breathing to stay calm, and trying to ignore the sickly slick feeling of dread in my gut was exhausting.

I felt wrung out when I returned home from that minor chore.

I drift through the house now.  I read the paper with half a brain unfocused.  I don’t know how to do this.  How to be in the world now, how to act or what to do or where to go.  Do we want to go out somewhere, have dinner elsewhere?  Do I lie in bed all day? Should I try and work?  The idea of having to process and focus on the world around me, on work, seems utterly ludicrous.  But I can’t just hover here in this endless limbo.

Time, I suppose, will do its thing and help me out.  I will be able to handle chores without wracking my brain.  I will be able to face the day and not dread each long empty moment.  For now, though, I drift, clutching to thresholds and trying to catch my breath.

We have been pushed to the edge of the Abyss.  I can see it right there, right in front of us.  A small piece of that Abyss is the obsidian chunk that lives in my gut.  When the sick feeling becomes too much, I open up within and let a tiny trickle flow through me.  That trickle carries a flood’s worth of grief and tears.

I can only take it in doses.  If I touch it too long, if I let that blackness pool and grow too large, the rough chunk of sadness within me becomes tied to the endless Abyss now so close and I’m afraid I will fall in and drown.  The only way to stop it is to find an instant of love or laughter and pull back, take hold and hang on for another sunset.

Every day I don’t drown in grief is an accomplishment.  Every time we find a moment of laughter or love it is flash of light in the endless darkness.

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