I have been out in the world a great deal lately and it is messing me up.  I’m splintering into pieces and it is not easy to keep all the parts together.

The surprising thing is that being out in the world isn’t really the hard part, but rather the fact that there is only the same empty place I come back to when I’m done out there.  The place where Silas isn’t destroys me over and over again.  And no matter if I’m in Boston, at home, on the road alone delivering coffee, when find myself returning to that place where he isn’t, that place that is my life-as-it-should-have-been, I am crushed anew.

I can do the world stuff now, mostly. I’ve thrown myself into work.  But it is such an effort to accomplish even the tiniest thing because on some level, I just don’t give a fuck.  Except that I also do.  I know I have to keep going forward,  I need to get shit done, work, live, love, laugh.  Just do it.  Just go go go.  But no, sometimes.  No.  Not getting up.  Not returning that phone call (and sorry to friends I owe calls back to, they are coming.)  Not thinking about Silas.  Not not not not can’t won’t.  But I am.  Always.

Always back to that place where I am thinking about him and it is literally the one and only thing I can do with him.  That’s it.  I can think about him.  Nothing else.

It is empty.  I’m emptier than I have ever felt before.  I have little to say a lot of the time.  I just don’t feel like talking.  I don’t feel like explaining how I’m feeling over and over again.

And I hate it when people don’t ask.

I can feel the world drifting on and a silence descending over me.  I can feel an isolation occurring.  Perhaps it is the winter coming.  I fear the barren, knifing winds that wait to sweep through the empty streets of this tiny city.  I dread the soft flakes that will seal us frozen in our home.  I fear the grief that is still in me and that I will carry with me every day of my life.  I’m afraid of how scared I feel these days.

And then I remember that I really, actually and truly do not give a fuck.  That helps.  Remembering that I don’t give one single shit about anything and that people should just get the hell out of my way definitely helps me to deal with the vicious cruelty of this desolate place I keep having to go back to every moment of the day.

Do you think maybe this is the anger phase?  Does that sound right to you?  It rings true with me.  As you read this you must think I’m just a completely pissed off person and while that would be true on one level, it’s also not true in many ways.

I am calm and content when roasting coffee.  Working in the shop and helping to create an amazing business with people I love is truly wonderful.  I feel good there and I really enjoy all the accounts and customers I work with.  Probably for the first time in my life I am completely and totally thrilled with my work-life, while I absolutely loathe my personal life.  But that’s not exactly it, either.

I love Lu and my family and my friends with thorough devotion.  Everyone’s love and support has been utterly amazing.  That’s all part of my personal life and I cherish it.  Rather it is my life itself, my personal experience of this life of mine that is so awful right now.  How I go about my day and how I live in my mind and how I trust and perceive the world, all of that, I hate it.  I hate that the most personal creature, my son, isn’t with me and never will be.  I hate that thought so much I have to keep my distance from it or I shatter like a wineglass on stone.

Then sometimes I have to go ahead and think about Silas, about how he will never be with me, and I shatter myself on purpose.

The problem is that there’s just no way to do all of this at the same time and feel completely sane.  So the pieces splinter and I pull them together and let all of you shove different parts into alignment.  Saturday night we saw Ira Glass in Northampton.  It was an incredible show.  I laughed so hard throughout and shed many tears, and for a little while I was able to be in that internal place with Silas and yet not feel like it was a crucible incinerating my soul.  I can find that peaceful solace within sometimes, but it doesn’t last.  And then I go back to missing him so much I don’t give a fuck about anything and I forge forward through the day destroying obstacles with ease.

We walked around Boston a lot last week.  It felt really good.  That experience helped spark an image for me, as I was thinking about how I was feeling, how I was navigating through the world while still passing through that terrible place where I missed Silas so much it created physical pain in me.  I was also just starting a book called The Canticle of Lebowitz that is considered ‘speculative literature’ (aka really good sci-fi you don’t even know is sci-fi) that takes place decades after a worldwide nuclear holocaust.  In the book, cities were turned to sheets of glass where nuclear warheads landed.

I feel as though my soul has been turned into that fused glass.  I see myself walking across a vast and desolate landscape where only off in the distance can I vaguely see tiny oases of light and life and color.  It takes a great deal of effort to walk from one of these places to the next.  Much of the time I am simply moving, moving forward, crunching across the shattered landscape with my head tight against my neck and my thin jacket pulled tight against the icy breeze.  When I’m feeling exceptionally awful there is even sometimes a tiny hand in mine, and I cannot even bear to look to see if it is Silas.  Of course it is.  I know that.  But the pure and painful impossibility of that is too brutal to even risk a glace towards him.

It wasn’t like this before.  I used to live at one of those oases all the time.  That place of light and color and love and laughter, it filled me completely.  It was a rare day when I felt like I was caught out in the barren reaches of the soul.  Now every day is a struggle to rise from my hovel, to walk across the landscape that was incinerated into glass on the day my son was born and then passed away, to find a cool pool with lush growth and the trappings of love and hope and to stay there for as long as I can.

It is never long enough.  I have to always keep walking, now.  I have to spend time out there in the reaches where I can think, and where it is safer for me to be.  I am toxic now and I have to learn how to protect myself first, so that I can protect others from me, so that they are not incinerated by the burning phosphorous of this vicious sadness.

I can shatter to pieces out there and the shards cut no one.  It is all glass.  All flat.  All harded and fused.