It’s a little over five months since Larry died. Just writing that makes me sigh. I’ve been feeling different – it’s this intense sense of not fitting anywhere. Anywhere!!!
I love my house but I feel like it just doesn’t fit. I have good friends and neighbors but I feel like I just don’t fit into the activities we do. I have visited my kids around the country and I sure don’t feel like I fit where they are. I went back to Cape Cod where Larry and I lived four years ago and I don’t feel like I fit there either.
I don’t know what other words to use. It’s an awkward, uncomfortable feeling. It’s more than not belonging. It’s more than being single in a world of couples. It’s more than not having the one person in the world you’re completely comfortable with.
It’s more visceral than that. It’s physical. Like my shape isn’t right for the space I’m in. It makes me crazy – I want to do something to change it, to make the feeling go away.
Do what? Sell the house? Move? Move where? Get a job? Doing what? Everyone says don’t make a major decision for the first year, but what do they know about these feelings?
It was just this week that I started to explore the idea that this is just grief in another form. Duh? It doesn’t show up as before, crying, intensely missing Larry, being lonely. I mean I feel those things, although perhaps less often during the course of a day.
I realize this grief is more about a sort of proprioception of identity. Proprioception is the sense we have of where our bodies are in relation to our surroundings – what keeps us from running into walls and furniture. It extends to things we ride and drive (which is amazing when you think about it) so we know pretty much where the edges of our car or our bicycle are.
My identity for many years came from a life tied fastly to other lives, one with many – parents, kids, and of course Larry. In these last few years my life wasn’t a separate life running parallel and along with Larry’s anymore but rather so intimately bound in time and space and goals and outcomes that our two lives became one life. My proprioception of myself was of that whole one life encompassing us both.
So the space I took up in relation to what was around me was of that entwined two lives. And now I am only one half of that. I don’t take up all that space. So I don’t feel like I fit. A horrible simplified analogy is a fitted sheet that you’ve ripped in half and are trying to fit on your bed. Or to go the opposite way, driving a tractor trailer after you’ve been driving a Mini-Cooper. It’s wrong-sized. Life feels wrong-sized to me. I’m like Gulliver on his four travels – not fitting in anywhere he went.
It helps to name it grief. To see these new feelings as part of the process of letting go of the old life, of letting go of Larry, of starting to create a new life.
It isn’t absolute reality that I don’t fit. It’s just a feeling. My neighbor said “Nancy, you do fit. You just feel like you don’t fit.” Feelings come and go. I’ll just have to breathe and grieve and let time pass as I figure out where the edges of my identity are again, and where I am in relation to my surroundings. Easy to write and hard to do!
4 thoughts on “Five Months and Not Fitting”
Hi, Nancy! I stumbled across your writing about not fitting in anywhere as a widow. I became hooked on reading and learning more about you. You have a gift of writing your thoughts down so that my heart and emotions connected with yours. You also have done some beautiful artwork, which I hope is therapy for your soul.
I’ve been a widow for over 3 years now. I lost my wonderful husband of 44 years very quickly to pancreatic cancer on July 4th, 2016. I still don’t fit in ANYWHERE. I make the effort to try to fit in, but the emptiness is always there, whether the chair beside me is filled with someone else or not. We were one and part of me left with him. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with the part that’s left. I’m thinking I need to tell my story, too. Thanks for telling yours. I believe Sovereign God is holding me, you, and all widows like us. I’m trying to trust that He will give me a future filled with hope and joy, even though life still looks pretty grim and unchanging right now. It is a day by day walk of trusting that God knows what’s best for me.
Thank you for your kind words. I am so glad that my writing connects with you. But also so sorry that you are in our situation. I certainly encourage you to tell your story. I think words can be healing and when we tell our story, the whole story, we recognize truths we might not otherwise see in the scattered thoughts that whirl through our brains. Good luck to you. Life is always a day by day journey but never more than for us.
Karren, I am sorry to hear you are still going through the “out of place” syndrome, as I call it. It has been 2 years for me and I also have the same feelings as you. I keep wondering what God has got in store for me and pray I don’t miss the message.
Pat, sorry you also feel “out of place.” It occurs to me that I moved 1500 miles four years ago and it took me three years to call it home. Change takes it’s own sweet time!
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