Philip would have been 29 today. I’ve read the posts I’ve written in the past on his birthdays. How thoughtful of me. For all the times I called grief a spiral, I thought things like his birthdays, or the anniversaries of his death, would be more linear, with me gaining some sort of cumulative wisdom along the way. This is not true. This, today, right now, nearly seven years later, is the worst-most-hopeless I have been in a long time.

I hate being alive. I HATE IT. This is more than just a today’s-Philip’s-birthday-I-have-the-blues rant. This is about an impossible loneliness I am inadequate to remedy. This is me, me everyday waiting and watching and hoping that this night, this night when I fall asleep, my nightly prayer will ring true:

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the lord my soul to keep

I pray to die before I wake

I pray the lord my soul to take.

I don’t want to fall ill, I don’t want to contract some nightmarish disease or even an ordinary one.I just want to to sleep and not wake up. And stop with the twisted horror or pity on your face. If it’s there, you don’t know. Your desire to live and ability to enjoy yourself is just as alien to me as my craving for nihilism is to you.

It’s no one’s fault. I am severely unequipped  to handle life on life’s terms. I think I once thought I was, but now it seems that was arrogance. It’s more than the fact that Philip has died. Phil, my ex, has lost him too – and look how he’s doing. A LOT of friends, interests, a lovely home, a long-time partner, his daughter who adores him. I am happy for him, and grateful that Natalie has one parent who can show her how it’s done.

I think I suffer from mental illness. I stopped therapy over the summer – it’d been 40 years plus countless medications and still I don’t want to get out of the bed in the morning. I still can’t sustain a relationship. Not even with K, a person so much more loving, wise, smart and compassionate than anyone I could have imagined. But I managed to push her away and eight months later I am still mourning. And what am I doing to help my daughter? She lives in the this crappy little apartment with me but I do nothing to help her get on the right track, simply smiling and nodding while I watch her life spin more out of control.

I tried AA these last four months. But the problem is I bring myself there, with all my resistances and self-doubts and isolationist tendencies and I don’t pick up the phone to call anyone so I might as well stay home and watch TV where I at least don’t have to hold hands and say meaningless prayers during the end credits. There are people in AA who would be more than willing to talk to me. But I have to make the first call and when I think about doing so, the phone becomes unreasonably heavy and I cannot lift it. No one more than me realizes  how much I get in the way of myself but if I’m to be relied upon to help myself out I’m just going to drown.

Today I am waiting for call from a woman I’d asked to be my sponsor. She’s busy with work and with other women she helps and said she’d know for sure by today if she’ll be able to work with me. I don’t think I’ve ever given AA a fair shot. AA’s idea of God isn’t mine and the closest I can come to “turning my will over” is to stop resisting what is so. Aside from my language objections, there must be some sage advice the program has to offer me if I can hear it through the right person and I am desperate enough to want that. But what if she doesn’t call? Everything is the final straw with me; everything brings me to the brink and the hopeless tears don’t stop. I’m scared. What if she doesn’t call? Find someone else, you say. You don’t understand. This is just more confirmation of how alone I am and of my inability to connect. What’s the point of being alive with this much loneliness? What’s the point when I don’t want to go out, and when I am out, all I want to do is get back home and hide? What’s the fucking point?

K called and asked if I wanted to meet her for lunch today in Brooklyn, just get out and not spend this day alone. I almost said yes, but at my peril. She can see me as a friend, she can take care of me today and then let me go home tonight. I am not there. I want to see her because I want to hold her and cry with her and I want her to soothe me in bed tonight. And all this knowledge does is make me more lonely and grieved. Makes me more want to stop waking up because I cannot tolerate all this pain, all this only-pain. This is not something that just-passes. Oh, the intensity of it, sure. But not the the dull ache of everyday’s WTF am I here for and when is this going to end. I hear plenty of people grateful to have one more day, I hear plenty of people in AA claiming to have a life they never thought they could. And I am alienated further. My son is dead, my daughter grows distant, I’ve barely any friends. I am alone. What else is there to say? I am in trouble, and from what I can see, this time through’s not the way out.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dakota M Draconi, MSW
    Jan 20, 2020 @ 14:21:31

    No magical wisdom. No cliches. No pat answers. Just support and understanding and unconditional love. Please keep holding on. Please. I need you.


  2. nataliehemmerich
    Jan 21, 2020 @ 13:36:41

    There’s no magic words to fix this. It’s real, its deep, it’s where you are. And yet, there is hope. Writing it down, putting it out in the world is an act of hope. Whatever string of hope you have left, please hold on to it, the world will never be the same if your light goes out. Sending hope, love, and light your way.

    Holding you and Philip in my heart.


  3. Denise
    Jan 21, 2020 @ 18:21:25

    Thank you – it was so hard for me to post that and I still wonder if I did the right thing. Everything I wrote was exactly what life felt like yesterday – and I get that way often. Like I said in my last comment, sometimes I write about that, and sometimes I write FROM that. Thank you for caring.


  4. Rose Vidotto
    Feb 04, 2020 @ 13:02:09

    Hi Denise,

    sorry it took me sometime to reach out to you….

    Reading your post, I can say that :

    I can’t imagine all the pain and suffering you go through on a daily basis, my pains are different than yours, my monsters and ghosts are different than yours, but, the truth is, we all got them. I know we can’t compare stories, neither can we say that your pain is bigger or smaller than some of mine, but, we can say that we all go through some pain, one way or the other, and that there will be times when we will feel that we can’t do this anymore or take it anymore. I feel lonely, sad, frustrated and angry for all the issues I’m having to go through at the moment. But, reality is, we are not alone. We may fell alone, but we are not.

    You mentioned this on your post: This is just more confirmation of how alone I am and of my inability to connect.
    The way I see this is, that if you were unable to connect to people, or make people feel connected to you, none of us would be here talking to you. This is just a perception that you have about yourself, and might be something that you have taught of yourself forever, but , it’s not true. All of us here in this blog, are a real proof of it. We connected, somehow, in some crazy way, we connected. I don’t know any of you in person, probably never will, but I do know some of your stories, some of your struggles and sufferings, and that somehow brought me to together with all of you. This to me is connection.

    Perhaps, all you need right now is the support you receive from all of your on-line friends. Because, even though, we are not right there with you, which sometimes is something that we don’t want anyways, we are here for you….we hear you, we wait for you to write and tell us what you are going through so that we can help you somehow.

    I once told you that, I can’t be there holding your hand, but I’m here to support you in any other way.

    Let’s go through this together, you are the example of a strong woman to me, even when you don’t see it this way, but you are.

    You are reaching out through your posts, we are reaching out through our responses. This is connection, this is support, this is our way of saying and showing how important you are.

    Life will run it’s course….and we will be here…..




    • Denise
      Feb 07, 2020 @ 17:00:23

      It’s so overwhelming, sometimes, just waking up. I know we all have something. I can’t seem to put things in perspective, I can’t stay connected to people. When someone’s not here they disappear…so yes, this is in my head. I don’t know how to change it. And I’ll tell you Rose – losing Kelley just brings up all this grief about Philip and life feels like nothing but loss. I miss her and she’s moved on. We still talk, but I’m just a friend to her and it’s a like a knife in my gut sometimes.

      It amazes me that you’re out there. I wish I could take you in more, but that’s on me, not you.Thank you for not giving up on me, for always showing up. I wish I could say more but I’m crying too much, You are an angel,


  5. Pedro
    Feb 09, 2020 @ 12:19:14

    I was happy to read the response you got from Rose. It encourages me to know that there are people who care and have compassion for others even thought they’ve never met in Person. There is no reason why anyone shouldn’t draw strength form those friends. After reading I felt special about our friendship because I know you,
    we’ve sat together, shared meals, walked and talked. I’ve had the sweet privilege
    of kissing your beautiful face hello and goodbye. Please think about that and remember that you can connect with me easily . There are many times when I’ve needed to hear your voice or just chat with you. In short ,other people need you in their lives!


  6. Sue Dawson
    Feb 15, 2020 @ 12:48:17

    Hi Denise – I’ve been thinking about you & I wanted to say I’m so sorry about the pain you’re in. I wish I had something profound to say but anything I think of seems trivial. I just want you to know that I read what you write & if nothing else there are people who acknowledge what you are going through.


    • Denise
      Feb 16, 2020 @ 10:28:29

      Thank you, Sue. That means a lot – really means a lot. This was the worst birthday I’ve gone through since Philip died and I’m sure it has to do with it also being the first that I’ve not had anything to dull the pain. It’s also the anniversary of his death next weekend…everything just feels hard. I didn’t know you were listening and know how much I appreciate it.


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