I grieve

Sweat was hiding the tears as they trickled down my flushed cheeks. Most tears these days have been shed in silence, in hiding. Now I stand in the middle of a busy gym on the outskirts of Orlando. The smell of wet iron, the hint of copper, humbled by my current experience of feeling weak handling the iron, exposing my current internal weaknesses; which has been making every attempt to hide any feelings. Swallowing back the pain, unloading the plates off the bar, collecting my things, I went to my car to sob and further hide any visible pain.

Out of the industrial constructs and into the woods of the Florida state road to the place I now call home. The driving is soothing, but the tears continue to stream down my face, the sadness feels warm in my chest and almost overwhelming, as I feel the tightening and fight the feeling of my adrenaline. I am alone. My day is surrounded by the four walls that protect me from the world outside. Bearing these feelings is exhausting as I hide the pain from my entire family. A single friend, one near and dear, friends for over a decade and never meeting in person, has been my audience. My audience of one outside of The Chad who knows my struggle.

Having uprooted my family from Phoenix nearly eight weeks ago I have tried to find where exactly I fit. When I moved to Albuquerque in 1997 I immediately found my niche. I was able to meet people quickly. At work, within the community, my father’s associates, their spouses; friends and a community were no struggle. Having met The Chad, he became my community, my family, we combined and made it our community together. His friends mine and vice versa. Moving to Phoenix in 2003 The Chad and I struggled a bit to find our place. A young couple with a new baby created limitations in our social interactions, but still we managed to create a small community for ourselves over the past several years, and still surrounded by family, albeit my family this time while his still remained in Albuquerque.

Today, I find myself completely lost. Unsure where to start. I started by joining a gym in hopes of meeting other like minded individuals, women and men. Surely I could meet others the way I found a home with my former gym family; a way to escape the desert of the work from home life as a writer. Solitary work as a writer, I find myself the epitome of the stereotype. Searching for words, the strain to write anything of meaning otherwise the message nothing more than just text, I dare not share the conflict and strife of my intimate life for fear of pity or worse, more rejection. The shame of sadness, of feeling. Singularity yet again. Who would care to read the text of some random human. Such a balance of payments. Alone in my work, alone in the iron, alone in my thoughts.

This post was terrifying enough to write. I know my father is reading, possibly my mother, all privy to the solitary confinement of my feelings. Locked away for the past eight weeks as I have pushed through in eldest child fashion. Soldier on, as I always have, making every futile attempt to exhibit happy. When truly I grieve.

The feeling I have wrestled with like Heracles and Anateus, grief, crushing me. The past year has been a year of grieving for me that I have denied myself. The loss of a person I considered a dear friend, while she is still living, our friendship (in spite of my earnest and loving efforts) died. The devastating loss of my grandmother. Upon receiving the news of her passing I was greeted with house guests, soldiering on, I never had moments to grieve like I felt I should. Now I grieve the loss of a former life.

Life was almost Zionistic. My husband and I were both afforded the opportunity to work from home. In constant enjoyment of one another’s company. We never tired of each other, and were like love sick teenagers anytime one was away from the other. A wonderful community of people who banded together, as any village would, to be a part of our children’s lives where we could each rely on another for support. Neighbors that would dole out a ration of grief if they didn’t get the text you had a party when they were on a nightly constitutional through the neighborhood and saw more cars than normal in your driveway. Siblings to come to dinner and weekend pool parties, having long, philosophical talks of nothing and everything all at once. Enjoying watching my children flourish in this community we helped to build for them as well.

Now I grieve. Typing as a release in my grief, of a life I left 2194 miles away. My entire family. My friends. My home that I had raised my children for the last 14 years. I grieve and I am lost. My tropical, vacation like environment leaves me lost and bewildered of where to next. Where do I go from here? How do I start over at 40? My surroundings unfamiliar and what once felt like an adventure now brings about dread and loneliness. An occasional phone call, a random tag on a Facebook post, but nonetheless the day-to-day is habitual and regimented, empty and unfulfilling.

I prepared for everything in our cross country move. Everything had a box, a schedule, an arrangement, a preparedness. What I never prepared for was what I would feel once all the boxes were unloaded. After the final tractor trailer delivered our belongings. When my license plates no longer shimmered of purple majestic mountains across a burning horizon with the shadow of the saguaro. What I never planned for was the grief and the reality of being alone.

Karie Herring

Karie Herring
7 comments… add one
  • Jennifer Oct 3, 2017, 9:25 am

    oh Karie this post hurt to read. I am so very sorry for the pain and loneliness you are going through right now. I didn’t want to reply on fb be cause as usual I’m not very open about the past year I’ve had. I totally “get” what your going through. I felt like I was grieving the death of another life, and no one understood the pain, I just was supposed to carry on and “enjoy” having an empty nest. well truthfully it SUCKED!! My life was always about my kids, I survived 19 years of He’ll with Mark because of my kids. I finally had the calmness of a good and loving man, a home that didn’t have holes punched through from fights, a silly dog, a stressless job, etc… And then my babies all leave at once!! FUCK I wanted to die. I couldn’t get out of bed most days and drank all afternoon long to just numb myself. I was seriously day drinking so much I was starting to forget simple things, conversations or even what we had for dinner the night before. And to top it all off I added even more pain by not continuing a pregnancy. At the time I was so crazy in my head that I couldn’t even comprehend having another man’s child…i only wanted MY original 3. what a horrible person I am, and now I have to live with that guilt for the rest of my life.

    I know I’ve shared too much but I wanted to explain a little so that when I say to you I understand exactly what your going through you know I’m speaking from the heart. You have to allow yourself to grieve, you have lost a lot in just 8 weeks. And then you dealt with a fricken hurricane WTF!! When we had the fires here I secretly wanted it to burn down my house, I thought that would help me start fresh lol…what a stupid ass!! Anyways this is going to be a big year of changes for you and yes, it will most likely take a full year of this emotional BS before you finally feel like you again. And that’s perfectly ok, you don’t have to rush being happy for everyone else! Cry and grieve over the loss of your grandma…my father’s death hit me 6 months later and that’s ok. Try another gym if this one doesn’t feel right. Miss being able to work at home with Chad, what a blessing that was at that time. Maybe you need to find a fun part time job to get out of the house. You would be great working at Dillards in the Reba section lol. Also remember most importantly to reach out to friends and family when you feel down. as cold as this may sound, and I hope you understand what I’m trying to say…Their life has Not changed, they are still doing what they always do even when you lived here…so they don’t have the devastating loss you are feeling without them. Of course they miss you, we all do. but our lives are still the same shit day in day out. I hope you understand what I’m saying. Reach out and feel those little pieces of home when talking to someone back here in the dry lands lol. You will get through this Karie but there is no rush. I love you and miss you so much!! I’m always here for you, even when I’m in my quiet zone.

  • Joie Betterly Oct 3, 2017, 12:23 pm

    You are an amazing woman Karie Herring. This is a plateau, a stepping stone to what God holds next for you. This is a time and a moment of readjustment. Think of what you accomplished. I could not have packed and moved as quickly as you did. I couldn’t have re-established my family as quickly as you did. While you were busy making sure your house ran smoothly and that your family was adjusting you forgot about you.

    I encourage you to join a class (you could use Yoga and get your OHHHHMMMMMM on), think gym classes, crafting, even a computer course (which you don’t need) but these will help you meet people.

    You don’t live in a small town. You have lots of resources at your finger tips. Take advantage of them and you will be soaring in no time.

    ILY! You can do this, you are doing this.

    The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.
    Zephaniah 3:17

  • Jenine Oct 3, 2017, 4:42 pm

    It’s going to take time. It’s going to be hard. Nothing you want to hear. Uprooting everything you’ve built for that long and moving into a completely new place is bound to have its drawbacks. Especially as you’ve had a community and friends and about a million and a half acquaintances. I feel for you, I really do, and I’m also hear if you want to bend my ear or my typing skills. I’m back from vacation so I’m on the interwebs again. 🙂 Hang in there, my friend. It’ll get better.

  • ellen Oct 4, 2017, 5:55 pm

    Karie it has to get better …
    My life sucks Plain and simple. I tell myself every single day it has to get better. It is my hope yours does.

    I agree with the others perhaps join some other place perhaps it is location location location.

  • Sue E Nov 5, 2017, 11:02 pm

    I wanted to cry reading your article. It was more like reading a page from your personal journal!! I don’t know why you had to move and it is none of my business, but I hope it was at least to a place you like! I have felt the loss of a couple of dear friends like that and it does hurt, but I also think I could of done something to mend it. The fact that I didn’t even try, makes me think of how much of a good friend this person really was to me OR I to them?? You mentioned that you are forty. You could be going through the change early. Your hormones going amuk. An antidepressant may not be a bad idea until you get your bearings!! You don’t want your children to see you lose it. They may be upset by the move also. They left friends, etc. and it sounds like the only home they ever knew! Joining a church would help.
    Praying and asking God for help is a great option. I will pray for you! You are blessed beyond measure than most of us! Please stay positive! I always say act as if and your mood will change. God Bless and I pray God wipes all your tears away!!

  • Linda Manns Linneman Nov 11, 2017, 5:32 am

    I lived in Florida for over thirty years. For some reason it is hard to meet true friends there. It is also hard to start over as we age. You will be in my prayers. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you so much for sharing this. God Bless

  • Amber Ludwig Nov 15, 2017, 2:01 pm

    It can always be so hard to start over!! Have you searched FB for a local mommy group?! I feel like that really helped me!! Also, video call those you miss!! FB chat is amazingly easy!!

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