My partner, my sweet, kind, gentle partner left me yesterday. In my grief, I didn’t call him sweet or kind or gentle. I called him a liar, a monster and a coward. After he left I howled for hours, my friend holding me, rocking me, stroking my hair as I went around in loops of bargaining with the universe and asking why and how he could do this.
This is it. This moment is the thing I feared more than anything else in the world. After I ended my marriage I felt that there would be a price to pay. That the grief I caused my husband would have to be answered for. And so I spent two years living in fear, waiting for my punishment. In the meantime, my fear caused me to be unkind to the person I didn’t think I could stand losing. I didn’t trust myself and I didn’t trust him and ultimately, I let fear guide me right to the thing I dreaded with all of my heart.
What I wouldn’t give to go back and love him fiercely rather than cautiously. What I wouldn’t give for all of this to be a dress rehearsal.
The other night when we were still a couple, I got a wave of terror. I was home alone and I couldn’t figure out how to make the feeling stop. I felt trapped with my fear. And then I sat down to write. And I wrote my way through it. And the fear became smaller, uncomfortable at having been found out. So I kept writing and I wrote down everything I am afraid of. What I didn’t write down, because it was too big to name was losing the person I love with all of my heart. Here is the amended list.
I am afraid that this pain will never stop.
I am afraid that I am totally and completely unlovable.
I am afraid that I will miss him for the rest of my life.
I am afraid that he will find someone better than me in every way and be happy, while I spend my life shut off from love.
I am afraid of dying. And more than the fear of being dead, I am terrified of my death causing pain to my loved ones.
I am afraid that I won’t be able to ask them for forgiveness for causing them such suffering because of the being dead part.
I am afraid that someday, just when I think I have conquered my snake phobia I will find a python curled up in my toilet.
I am scared that this mangled limb of grief I carry makes me unacceptable.
I am scared that someday I will have to say goodbye to everyone I love for good.
I am scared that there is no afterlife
I am scared of an afterlife where I won’t be able to taste chocolate, feel my mom’s well-moisturized hands and say “wow, your hands are so soft! What are you using?”
I am scared that someday I won’t be able to hear her laugh through her tears, as I know she is doing as she reads this.
I am scared that I will never fully know what service my existence provides and how users would rate this service on a scale of one to ten.
I am afraid that I will never be strong enough for this life.
I am afraid of torture.
I am afraid of sleeping alone in my apartment.
I am afraid of growing old.
I am afraid of losing my beauty.
I am afraid that I will never be able to open up to anyone again.
I am afraid of flying.
I am afraid of drowning.
I am afraid of my cat dying, and now I am afraid that if I leave Istanbul, I’ll have to leave him too.
I am afraid of staying in this city where everything is a reminder of him.
I am afraid of leaving this city and never seeing him again.
I am deathly afraid that I will never feel safe alone. And now I have to find out if I can.