I Am Afraid.

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.

5 Responses to I Am Afraid.

  1. Paul McCarry Kidd says:

    Sometimes when we go through mental anguish words seem irrelevant. All we can do is remember the positive experiences we have shared and try to carry on with an open (and a hurting) heart. You are strong, you are a Pilgrim and you can survive and in time make a happy life for yourself, as always… buen camino Masha Vapnitchnaia

  2. Scott says:

    You can.
    You will.

  3. Beth Partin says:

    I’m so sorry.

    In 2016 my divorce was final. I still feel that I should have to pay because I left him for reasons that are difficult to describe. Isn’t it strange how we punish ourselves?

  4. Tim Shugrue Shannon says:

    Marsha, there is no changing your yesterdays. Time to live for tomorrows. Start this second, the palate is clean. Put yesterdays in a jar, screw lid on tight and put oy up on a shelf in the bowels of your mind. I lived my life holding on to a dream from the time I was 28 till I was 55. Always thinking of some one that I thought was the only one. Torment does not begin to discribe my mental state. Start by loving yourself first. Move forward you are special. God put you here for a reason. Go for it. I could tell you more if you wish. I have been there, where you are. God bless, love Tim

  5. Olga Polyansky says:

    “The darkest hour is just before the dawn”
    I have been there once and know how you feel – hugs and kisses here – and speedy recovery, because it hurts more than any other illness. And of course it is impossible to imagine that it would ever stop.
    You should know – it will stop hurting. The pain will change you. You will accept the change and even like the new you.
    Practical advice, which helped me then, was:
    # stand in the shower and let water pour over your head. A lot.
    # uncurl. Do not hug your knees if they come close to your chin, push them away)
    # try doing things differently, like trying on a new personality. This was weird, but healing, and even sometimes absurdly funny.
    # no pills – I regretted not following this one.
    You are gorgeous, courageous, strong, talented and totally lovable. How many lives does a cat have? Women have more. ❤️😘

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