Still Raw

March 25, 2003

Michele and I are still somewhat raw emotionally due to the loss of Abby. Last evening we tried to have dinner out but neither of us was in a space to tolerate the costs necessary to be out in public in that situation.

I think each of us has an emotional reservoir that gives us flexibility in our responses to normal situations. You know that going out to eat will require some sacrifices on your part but you have the capacity to allow for those. When some large or unexpected emotional event occurs you use up some of your reserve capacity. You aren't as forgiving or flexible about little things, and being out in the world becomes much harder.

Even though we understood that Abby's time was coming we both used up our emotional reserve getting through last Thursday at the vet, and in the days since trying to reconcile our lives without her. I have had exposure to people at work, but that is ritualized and formal, with plenty of barriers to true emotional exposure. When I am at work I am not as accessible emotionally to others, or to my self. Since I am not open emotionally in the workplace it is oddly safe in this time of grief.

At home I am far more open emotionally for it is safe there. With Michele I don't have to hide any of my feelings or thoughts. When the two of us go out for dinner we often have very deep intellectual and emotional conversations. We look forward to eating out not only for the food, but for the chance to connect with each other. Going out with my Sweetie is far more emotionally open than being at work, so it is oddly less safe right now. Both of us felt at odds with the restaurant and each other last evening. Our emotional reservoirs are near empty and we didn't have the flexibility necessary to deal with the world while being open emotionally. In the end we got take out from another restaurant and ate at home.

I know that we are working through the stages of grief and that we are both respecting ourselves in letting this process happen at its own pace. Already the anger and hurt is starting to pass, and the love and happiness at Abby's memory will be what remains.

Author's profile picture

Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.