The Grief Code

“If words could be the very thing which cracks the grief code, I’d write every moment of every day until I could put an end to my pain”. LJ

Dear Paul,

I would write for an eternity and still not be able to adequately express how much your absence in my life effects me. I feel, after eight seemingly short months, as if there is an enormous part of my soul and my heart missing. Everything my senses experience, has your essence all over it and yet, you don’t exist in this world; this complex life, anymore. This is a fact based on logic, but I am having a difficult and painful experience trying to comprehend this logic. Perhaps I am a tad behind now, but I cannot get it through my head that you’re no longer here by my side. I keep wondering where you are. How could it be?

We had a kind of love and respect for each other that most people only dream about. We were always glad that we found each other when we did. We cobbled together a sweet life full of family, love, laughter and gentle comfort. I will always appreciate and cherish that and know that I had the best experience and more than I could have imagined with you. Now, with you gone, all of that is muted for me somehow and it seems like I am looking through a different lens; a lens that skews the visual. It seems dreamlike and I can’t seem to focus. It’s like I’m looking at the watery reflection of our life and no matter what I do to pull it clearly into view, it gets blurry and misty.

As I try to navigate through these uncharted and hazy waters, I am stymied, perplexed, lonely, sad and unforgiving for losing the best part of my everyday living. You and I. Paul and Lynne, Lynne and Skip, Grammy and Papa. I’m half of a whole now. There is not a person in my world, an inanimate object, a living creature or plant that doesn’t make me think of you and … us somehow.

I am at the stage of my grief now where mostly everyone has stopped talking about you consistently. I’m not ready for that. I understand that everyone grieves in their own way, but I’m not ready to remove you from my every day cadence and I want to bring your name and memory up at every turn. No one knows how much I hold back doing just that. It’s as if I want you part of every conversation as if you are still here in the room. You are still here in the room for me. I’m not sure that it is the same for everyone else or at least as consistently. It could be but they don’t express themselves like I do here in this blog or personally in conversation. It is too painful for them? Perhaps it is, and so they don’t talk about it as openly as I would like them to. Selfishly, I want you constantly in everyone’s thoughts. This way you aren’t really gone…you remain part of the journey moving forward. Sometimes I feel like in my desire to sing about you, I am singing solo. I am not ready to move on. I may never move on…it’s difficult to say. How am I ever going to be able to move from this space where you exist? How can I? My heart is so profoundly connected to you , I fear that I will never let go nor do I want to. Honestly, I still feel as if joining you is the only answer. Yet, the part of my heart which holds up our amazing family grounds me to here, because I love them so.

I know that they love and care about me but sometimes I feel as if I’m on the outside looking in. If you were here with me, we’d have each other to look to. I feel alone and it’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just how it is. Our family has a full life and they are navigating through their own waters building their own happily ever afters. I am a small part of that journey and that is understandable of course. You and I were each others worlds. Now I must navigate this by myself with you inside my heart, not walking physically beside me. It’s so different, and so unnerving for me now. I miss your smile and your touch. It’s not enough to have you in my heart and it never will be. I need you so much more.

I’m currently sitting in the early morning sun at Coast Guard Beach while I write this. I have a hot cup of coffee and am sitting in my sandy beach chair. A solo beach chair. No more part of a duet. This pilgrimage to the beach this early morning was supposed to be a reminder of something we both loved to do together and this is the first time this summer I have allowed myself to take the plunge, so to speak. I had a small and exciting thought that maybe I might find you here and we could sit and enjoy the beach together as we once had, sipping on our coffee, watching the early morning waves and watery activity.

Everything at the beach is still as it was and should be here, but you are not. I want to feel your presence as I stare out at the sea, but it only reminds me of how many tears I have shed since you passed through this world into another. The waves still curl and grab onto the beach only to slip back into the water again. The gulls still squawk and eyeball me looking for food, then pass when they realize their mission is futile. The black flies still nibble at my ankles and the seals perform their watery ballet in front of me which makes me wonder. But for me, today, alone on this beach it feels more sad than beautiful. The beauty is blurred by my tears and even as I write they spill onto the white lined paper, staining the sad words I am putting here; ink splayed out in every direction.

Yet, the coastline is also different, as its erosion level has grown more intensely in the last years. It reminds me now of how everything always changes and continues to move while I feel like I am standing still with hope that you will return to me and our hearts will be mingled once again. I envision a cinematic feature where I am in the middle of the frame unmoved while the light, time, movement and scenery around me change in a flurry of everyday patterns sped up around me. But, I remain still, unmoving and stagnant. This is where I am. This is where I am today and it is not who I am or where I want to be, but this is how I feel. This is what I’m experiencing in my grief. Hopefully this too will change, but for now…I stand still with no desire to move a step forward… losing you yet again.

8 thoughts on “The Grief Code

  1. Oh Lynne, I think of you so often here on the Cape. I want to hug you, maybe find some words that would ease your pain if only a little bit. No one else can feel what you are feeling. But we can offer you our sympathy, thoughts, and love. You are not alone, although Paul is no longer physically with you. He still lives in the hearts and minds of everyone who ever knew him. There are no patterns or rules for grief. I would be glad to come to your house and social distance and talk about Paul. He always brought sunshine into my life.


  2. There is no easy way, it’s heartbreaking for you more than anyone, but Paul would want you to find a way to live again, that s how much he loves you. And so many others love you too 😘 you can talk about Paul whenever you want. He’s very much around.


  3. Love you Lynne. This must be an especially difficult time for you and I truly wish I could help in some way. I think if you often and only wish it was easier to get together and that this Covid 29 and need for social distancing would soon end. Until them my friend please know I am always here if you need/want to talk. Love you! ❤️


  4. Your blog reminds me so much of the loss I had of my brother some 60 years ago. And the loss of my husband some 40 years ago (although through divorce). So many painful memories and so many happy memories. As time goes on the happy memories are the ones you keep going back to.
    People will be afraid to talk about Paul for fear of making you sad. But talking about him can bring you some happiness. (Even if it makes you shed a tear).
    You write so beautifully. That will help you so much. Even if you don’t always share your thoughts.
    You had a wonderful marriage. You were lucky in love.
    My thoughts are with you.

    Karen L.


    1. Hi Karen, I’m sorry for your losses. I had no idea you lost your brother so long ago. You must have been pretty young and it must have been so hard for you. Grief comes in all forms. There is no easy way to go through it, but writing helps me put things into perspective and many have reached out to me to say that I put into words what they are feeling and it helps them make sense of it. I write for them as much as for myself. Thank you for reaching out. Losing Bob twice must be difficult. I’m so sorry for you and your family. My heart breaks for all.


  5. Hi Lynne,
    You are amazing!
    I have recently lost my best friend of 60 years. Thinking that I needed professional help I decided to put my thoughts down on paper. This just happened a month and a half ago! My inability to organize, as different thoughts race through my brain, make me realize how gifted you are! I have read each of your blogs to this point, but I’m a little behind!
    This particular script really hit me!
    Thank you!
    From my perspective, you and Paul will always exist, for every single second of each of your lives led you to each other.
    Love, true love like yours, never ends!
    My thoughts are with you and your family Lynne!


    1. Hi Chris. I am truly sorry for your loss. For me, writing is my therapy and thankfully I can express what others seem to be unable to. I wish I could take your pain away. There is nothing which feels as final as saying goodbye to someone you care about and have built a relationship with.
      I am doing better, but the holidays creep into my heart, tugging it once again. So many memories wrapped around the holidays.
      I wish you peace as you grieve for your friend. He is around, I can tell you that. The signs will come. Just open your mind and your heart to them.


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