Half sick of shadows (with apologies to Tennyson)

February 27, 2009

My connection to the alternate world, that place where I have a healthy happy boy and life is full of the busy chaos of watching him grow, is fading.  I don’t know when I stopped being haunted every minute of every day by what I knew was lost forever.  I’m not sure when I stopped staring obsessively into the window of what might have been/should have been.  There was no real moment that marked the change, no telling sign.  I struggle less now to accept the fact that the life I thought was mine is gone, that the life I’m living is real.

Getting to a point where I can be happy with the life I’m living…well, I don’t know if that’s in my immediate future, or in my future at all.  And that’s okay, for now.

“I am half sick of shadows,” said
The Lady of Shalott.

I, too, am half sick of shadows, my soul worn thin in places from pining after what I’ve lost.  But being half sick is actually an improvement.  I doubt the Lady of Shalott felt that way, but let’s face it, once you savor the rhythm and rhyme of Tennyson’s poem and let yourself revel in the melodramatic romance of the whole thing, if you pull back and look at her, even sympathetically, she was a bit of a ninny.  Not being a character in romantic poetry myself (a good thing; I don’t have the figure for it), I can report that, after being surfeited on shadows and dreams, after being fully sick with relentless longing, being half sick, just half sick, isn’t so bad.

I still look at what might have been, still daydream that in some alternate reality I am suffering the stresses that come with being a working mom, that I am learning about developmental markers and solid foods and fretting over immunizations, that my holidays are boisterous and joyous affairs rather than quiet, subdued ones.  I don’t think I’ll ever stop looking through that window, not entirely, though I could be wrong.

I still miss Teddy every day and with all my heart, but there are moments and even days now where I’m not reaching out for the impossible with the same desperation I used to be able to muster.

Is this what it feels like, the beginning of letting go?



  1. Erica this post really struck a chord with me. The desparation is exhausting, and I feel myself trying on for size what it would be like to be ok. “Half sick” describes it well. I’m not sure whether it’s acceptance or surrender…

  2. Surrender is a good word for it. And half sick is not a bad place to be, considering the extent of your loss. Be patient but and also forgiving of yourself when you feel like being pulled out, ever so slightly, from the pit of grief.

  3. You are such a vivid writer…. I’ve got a little surprise for you. Send me an email, okay?
    xo Kate

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