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The Nothing Inside

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

Something is missing. Inside of me. That I don't have a name for.

It's hard to describe a thing without its own word even when it is right before you. So much more so after it is gone.

Evelyn is obviously what's missing on the outside. And certainly she took large parts of me with her. Certainly I stood over her that morning and died too. But something remains. Something keeps going. I am that something now. I am those remains.

And yet...I am also the absence of me. The absence of her. The absence of it.

When you hang a picture on the wall—please bear with this analogy—it is good to hang it in relation to other objects in the room. Not too far from a chair or a table. Just left of the lamp. In the center of a gallery of work. To hang a picture alone, leave it swimming in all that negative space, often renders it invisible. The thing only comes alive in its relation to something else.

This is how I feel. Hung on the edge of an abyss, clinging to anything within reach in order to exist at all.

If I try, I can lean back into memory and feel the difference between me Before and me After. I know I was not missing it then. The thing inside. The memory is full, like sound. I can see myself moving through life with all that force. It was so intrinsic to me I scarcely perceived it was there. The way we do not feel our own electricity or know our own cells.

The contrast is stark. I can't feel it now, whatever charge I carried. But I can feel where it was. How it held me together. Made me me. And I can see it in others. See the way they take it for granted. It's hard to understand you can lose something you don't yet know you have.

I realize this post is obtuse. I am doing my level best.

This may sound simply like depression. But I am not talking about depression. I know what depression is. We go way back. This is something else. Although, I have to admit, it can be depressing to walk around this way, so aware of an emptiness I cannot define. I grieve whatever it was. As certainly as I grieve her, and all the pieces of me I loved and remember. It's like waking from a dream you can't recall, but you know that you were dreaming because the taste of it lingers in your mind.

I've debated even bringing this up, writing this post. Because I don't know how to talk about the thing I have only come to know by its vacuum, the place where it was. And I think people will read this and say, "Oh, she just wants us to feel sorry for her again, so she's making up something new." But I don't want anyone's pity. I don't need it. I am shattered but I am capable. And I know myself in ways most people around me can't even grasp. I don't feel sorry for myself. I feel sorry for Evelyn. And I hurt. And I rage. And I go on.

It's not pity I'm after. It's comprehension. This feels like looking in a mirror and finding no reflection. I keep wanting to grab someone and hold the mirror up and say, "Look here. What do you see? Describe it to me." Maybe, in their words, I'll recognize something of myself.

I don't know where this post is going. I'm dancing around a crater hoping someone will see the motion and call it a circle. If you have even the foggiest notion of what I'm talking about, please comment. Maybe together we can trace the holes within ourselves and figure out what vanished besides our beautiful children. Maybe there's a way to get it back. To feel full again, or at least not entirely empty.

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