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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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9 commentaires


I feel it as "the presence of an absence" - of my beautiful boy, Daniel, the 'me' that I was before the loss, the family that we all were.

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Anna Sweat
Anna Sweat
09 déc. 2021
En réponse à

Yes, completely.

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Kristina Woods
Kristina Woods
09 déc. 2021

I. Hear. You.

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Dyan George
Dyan George
09 déc. 2021

Anna since I have found you, you have become my muse. Each post you write seems to hit me with the exact same emotion that you just described.

This one hits home even more. As the years go by I am more aware the time is growing. My granddaughter, Everley, has been gone half as long as we had her. To think or even say those words just opens that void even more.

I am like you, still me but not me. I have only enough within me to do what is necessary within the day and then I am done. The wheels in my brain don't spin any longer because my brain has shut off. I can't deal with…

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Anna Sweat
Anna Sweat
09 déc. 2021
En réponse à

Dyan, thank you for sharing. I know that feeling you describe of having just enough inside to do what is necessary. Nothing more. I'm so glad the post made sense to you. It means the world to me that you commented.

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Cheryl Lovay
Cheryl Lovay
09 déc. 2021

You just described how I feel daily I just can't find the words for it.

You just found them for me.

Thank you.

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Anna Sweat
Anna Sweat
09 déc. 2021
En réponse à

Thank you for commenting, Cheryl. I'm glad I found some words to make sense of this void for both of us. <3

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Oh, Anna, I know exactly how you feel. I see the world dancing around me and I don't hear the music. Others have great joys, sorrows, and everyday life but there's a large part of me that's simply empty. I don't consider myself depressed but I'm not happy either. Formerly l, I was a social worker with a deep empathy for people in all walks of life. Now, I sympathize with people who struggle including my 95 year old fragile mother. Truly, I am sympathetic but I don't feel the need to fix others problems. I don't feel their pain and desperation that I did before David died. I'm like a cake doughnut. Sturdy in the outside, looks and acts…


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Anna Sweat
Anna Sweat
09 déc. 2021
En réponse à

"I see the world dancing around me and I don't hear the music." This describes it so perfectly! Thank you for sharing. It is like you say--not painful. Not good. Not bad. Not happy. Not sad. I know all those things. Feel all those things. It is something else. Or rather, *not* something else. Or maybe, *nothing* else. Hugs.

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