Holding Space

Holding space for my own pain is the hardest part about right now.


I mean, there’s a lot to my current situation, but allowing the sadness of many layers of it to really be felt is highly uncomfortable to say the least. Like, the “not getting out of bed for two days after therapy because broken open and unbearably devastated” type of uncomfortable. It’s good, it’s important, it’s imperative to feel one’s feelings, I get it- but dammit, it’s been 157 fucking Fridays since Patrick died and I’m so tired of hurting. I just want my son and that feeling is never going away… The pain of that knowledge in itself- nevermind feeling it- is overwhelming.

There’s a butterfly effect of mind and heart fuckery after losing Patrick; like the knowledge that I’m going to have an huge, huge ache in my heart until I die. Like the anxiety of wondering if my three other children are going to die in their sleep or find some other tragic end every. day. all. the. time. Like insomnia and dreams that are quite possibly the only more painful thing than reality, like depression because all of it has been so much for so long, like severed ties all over the place because I can’t handle anyone’s anything, least of all my own. The list goes on and on.

And so I find myself ostensibly alone in my struggle despite a slowly growing number of people here and on Facebook who hold space for me, too… Sometimes they’re the only ones who check in or say anything at all. The people directly in my life have lives and troubles of their own and are likely and very understandably tired of dealing with my grief and depression, too. I get it. I totally fucking get it. I’m tired of it, too.

I wish I could just press pause for a moment or plan for a break so I could feel “normal” when I want/need to, in private and social situations alike. My reality is essentially the opposite of that; I have to plan for triggers to come out of nowhere and send me flying, so I end up shadowboxing because staying tense hurts less than not being prepared when a punch comes straight to the gut.

I know that part of me needs to just expose myself to life and the vulnerability and pain that comes with it, but fucking dammit dude… it makes me feel like I’m going to implode from the weight of it all and it’s so hard to move about my life feeling that way. I can acknowledge the toddler section in Target without needing to throw up and rock myself in a corner now, do I get a gold star?

You go, girl! High five on a trigger-free day!

The thing is that it’s not the goal to avoid triggers, or to not feel them when they happen- that’s not holding space for myself at all. Triggers are going to happen.  They’re going to happen. Fuck. And when they happen? The best thing to do is to feel them through and not fend off the pain. Fuck, that sucks. Ouch. I feel like I have to walk into war unarmed- but the fight is with myself. I have to not fight. I hate that fact nearly as much as I hate why it’s my reality. So many layers of exasperation and ache, of questions and hurt and I just have to sit with it and digest that reality- talk about heartburn.

But there are people in my life -albeit, a very select few- whom are there for me. I know that, and after 5 weeks on antidepressants, the fog is starting to thin and I can start to see them, and see you here, too. I completely unplugged for a couple of months and I’m attempting to reengage in what ways I can, one text, one post, fifteen anxious thoughts at a time, trying to let the light in through all of the places I’ve been perforated. Like any gaping wound, it needs air to heal, but the air itself, any movement of it at all is alarmingly and brutally sensational. And it just has to happen. Dammit.


  1. You have such a way with words, ” I have to plan for triggers to come out of nowhere and send me flying, so I end up shadowboxing because staying tense hurts less than not being prepared when a punch comes straight to the gut.” Keep writing Julie. You are such a beautiful person & despite the gaping hole in your heart you somehow manage to maintain your sense of humor. You deserve a gold star. All of them! Boat loads of them!!!


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