The Violent Sobbing

I’ve heard and used the term “grief” my entire life. Until recently, I’ve always equated it with sadness with a dash of loss thrown in. Like, worse than being sad, but not a lot worse. However, a couple nights ago, I was properly introduced to grief. I am now acutely aware of its complete meaning – and it’s way worse than sadness.

My fingernails grow very thin and sharp. I have to cut them almost twice a week to keep them under control. I let them go too long between trims recently, and I paid the price.

Two nights ago, something came over me that was different than the usual sadness I have been experiencing the last five months. It was overwhelming, physically painful, and scary. I don’t remember what triggered it, but I started crying.


It was about loss. Loss of my marriage. Loss of my family. Loss of my ability to be with my children every day. Loss of future plans. Loss of hope.

The sobs were big and they hurt. I alternated clenching my jaw and cursing her existence. I was hunched over and couldn’t straighten up. I was heaving uncontrollably, with my face in my hands. For part of it, I screamed. For part of it, I couldn’t make a sound. Sweat, tears, and snot poured out of my face onto my hands and lap. I couldn’t stop. I just let it come. This was grief.

I fucking hate her. I fucking hate her! I FUCKING HATE HER!

Several times my hands jerked around my face as if I wasn’t in control of them. During one of these spasms, the nail on my right index finger sliced my forehead. I remember it stinging, but didn’t think much of it. The sobbing went on for probably five minutes, which doesn’t seem that long when I type it out, but it felt like forever. Then it was over.

Once I could get myself together, I went to the bathroom to wipe my face and blow my nose. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and was shocked. I looked at my face and the blood on my forehead for a long time. This was part of the process.

I don’t like what’s happening, but I am working through it as best I can. I’m not exaggerating anything, but I’m also not trying to suppress anything, deny anything, or be tough.

So today, to be divorced means grieving. Grieving properly in order to heal properly.

The Sadness

I realized today that a few of my recent posts have been angry. I believe that anger is warranted and justified. A week before Thanksgiving my wife of 15 years told me that she never really loved me.

So yes, I’m pissed.

Taken from my free writing journal.

But I’m not pissed all or even most of the time. What I am most of the time is profoundly, acutely, and overwhelmingly sad. The anger comes in waves, maybe five or six times a week. But the sadness is an always-present undertow that tugs at me all day. It’s an unrelenting agony of despair that I don’t wish on anyone.

Often when people get divorced, it’s a mutual decision and both parties are relieved when it’s over. They grew apart, got together too young, or fell out of love. They don’t really want to get divorced, but they don’t want to stay together either. They realize this at about the same time, talk about it, and do it.

That’s not what happened to me. I was blindsided. I stood in my kitchen and listened to my wife tell me that it was over. I fought like hell for the next two months to convince her (and myself) that it wasn’t. I argued and debated. I pleaded and reasoned. I cried and begged. But she was done with me and nothing I said or did made any difference.

The only pain I can think of that could be worse than this is losing a child. I won’t equate the two, but I am mourning a loss. I’ve lost my marriage and fifteen years of my life. I’ve lost my wife, my confidant, and my best friend.

Today, to be divorced means the sadness hurts so bad I can hardly stand it.