Difficult or Impossible

It’s difficult or impossible to tell whether grief for my dead wife or adrift from being alone is the cause of my misery at any time of day or night. Lost on a massive unfamiliar river, blinded by a wind and rain, I am looking for land, a recognizable shore, but on the deck the storm slaps my face with its scaly hand. Misery climbs over the gunwales, cold and wet, trailing weeds and mud, and crawls onto the deck. I want to run, but I cannot even swim; I cannot stand, I cannot even hold fast. It grabs me from the tiller by my neck, leaving my boat to drift, drags me down the hatch into the cabin, and jabs its shiny claws like scalpels in my heart. I wrestle, desperate for a breath. Time after time, it tires. I find it cannot kill me. Each time I awake from this nightmare, I am sweaty and more tired than before. I am grateful that the river is wide and deep, yet the monster waits under the surface. I think I’m supposed to gather strength from my suffering; I’m supposed to deny it, bit by bit, face it down with memories of good times, dry land, warm arms, simple acceptance from a beautiful wife who treated me fine, whose memory now only brings me tears. It’s difficult or impossible to tell whether the struggle is helping me. People say everyone is different; one just has to go through it, and then you’ll know. I’m told to rely on my family and friends but it’s hard for me to burden them. I cannot talk, I cannot be myself with this monster at my throat. It’s difficult or impossible to tell if the meager comfort of painful sharing helps or merely delays the inevitable, except that it gives me a moment to breathe, to rest a little before wrestling with misery again. It’s called healing, but this healing comes with quick sharp cuts and pain.