The Silence That Torments

4 Jan

The silence in this house screams out the obvious.

I am alone.

Over the years, I thought about what this moment would feel like. Just me. Just me and this old couch. I would fantasize about the silence. I would glorify this very moment over and over in my head, a simple idealized serenity played out in a million daydreams. I’d speed home through rush hour traffic and anxiously count down the seconds while the garage door opened. As my hand turned the knob to the six panel door, I would feel the stillness of the house invade me like a virus. The solitude would invigorate and refresh my soul. Through the silence, I could breath again.

Or so I thought.

No sooner did my worn sneakers cross the threshold, I knew I was wrong. Gone were the scurry of little feet to great me at the door. Gone were the giggles and adoring salutations that coincided with my mere presence on a nightly basis. Gone was that rush of adrenaline that filled my veins as the first “HI DADDY!” graced my ears.


I didn’t even make it to the living room before the first tear rolled down my cheek. The silence that I once coveted, now tormented me more than I thought possible. As I sank my body further and further into the couch, my heart began to pound. I could feel the droplets of panic drip from my brow onto the pillow that I clutched like a lifesaver as if I just abandoned ship. There in the darkness, I was alone.


Paralyzed by the unfamiliarity of my self induced solitude, I closed my eyes. This would be my resting spot for the night. The couch that I dreamt about so many times before, now felt like it was made of concrete. For the first time in thirty years, I was alone.

Just me.

Just this couch.



17 Responses to “The Silence That Torments”

  1. c lo January 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    it gets better.

  2. Dysfunction Junction January 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I’m having trouble writing this because honestly, I can’t see through the tears. The fact that you’re in pain is almost too much to take.

    I’ve said this before and you’ve told me to hold my tongue, but I’m gonna say it now and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.

    I would take back my tumor if I could. I’d do it if it meant you didn’t need to feel this.

    I’m so sorry my dear friend.

  3. Jen O. January 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    It really will.

  4. Julie @ The Mom Slant January 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    You’ve got people who care about you. I know it’s not the same, but I hope it will help keep you company anyway.

  5. JTW January 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    i’m not that familiar with your whole story but i can relate to this post very much. i could have written it myself in october the night i moved into my new apartment, “alone.”

    it’s now january and i can say that it still hurts a lot, but it does get easier. time has a property of healing.


  6. palinode January 4, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    I don’t know what I’d do if I found myself without my family. I’d probably end up weeping on the couch.

  7. jodifur January 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    I’m sorry your hurting.

  8. TwoBusy January 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    It’s an awful lonesome road we travel, sometimes.

  9. andygirl January 4, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    so much love coming your way, my friend. many, many hugs.

  10. Schmooplee January 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    I wish I had some profound comment to make but I don’t. Sometimes what we think we want, and the fantasy we create in our minds about what we want ends up being very different from the reality.

    For anyone that has been in your situation, they can relate. For those that haven’t been in your situation (or on the other side), they have no idea and can’t possibly assume how it feels.

  11. Laurie January 4, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    I talk all of the time about how much I love living alone, and I do, but while I’ve lost grown-ups who used to live with me, I’ve never had little people who used to live in my house not living there anymore. I imagine it is so difficult and I’m sorry you have to go through that.

    Just keep reaching out when you can to all of the crazies out here who care about you. There are a lot of us, it seems — for what it’s worth. xo.

  12. Jules January 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    I heart you. Call if you need a friend.

  13. Les January 4, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    It sounds as though you could use a handkerchief…here’s mine

  14. flutter January 5, 2011 at 12:57 am #

    You’re not. though. You have love all around you.

  15. Zoeyjane January 6, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    I don’t know if it’s insensitive to offer advice… but here goes: schedule phone calls with the kids. My ex found himself dried out and suddenly lonely, and it all kind of crashed in on him, that silence. Now, he calls or the kid calls him, every night, without fail, and they talk for at least 20 minutes about their days, telling stories or whatnot. It’s made a huge amount of difference for him, so I hope that it would help you, too. I feel for you, man.

  16. Bitchin' Amy January 25, 2011 at 5:16 am #

    Oh, TJ… I’m sorry I missed this before. I was thinking of you and wondering how you were doing and the answer was right here. I know it is awful, but it will get better somehow. I know it will. Especially when you have your little ones back with you, filling the house with noise when they visit.

  17. Frelle March 1, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    i sign my apartment lease this week, and begin 50/50 custody. I think the first half week will be refreshing, and the first several half weeks after that will be soulcrushing, just like this. Your journaling it out here is so raw, thank you for your transparency. I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this new reality.

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