Friday, May 1, 2015

In the Night

Last week, some of you may have noticed that I did not write a post in here. I would like to apoligize for my lack of blog posting one week ago Friday. However, the reason I could not post in here is quite unique and different - I couldn't post because I spent the entire overnight in an empty building, alone, at the college campus I work at, sleeping in the theatre office without a soul around me anywhere. And let me tell you, if anything will make you feel completely, totally, and pathetically alone - it's that.

But let me back up a bit. Let me explain to you how I got to that very alone place in that very large and very quiet building last week. To fully understand, we have to go back to July 13, 2011. The morning of my husband's sudden death. He collapsed inside of a PetSmart, while working to help out with their adoption center for the cats and dogs. About an hour or two after arriving at work that morning, he would be dead from a massive heart-attack. My close friends came and got me at the local hospital, where I had taken a cab to the E.R. to find out why they had my husband there, not knowing at the time that he was taken there by ambulance, and that he was now dead. Not knowing anything at all, really, except that my beautiful and healthy, young husband got up, went to work, and never came home.

When my friends arrived at the hospital to pick me up, a couple hours after he died, we had to drive to the PetSmart so that I could get his shitty car and then drive it back to our shitty New Jersey apartment. Literally, everything in our life was held together by scotch tape and hope. His car was a 1997 Grand Prix, and it had given us a ton of problems that last year or so. About a month before he died, we took the car in for it's latest set of repairs, which totaled around $800. We left the power steering broken because we couldnt afford to have it fixed, and Don was really good with cars, so he felt comfortable driving his own car with no power steering. I will never forget trying to drive his car from that PetSmart to our apartment with no power-steering, and then driving it the 5 hours to Massachusetts a few months later, so that my brother could sell it for me. It had become unsafe, and it was time. That same awesome brother of mine then bought me another car - another used car that his friend was selling for a couple thousand dollars - a 2002 Grand Prix, same make and model as my husband's car. It felt like a sign of some kind. About 7 months later, that car also died, and we ended up having to sell that one too.

Then, about 14 months after my husband's death, I finally had to move out of our apartment, and go somewhere else with a roommate. I moved to out of New Jersey, and into Queens. Then, just 7 months later, I moved yet again (because my roomate turned out to be a not so nice person), to a different part of Queens, with a different roommate. No longer having a car, I was taking the local bus to the train to work, and it was a long and annoying commute. Then my roommate very nicely suggested that I could drive her car to work since she didnt really use it much during the week anyway. So I did. I have been directing a theatre show at the university I teach at, for the past couple weeks now. Rehearsals are grueling and have been 5 and 6 nights a week. Well, last Friday night, we got out of rehearsal around 10 p.m., and I walked out to my roommate's car in the theatre parking lot, and tried to open the door with the remote. Nothing happened. Uh-oh. So I opened the door manually, and then went to start the car. Car would not start. Totally dead. And then, to top it all off, the key was now stuck in the ignition and would not come out. Here's something else fun - it was randomly freezing cold on this night last week. Really, really cold. Oh, and the many many public safety vans that kept driving right past me as I tried to flag them all down to let them know "Hey Dumbass! I need help!" - were all going straight past insignificant little me, and right on into Kesha. Yes, the ONE night that the car Im using dies for no reason, is the same night that pop-star Kesha is in concert AT THE UNIVERSITY! I called public safety and told them I needed help. Finally, two older guys who looked like they couldnt figure their way out of a paper bag, came over and tried to jumpstart the car. Nothing happened. I called my roommate. She doesnt have AAA, it's now past 11 pm, and it's looking like I am not getting back to Queens on this night. I had to be back on campus the next morning for yet another rehearsal, and now the plan was for the tow truck to come get the car in the morning. So I put up a public post on Facebook, asking my long island friends if I could come to anyone's house and crash there just so I could have someplace to sleep.

Nobody responded. Wait. I take that back. Here's who responded. Douchebags that said stuff like: "Hey Im in California. It's sunny here and warm! Wish I could help! Stay safe!" Yeah, thanks a lot, dickbag. That is very helpful. Not one person who lives local to that area responded, so I got desperate the later it got into the night and the colder the temperatures got. They had locked up all the buildings on campus, and everyone was tending to Kesha and her people. The concert was just getting out, so hundreds of screaming fans were all over the place, and I was just trying to find a place to sleep or at least stay warm. I didnt have enough cash to take a cab all the way home, which would have been over $60 - and it was too late for me to do the train to bus combo, which is highly unsafe after about midnight. So, I started begging the security guys to please let me into the theatre building. "I work here", I said, showing them my I.D. One guy actually said to me with a straight face: "Well, you know the Garden City hotel has a special right now for only $225 a night!" Seriously???

So, after another hour of bullshit from several people who didnt want to help or just didnt care, I finally found one security guy who was concerned about me and got on his radio and explained my story, asking his boss if he could please unlock the theatre building for me so Id have a place to hang out for the night and maybe get some sleep. So he let me in. And then he left.

I was perfectly safe in there, basically locked inside the fortress of solitude. But it is a huge building - 3 floors - and lots of offices, rehearsal rooms, theatres, etc. It was dark in there. I sat in the performing arts offices, charging my phone and just sitting around. Eventually, I curled up on a very tiny and hard couch with no pillow or blanket or anything at all, and no toothbrush, no change of clothes, and no husband to come pick me up and rescue me - and I just sobbed. Then I sobbed some more. Yes, I was safe. But I felt sooooo alone. I felt abandoned. I felt like nobody cared about me. I felt like nobody's priority. I felt like a person who was left alone to sleep inside of an empty building, breathing in the sounds of her own echo.

Of course, the next morning, people came out of the woodwork. "Oh my god! Why didnt you call me? I live 10 minutes from there! You could have slept here!" "Oh! I was home last night! You should have come here!" - and on and on and on. Yes, it was nice to know I had friends who had my back. But it didnt take away how lonely and alone I felt the night before. How cold I was. How tired I was. How angry and frustrated I was - and how awful it feels to not be someone's priority. For nobody to say "Dont worry honey - I will come to you - and Ill bring you home - whatever it takes." It made me feel so forgotten, and so small, in that gigantic building. Just one lost soul, looking desperately and hopelessly for her eternal love.


  1. Oh Kelley how awful for you. I was very ill last week and woke up on the bathroom floor I presume I must have passed out. The despair was awful. Knowing that you are no longer the centre of someone's universe is the worst feeling in the world.

  2. Dear Kelley Lynn-
    I am so sorry that you had to go through such an ordeal.
    I haven’t had to go through anything like that, but I did have an evening last winter where I had difficulty getting a bus home from work because there were major protests in town, the police had the streets blocked off, and the businesses closed early and locked their doors. I was out on the streets by myself in the freezing cold trying to find a way around the barricades and groups of protestors. Everything worked out ok, but I felt so alone. My husband would have figured out a way to come get me, but now I am on my own and there is no one to care or even notice if I get home ok. Sucks.
    Our life was held together by scotch tape and hope, as well. Since he’s been gone there is no more hope, and tape only goes so far.

  3. Kelley, I am so sorry that you had to endure such a terrifying experience on top of everything else you've endured since Don died. I've posted to you before telling you that my Rich died unexpectedly of a heart attack in his sleep next to me. Since my husband died, I feel like a child left alone in the dark to experience everything life throws at me alone. I know that is how you must have felt last Friday. I wish I could have been there to help you. I wish I had the ability to take the pain of your loss away. I wish I knew why God took our spouses away and left us so alone and heartbroken. I wish I knew why our friends are gone and why we look so normal on the outside while we're so broken and bereaved on the inside. You are an inspiration to all of us and I know I join others in sending you our love and support. Karen

    1. Thanks Karen. Im fine now, but that night I just felt so alone. My husband would have moved mountains to come and get me somehow and make damnn sure I wasnt alone that night - but even more importantly, I wouldnt be IN these kind of situations in the first place if he wasnt dead!!! Im okay most days, but it sure does suck being reminded in big bold letters "YOU DONT COME FIRST ANYMORE TO ANYONE." Not fun at all.

  4. I am so sorry this happened to you.
    Yes, it is true. When a spouse is gone, also gone is that special person looking out for us. My first realization occurred the first time when I had to visit an emergency room--burst into tears when asked for an emergency contact.
    And there have been more times.

    And over time, I think we learn to become our own special person. And we look out for others like ourselves. It takes courage and fortitude to keep going.
    You can take pride in how far you have come and that you are making it.
    No fun. Not easy.
    But take pride.

  5. ahhhhh, Kelley,

    That horrible ordeal - how I wish I could have rescued you. I am so sorry for all the heart wrenching feelings that accompanied so many pleas for help that went unanswered, that even finally when you were let into the building, your heart was breaking and you were all alone and sobbing, cold, alone and feeling forgotten. and the very worst - feeling being no one's priority. sometimes I wish there was a island, one just for widows/ers, always nearby (like all those damned Walgreens and CVS'es) and we could call for help, and if we couldn't get there, someone would come and get us. and we could have just what we needed - a place to stay amongst the ones who get it, someone to give us a hug, someone who would sit with us and just hold our hand and listen as we wept and sobbed out our story. a safe haven where we didn't have to feel like we are aliens when we hurt so bad and there is no one to turn to.

    sending you lots of warm hugs...

    with much love,

    Karen xoxo

  6. so sorry you had to go through that kelly. " to not be anyones priority anymore " sucks. i know how you feel

  7. Oh Kelley. What a horrific ordeal. My heart broke reading this. I am so sorry. I am so sorry that the world can be so cold and cruel, I am sorry your love is gone and not able to come riding to your rescue...I am sorry I am not closer to have been able to help - I am just sorry and sad and sitting here crying, thinking of how awful this was and wishing I could do something, anything, aside from just writing a message in this virtual world to let you know how important you are to so many people out here. But you are. Your wit and energy and vivaciousness come across so vividly and I know I am not alone in saying how deeply we appreciate you. For all it's worth I wish you everything lovely you deserve, somehow and any way, to offset the dark loneliness we know all too well.