Ah, Grief. You fickle, fickle bastard.
You give me a day or two of gentleness and hope. Maybe I can actually take on an extra task. Like grocery shopping, perhaps laundry, or sending a thank you note. And on this day, if a friend were to ask, how are you doing? The answer might even be, I am OK.
But what a joke.
i. am. not. okay.
Too many things are flooding back. I am not intentionally ignoring them, but I am also trying to proceed with my life like a “normal” person. Isn’t that the desired outcome? As many describe it, “finding your new normal”? Well, that all sounds fine and dandy, but until I get through this “fun-house” of a freak show of the first year, there will be no fresh and shiny.
It has been 8 months, and I am still living in a debilitating house of horrors. Skeletons hiding around every corner, jumping from the shadows right when I am about to take just one little breath of relief. I need a breath, a breather.
People seem to think that healing, is so…well, healing. But healing hurts. That broken bone, that might have been re-set, or pushed back in place by pins or a cast? You can’t just start dancing on it. First you have to let it mend, keep it still, apply no pressure. Then you go through rehabilitation, building the muscle and strength back up. Trying to put the past, the fear of future pain, and the memory of the accident that caused it, behind you.
I read positive blogs, inspirational quotes, kind, gentle words about loss and healing, and when I find comfort in those places, I cherish it. But why, again and again, does it switch so fast? Like Jekyll and Hyde? Approaching with a pussy-cat purr and swishy tail, then suddenly, turning on me, breathing rancid fire in my face, raging like a 6-headed monster?
Really? All I wanted to do this morning, was mail a letter before work, but instead I am back on the roller coaster of emotion, and it just spit me out on the floor, dropping me down, down through a trap-door, to a place that really feels like hell. A stupid letter – one “normal” task, too many.
See. These are the simple signs. Telling me. I. Am. Not. Okay.
Because in my world, it wasn’t just “business as usual” when my dad died last January. Nor was it “okay” that weeks later we found out my husband had terminal cancer. It wasn’t ok that I had to tell my mom, just as she was launched into her own grief. It wasn’t ok that we had to tell his parents we were in the hospital, when they had just called to say hello. Not OK that we didn’t even notice valentines day. NOT OK that there were people from hospice coming to our house, talking about how to plan for death – all this – just a few weeks before his 39th birthday.
I could go on and on. But I don’t need to. I just need to cut myself some slack.
Last year, there were many beautiful moments. I am so thankful I got to see my dad and say good bye. I am so thankful that I have a generous, compassionate mom, and a gentle hearted brother, with whom I shared the experience. I am so thankful that I had “extra” time with my husband, 4 months. The most cherished 4 months of my life. February, March, April, and May.
But last year, I also had to court the fucking Grim Reaper. And he is not puppies and sunshine. He’s the king of creep. He left his mark, branded my heart, and I am trying to shake it, shape it, let the roughness heal over with a gentle touch. But it WILL take time. And maybe, if I ever find a way to get him off my back, then just maybe, I’ll feel some kind of “normal” again. I’m pretty sure it won’t be happening in the next few months, though. Okay? OKAY.