A friend recently said reading this blog is like “riding a rollercoaster.” I guess he’s right. There are and will be peaks and valleys as I continue to straddle the past and the future, sorrow and hope.
If you’ve ever lost anyone close, you know how hard it is to ride those waves of emotion that hit without warning and leave you breathless from impact. One such wave hit me this morning.
It was pre-dawn, the moment when the night’s darkness hasn’t yet started to lift. The past few days I’ve allowed Ruby out of her crate around this time for a bit of snuggle time before our busy day begins (I know I’m breaking crating rules). This morning, as we lay in the silence/darkness, the puppy fast asleep, a wave came out of nowhere and I started sobbing.
But I couldn’t pinpoint the trigger this time. Was it the pressure of the warm little body next to mine reminding me of the larger warm body that used to lie beside me (and she can never replace)? Was it the hour itself, the same time I used to wake him for medication when he was on hospice? Or the semi-dark lighting, in which we would sometimes wordlessly make love before our alarms went off (in happier days), after which he would rise out of bed smiling, “Good morning” and head off for the shower. [I once asked him if he ever flashed to our morning trysts later in the work day, like during staff meetings. “Yeah, and I also whistle in the elevator on those mornings,” he answered.]
Maybe all of the above. It lasted a while this morning, until the sun came out. At one point, Ruby woke up and rolled onto her back to look at me curiously. “It’s okay. I’m okay,” I told her. She rolled over and went back to sleep.
Later, after dropping her off at daycare, I listened to his voicemails I still have saved:
May 15, 2010 Hey babe, what’s going on? I guess you’ve gone to sleep already. Just walkin’ home from the Metro, figured I’d give you a call and see how you were doing. But I guess I’ve missed you, so I will catch you tomorrow. Have a good night, sweet dreams, love you, talk to you later, bye.
February 20, 2011 Hey babe, how’s it going? Guess you might be sleeping already, it’s a little bit after 11. Give me a shout if you can tonight or gimme a call in the mornin’. Hope you’re having agood night. Love you. I’ll talk to you later. Bye.
March 5, 2011 Hey, I just wanted to say hi and I love you. I’ll talk to you later. Bye.
March 21, 2011 Where you at woman? Where you at woman’s phone?
April 3, 2011 Hey babe, I’m home. Gimme a call when you get the chance. Bye.
March 21 was when I asked him to call my cell phone which I had once again “lost” in the apartment. On April 3 he was in the hospital recovering from seizures and on lots of medication. His voice changes from message to message but not the emotion within.
Sound waves, like emotional waves which still reach me today.
I have learned the best way to deal with a wave is to roll with it, allow it to carry me out, making sure to stay afloat but trusting that eventually it bring me back to shore, naturally.
Are you familiar with these waves? How do you deal with them?
November 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm
Yes, waves, waves…. i use roller coaster metaphor constantly… the best advice i’ve ever gotten? be gentle with yourself! whatever the wave is of the day, the moment, the second… it’s yours. You’ve earned it. You don’t have to explain it. You have to rationalize it. Just go with it. Embrace it, even though it hurts like hell!
November 26, 2012 at 8:52 pm
That’s great advice (to be gentle with yourself) and something I often forget. Thanks for reminding me.
November 21, 2012 at 10:48 am
All waves have crests and troughs and some waves are bigger than others. Sometimes it’s all you can do to keep your head afloat and at others all you want to do is give in and submerge yourself. We each work out our own ways of dealing with them and the palpable loss that is always there. You’ll find yours, it just might take some time.
November 26, 2012 at 8:50 pm
Yes, riding the waves of grief is probably as individual as the grief itself. Thanks for your comment.
November 27, 2012 at 11:30 pm
Yes. I just ride them out. Like now from reading this. The VM’s did it. Some people just store it away…I never could – certainly can’t now. I’m not having some time bomb ticking in my psyche…no time down the road for a nervous-breakdown.
February 19, 2013 at 4:08 am
The waves are very painful, but crying and remembering the person is all you can do, imho. I think it helps to not keep it pented up inside you.
February 19, 2013 at 6:10 pm
I agree. I actually think crying is a healthy release. Thanks for your comment.
February 21, 2013 at 12:44 am
It is a good release, it makes you tired but relieves you at the same time. I cried for a long time before work this morning – I can’t help it, but it’s better than crying here, I think. I hope you are well. Thanks for creating such a wonderful blog – you inspire me to dust the cobwebs off mine and get stuck back into it. It’s all you can do to move on/distract yourself, in my eyes! I just lack the motivation sometimes.