Monday, November 15, 2010

Grief: Free Refills

I spent most of the weekend at a workshop about being outrageously funny.  It was run by an NLP trainer Jonathan Altfeld (  I laughed a lot and had a lot of fun.  It wasn't easy showing up for full days.  The third day I left after lunch.  I always take my dead husband with me wherever I go so there was some talk about that.  One technique that was suggested was that when feelings overwhelm you to put your hands up next to your eyes - like blinders on horses - and narrow the field of the feeling and put it a little in front of you.  Another technique is something called Circles of Excellence.  You make imaginary circles - or circle - on the floor in front of you - and give it an emotion.  You then step in either part way or all the way and allow yourself to be filled with that emotion.  You then step out and return to neutral.  You practice back and forth.  I did have a circle of self satisfied amusement.  I felt happy in that circle.  I had a lot of trouble with neutral.  That's why I watch so many DVDs.  I find that whenever I have an empty space the grief rushes back into it.  I don't seem to find any technique or action that makes me feel good for any length of time.

Some one sent me a sound clip of his daughter singing a song with the lyric "Knocking on every door."  I cried when I heard it because that's what I feel like I've been doing since Artie died.  Knocking on every door - doing everything I am emotionally capable of to go on.  The problem I keep having is that no matter how much I am enjoying what I am doing when I am doing it - when I wake up in the morning and see the empty space where Artie should be - when I walk in the front door and there is no one to greet me - I get free refills of sadness.  It's been about a year and four months.  I'm not hysterically crying and screaming a lot like at the beginning.  I am doing more.  However I feel that underneath whatever is satisfying me at the moment the sadness hasn't changed at all.  I met someone I liked that does Ericksonian hypnosis and I am going try doing that again.  I have to keep knocking on doors.  I wish things could stop being such an effort.  I want to do what Artie did - stop breathing...stop moving.  I'm not allowed to do that.

Today my storytelling coach for my solo show is coming at 3.  I was sneaky and tried to talk him out of it - but he wants to keep working.  There is this pull to keep moving - keep living.  There is this other pull to crawl into bed and stay there. 

I still find people not understanding how impossible it seems to me to let go of this painful kind of grief.  I wonder if I am doing something wrong.  Why am I so resistant to being happy?  Then I listen to so many people who tell me they feel the same way and I wonder if people grieve differently or if people love people in their lives with different intensities or if a lot of people would rather pretend to be okay when they aren't.  I don't know.  I know that Artie wasn't a peg in the husband slot that fell out and can be replaced with another peg.  I know he was a specific man I loved who loved me and who I depended on.  I only felt truly safe and happy when he was holding me.  Even if he was in California and I was in South Africa I knew he was waiting for me.  He's waiting for me now - but no matter how many times I tell myself that however long I live is a blink in terms of eternity - it seems like I have to wait too long to see him again.

I think of some widows who never remarried - even after 20 or 30 years.  I wonder if I have the stamina for that.  I don't know.  All I have to do is today.  Clean up a little.  It's NYC.  Dust happens constantly.  Get dressed.  Figure out how to tell my story again when Kevin comes.  Maybe go out.  I get a massage tonight.  I find that helps a lot.  Partly because my body aches - partly because my masseuse is this wonderful woman named Claire with a lovely dark sense of humor - and partly because at least once a week I am physically touched.  I miss Artie's touch so much.  Heck, his voice, his face, his everything.

That's me rambling on again - next mood swing - three seconds.  Grief's a tough one folks.  Be brave.  Be outrageously funny!   xo

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