Thursday, January 13, 2011

Grief: I Forgot Everything I Know

On Monday it will be a year and a half since Artie died.  I thought I had stopped counting.  My body hasn't.  I got a bit of gentle scolding for being too hard on myself after the last post.  I forgot that I am grieving and what is simple for some people is difficult for grieving people.  I forgot that my whole body mind and soul is reacting to the fact that Monday is another date; that Feb. 3rd is my birthday - and my birthday present was to get married - so it is also my anniversary - that Valentine's Day is coming up.  I went to the drug store to buy toothpaste and managed to avoid all the aisles with hearts and cute little presents and then at the checkout counter was a big sign "Don't Forget Valentine's Day."  It's not even the middle of January yet!!

Last night I had my second storytelling class and I was back in my groove.  It was five women and a teacher I like a lot.  One woman's sister had been murdered and she simply, quietly listed all the things that people have said to her since (kind and unkind both) and then she quietly said, This is my pain not yours.  It belongs to me.  It was very moving.  There is nothing anyone can say that reaches the little screaming child inside of me having a temper tantrum wanting only one thing - the impossible thing - my husband to come back.  He can't.  It's not my time to go join him so here I am.  Surprise, surprise that some days I can't show up the way I want to.  I forgot that.  I piled on a whole bunch of things and did do them poorly.  Like no one else in the world has ever done anything poorly!! 

I'm proud of a lot of things I've done.  I've also been paralyzed with grief a lot.  I can't remember if I said I wake up every morning at 3 am.  I couldn't figure out why.  Artie died with me by his side at our home in California around midnight - I am waking up as he is dying.  It is like he is dying every night instead of almost a year and a half ago.  Of course, I'm tired.  I'm hoping once Monday passes I can go back to sleeping through the night.

I, luckily, don't get panic attacks but I've been feeling frightened a lot.  I think if I ease up on my expectations for myself maybe some of that fear will go away.  If you see me walking down the street in NYC some days I have my hand curled outward - I don't look demented (it's hard to look demented in NYC) - I'm pretending that Artie is holding my hand.  I know he's holding my heart. 

Tonight I'm having dinner with a good friend and I am going to keep showing up when I can - and try to be gentler with myself when I can't.  I was going to go to the storytelling place - the Moth - but I think that's too much right now.  They grade you there - and I'm not ready to be graded.  Maybe after I get through all these dates. 

Sometimes when you're swimming in the grief pool you forget to come up for air.  I have a hypnosis tape - Melting Phobias and one Hurdling Hesitation.  I think I will listen to those.  I will keep trying to get the happy moments to stick.  I have them - times when I'm genuinely - not oh look it's all shiny everywhere - inspired and full of laughter.  What happens is that they seem to drift off into the distance and I need to keep calling them back.  What's important is that I don't stop calling.

Artie used to say, "There are no winners and losers just quitters and triers."

That said - I am going to take my vitamins for health - and lie down for an hour.  Give myself a - I hate it that my husband's dead hour - and then - having acknowledged all my sadness and grief - maybe some energy will come forward to do some work. 

Wishing you all the ability to remember what you already know - the ways to take care of yourself - and the wonderful joy of love that is coupled with the difficult pain of grief.  I promise to allow myself to do things poorly sometimes and do them well sometimes and sometimes - not do anything at all!   xo

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