Saturday, January 21, 2012

Grief: In and Out of the Black Hole

Sometimes it gets exhausting.  All this learning, all these wonderful techniques and then the black hole of grief sucks me back in.  Whomp.  The problem is it's kind of cozy in there.  The other problem is it isn't living in there.

What happened?  I haven't gotten used to coming home- yet. (I just changed the can't to haven't gotten and added in the yet.  When you are stuck, try changing your language to allow for the possibility of change.) Artie used to always leave a loving note on the door to welcome me home. Even though he was never at this apartment in NYC when I come home it is almost like hallucinating. The front door gets bigger and bigger and every inch of it is empty. I know it's going to be. Dead men don't use pen and post it notes to communicate. It doesn't change my feelings. 

Then I open the door.  I know he won't give me a big hug and kiss.  He's dead.  Yet part of me can't get used to not hearing his voice, not feeling his touch.  I think of all the times I came home from somewhere - saw the note - he came padding downstairs from his man cave - gave me a big hug and kiss.  We talked and then often we would do separate things - even watch our own TVs.  Why do we not know that some day there will be no more days?  I don't feel guilty, but if he could come back I would make different choices.  I would know how precious every moment is.

That's one.  Two is February 3.  My birthday/wedding anniversary.  I haven't celebrated my birthday - even my 60th - since Artie died.  Do you have wedding anniversaries with a dead man?  I don't know.  Can't get used to the fact that this is the third one.  Three is Valentine's Day.  I was in a store today and thought of buying a Valentine's card for my new little granddaughter.  I couldn't do it.  I call my wedding anniversary and Valentine's Day the one-two punch.  (Artie loved boxing.)  I always go down.  But it's not a knockout - I always get back up again.

I spent a day in bed reading.  The second day was like moving through quicksand.  Am I jumping for joy at the moment?  Nope.  However, I have done some things I am proud of.

I made appointments with my trainer.  He does something called Revolution in Motion where I spend a lot of time balancing on one leg and when I fall this lovely Greek man with blonde hair and a great sense of humor catches me.  It is the first time I have ever totally enjoyed exercise.  I showed up on Friday.  Because I hadn't been in a month he didn't do a full session.  I felt great - then this morning I woke up and OUCH.  I know that exercising makes you feel better emotionally and physically.  My eating still isn't great but maybe it will fall back into place.  He said I have two voices and my body's voice is very soft.  I have to turn up the volume.  He misses pizza and beer so much and talks about his struggles to make healthy eating choices.  That works better for me than getting a lecture on what I already know.

The second day I didn't cancel the two phone appointments I had for coaching and being coached for my NLP training class.  I dragged myself to my computer around 4 or 5 pm and e-mailed friends to let them know I was back in town.  I have appointments set up next week.  I know if I get out and spend time with people who are fun and interesting I will feel better.  I also made an appointment with Kevin who is going to help me get in storytelling shows and do a regular podcast.  That's scary.  I don't know why.  One of the things I do is when something seems impossible is to break it down into small segments.  I can't possibly do a whole podcast.  I can call Kevin. 

Haven't worked on the book - hopefully I will write some pages tomorrow. 

I cleaned up a little. 

That's why I'm calling this In and Out of the Black Hole.  There are times, sometimes expected, sometimes a total surprise, when I can't manage - yet - to do a lot.  The old paralysis comes back.  The balance shifts.  I like the questions I learned from Steven Gilligan - Isn't that interesting?  Isn't that curious?  I can observe my behavior without judging it too harshly.  Then I can ask more questions.  What can I do?  What actions can I take?  I'm feeling sad and lonely and overwhelmed - and what else?  I enjoyed being out in the snow today.  When I finish writing this blog post I'll be proud that I did it. 

I wrote a blog a long time ago called Free Refills.  It was about that feeling that with all I have done I am back where I started.  It's not true.  Missing Artie and not wanting to live without him is part of me but I have added in so many other parts.  That my exercise routine is about balancing is lyrical - because emotionally it is always about balancing as well.  I fall over a lot.  In exercise class I have my trainer to hold me up when I start to fall.  In my life I have me, Artie's spirit, my friends, you.  Sometimes I'm going to be smack on the ground with skinned knees.  Sometimes I'm going to take that one-two punch square on the jaw and fall to the mat.  None of that matters.  All that matters is that I get up and try again.

That snow outside - it looks solid but it is made up of tiny snowflakes - each one unique.  Ice - it looks solid - but it is made up of tiny drops of water.  Snow and ice melt.  A frozen river doesn't stay frozen - eventually it begins to flow again.  I hope you can look at your life today and if it seems frozen in places shine your light on it - or shine someone else's light - and watch the frozen bits melt away and discover where and how the river flows.  xo

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