The last six months or so have been a slog. Every time I thought I turned the corner for good, another series of triggers appeared out of nowhere. After getting past Thanksgiving, Christmas, the awful New Year's Day memories, mom's death anniversary, mom's birthday, I got a bad attack of bronchitis. By the time I got over that it was the busiest time of year at work, and I tired myself out with long hours and back to back out of town trips. Then I spent a month digging myself out of the hole of the work that didn't get done while I was sick.
Yesterday was the anniversary of the last time I saw both my parents in the same place. It was a big day for me and it meant a lot that my father managed to be there. My mom, though in a wheelchair, was still able to stand and take a few steps. It was a happy day of celebration. Now both my parents are dead. My father gone before I even got to have much of a relationship with him. My mother gone while were still experiencing the joy of reconciliation after decades of estrangement.
I wasn't consciously thinking about the anniversary until I accidentally noticed the date inscribed on a gift I received that day. Suddenly my heart sank and I felt the passage of years. Where did they go?
Sunday's down mood was a continuation of a melancholy weekend. Saturday I was upset about the Belmont Stakes. No triple crown winner this year. Mom loved horseracing. We sat in front of the TV together and watched Secretariat win the Belmont. And I had tried to lift my spirits by going to the movies with friends on Friday, but as we talked over coffee afterward, I confessed that I've been mired in malaise for a long time. One of them said casually, "Is it grief?" I said I wasn't sure. But as I thought about it, it seemed the whole year was dragging myself from one sad anniversary to the next.
My dear friend reminded me that grief, like all long-term healing, is not necessarily a linear process. You show improvement for a while, then things seem to go backward. It doesn't invalidate the healing that came before. Rough patches can come to an end.
I've been doing practical things. Getting more sleep. Being more physically active. Doing refocusing exercises to bring myself back to the present moment when hard memories pop up.
I do believe another round of healing is coming. I've seen it happen for others, so I believe as an act of faith that it can also happen for me. But right now is just a little bit hard.
Sometimes there is nothing that can be done, and the only comfort is being with other people who understand.
Welcome, fellow travelers on the grief journey
and a special welcome to anyone new to The Grieving Room.
We meet every Monday evening.
Whether your loss is recent, or many years ago;
whether you've lost a person, or a pet;
or even if the person you're "mourning" is still alive,
("pre-grief" can be a very lonely and confusing time),
you can come to this diary and say whatever you need to say.
We can't solve each other's problems,
but we can be a sounding board and a place of connection.
Unlike a private journal
here, you know: your words are read by people who
have been through their own hell.
There's no need to pretty it up or tone it down.
It just is.