Let me preface this post by saying that things are definitely getting “better” in my life. I feel more like my former self all the time. I know I’m healing, but don’t believe I can ever get to a point where I can say I’m “healed”.
That being said, I have definitely felt a change recently. A shift more toward being raw and open again, rough weather. I attribute that to what seems a countdown of sorts toward the date that will mark one year since my husband passed.* It’s as if I’m heading into the stormy season. No matter its cause, I’m quick to tears again, often at the most inopportune moments (but what is a good time to break down in one’s day-to-day life?), and I find myself retreating from life just a bit, at least internally; I’m with people, but not necessarily with people, if you understand that.
This past weekend, I spent the day (yet again) at SeaWorld. They have this event going on with various performances, and Styx was scheduled to play. As someone who came of age during the hair band era, Styx was definitely an act I wanted to see. And of course, my son wastes no opportunity to go to the theme parks, so he and a friend piled in the car with me.
When we first got there, the boys immediately went on a roller coaster while I wandered through one of the aquariums and held onto their belongings. When they came off the ride, I decided not to shadow them all day and we parted ways with the promise to keep in touch and meet up before the park closed.
After dawdling at the stingray exhibit and taking photos of the dolphins, I wandered off to this quiet, little section of the park we discovered one day. There is a small gazebo near a wooded area off in the corner. Foot traffic is minimal, and park guests who are either lost or looking for a quiet spot themselves account for most of that. There was a squirrel hanging out at the gazebo, and I followed him with my camera (and cell phone) for awhile. Then, I sat back and began reading and simply enjoying the mild, cloud-free day.
After a short while (and trust me, this is where it temporarily gets a bit weird), I suddenly felt a small tap, tap on my right butt cheek. I started, released some strange, strangled noise, and spun around, only to witness a squirrel disappearing back into the trees. I couldn’t help but think that A (as a definite butt guy) had something to do with me being goosed by a squirrel at SeaWorld!
I meandered for the next few hours, stopping here and there to take pictures, wander through an aquarium, browse in some stores. Then I stopped for lunch, sitting outside by the lake and reading while I ate. (I know – bad habit when one has a weight issue, but it is a treat for me, and I refuse to apologize for it!) When enough time had passed (and I wouldn’t be the first person to enter the stadium for the concert and looking desperate and lonely), I found a seat for the Styx performance, fairly close to the stage, but off to the side.
When the music finally started, I enjoyed the first song while taking some pictures, then
put all my camera and cell phone away and just allowed the music to wash over me. That may have been a mistake, as the minute the song “Fooling Yourself” came on, I had a flashback to roughly 2005 when my husband and I had the opportunity to see Styx at a small venue in South Florida, and the tears started flowing.
I tried to be discreet, and avoided eye contact, but a woman who had been sitting a few seats away (also by herself) misunderstood the reason I was crying and commiserated with me, saying “I know… I know. But don’t cry, honey!” I just sniffled, smiled and focused again on the music. Perhaps she knew what she was doing all along, because that small distraction was enough to get me out of my funk.
Then a few days later, I was at an informational parents meeting for the French competition my son will be participating in later this week. His teacher came up to and introduced herself as I walked in, saying “I have to tell you how much I loooooove your son! Seriously, I just love this kid! I can’t believe how good he is in this play!” She continued to gush for a bit longer, then excused herself to start the meeting.
Shortly afterwards, she started a video recorded at a competition a few years prior and that was enough to set off the waterworks again. I sat there thinking how proud I was of my son, how this was yet another thing my husband was missing which made me think of the upcoming graduation and college thing, and I tried to nonchalantly wipe away my tears. My son heard me sniffling quietly, though, and asked “are you OK?” I nodded and gave him a weak smile, and he said “I love you, Mom”, which just created more tears.
This morning, it was a new Ed Sheeran song, Perfect, that got me going. These events have a few things in common – they all obviously made me think of my husband and wish he were here to share them with me, but the more relevant thing to note is that they were all relatively short-lived. As if the pain goes just as deep, but doesn’t have to last as long anymore. I am able to feel it and work through it more efficiently. I’m raw, and hurting, but my recovery time is much quicker.
Even knowing all of this, however, I’m steeling myself against the days and weeks to come as I’m certain there will be more rough seas ahead. If I can prepare for them, even with the uncertainty of when and how, and remember that I’ve been “there” before and made it through, then I’m fairly certain I’ll be able to survive the upcoming stormy season.
© 2017 Many Faces of Cheri G All Rights Reserved
* – I struggle with the phrasing of this, even in my daily life. I find “passed away” or “his passing” too euphemistic and mellifluous for the life-shattering, heartbreaking, completely unwelcome event that tore my family’s world apart. The flipside to this is that the words “dead” and “died” are too harsh and jarring. Anyone who has spoken to me in person or on the phone may have noticed that I hesitate when referring to that time. I pause while my brain tries to decide how I should word it. On more than one occasion, I simply refer to “before” or “when” and then sort of trail off without completing the sentence. Strangely, I feel that by saying the words out loud, I’m giving power to them, that by not doing so it might somehow not be real. While the logical me understands this is foolish thinking, emotional me couldn’t care less what logic thinks…