Friday, June 3, 2016
What Comes After
I'm trying to make sense of my thoughts. As you know with me, this is a full-time job.
In the last couple of weeks, I've had to drive near my old house a couple of times. Now, this is not the house I lived in when Brad died, but the one we lived in before that.
The funny thing is that when I dream of being "home" with Brad, it's usually in that house - not in the one we lived in when he died. I haven't thought much about why until today, but it really does make sense. I realized today that of all of the places we lived together, that house was the one I lived in the longest with him.
So, it would be natural for my subconscious to think that that's home.
It's hard for me to turn onto that street and so, frankly, I usually avoid it. It's almost like this flood of memories so great that I can't even think about them so my body constricts and the air escapes my lungs and I want to cry, but I can't because it's just too much.
That's a hard feeling to explain to people and it's impossible to explain how you can go from being happy one minute to emotionally crippled the next. But that's how it feels. It hits hard and swift, a sucker punch of the worst kind because no one can see it.
It can only be felt.
I think about our time on that block often, even more now than I have in the last few years. We were so damn happy there, before kids and when our biggest concern was making sure our neighbor's kegerator was ready for the weekend. We drank on the weekends (okay, and on the weekdays), vacationed together, and were generally in each other's lives probably more than we should have been.
In the years since Brad and I moved, that block has seen more tragedy than any other I've ever experienced. Brad died, children were born with life-threatening illnesses, children died...the list goes on. Seriously, if I hadn't experienced it, I wouldn't have believed it.
And now we're experiencing another loss as one of my neighbors ends her battle with breast cancer (so I join all of you in the "f^*$ cancer" corner). Once again, we lose someone that will constantly make us question the "plan" if there is one; someone so good her karma should have her living until she's at least 102 without even a hangnail.
As most of us will agree, it's not just the death that is hard to deal with, but the knowing of what comes after; the pain that we know the family is about to go through and the helplessness we feel as we search our hearts to figure out anything we can do to make it better.
I hate that part. To the bottom of my core I hate that part. You would think that the one positive thing that would come out of widowhood would be that I would know what to do during times like this, but in many ways I feel more inept than ever. Knowing that there are little things I can to to help, but there is nothing that I can to do make this all go away kills a little piece of me each time it happens.
And so I sit here, wanting to cry and the tears won't come. I can feel them there like a good sneeze that will eventually just fade without the relief of explosion. And I know they'll come eventually, probably at the worst time, like when I'm standing in line at the grocery store or something.
Until then, I have no choice to just take things as they come, feel what my body will allow...
...and grieve along with everyone else.