Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Maybe I Spoke Too Soon

Just when I think I'm back to normal - getting in the swing of things again and falling into place - a day like today spins me in circles.

I know grief isn't like a light switch that you can suddenly turn off when you're ready to leave the room, but I'm not usually the griefy kind of person. I can only think of one time I've cried in the last twenty years that wasn't related to some Hallmark commercial or sappy movie. Sure, I'm free with the tears when it's completely not personal, but when it comes to my own life, I just don't. I don't know why. I've just never been the crying type.

I always feared someday I'd get horrible news and I wouldn't be able to cry and people would think, "How can she bawl like a baby through Pooh's Heffalump and not cry at real life??"

Then Jean died. And that worry went to rest.

I've made it through more than a week without crying. I've moved on. I've talked about it, written about it. Whatever needs to happen, I thought I'd worked through it. After all, even though Jean and I were very close many years ago, our relationship the past years have been more facebook/occasional lunch friendship.

But today, I was back at first base. No reason that I can pin it on, but I was on the edge of tears all day. An email, a pile of newspaper clippings, a conversation ... today was the arraignment of the kid who shot her. And during my Bible study the teacher kept harping on the fact that Esther was an orphan. "Can you think of anything more devastating than seeing children sitting in the front row while their mother's coffin is rolled past them?"

I bawled. Like a baby. All snotty, teary, ugly crying. In the middle of the Bible study full of women I really don't even know. Who probably wondered why in the world I cared so much about a video taped lecture.

Great gasping weeping. Quiet sobbing. Blinking lots to keep the mascara in place. What is wrong with me?

I'm not angry. I'm just very sad. Waves of it that crash over just when I think the storm is gone. Life will never be the same again, and not just for the obvious reason of her being gone, but for the larger significances. Maybe someday I will reach for the doorknob and not wonder what would happen if someone is inside. Maybe someday I will listen to Billy Joel and not fall apart. Maybe someday I will hear noises upstairs and my heart won't stop. Maybe.

But I will never watch the news the same. I will never hear about a death and not think about the hundreds of people, even remotely associated, whose lives are now changed forever. I will never be the same.

Today was not a great day. But there is always the chance tomorrow will be better. And isn't that what drives us all?


  1. It's so good that you're aware of how this is affecting you. And it's important to cry and let it out. You'll always have those regression days, triggers and moments of complete despair, but that's what losing someone is all about. It's a measure of deeply you care.

    Big hugs!!!!!

  2. Today is better.

    You know, I debated about blogging about this. It's so personal, and not about writing. But I felt better after I wrote it. Like just giving it permission to be.

    You guys are great...

  3. Heidi,

    You are correct, grief isn't a light switch. You'll never just wake up one day and think, "I'm over it." The fact is - what happened was a horrible tragedy that will most likely affect you for the rest of your life.

    When I was reading St. Augustine's Confessions, he writes about the death of his lifelong friend. He writes about how years later, it still affected him. I'm glad you have the clarity of thought to be able to process it.

    And if you bawl in Bible study - it just means that you are human, you have a heart, you are hurting. Much love to you.

  4. Oh, where do I start?

    I don't think it ever really goes away. Maybe that's just one part of tragedy. Maybe every human life that ends leaves a hole that takes a few generations to fill in.

    I'm sorry you're still hurting. I think anybody would feel like the world has changed. It never stops changing and sometimes that hurts.

    Thinking of you.