Editor's Note: I've moved off my "People Who Bring Me Joy" theme for the day.
"Life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday."
I'm not even sure what that quote means. I think I'm trying to tell myself not to look to keep dwelling on the past. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of that. I mean I'm not in denial about the past, I am trying to work through some of my "issues" but I'm not dwelling there instead of moving on.
The thing is, it doesn't take much of anything to send me right back to a place of sadness, whether I want to be there or not. Like yesterday, for instance. I went to the doctor for a checkup. No big deal. Only a couple questions about my hurting feet and a shingles vaccine.
The doc comes in and says how you doing? First of all, if you're sitting in his office on a table covered in tissue paper that crinkles every time you move, the chances are pretty good you're NOT doing so good. Most of the time you're there because you don't feel good, right? Why ask? But that wasn't the case for me yesterday, so I said I'm doing pretty good. I ask my questions, he listens to my chest, by-passes the discussion on my weight and I don't "go there" either. Then as he sits at his computer typing in my prescription renewals, he says, rather blithely, obviously making small talk, not looking for a much of an answer .... "what are you planning for the holidays?"
7 little words. That's all it took to start the tears silently rolling down my face. I'm not so good at faking this grief thing. And the holidays are already screaming, "Be happy!" "Be grateful!" "Spend money!" "Gather your family around you and eat too much!" "Ho! Ho! Ho!" "Fa la la la la!" Each and every time I'm reminded that the "you better not pout, you better not cry" time of the year is just around the corner, I like pouting and crying, usually at the same time. I feel sad cause everything is different this year. Po'd cause everything is different. Sad cause I miss how things used to be, which has got to be all about my inner child's memories, not my tired old Scroogy ass adult. And mad because I want to "Fake it til I make it" but can't stop the tears from falling and being reminded that I'm a lousy faker.
It was also time to see my shrink for Rx refills, so basically yesterday was a double whammy. I tried to brace myself, but sitting in the quiet of his office, in a leather chair worn in by patients over several years, I felt safe enough to say, "You know I'm not doing as well as I'd like." You can't reach a lot of resolution in a 15 minute appointment. But really, what could either of us say that was going to bring about resolution anyway? I'm on a path that is going to take some more twists and turns before I round a corner where I'll be able to let go of the hand of sadness, leave my father's ghost where it belongs and more forward. I would like to think that each step I've taken since saying goodbye on that January afternoon, has been in a forward moving direction, not back. The truth is probably more like being Max's partner on Dancing with the Stars, going forward and back, twirling around in circles, dipping and leaping in a dizzying dance that I can only hope to follow so I don't fall on my ass. Only I'm wearing comfortable fat-hugging yoga pants not a sequin dress.
According to the doctor who traveled this road with me after my mother died, my father still takes up a great big space in my psyche.
Is that space gonna get smaller as time moves on? Yes.
Is the day going to come when I can think about, talk about my father without it feeling like I've just picked a scab off a very tender sore? Yes.
Do I believe that? Kind of!
Does that make it easier right now? No.
So I move through each day as it comes. I get up, make the bed, write, run errands, walk the dog, go to church, smile and greet people. And sometimes I cry. Sometimes I pray for what was, then pinch myself so the pain will penetrate grief's numbness and remind me of the more realistic view of the last few years.
I'm not so selfish that I'd wish my father's last years, months, days back on him. He is where he wanted to be. What I seem to be grieving as much as the loss of his larger than life image in my little girl's mind, is the fact that the little girl who, in his own words, "brought our family together," no longer knows what her place in the world is.
The past is gone. The present is moving at the speed of light. And the future is kind of scary. My little girl asks, who will show me the way? Who will hold my hand? I know the answer is me, but since I'm still having to get used to that concept, my positive delivery is not so good.
And this my friends is what steam of consciousness writing is all about. Perhaps I should delete this post and start over, but I'm not sure I could do any better.
Today I'm grateful for the book I'm reading which distracts me enough so that I don't dwell in the dark place. Cause even though you might not belief it after reading this diatribe, I am surrounded by light.
Wishing you a day of peace,