Balancing Act or Death Revisited. One or the Other. I Can't Decide.

3:41 PM Edit This 11 Comments »
I've been pondering death again lately. Go figure, huh? That's pretty par for the course around here. Sometimes I get a really nice respite from my grief and then something will happen that plows me right back into the ground. Then I think I should just stay there and you all should come plant flowers on top of me to keep me buried so I don't have to struggle back up just to fall down again. (I despise Easter Lilies by the way. Just so you know.) But most of the time, I understand that this is all part of the process of moving on. The dark times come fewer and farther inbetween and they don't last as long. In the beginning, whenever something ick would happen in my life, I'd grieve that the Dead Guy wasn't there to hold my hand and walk me through it. It's kind of nice to have someone who isn't afraid to trudge through the storm with you, isn't it? Now I miss him the most when something really incredible or serendipitous happens. Weird, huh? I get so very sad that he's not here to see the joy in my eyes. Because that really was something he cherished - when I was on top of the world ecstatic, my eyes would light up and I'd turn to him in wonder that this (whatever this was) was happening. And to US! Those are the moments when he'd rush to envelop me in bone-crushing hugs and promises that everything was going to be just fine as long as I kept smiling from my eyes. I think he said it mostly to convince himself, but that's neither here nor there today.

I've had some really incredible things happen to me in the last few weeks. Aside from the job change that makes me want to puke and the trip to Des Moines that I could hardly pull a smile out of my ass for, there have been other, perhaps smaller - but more significant, things happen that make my eyeballs light up and my head start to spin with creative thought. And it makes me wish that he knew I was content. You can tell me all you want that he does INDEED know. But it's not the same. It's just not. He could also read the fear in my excitement of something new and would dole out those soul-filling hugs that smashed it.

And I feel like I'm stuck here, trying to hug myself into that joy. But it doesn't quite work that way. And then THAT becomes something to be sad about. I know. I'm a piece of work. But then again, aren't we all?

This grief thing is tricky. It sneaks up on me - even on a good day. Why would that be? Can't it just leave me alone while I'm forgetting about it for the moment? Yesterday, I was laughing and talking to a friend as I walked into the club. And I heard from the kitchen, "Kate's here!" As I turned the corner I said, "How do you know?" The reply? "I could hear your laugh. I could listen to it all day long." And I promptly burst into tears. (Did I mention I'm a fucking piece of work?) Because how incredible is it to be known for your laugh when all you used to do is sit in the corner and cry?

It's all a matter of balancing out the extremes. You can remind me how last week, I complained that he didn't let me talk or have an opinion or that a year ago, I was entrenched in sorting out what exactly emotional abuse looked like in our relationship. Going back to last December, you'll find a glowing report of a man who lived on a pedastal for a long, long time in my eyes. The longer I do this thing, the more I come to understand that he was just a human being with flaws just like mine and I loved him and alternately hated him while he was alive AND after he was gone. Because I figured if I loved him enough, then he wasn't really dead. And if I hated him enough, it wouldn't hurt anymore. Funny how it doesn't work that way.

11 comments:

Malaise Inc said...

I am convinced that grief and depression are comfortable places for people who have experienced them long term. That isn't to say that you subconsciously want to feel that way. Not at all. But there is a familiarity in those emotions that you don't experience with joy and contentment. And that lack of familiarity with positive experiences is scary.

I see it with my wife all the time. Sometimes she actually looks for things to feel bad about, works to turn compliments to insults, denies that she ever felt good even when she did just the day before.

Another way to think of it is as a well-worn rut that your wheels slip into when you are not on guard. Either way, it takes work to fight it. Sounds like you have enough self-awareness to see it for what it is.

*Akilah Sakai* said...

Very interesting read, Kate.

Agreed. We are all a piece of work ... and quite flawed. Flaws can be beautiful to me, but I'm quite flawed so maybe I'm biased.

The comment about your laugh was positively gorgeous! After the tears, surely you felt warmth from that compliment?

(Awards for you over on my blog.)

Jeff D'Antonio said...

I don't know what to say, other than just keep doing what you're doing. Work through your grief one day at a time. That's the only way. I'm sorry I can't say anything more profound than that. I'm kind of at a loss for words tonight (been a tough day here).

morethananelectrician said...

I don't think there is person who has discovered the secret to balancing these kinds of things...it is different for each person.

For me, the guilt of feeling happy was a lot ot deal with...not sure that I have ever come to grips with it...

Meigan said...

I miss my dad the most when I'm happy. In fact it sends me into tears - it's the craziest thing. I don't even think about him when I'm down anymore, but the second I accomplish something big, the kids to do something great, or just something wonderful happens, I start sobbing because I want to share it with him. Read Wordsworth's poem, Surprised by Joy.

Ben said...

I've never really had a death of someone all that close to me so even thinking about these sorts of things is really hard for me to grasp. Not looking forward to the day where I 'get it'.

buffalodick said...

We care about different people at different levels... I loved my parents, but when they passed I knew it was for the best.. I was young when my grandfather(who I cared deeply for) died, and the pain was something I started to "wall off"... Feelings are a two-edged sword- is no feeling better than feeling grief? No.

Shevonne said...

I think everyone has those moments. In my favorite Shakira song, "Inevitable," she says "And I cry at least once a month."

All you can do is try to remain positive and think "Will this really matter in a few years?" This usually helps me pick myself back up.

*hugs

Sparkling Red said...

There are some things that are too big to ever completely "get over". I try not to fight those things when they come up in my life. I try to appreciate the richness and texture they add to my story. I don't always walk the walk as well as I talk the talk. But what else can we do?

Jules said...

Ah yes, the mess that the dead leave behind sometimes...

I'm glad to hear these are coming farther apart but that doesn't really make them any easier when they do show up, does it?

BrianAlt said...

Remember that, EVERY TIME!

Say it over and over to yourself, "I am known for my laugh. I am known for my laugh. I am known for my laugh!"

Have a GREAT weekend.