October 14, 2010
I have also updated my Travels and Rambles blog. The most recent post regards my thoughts about writers. You can find the link to that blog on this page as well.
Someone asked Mom the other day if things were getting “better” at our house and she didn’t know how to answer that. Is it better that time has gone by? Are we eating better? Sleeping better? It’s almost like we have to re-learn how to communicate with people.
Like today, I posted on FB about how now at this point Toby has been dead longer than he was alive and someone wrote in and said “But your memories will last forever.” Like it was a Hallmark Greeting card or something. And I KNOW that shouldn’t make me upset and that the person was honestly just trying to be helpful, yet I felt my blood rise. Why?
Maybe because it was such a simple, meaningless thing to say. Some offhand comment that could be said about anything, even in jest. And maybe because memories do last forever-even the bad ones. I will never forget the look of him after he died, once lividity had set in. When his cheeks and tongue were blue and the blood was pooling in his arms, leaving white splotches on his elbows and fingers. Or how that little line of blood trickled out of his mouth from where they had put the tube in and no matter how I kept wiping it away, it kept coming back. Those memories won’t go away either.
I need space from people, but I need to see people, too. I have so much anxiety that it’s unbelievable. Last night I went to a reading by an author I liked and in the middle of it I had a panic attack. I had the attack because a woman who had been at the Grailville retreat, where we had Toby with us, was in the audience and didn’t recognize me. She had no idea who I was, even though I had invited HER to the event last night and I even reminded her that I had been the one at the retreat with the baby. Still, not a trace of recognition.
The attacks come on slowly and coldly. I don’t think I’m having a heart attack and I don’t feel the walls closing in on me. But I do feel coldness and deepness and everything seems so big. The room feels big, the chair feels big-even I feel big. Maybe that’s why I like spending so much time in our pool room, because even though it’s the biggest room in the house, my sitting area with the couch is small and there is only one tiny window at the back of the room so it’s usually pretty dark. I can hunker on the couch, wrapped in blankets, and feel small. I can’t take the bigness.
We have Court Day this weekend and I am concerned about it. I don’t like being so far away from home and I don’t know about the crowds. A friend has invited us over afterwards and I don’t think I’ll be able to go. I get restless when I’m away and I’m not sure that I can handle being away all day and then, when we’re finished, not going straight home. After the event last night I very much felt the distance from our house and it bothered me and practically ate at me until we were on HWY 52 again, heading toward Irvine.
But yes, communication. It’s so difficult. I got in the car with my friend Melissa one day and just burst into tears. She carried like it was normal and drove to a store and bought me an Ale-8. She didn’t ask me if I needed it or wanted it or even ask me what was wrong and that was very helpful. I’m not being facetious-it really was helpful. Other people address it and want to talk about it or touch me and that just brings more attention to it and it makes me embarrassed.
I think about going to counseling and it worries me that my options here are limited. Some of the counselors have simple Psychology degrees and that would be like going to…Lynn. Good God. Then there’s the fact that I know a lot of the Comp. Care counselors because I used to work with them when I was on the other side of the fence. I need a good psychiatrist, not a counselor, but I haven’t found one. I am still going to do the group thing. Pete and I are planning on going to the session in November, if we don’t back out of it.
I wonder about things like Facebook and MySpace and my blog and how easy communication is on these things. How easy it is to send a virtual hug or a quick message or a simple text and then feel as though you’ve accomplished something and “reached out” to someone. I know I’m guilty of doing that myself. I have a whole stack of “thank you” cards to mail and I haven’t sent a single one, yet I’ve messaged people on FB and thanked them.
I wonder if I shut down all of my online access and turned off my phone if people would still come around. How much of an effort would be made then. Probably not much. I remember after Nana died that we had company for the first couple of weeks and then it slowly died down until we were rarely seeing anyone at all. People move on with their lives and when you can’t keep up with them, they just move on without you. I saw that when I was pregnant, too.
I’m not feeling particularly sad tonight. I’m just thinking about things in different ways. I slept for most of the day today because I had a bad night last night and stayed up all night. I was thinking about Pete’s friend Tom who apparently got “so upset” at something that he wrote that he “had to go for a run.” Yet I got so upset about what he and his girlfriend were writing to me and Pete that I cut my wrists. Perspective. And giving people too much power when they really don’t mean a damn to me. And when his girlfriend wrote that I was a “piece of work” and “couldn’t even blame it on grief” I took that badly. Hell, who wouldn’t? But then, I stopped and realized (okay, so this was weeks later) that she had written that to someone who had just lost their child. What kind of person does THAT? And what could she blame her ignorant immaturity on? Perspective. When one of my friends suggested that we go over and kick some British ass I laughed and said that I had met those people before and wasn’t impressed and that we should use our money instead to go to Spain because I had been there too and that was really something to see. The more I thought about it, and the more I thought about them, the more I realized that it was just words. Meaningless words written on a computer screen. There was no thought behind them, no idea of the harm they might be causing, of the long term effects that might be hindering. Just words. From people that are about as real to me as a character in a novel. Actually, I’ve read novels where the characters had more personality and were more drawn out.
Pete’s sister asked Pete how he dealt with it when people told him that he needed to move on and get on with his life. I know how I would deal with it. I would tell them to fuck off. Of course, I would do it publicly, in my blog, and cause a lot of trouble in the process. But of course, I’ve written that before. Still, it was worth repeating. It’s just words. Nobody can make you move on, regroup, or feel anything that you don’t already want to do or feel. When we stop giving people the power over us to make us feel things or act in a certain way then we can really start the process of dealing with our grief. But we can’t do that as long as we keep letting other people influence us.
I have learned that when it comes to a lot of things that people are saying or doing, it’s about them and not about us. When people tell us to move on it’s because they feel uncomfortable with our situation. When people tell us where Toby is right now (in heaven, floating around as an angel, reincarnated, or still in the house) it’s because their own beliefs are comforting to them. And that’s fine.
But I think this is a personal matter and it’s about me, too. So maybe I can grow from this and hopefully not be as resentful as I have been in the past. The astrologer told me and Pete that we might be going to England after Christmas and Pete said, “I hope not” at the same time that I said “I don’t think so.” Sometimes, in order to move forward you have to disconnect from the ones that are bringing you negativity. That I learned even before Toby died.