Enough with the wise cracks, I feel like I have a little 'splaining to do.
It's been raining for 3 solid days here. Every time I woke up last night (which was often) it was raining, a different intensity each time. But when I finally rose this morning there was a wee break in the deluge and I was able to squeeze in a fast bike ride. I made it just in time... there's now a downpour outside my window.... but I really needed the ride this morning. I probably could've ridden twice as long, seeing as it wasn't nearly long enough to melt my emotional build-up.
The grieving process over the past year and a half was so incredibly difficult and draining and all-encompassing, I was actually pretty relieved when my smart *ss side returned. It felt good to crack jokes and laugh at how stupid I can be, make sarcastic comments and talk about silly stuff, normal stuff, regular life - shoe shopping. And if you've been with me for a while, you may have noticed the radical detour from the original writings on my blog. I'm sure some are relieved and others are wondering just which one is the real me. I'm sure - I'm hoping - the answer is somewhere in the middle.
I was relieved to actually grow tired of feeling like a wet blanket all the time, but that had to happen in its own good time. I remember I even researched the stages of grief because I always felt the same - heavy, detached, incredibly sad, and very lethargic about life. Where was the denial? I had many moments of say-it-isn't-so but the loss was very present. Where was the resentment? I recall only a flash or two. Where was the anger?
I actually recognized my own impending pattern of crash-and-burn this time, which is a curious thing. All of a sudden (on a bike ride, of course) I realized all my writing was heavy on the sarcasm and light on the paradigm-shifts, and noticed I was starting to feel a bit manic. It doesn't help that it's been raining for almost two-weeks straight; or that our crazy soccer schedule has kicked in; or that my hayfever leaves me with the undesirable choice between having a drippy face or suffering med-induced sleepless nights; or that we just learned of another sudden, senseless, accidental death. And people keep asking me when Brady starts school and how that's going and are we excited and will it be difficult. And oddly, I've been fine about the whole thing. Juuusssst fine.
There's another Dad-like quality of mine - I go along juuust fine, and I don't notice the tension building as it's masked by busyness, biting humor, and increasingly intense bike rides. And then bam - I crack wide open.
I remember discussing the book The Artist's Way with an acquaintance once. I was going on about how difficult this or that was for me, how I'd like to feel more confident about certain things, how I was working on it and whatnot, and the woman looked at me with mouth hanging open. "You?!" she said? "But you always seem so... so... confident, and secure, and happy. I always assumed you had it all figured out." That surprised me in so many ways, but especially because that meant I'm quite adept at showing the strong side and hiding the weak underbelly.
Writing about my grief was the first time some folks saw that other side of me - the side who delves into my own sh*t, wrangles with it for a while, stays in the fray until something good comes from it or I learn something about myself, and then emerges anew. My social side just shows the end product - the newly evolved me - or even just a slick advertisement of myself, keeping things light but together. Blogging about my journey through grief was simply sharing more of the process of how I get from a bad place to a (hopefully) better place. Not to mention it was the only person I could be at that time.
And then when I was feeling stronger, I didn't want to be so heavy anymore. I was ready to move on.
So I pondered my latest rising angst and finally saw what is going on - I'm in total denial about the pain of Brady going to school. In one week. One freakin' week.
The anger has arrived. It started a few days after I learned of the latest senseless young death (46). I could feel it rise in my throat and I wanted to shake my fists at the universe and scream "WHAT THE F*CK!" It visited when I was conflicted about attending a golf outing in my father's memory because the associated heaviness was interfering with my joy at rushing off to Willow. It's here as I wrestle with the helpless feeling of launching my first child into school after eight years of unschooling, a new process which has brought out both the best and the worst in me. (Thankfully, these days my 'worst' is better than it used to be.)
And when I get p*ssed off, the tears follow right quick. Gawd I'm so bloody tired of crying.
School folks, go ahead and roll your eyes (or think back to the first day of your child's kindergarten perhaps), but this really hurts. I'm excited for him, hopeful that it'll be a wonderful transition for him, and eager, even, for all of us - that we might be entering a wonderful new phase and adding a wonderful new community to our lives. But we've been together for so long, and it's been such a beautiful thing to grow together and work through the hard spots and savor the good spots and know each other in a way that only comes from such intense togetherness... I just can't believe that's going to change. I fully support and honor him in this process - but the good of every change is also tempered by grief about what gets left behind.
I remember when my kids were young it seemed like the teen years were so far away. People say it goes by quickly, and it does, but I don't know that there's any way to prepare for such parting, just as there's no good way to prepare for any loss. You just muddle through it and put one foot in front of the other.
My intuitive Pisces grrrlpal Sharon knew it was coming and called to check in on my emotional well-being. I told her I was handling it surprisingly well as I rambled in hyper-drive about other stuff. She knows, though, she knows. (And now she knows why I couldn't return her phone calls for over a week - I wasn't ready to crack open.)
But now it's here, and I'm out of time, and the emotion is spilling whether I'm ready for it or not. And it's ok. It's a let-down, and I'll come out the other side again, in time, and be wiser and stronger and calmer. But in the meantime I'll need to retreat and be quiet and sift through it in my own messy way, and spend our last week together celebrating my son, his transition, and our ever-evolving life.
The next few blog posts were penned yesterday in "rising angst mode", so keep that in mind, laugh a little, send me some positive energy and light, and I'll catch y'all on the other side.