A few weeks ago I ran across some old journals. I didn't even open them, but put them in a box "to be sorted later." Then recently I opened them because I wanted some information. I know the date my father died, May 18, 2000. I think I remember it because he was 90 years and one month exactly. This is a bit strange, I guess, but the day my mother died is, for some reason, very hard for me to recall. I know now, because I looked it up, that her departure was on June 9, 2000. That is three weeks and one day after Daddy was gone. It seems to me that the date of her death is less concrete to me; my mom, the lovely lady who I loved so much, was gone from that body a long time before the body quit working. Oh, I'm sure there was some part of her in there, but it was no longer connecting with us. We had said goodbye long before. But that something was there, because somehow she knew that Daddy was gone. She quit taking food or water right after his funeral, and I'm sure Mama wanted to be with her sweetheart. Something was there. Anyway the date of her death was the information I was looking for when I opened the journal.
I read my entries from back then, several months before they died and for several months after. I hadn't read them before now. I relived some of that period of my life, and I really cried my head off. There were a lot of things that I wrote about and of which I have absolutely no memory at this time. Even reading those entries didn't bring it back. It's so strange, almost as if I were reading about someone else's life. I needed to read that for some reason. Perhaps I needed to know just how numb I was for some time after their deaths. I don't know.
Then I skipped ahead five years and read about the months preceding and following my husband's death. Those entries were so different. I remembered every detail leading to those entries. I suppose I was just in a different place emotionally, in a different role. I wasn't the main caregiver for my parents; two of my brothers were. With my husband, I was his sole caregiver until the last month, and I guess I had to keep my wits about me because of the monitoring of food, treatment, medication, schedules, and everything else that is involved in that process. I couldn't avoid the process. Or my feelings. I cried at this, too, because I was so overwhelmed, sad, angry, and a few other things, that I was in a mechanical state during those months. I didn't really begin to absorb the reality of it all for about six months after his death.
Why am I writing this? I'm not sure. It is just that the experience was so strange and powerful that it has been on my mind for the last few days. Grief is a strange critter. It comes and goes. It gets better over time, but I don't think it ever goes away completely. I'm still grieving my grandmother who died in 1965, but it is mellower now than is the grief for my parents. I'm also grieving for five little babies I lost before they could be born nearly forty years ago. That, too is less painful now than it was back then. But it is still there.
We all have our own grief to deal with in deaths, failed relationships, loss of health, or whatever. We each deal with it in our own way. Every now and then, one of these hit me, and I just have to give in to the tears for a while. I hate that, but I must say that I feel much relieved afterward. I have a tendency to bottle my emotions. It's almost as if each of these in-the-face events is the release of fizz when a bottle of soda is opened.
I've been a bit mellow today, and frankly, low on energy. However, I'm willing to bet that tomorrow will be just the opposite. I'll probably have a good store of energy and get a lot done. Now that I'm de-fizzed, I'll be a busy bee. That's a very good thing!! I have a lot of unpacking still to do!!
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PS later in the evening -
Awwwwww. We had some thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. Ali did pretty well, but he was emotionally exhausted. He always crashes after storms.............
He was curled up on the pillow beside me for about two hours. It ain't easy being a dog!
Note to self: Gotta find someone to recover that couch!!!!!!!!
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6/5/07 @ 10:30
I just received a call from my daughter. She called to let me know what we've all known was coming. They've made a decision to allow Margarita, the little precious dog we all prayed for a few months back, to cross the Rainbow Bridge. She and the family she owns have made valiant efforts to keep her healthy, but the battle is too much for them all. Margarita, who is my Ali's daughter and look-alike, should weigh about ten pounds, but she is now around five. She is losing hair when they pet her, and her strength is limited. The cause of her health decline has never been determined. Her family, myself included, loves her so much for her wonderful happy spirit, her endless ability to love, her (former) boundless energy and her eternal puppy-like quality. But enough is enough. She needs to be at peace, out of discomfort. She will be greeted over the bridge by her mommy, my own Mai Lin who crossed last fall. Please keep us all in your prayers, as the next few days will be very difficult. :'(