Soggy, wet

When I think back to the last few months of my life, and remember the deep, heavy grief I lived with for months on end, the first adjectives that come to mind are: sodden, heavy, wet, drenched, marooned, but not drowned. I didn’t drown.

A grief councillor told me two weeks ago that we heal at our own individual pace, but that it starts second by second, then minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month, and so on.

If I think of my grief this way, and it resonates with me (I felt like the world was throwing me off – life just wasn’t a real, tangible thing. My life was worthless without Henry), I see myself in an endless lake. I’m in the middle, vertical. Static, unmoving. The sky is grey, water is murky and grey. I don’t care what might be swimming underneath. In fact, I wished something would just drag me down under so the pain would stop. Even for a minute. Please?

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After seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months – I realize there’s been a canoe next to me the entire time. I didn’t know it was there or who put it there, and I never looked around where I had been floating upright, with the water tickling my nostrils, and never fully submerged for long. I didn’t want to see what was around me, and I didn’t need to, but suddenly – canoe!

I don’t want to escape – don’t need to retreat or leave the deep, dark lake, but I get in the canoe. I feel like I’ve been paddling in the canoe, no destination in mind, no destination desired. I’m not as heavy as I started out. Not as soggy. I can lift my head. I can rotate by body. I certainly couldn’t before.

I have shed sentimentality, shyness, and even some patience. If you’re a whiner – a complainer – I have no time for you, and I won’t even waste my time telling you I have no time for you. I have sloughed off a loose skin that was ultra-sensitive. Floating in the water has helped me transform in certain ways, tightened up, like a rock with many faces. I adore, love stronger, and I shove off stronger. That’s what my grief has done for my life, for better or for worse. And I don’t feel guilty any more for feeling joy.

How has grief transformed you?

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Making decisions in grief

It’s really, really hard to make decisions these days. Things kind of just have to be thrown at me and I’ll either duck out of the way, or get hit by them and incorporate whatever it is into my day. Most of the time I’d rather duck, but don’t often have the energy for it.

This is quite a bit change from the person I used to be. I was more of a direct-make decisions, no fuss kind of lady. Maybe I still am, I don’t know. I’ve been hit with a Fort McMurray-sized truck of loss, and you don’t come out of the grief-machine the same.

But I am making one decision in my cloud of grief. I know Sweetie, my beloved deceased bunny, cannot be replaced. She was a very special pet, and having her suddenly ripped from my life is really very painful.

My sweet, good girl. Rest in peace.

 

Since losing Henry, she had been one of my main sources of comfort. Watching her eat made me smile, and she was very good at snuggling. We would spend hours sometimes snuggling in my bed or on the sofa.

She also made me laugh when she would weave between our legs, honk, and follow us like a dog, demanding to be pet. She would also flop on the ground and go really flat – a sign that she was happy and comfortable. A light went out when she left, and I’ve been so angry and sad at the circumstances of her death, even though the vets did everything they could to resuscitate her. I think she died of fear, and that tears me up.

One thing is for sure – getting a new bunny that is real and already sterilized is a much quicker fix than waiting to hear from geneticists that our chances of making another baby with osteogenesis imperfecta type 2 are high or low. So I’m going for the quick fix.

In all of this, I haven’t turned to substance abuse to cope with my grief, which I find a bit amazing. Not that I would have turned to hard drugs in the first place, having never done them or had the desire to go down that path. Maybe I’m watching too much Internet TV these days to think of that as a logical progression from multiple losses. My point is, I’m going to get another bunny. Hopefully one that snuggles. I still have Wilbur – my feisty miniature grey rex rabbit, but he’s a biter, not a cuddler. Neither is my cat.

Silly wonderful Wilbur.

I’m finding so little comfort in my life these days. I’m still humbly thankful for all the love and support that friends and family are giving us – I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but at the end of the day, it’s me sitting with me and my torn lump of a heart that continues to beat for some reason.  The tools to recover, if I ever get there, are within me, and what I feel will give me some ounce of comfort is a bunny from the SPCA. So that’s one decision I’ve made.

 

Life in the raw

I’ve been reading Year of Wonders, a fictional book about an English village that isolated themselves in the 1600s during a severe plague outbreak. The story shows most of the village succumbing to the plague, dropping off one by one, or in droves. The priest in the story convinced the townspeople to stay where they were to avoid spreading plague seeds to the surrounding villages. And it worked.

Now if only I had a similar buffer in my life to prevent death after death of ripping in to my heart. It’s hard to see the good right now.

I have another bunny with dental problems – I always assumed he’d be the first of my pets to go, which is why losing Sweetie is so harsh – she was the healthy, resilient one. But she had cancer, and there was no way of knowing that until the vet first examined her, which is what led to bringing her in for a hysterectomy. It was supposed to make her better and let her live a lot longer. I’m so mad, sad, and heartbroken over losing Sweetie. It is a harsh loss, and all in the wake of losing Henry. I would have been a few weeks shy from 30 weeks pregnant with him at this point.

So Wilbur, my toothless dwarf, will meet the same end as Sweetie, and we’ll have a teary, heartbroken goodbye with him. Same with our cat, same with my step-son’s gerbil. Same with many of the people I know and love.

I’m feeling very raw. I feel like I wiped out on my bike and have been recovering from knees scraped to the bone after losing Henry, but scabs were starting to slowly form. Losing Sweetie is like falling hard on my already sore knees and splitting a coupe of healed scabs open so the blood can come through anew.

The only way to buffer myself against further loss is to cut off all ties with my friends and family, and live alone in a cave and provide for myself by scraping meals of algae from its damp walls. Or be hit by a bus. I think this stage of grief is all of them, especially shock and depression.

And these losses – Henry, Sweetie – all came about because of decisions I made for them. Even though a more painful death was inevitably in their future.

Something good is bound to happen in my life, isn’t it? But why should it? The universe is vast and incomprehensible. Why does my tiny life, barely significant, need to be joyful? I don’t feel like it matters right now.