Monday, July 4, 2011
The "sneakies" - or grief, continued....
Friends call it the "sneakies." I am referring to those moments when suddenly you feel the wind almost knocked out of you because of the surprising reality that the person you've lost (or their memory) is there with you or you know they are not and that is just as bad, if not worse. I have experienced several of those lately, although maybe what happened yesterday didn't really sneak up on me, as it was our wedding anniversary.
We had a special service at church and they showed pictures of the veterans, including Randy. His picture always makes me smile, as he was young and skinny with black horn rimmed glasses and he's holding a bottle of Coke and making the peace sign. Needless to say his was the only veteran's picture with a peace sign! Even with this, I was fine until we sang "This is my Song" at the end. If you're not familiar with the words, you can look it up here: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Is_My_Song_(1934_song). It basically says "I love my country and think it's the greatest, but so do lots of other people, so let's remember that and respect each other" (or that's my summary). It was one of Randy's favorite hymns and is sung to the tune of Finlandia. If you were able to be at his memorial service, the pianist played it as we left, I think.
It seems like I've had more clutching moments lately and I think this is because my younger cousin just lost her 52 year old husband to cancer a few weeks ago. I feel her pain so deeply - it seems to have merged with my own grief, which I guess is natural. The same thing happened to my mom when Randy died. She seemed to relive the grief of losing my dad all over again. I'd never really thought about this happening and maybe it's not common, but it makes sense to me that the untimely death of my cousin's husband stirred my grief, since I connected it to Randy's also untimely death.
Another sneaky moment occurred recently when I was walking out of Whole Foods in Little Rock. There was a musician playing reggae and as soon as I heard it, I felt like Randy was right there. I knew he wanted me to dig out a $2 bill and put it in the tip jar, but I'm sorry to say I didn't do this. My arms were full of bags and because i was temporarily taken aback by the overwhelming memory of Randy, I didn't stop. Later that night, a friend e-mailed and said there were a few $1 coins in the tip jar at the Historic Arkansas Museum that evening, so she felt Randy had slipped in without her seeing him!
I did stop at a lemonade stand some kids had on the street the other day and get a lemonade in exchange for a $2 bill. This made me so happy, because it was such a Randy-like thing to do! The three kids (and their mom) all had red hair, so that made it seem even more connected to Randy.
One other thing seems relevant here. Recently I read a manuscript of a book about grief written by someone I know. This author was writing about her mother's death and many things she said hit me directly, but one thing was the most touching. She talked about being overcome by envy as she watched other good people doing for their mothers, as she had no mother anymore. She went on to say that irrational envy and bitterness are common feelings of the bereaved. I have to admit that sometimes I have been envious or even a bit angry as I watch other couples do normal couple things. My major sore spot is when I hear women speak carelessly or even hatefully about their husbands. I want to grab them and shake them and say "you better be nice - you may not have them forever!" I know that a lot of their comments are said in jest and maybe just because someone else started it, but it really frustrates me. I have said something in a few cases and I imagine people wonder what's wrong with me and why I am so crabby, but I didn't really care :)