Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Are You Over It Yet?
Lately, I’ve been testier than usual. Very testy. One of my Widow Camp friends, Cassie, and I have shared many back-and-forth, four-letter-filled texts that have succinctly summarized our not-so-happy assessments of our similar situations. (I’m so thankful to have a widowed friend just a text away who understands what my non-widowed friends will hopefully never. Thank you, Widow Camp!) Maybe it’s the approaching holiday season. Maybe it’s the pushing forward I did with the Business of Change. Maybe it’s because last week was a full moon. Maybe it’s because one of Maggie’s friends is getting married and another is having her first child. Regardless and undeniably, I have been much more touchy than usual.
It’s difficult to explain to those who haven’t lived this nightmare why losing Maggie isn't something I’ll just one day get over. Not that I need to explain it to you, fellow widow/er, but there is no cure for what is ailing me. There is no medicine to vanquish my sorrow. My discomfort is not temporary like that that comes from a miserable cold or the sharp pain of a broken bone. It’s not a healing thing; it’s a coping thing. I really want them to understand but I’m careful with that wish; I’d never want anyone to fully understand the sadness I feel. So, I offer up yet another analogy even though I suspect my friends have long tired of my attempts to explain.
Imagine, I tell them, if one day someone walked up with a machete and, without explanation, chopped off your right arm. Blood would spray and it’d hurt quite a bit. You’d spend time in the hospital with drugs and stitches and visitors. But eventually, you’d go back home. The helpful visitors would disappear. The physicians would stop prescribing drugs. Then it’d just be you, your left arm and your memories of how things used to be. Meanwhile, you’d be learning how to tie your shoe with only one hand. Or shampoo your hair. Or button your shirt. Or put on a necklace. Or floss. Other things that you used to do, things you did daily, took for granted and loved, you just couldn’t do anymore. No more playing guitar. No more texting on your phone. No more driving a stick-shift. No more hunting or playing baseball or lifting weights. Or carrying both dogs. Everything is different now. Life will never be the same.
Imagine someone asking you, who just lost your arm, “Hey, when are you going to get over that whole losing-your-arm thing?”
Then imagine raising your one remaining hand to show that person your one remaining middle finger.
Did I mention I’ve been a little more testy than usual lately?