I woke up yesterday with dread and sadness hovering around me like a damp, gray cloud even as a sunny blue sky emerged from the sunrise. Maybe I dreamed of something that got me going, I don't know. It was probably just the good old grief monster moving in for the morning. Every moment of every day is tinged with grief, but some days the grief takes over completely.
It feels so heavy. I actually feel a physical weight on my shoulders, pinning me to the earth. It forces me down until I feel like pasting myself to the floor to brace for the onslaught.
Once the tears started, I couldn't stop them and just writing about the way that feels makes my eyes fill up again. I cried for hours and began to mentally cancel plans. Yoga would have to wait. I was crying too hard to get dressed. And besides, I would've been too embarrassed to go in that condition. No amount of makeup could conceal the state I was in.
Suddenly, though, two women I'd forgotten I'd promised to go to yoga with simultaneously texted me and my dear widowed friend called me. As I talked to her and continued to sob, I got dressed. Once I hung up with her, the tears finally stopped. Once I was fully dressed, hair done and makeup on, I felt stronger and though the tears threatened a few times during yoga, I had a wonderful session and was left with the lovely exhaustion and peace that yoga practice brings me.
I realized that while it would have been completely understandable to stay curled in a ball on the floor of my place all day, I didn't because of those women. Three women who don't all know each other contacted me at the exact same time and without knowing it, pulled me from the sucking blackness of that morning.
I know that it is healthy to feel the grief and that numbing myself and avoiding the pain will only put it off till later, but sometimes what I need is someone else expecting me to show up. I need the pull of the outside world to counteract the pull of the sadness. I need to be outside, among others, moving, interacting, pushing, pushing, pushing myself through the fear of living.
Though I needed a nap later to counteract the crying headache I'd earned from that morning, I didn't cancel my plans for the evening, either, and thank God I didn't. I went with a dear friend to Mt. Hood and had the most fun I've had in a long while, barreling down a snowy hill on an inner tube with her.
I laughed until I peed a little.
Grief is exhausting. It's terrifying. While it has to be experienced, it takes its toll on me and I need to feel the opposing pull of life. Sometimes I still need someone to literally or figuratively pull me off the floor, wipe my tears, hug me close and push me out the door, reminding me that there's still life to be lived and people to love. All of it risks more loss, but the bigger loss would be missing out on all of it, pinned to my floor with the weight of my losses.
Writing this has started the tears again. The weight of my sadness is pressing down on me and curling up on the floor sounds good, but I'll pick myself up in a few minutes and get dressed because someone expects me to show up later this morning, and I have life to live.