I spent a day unearthing minute details of Dave's death the other day. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to.
The manner in which his death was hastened has a lot to do with the care he had and that has led to an investigation of sorts. It came to a head last week and I felt the physical blow which accompanies the rehashing of the day he died.
I felt my brain try to reject the awful visuals this information brought up. His last moments were not with his loved ones.
They were spent in an ambulance, with two young men. One, an EMT and one a nurse. I don't know how they treated Dave. I can't guarantee that they treated him as they'd want their own loved one treated. Imagining this makes me physically ill. It makes me want to tear things down and smash things and scream and curse loudly. Instead, I feel a sort of internal collapsing and tearing. It's exhausting. All I want to do is rock back and forth and keen.
Things didn't go well in that ambulance. I spent the day imagining and trying not to imagine what it must have been like for him, in that ambulance, in his last moments. I thought I'd made it through the day relatively okay.
I knew I'd be tired and that I'd need some time to recover. I knew I'd be off. But the following day, I simply melted down. It was as though the pain was too much to actually address, so instead, I just attributed the pain to everything. I couldn't find the way to say that this incident was horrific and it tore me apart and continues to.
The signals got tangled and the anxiety ramped up. Along with the anxiety, came the depressive symptoms. I dragged myself to class all day, but felt as though I'd been hit by a truck. I cried pretty steadily, leaking tears as though I had an endless supply. I stumbled through the day, having moments of clarity, but mostly just sleep-walking through, and felt the need to climb into bed and sob for a good 12 hours.
Talking about it with loved ones and processing it a little more (will I ever run out of the need to process?) helped but I've needed a lot more sleep since then and have felt emotionally fragile, too.
On the other hand, I've felt a renewal of the fierce and healthy fire in me to honor Dave's memory by making my life the best I can make of it, and remembering the positive impact he had on all who knew him, his students, and their families, especially.
The best I can do right now is to steer my mind away from the "It shouldn't have happened" deep end and back to the more peaceful but mysterious waters of "It happened, and we all go on from here". And sleep. A lot. It's so hard to grieve.