As you can see, I’ve had a very emotional week. I rode this really awful wave of sadness, despair, and depression on Tuesday without really understanding what it was all about. This is a hard time of year for me for reasons you all know by now if you read this blog. In my head I know that and I was expecting it. But, wow. I was really emotional on Tuesday. It felt out of control and scary. When I posted that Neko Case song a few Twitter friends cheered me and made me laugh by posting happier songs. It really, really helped to move me back in a more positive direction in my head. Then last night as I was talking about my experience another friend reminded me that what I was going through didn’t sound like depression but sadness. She reminded me that we are all human and, because of this, feel a range of emotions: Sadness being one of them. And since it is “that time of year” it is appropriate to feel sad. I felt like the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders when she said this. It’s OK, and sometimes even appropriate, to feel sad. What a concept. Why do I beat myself up for feeling this emotion?
On Tuesday grief rose up in me and made itself known and I had to feel it – I had no choice. It bubbles up and you have to go through it. And I did. I cried cathartically several times Tuesday and I am glad I did. I felt better yesterday and I feel better today.
I just realized why Tuesday was so weirdly emotional. Yesterday was the day that Doug died 4 years ago, but the day before I was up with him at his bedside basically watching him die for hours and hours. It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life. But I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. I loved him and he needed me in those moments and I was there for him. There is just no question that I would be there for him. The pain doesn’t even matter.
I wonder, though, if pain can echo through time? I kind of feel like that is what happened on Tuesday.
Today I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for you. Thank you for helping me through this darkness with your good thoughts and your jokes and your kind words. Thank you Thank you.
And I let it come, and I just started to feel ‘oh my God,’and I pulled over and I just cried like a bitch. I cried so much. And it was beautiful. Sadness is poetic. You’re lucky to live sad moments.- Louis C.K.
I walked out of Fred Meyer this morning and decided to check my e-mail on my phone. My manager sent an e-mail telling staff that one of our regular, and beloved, patrons had died unexpectedly last week. I was stunned. I stood there on the sidewalk in the rain, saying “oh no!” to myself (and anyone within earshot). The message went on to tell the details. He had driven into town, as he did everyday, came home and passed away in his truck in his driveway. It was most likely a heart attack or a stroke.
The thought of him dying alone in his truck just makes me sad.
I am heartbroken. I see this person every day. He is a part of my daily routine at work. I have helped him with several reference questions and have had dozens of conversations with him, about all sorts of things. He was the kind of person who liked to think and would make you think when you talked to him. My conversations with him are what got me really interested in learning how to play an instrument to use in story time. His thought was that music was “the most important thing” and his passion for it really lit a fire under me!
He was also a very thoughtful person. He was always bringing us doughnuts. He brought hershey’s kisses everyday to library staff and his daily joke was always, “here’s your kiss” (he was a big flirt). Damn. I am going to miss that. I am going to miss him. My day is going to be a little less bright without him in it.
The last time I saw him was a week ago Saturday. I was working at the new library, checking in books. He drove by in his truck. He was driving by very slowly, peeking in the window, checking to see how progress was on our new library.
I don’t do very well with death. In my meditation group we talked about the idea of the koan being the thing that you think about, that you work on all the time. That thing that you can never seem to figure out with logic. Death is most certainly my koan. I don’t understand it. There is a part of me that asks, “why do people have to die?” And why does it hurt so badly when they do die? It just completely breaks my heart. Maybe I’m a selfish person but I don’t want that person to leave. I want them in my life. I appreciate it when people say things like, “He is in a better place now” (and I honestly do not doubt it). However, the words don’t give me much comfort (the intention of the person speaking is what gives me comfort). I want that person to be here. I want them to be in my life. I don’t want them to be gone forever.
Maybe I am just selfish. I don’t know. But that is how I feel.
Twice yesterday the song “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” came on randomly. once on my ipod and once on the radio. The first time it played, I had to change the song after two measures. The sequence of chords at the beginning of the song instantly make my eyes well up with tears. And then the lyrics start and they utterly and completely break my heart.
The second time I was in the car with Raf and I didn’t change the station. I listened to it underneath the conversation we were having. And, as expected, tears welled up. I said something to him about how this song makes me cry every-time I hear it and made fun of myself for crying over a silly song.
That this song was nosing it’s way into my head twice yesterday made me think that maybe I should listen to it all the way through. Maybe I just needed to deal with something. I decided to face whatever it was. So as I was sitting on my zafu, before my 15 minutes of meditation, I sat on my cusion with my headphones on and just listened to the song. I listened to those haunting chords and those heartbreaking lyrics and I bawled my eyes out. I let myself experience the full-on feelings of this grief that wanted to express itself. And felt better for having experienced it. My eyes are all puffy today though. I’m blaming it on allergies, from the trees that were blooming in Portland yesterday when I was there.