I woke up feeling like a chocolate Easter bunny today. The outside looks like it does on most any other day except, the inside is hollow. It’s a strange feeling but it doesn’t unnerve me like it use to. I acknowledged it, I thought of all the things I could do to make its presence quieter in my head, I made my bed, got dressed, and started doing those things that bring a sense of calm over me.
I don’t talk much about Ken or what happened that day. Not because it upsets me but more so because I can talk calmly about it and some people don’t know how it interpret that. I’ve relived that day over and over again in my head so many times that the shock value is gone. It’s become part of my life story and while I’d like to skip that chapter, every step I’ve taken and every word that’s been written since then has led to to this moment right now. I haven’t had a bad day since August 23rd 2105. I’ve had frustrating moments and overwhelming days since then but none of them have ever compared to that day.
Grief is so weird, There’s no rhyme or reason to it at all. 20 Sundays and 100 days on the calendar can pass by and not one of them feel any different than the other and then bam its like running into a wall and the past comes tumbling down on you. I am so aware of keeping a balance between the past and the present that when I wake up, like I did today, it still knocks me on my ass. It makes me feel like I have an extra layer of heaviness to drag around with me until the feelings pass. It would be easy to fall into the victim mentality of “why me?” but I don’t view that day or any other event in my life as ‘personal’ if that makes any sense. I don’t have broader shoulders to handle more than anyone else and I’m not being punished for things I’ve done in my past. I’ve just been given a life with a series of choices that were made for me as a child and those I’ve made as an adult that have required tenacity and the desire to simply do better than the day before.
I’ve been reading everything about what’s going on outside my loft and there’s so much uncertainty and the unknown has become the new norm. Sit and wait for the next report and the next set of socially guided rules- it can feel daunting and difficult to not project the what if’s. There is an inate amount of security in predictability. I think the first time I realized that I was 10 years old.
Without a novels worth of background, I was 10 and my sister was 16 and we were on a Greyhound bus from Birmingham, Alabama to San Diego, California to meet our dad….by ourselves. I had no clue what that 1700+ mile trip over almost 4 days would be like and I surely didn’t know what was going to happen once we got to him. I remember few, yet vivd things about those days. I was scared. My sister let me sit by the window the entire way, I ate a doughnut in Louisiana, I refused to drink anything because the bathrooms were gross and I didn’t want to walk by anyone and make eye contact, she didn’t want me to get off the bus at any of the stops because she was scared she’d lose me, and while I’m sure I passed out at some point, I don’t remember sleeping. I’m not sure I’ve ever thanked my sister for bringing a sense of security to the unknown on that trip, but I should.
I can’t think of one person I know that hasn’t had to overcome some type of uncertainty or the unknown whether it was awaiting a diagnosis from a doctor for themselves or someone in their family, changing careers, deployments, loss of love, loss of life….all the things that we’re not sure how to wrap our brains around in those moments. But, we do. We look for familiar faces to calm our souls, we lean on our family and friends, and we learn about ourselves. We have a hell of a lot more moxie than we give ourselves credit for and today, while things are rapidly changing, is no different than any of our hardest days.
So here we are, all aboard the pandemic bus now, and while the unknowns and uncertainty of life are clearly on the horizon out the windshield, there’s one important thing to keep in your back pocket and that is that this will pass. It will be uncomfortable, possibly scary, and it will bring some to their knees and others to raise their fists in anger but, it will pass, that I know. Nothing in this world lasts forever, not our troubles, or fears, or a bus ride to anywhere….