As the waitress leads my son, husband and I to a booth in the bar area, I am suddenly kicked back in time to a few weeks after Amy’s sudden death. While my heart remembers every detail of that day, I am never ever prepared when my mind decides to unveil another detail which I could not process then and cannot process now so I will just end that thought here.
Suffice to say the grief ambushes continue. As we sat looking over the menu, my son zeroed into an ELO song which was playing and commented how it was one of his fav oldies. As I began to relax a bit, suddenly Amy’s fav melancholy song begins to play. Dammit, you just can’t trust that universe to give you peace. I did not want to ruin the mood and lucky for me neither my son or husband noticed my tears as they were engrossed in some sports conversation. As I looked around the restaurant, I tried to imagine what it would be like to sit there pre-August 4, 2013 … with a light heart. Instead I make my way in this world covered in band aids which are unmercifully ripped off numerous times a day. It is becoming more difficult to imagine that mindless peace I took for granted.
When we finally left the restaurant, I remembered I had promised to do a good deed in memory of Amy for the church down the road. No big deal, right? Wrong. This deed would involve entering Amy’s now lifeless room to retrieve the shawls I was donating to their prayer shawl ministry. As I fumbled through the boxes which now occupy most of Amy’s room, suddenly her flat screen tv came on. That tv has not been on since “that day” and quite honestly I didn’t know how to turn it off. For a minute I tried to imagine what it was like when that room was so full of life and the scent of my daughter. There was a time when that tv was just background noise in the same way the music in the restaurant should be, but life is no longer as it should be, is it?
Before exiting Amy’s room I apologized out loud to Amy for the clutter which would have never been acceptable to her. As a means to forgive myself for turning the floor in her room into a storage place, I imagined that she has all of the clarity now and surely she understands our need to add those boxes to camouflage her absence.
As my mind started wandering over what life is now, I tried to imagine how I would be spending this day if my family was complete. First, I would be at work instead of doing a good deed “in memory” of Amy. Second, I imagine I would be looking forward to the weekend instead of living in a chapter of such sadness.
Searching for ways to make sense of life now is exhausting. Lately I have been revisiting books which made no sense back in that first year when reading was so difficult. Despite their reviews, imagine my surprise that over two years later, I cannot find anything helpful which I can apply to my life on the other side of this nightmare.
It makes perfect sense to me that we truly do need to find a new direction. It also makes sense to me that we must do our time in pain. I confessed yesterday to my shrink that I resent that I have become a voice of pain who many other grievers can relate to now. Surely that is not my intended life purpose. The universe or the God I trusted would never ever be that cruel to take my daughter as a means for me to find these words? I detest where my mind sometimes goes.
So here it is a few days before Halloween. Geez — Halloween can sure be an awful time of year for grievers. The days of Halloween past were sprinkled with fun as we carved pumpkins, searched for clever costumes and creative ways to decorate the front of our home.
Two weeks ago I noticed one of my neighbors festively decorating their home. From a distance I enjoyed the orange lights and the stacks of hay with scarecrows, pumpkins and colorful mums.
A few days later, I ventured closer and discovered bones scattered over the lawn. Immediately, I felt sick to my stomach and found myself running home to escape the macabre scene. Now I find I do not even want to glance in that direction.
The R.I.P. decorations have taken on an entire new meaning. Innocent playful depictions of cemeteries and cobwebs can make me weep as it now comes too close to my new reality. The dead is sacred and no longer a laughing matter. Is it just me? How could Halloween hurt too?
It’s becoming exceedingly difficult to imagine when life was not so complicated and I was not so darn sad. As more time goes by, I wonder if my old life was just a figment of my own imagination. There is just no way I could have ever imagined that life would turn out like this.
Always remembering Amy.