Tear jerker alert… those who have lost a loved one will most relate to tonight’s musing. It is an intense writing I share, written through a veil of tears that flood down my face.
Every time that I write it is a sharing out loud the depths of whatever emotion are arising within me at the time. It’s as if the emotions start deep inside and as they bubble up to the surface they come flowing out of me with a voice desiring to live my life out loud. I continue to be awed by deep, almost impossible to ignore desire to write. It remains one of the few times that I am feel whole, capable and hopeful that I am healing. All I know at those times of intense emotion or new insight is that I have to write to heal my heart. Ignoring that muse leaves things festering in a very unhealthy way.
But tonight I experienced such a powerful punch to my heart that I found myself literally knocked to my knees.
We were at The Falls in Columbia at a run through for the trivia night for Kateri’s pony club that is happening on Saturday night. All seemed fairly stable until I turned to look at the group of guys gathered around the projector. My breath was knocked out of me as I felt Russell’s presence so strongly it was if he was actually in the room; as he should have been. For years Russell has handled the power point and the projection of the questions. He and John have worked so closely together at these trivia nights that as I saw John, for a moment I could see Russell standing right next to him. It felt as if someone had punched me in the stomach.
It was one of those rare experiences I have of seeing and yet not seeing Russell. Of hearing him and yet not hearing him. I saw him and I heard him in the place he should be and then remembered that I wasn’t really. I could barely breathe as tears started flowing down my cheeks. I tried to simply focus on my breath and pull myself together. But everywhere I looked I could see and hear him. Somehow I made it out of the room before the shaking and sobbing started. I closed myself into a bathroom stall and let myself collapse into the grief, just dove into allowing myself to feel it all. I stayed there for quite awhile shaking and sobbing, then headed outside to breath as deeply of the cool night air as I could. If it had been a little warmer I would have stayed out there. But the cold started to creep in and so back inside I went. I settled myself into a chair in a quiet hallway to await the end of the meeting. I listened to the laughter, the music, the excited voices of everyone and knew there was no way I could walk back into that room tonight. Nikki found me there and gently helped me find my way back to being able to speak again. By the time Kateri was ready to go I was pretty stable, balanced and again able to function safely.
These times of seeing and yet not seeing, hearing yet not hearing are so very, very disconcerting. When I see and hear him like this there is a part of my mind that says “Ah, it really has just been a bad dream. Now, I can wake up and he will be here.” But then, a few seconds later reality crashes back down and I realize that the dream is that I am seeing him and hearing him here with me. Forever it will be real that he is not physically here even if I see him and hear him at times. This leaves my heart hurting so hard it feels like it is pounding in my chest. And I feel, at these times, that I may never fully heal which makes me even sadder.
Wow, it is a cuckoo luckoo thing to experience. I do wonder if it will get at least a little easier in the second year. I would imagine that part of the shock and these times of seeing not seeing, hearing not hearing come at attending events without him for the first time. I know the rawness of it all is in part because of the radical newness of this whole journey. My mind is trying to catch up with reality and understand everything through new lenses.
Of this I am sure, it is a cuckoo luckoo path I wonder. Honestly I think all grieving journeys are a bit cuckoo luckoo as we work to process our new reality. My heart is raw and vulnerable and my balance is wobbly at best most days. All I can do is keep walking my walk and living as real as I can. I sure wish I could really see and hear Russell again. And I am also grateful for the ways I do feel him still here with me. Wow, just wow!