It is the prettiest of evenings with the noisiest of grackles. The sun is so lovely and warm and its natural light fills so many parts of this cozy home. I am beat and have just changed into my extra large pjs and a holey sweater for comfort’s sake. If it were January, I wouldn’t think twice about shutting the blinds and locking the doors.
But it isn’t. It’s late May and it’s gorgeous, and the black dog doesn’t care. He will bring on fatigue and overall hardship regardless of the season or when the sun is perched at its highest.
I have been thinking a lot about my neighbor from my Nova Scotia home. Catherine was a true delight and I loved her spirit so very much. She too wasn’t without her struggles (a great protagonist for a future novel). While walking this morning, I specifically thought about her personal memories surrounding the day her mother died.
She told me, as we sat on her back step, one heavenly Athol afternoon, about experiencing the warmth of that fateful day, and the brightness of the sun, while she stood in the field wearing a new pair of black, patent leather shoes. She imagined wearing them to her mother’s funeral. Vivid images belonging to a girl of nine as she internalized such devastating news.
A work of contrasts. Van Gogh’s wheat fields, sounds of laughter, a warm breeze, and deep blue skies. Seven crows for a secret. Surely anxiety, fear, and fatigue have no place in such a landscape.
But of course they do. In fact, the body and mind might even work harder to mend on a rainy day because they know they have to as a way to survive.
Somehow, the beauty of an evening can distract you from the work of grieving, so that the loudness of the neighbors’ laughter and the chirping birds become a mockery, the tiniest things become an annoyance, and even the dog crawls into her crate, forgoing the evening stroll.
There has been a revisiting of some “old behaviors” recently for both Beatrice and I since the one year anniversary. They include the evening lock down, the fear of separation, and the complete exhaustion. Thank God we have our well used back up plans to help us though when the darkness returns.
I think some of it comes from remembering where we were this time last year compared to where we are now. They are mini traumas, I think, a fear that similar feelings or even events will come back, so it’s time to take cover.
What a process grief is, eh? If it wasn’t so awful, it’s almost fascinating. There it is again, that study in contrast.
What I do notice that’s different is the way we are handling the regressions. They get acknowledged more swiftly because the wounds aren’t as raw and we can deal with what gets opened up when we talk about it. There is also a certain amount of relief in the acceptance of the set back too, with the realization that the rest of the day will probably now roll out differently, so we must then adjust accordingly: throw in a Murdoch, sleep it off, write about it, or reorganize a space for a potential new piece of furniture.
I have certainly been warned about the length of the grieving process and how you must give it time, that it is necessary, and that it cannot be rushed. I now humbly accept this (unsolicited) advice.
It’s all true. I have wanted to skip parts, and have even tried; I’ve thought I was farther ahead when I wasn’t. Beatrice is having similar experiences. It’s frustrating, tiring, and sometimes embarassing.
The good news is that we have the time right now to work though it, to make mistakes, and to not be sorry for those mistakes. And… we can do this together as it seems fit.
God bless the grievers. They may blunder, even plunder but they will inherit peace… eventually.
2 thoughts on “A Study in Contrasts”
God bless you both. As painful as your grieving may be, it needs to be said that your writing does make it fascinating. Thank you for sharing. ❤