Grief is the main topic on almost every blog and post this month. My dear blogger partner, Sandy Bruney, lost her partner and now struggles to adapt to her new norm, while knowing there is nothing normal about it. Icons like David Bowie, Natalie Cole and Alan Rickman, whose public personas and roles in beloved movies touched us deep in our souls, left this realm for the next. These events have awoken ghosts for many of us. Today, a Facebook friend shared a post about the memories of her father, who’d been gone nearly a decade but whose images are in her mind again this week. I responded in a way that might have seemed flippant but thankfully was received as I meant it:
‘grief reminds me of those batshit crazy cats who hide and then jump out at you -some make you laugh, others involve claws’
She thanked me for the laughter the image gave her.
Oddly, laughter wasn’t the image I had in mind. I have a sister, who survived our dysfunctional childhood with different dents and scars. Several years ago she gave me an ultimatum to which I couldn’t agree. So, she’s shut me out. I understand, it’s okay and wish her well. But, this week I have thought of her, well, truthfully –her cat. A Siamese banshee, batshit crazy, possessed, feline maniac. For some reason, this cat always attacked me and once my first husband; but, probably only because he was in bed with me. This cat had crawled up under the covers and attacked our legs and feet with teeth and claws while screaming in a way only a Siamese can do… the absolute, most terrifying way to awaken in a strange bedroom!
The next day, the demonic beast sat perched on the refrigerator, apparently her favorite place. When I walked into the room, she leapt off and landed on my head. She held on tightly with all four paws and claws, as she growled and bit at my hands protecting my face. Once free, my sister calmly noted that cats ‘knew’. Really? Knew what? That I was tasty? Talk about red flags. That was the cat in my mind, when I think of grief this week.
I’ve recently gone back into therapy -no, I’m not nuts, but thank you for thinking that! I have PTSD and every once in a while, over the last twenty years, it gets a bit much. On the whole, I am a happy person. I created a lovely cocoon of a life. I am wildly in love with my second husband. He is my best friend and he accepts me. He calmly accepts my ‘life-pauses’. He is also the best continuity editor I could ask for –he’ll read a chapter after work and catch all my goofs. I especially like it when he notices a character I’d killed off is seen driving down the street. Thank god, he likes my stories and encourages me to get them published.
But, I can’t move forward. Last year, I tried using the tools I’d been taught but there have been too many stumbling blocks. I finally bit the bullet and asked for help. I was a little stunned to hear the mention of PTSD again. I was further disillusioned, to read online, that it is now considered incurable but treatable. The recent wars have produced new research and therapies. Plus, an odd aside, the trauma of women is now taken a little more seriously -gee, thanks… I guess I can remove the ‘neurotic’ label now.
Maybe someday I’ll write about ‘the trauma’ but it is a thin, ice crust on the snow and I’m too heavy to walk on it without breaking through. For now, let’s just say it’s not about me. I only wanted to say that memories and grief, whether connected to a violent trauma or losing a loved one to one of the many ways we leave this realm, never truly ever leaves us. They become woven into the fabric of our lives. That mis-dyed thread or tear are a part of us. For the most part, we get through on our own, with the help of friends or family. But, there is also the option to seek professional help from a therapist, pastor or healer.
2016 -a year that started with abrupt changes and sharp edges.