Monday, April 13, 2015

Back into the raw

There she was, sitting by the back door in the waning afternoon sun, probably watching the chickadees building a nest in the birdhouse in the cherry tree. I caught only a quick glimpse of her, took her for granted, just part of the rhythm of my life. In that brief moment I didn’t even get enough time to savor her existence. It’s early spring now and she died just before Christmas. My mind and my old eyes were playing a nasty trick on me—it was a bag of things from the hardware that I had dropped inside the back door. It wasn’t my sweet cat sitting in the sun on our first beautiful spring day.  

I’m sure it’s not unusual to think we see someone we love after they have died. I was almost certain I saw Mike driving his truck down my street one day. Not long ago I saw a man who looked so much like my former husband that I gasped. There was man in the parking lot outside my mother’s apartment recently who walked like my father and seemed to be wearing my father’s clothes. And occasionally I will feel a presence, a hovering in the house that I can’t explain. Sometimes it’s comforting; sometimes it’s unsettling. 

“Seeing” my cat made me ache for her soft, warm little body. Once again I slipped back into the raw familiar territory of inconsolable grief. I thought it was gone, finished. All those deaths in such a short time have been hard to process. There are a couple of things I am learning about grief. One thing I’m learning is that it takes much, much more time to heal than I ever imagined. Sometimes it’s two steps forward, two steps back. But another thing I’m learning is that the resurgence of deep grief doesn’t last as long now; it isn’t the same paralyzing anguish that it once was. I don’t want to learn any more lessons. I just want it to be over.

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