Friday, April 24, 2009
An Emotional Rollercoaster
Until last Saturday, there hadn't been a single day since Leif died that I didn't cry at least once. Even on days when there were good things happening, when I was smiling and sometimes reasonably happy, busy enough to forget for short periods that Leif was dead, even on those days, there were times of tears.
I thought I would never wear my "Find Joy" t-shirt again. I hadn't worn it since before Leif died, but a couple of weeks ago, I did. I thought it was time to start looking for joy again. There were flashes of happiness, times when I wasn't thinking about Leif and his death.
Last weekend Peter and I went to St. Augustine. The weather was perfect. We talked of Leif as we drove through central Florida, questioning, as we always do, why he died, what we could have done, what we would have wanted to do, to help him survive, if only we had known how desperate he must have been.
Then we found the home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Pulitzer prize-winning author of "The Yearling," a historical site several miles off the route we were traveling to Jacksonville. We visited it and it was a lovely, peaceful interlude learning about the remarkable woman before heading to Jacksonville Naval Air Station, where we stayed for three nights, driving to St. Augustine on Saturday and Sunday.
We badly needed the time to focus on each other, and it was wonderful. The old city was fascinating and we took the trolley, walked the pedestrian street, had lovely lunches and dinners, explored the old fort. It was sweet and romantic and beautiful. Peter said he thought it was the first time he had seen me really happy since Leif died, and he was right. I was happy, and it was the first time - at least the first time it was for longer than a couple of hours. I am immensely thankful for those days, and even the drive home on Monday, where the magic lingered and Peter and I enjoyed each other so much. It was good to be close.
I knew that coming home would mean getting back to the daily grind, that I wouldn't be able to keep up the relaxed pace and feeling, but what surprised me was that coming home I was hit with Leif's absence, by thinking that he had lived here, worked here, put up our pictures, mowed our lawn, done his wash, eaten at this table. His absence was everywhere. And the anniversary of his memorial services is coming up next week on the 29th.
So, today I found myself sad again, with tears again, feeling loss again.
Peter is so sweet and caring. He hugs me, and I know how fortunate I am to have him. I don't want him to see me cry, but there are times like today that I can't help it. He wants to badly for me to be happy, and I want to be happy for him, like I was in St. Augustine. At least we had those days.
He asked me whether I need to "see someone." I told him that my feelings are normal grief, not pathological or dangerous. I will manage, and if I could find three days of happiness and not cry, there will be more. I don't want to be medicated out of my feelings. Leif is worth grieving for.
This sweet photo of Leif was taken in Japan in the fall of 1980, shortly after we moved there. He was about 5 and a half years old.