It has been an interesting few days. I’ve had 4 days off from work, and I won’t lie, they were most welcome. Stress has been building up for me lately, and the few days off to sleep in, play games, eat good food, and hibernate were much appreciated.
Thursday, the plan was to do nothing. Boring, I know. But I have been boycotting Thanksgiving for 6 years now. Ben died 2 days after thanksgiving and it just left a bad taste in my mouth. So I plan nothing. Sometimes, I’ll get a hotel room, other times I’ll just binge watch movies. The kids go to enjoy thanksgiving with the ex in-laws. So it’s usually just me. Around 10 am, my phone rang. It was my brother and my father asking if maybe I’d like to come join them for turkey.
And this year – oddly enough – I said thank you and that yes – I’d love to. You see, I’ve never had a thanksgiving with my real father. They were always spent with my mom and step dad. And they were lovely growing up. But I always had wondered what it would be like to spend that day with my dad. I got ready, grabbed a bottle of wine from my collection as an offering for the table and drove up to his house. I was nervous. I don’t know my father very well, he is still someone I am getting to know.
It was lovely. Relaxed and casual, lots of chatter and play, dad would sing whatever song was in his head… I have always loved my dad’s voice. Smooth, deep, country… I swear – he could have made a career with that voice. He laughs when I say that. To him, he’s just playing around with it.
It dawned on me while I was heading over there. I’m not angry any more. The past 6 years. I’ve been so angry and didn’t even know it. I was angry with thanksgiving. Angry at my family. Angry at my ex. Angry with the doctors. Angry with fate. Angry with God. I was just… Angry. And yet – no one knew. Not even myself. This year was different. I didn’t want to boycott. Suddenly, more than ever before, I just wanted my family. I wanted to surround myself with the people I feel comfortable with. The people who I know have my back – always. Dad wanted me to spend the night… oh how I wanted to. He and I chatted about all sorts of things. Life, love, politics, human nature, psychology … some of our topics were light, while others were deep and full of emotions.
Friday, I decided I wanted to cook. So I cooked a full feast, from scratch. No canned goods, no canned soups, no pre-packaged stuff. It was incredible. T, R and I cooked and feasted and made merry.
Yesterday, I had a song stuck in my head. It was still early and I found myself humming outside. I’m not typically much of a hummer. This song was playing insistently in my head to the point where I had to go look it up and just play it. I found it on youTube. A song I hadn’t heard in at least 8 years. The lyrics had me instantly in tears.
I ugly cried. I bawled and bawled and bawled. Apparently, once the flood gates opened, there was no stopping it, because I literally spent the entire day in bed. I still can’t get over what that felt like yesterday. I’m sure to others I must sound strange. It was just overwhelming sadness. And to anyone else, they’d probably say “So? Haven’t you been sad this whole time?” My answer to that would be both – yes and no.
I’ve appeared sad. I’ve acted sad. And on some levels, I’ve felt sad. But really – I don’t think I understood what the sad part of grief looked like until now.
I wish there was an answer book for life. Is this normal? No way is it normal. I realize grief is different for everyone, but shit. To spend 6 years and not really get to this part of the cycle seems a bit – drawn out.
I don’t want to be angry any more. And I have been – for a very long time. Stubborn, Angry, Strong… and maybe I was scared to allow myself to feel sadness to it’s full extent because I was scared that it would somehow make me weak. And if I was weak – that perhaps it would break me. So I shoved it aside. I forced myself to keep my head held high and square my shoulders and just keep moving. Never allowing myself to really feel. This weekend – I felt. I allowed myself to swim in it. Every time someone would try and cheer me up – I’d go with whatever my heart wanted. If that meant I’d giggle or laugh for an hour – cool – and if it meant that suddenly a wave of sadness would take over and I’d snuggle under the comforters and just cry and cry – that was ok too.
Oddly – allowing myself to do that has been the most freeing thing I think I’ve ever done. I don’t think that even I fully realize how often I don’t allow myself to really feel an emotion in the moment. Perhaps, it is time to allow myself the freedom to practice that.
I went and visited my Mom today. We haven’t been as close lately and I’ll fully admit to and take the blame on that one. I’ve needed some space. But I was feeling a bit guilty over my silence and decided to drop in. I’m glad I did. My mom and I may butt heads, but really, it’s only because we are so alike. She knows that I will always love her and be there for her anytime she needs it. And I know I have the same from her. We’re a family. Perhaps a bit dysfunctional at times – but we love each other all the same.
Tomorrow, I will return to work. I’m not ready – my game face isn’t on yet and my energy levels aren’t quite where I’d hoped they would be by now – but oh well. It is what it is. I’m about to go into “hell month”. A month long crazy ride of long hours, short deadlines and lots of work. 🙂 But then January will come, and things will settle down a bit. I may even get to take a vacation. Lord knows, I’ll need it.
Much love to you all tonight. Goodnight.