I have had some sort of sinus related illness off and on since November of last year. I’d get over it, have about a week or two of feeling normal, and then more sinus pain, congestion, snot and now bronchitis. There was a time when all of this would be common place. I would be used to the constant sinus pain and only breathing out of one side of my nose. But I fixed that years ago with my yoga practice and change in eating habits. At least I thought I had. I also know that when I’m stressed about something and not processing any reaction to that stress, it festers in my body. When J died, I had a sinus infection that lasted a month. I thought I had learned something from this. I thought that I had figured out that internalizing all that pain and grief was detrimental to my health. I have learned nothing or have forgotten those lessons.
It is true that we are closing in on some difficult anniversary dates. But really….this is not the thing that is bothering me. I have learned to deal with the loss of Chris. Sometimes I feel really guilty about how well I’ve dealt with his death. Like I made it too easy. Shame on me for moving forward, for allowing myself to fall in love again. I’m sad at times for sure, but over all I feel like I’m moving in a direction that Chris would be proud of. I know I’m with Michael for the right reasons, not just because I was lonely. I don’t love him because he’s like Chris or not like Chris. I love him for him. That tells me that I’m handling this whole transition from widow to not-single-any-more thing pretty well.
I’m pretty sure the real problem lies with my dad. I have mentioned to Katrina that I’m totally frozen on what to think, do or feel regarding all of this with dad. Part of it is the distance. It’s not easy for me to get away for a weekend to just see mom, let alone a three hour drive to sit for one hour with dad reminding him of things he’s not going to remember the next time and then three hours back to mom’s. Part of it is the realization that there is nothing I can do. He’s got a deteriorating brain disease that is just going to get worse. Not better. Janell texted me Saturday as Michael and I were driving to the country bar for two step lessons. She said that dad had gotten violent with staff and that they were having to sedate him. I had no reply to this, but also I’m not sure what is meant by “sedate”. Are they pumping him full of morphine or just giving him a Xanex? It’s just a progression of the disease. The violence is why he’s there in the first place. First directed towards mom. We knew it would only be a matter of time before he started directing it on others. Yet still I have no reply. I have hit an emotional road block where dad is concerned. It all seems false.
At least with Chris, I knew. I knew without a doubt that he was dying. We hated every moment of knowing, but I think we used that time well. We’d lay in bed holding hands, just talking about nothing. Laughing about how absurd everything was. Making sure that it was well known how much we loved each other. I was witness to it. I said goodbye to a man who knew me. I don’t get that with dad. When he dies, he won’t know me. I really don’t think he knows me now. He has some idea of who I am, but he needs constant reminding. Mom sent me a birthday card that said “We love you” and then it was just signed “Mom”. Dad’s gone, but not gone. And as I type that, tears begin to leak out of my eyes. Dad is gone but not gone and that’s the most difficult of transitions. How do you even process that? Talaura reminded me that “I can grieve the loss of the man I knew, but can still spend some time loving the man that he currently is”. Dad’s gone, but not gone. I can grieve that part that’s gone and I can love the parts that remain. Even if I have to do those things at a distance.