I'm not a big fan of spiders. I know they are beneficial. I can examine a spider web and wonder at the intricacies of the design. When I taught science, we didn't kill the spiders. We recued them to fulfill their purpose. But I just don't like them. I can deal with them, though, when I am prepared. If I see one across the room or am called to take care of one, I can deal. It's the unexpected ones that give me the chills: the ones that drop unexpectedly from above or suddenly appear crawling on your shoulder. Because I recognize this fear, I avoid spelunking in dark caves, exploring dilapidated houses, or walking with someone who likes to play practical jokes. Grief is like that. I received a questionnaire the other day from Hospice in the Pines. It basically asked a series of questions to evaluate how I am doing. Some examples:
1. difficulty sleeping = only when there's a symphony of snoring
2. little appetite = just the opposite. I can always eat.
3. have not been able to return to work = nope. I find comfort in my job.
4. avoid going places or doing activities I used to go with Lizzie = never. I love remembering.
But then there's
5. lacking in energy = yes
6. attending to Lizzie's personal belongings = haven't done it yet.
7. possibly depressed: don't seem myself anymore = yes
8. allowing myself to really let go and cry = here's where the spiders come in
I can talk about Lizzie all day long. I have no problem with providing anecdotes of life with Lizzie. I am prepared for those. I have control over the situation. It's those times when I'm not prepared that get me and I have a hard time dealing. We were asked to remember the first day we took our own child to kindergarten during an inservice for school. I had no idea we were going to be asked to recall. All of the sudden, an image of Lizzie popped into my head. Lizzie went to kindergarten at the same school at which I taught. She would run errands for her teacher and would always take the long way back to class so she could stroll by my room. I can still see her looking into my room as she passed - walking very slowly - with this cute little smile on her face. I would stop my lesson and run to the door to give her a quick hug and tell her that I loved her. Grief was a spider that fell from above. I felt the tears well. I felt the pain in my chest. And when my dear friend looked at me with sympathy in her eyes, I lost it. I've learned to avoid certain situations. Even though I read The Fault in Our Stars (at Lizzie's insistence), I will not go see the movie. I refuse to watch The Red Band Society that is about to show on TV or the show where the girl finds our she has leukemia. Certain commercials on TV or the radio get hastily changed. So how am I doing? Not sure. I miss Lizzie so very much. Words cannot adequately express the depth of my missing her. It's in my bones. It's in every breath I take. It's in my core. I know letting grief out in a good cry can be beneficial. As long as I avoid those dark caves and scary houses, I have control over my grief. As long as grief doesn't drop from above like a handfuls of daddy longlegs, I'm ok..... I guess. I don't know. Likening grief to 8-legged creatures is kind of weird.....