Like most days lately, yesterday was all about self care. An acupuncturist friend made a house call, and I spent half an hour lying on my bed with needles in my wrist, ankles, and one ear.
From there, I went to therapy. This was my second session of EMDR, which I keep calling EDM. I ran a couple of errands after, and came home and passed out hard for two solid hours. I woke up groggy at 5:30pm with his tiger onesie wrapped around me and his ring on my finger.
I got busy for a while around the house, and stepped out onto my deck and suddenly remembered. I realized that the grief over the death of my beloved boyfriend, the man I told my sister in law I should have married twenty years ago, and the one I thought I’d be spending the rest of my life with, slipped my mind for about twenty minutes. I forgot.
Rupert’s death has been top of mind, bottom of mind, and everything in between. I have a pilar of grief that runs from the top of my chest into my belly. Sometimes it’s black and huge and overflowing, and sometimes it’s light and grey and tolerable, but it’s always there. Except for those twenty minutes. I was free for twenty minutes.
I’ve lost some very important people in my life. I know grief. I named my daughter, now turning eleven years old, after a very close friend who died of AIDS. A former lover became psychotic and killed himself. Another close friend suddenly — to us, I believe he’d planned it quietly for a year — took his own life with a dashed off note for his mom. One week before Rupert’s fatal accident, an old friend jumped off a bridge. They are never far from my thoughts, and I have learned to live with the grief, the loss, the pain. I’ve learned to love and laugh and carry on. The moment I realized I forgot was the moment I realized I may just survive the death of my lover. I may just learn to love and laugh and carry on with him in my heart. I’m not there yet, but it’s starting. It’s not what I want, but it’s where I’m headed. It’s my only choice.
I hadn’t realized I felt helpless until EDMR therapy yesterday. I see his accident over and over in my mind. With EDMR, I was able to go very deep, see it, smell it, feel the dust on my skin from where his body hit the ground, and his motorcycle a moment later. It, of course, led me back to the beautiful hotel room in Venice 18 hours later where I got the worst news of my life, to date. That’s when the word HELPLESSNESS revealed itself to me.
There’s nothing to do. There never was. He had been dead for hours when I was told. Almost a full day, really, as it took a while for my friends to get word from the police. I couldn’t have stopped this; it was over before I knew about it.
I’m not helpless now. I can take good care of myself. I can choose to cry, or journal, or go for a walk, or call a friend, or get busy and distract myself till the pilar of grief shrinks back to a manageable size. I can’t choose when grief hits hard, but I can choose how I manage it. Rupert’s gone, and there’s helplessness around that.
But I can choose to live.