Sunday, February 17, 2008

I'd like to pause the world, now, please

When something devastating happens to me, I feel like the world should just stop turning - that everything should freeze in place - until I've dealt with that thing that happened.

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2000, the day I first met with the doctors was a perfect fall day. The sky was deep blue and the leaves were red, orange, and golden; the air was crisp and the sun was warm. I had a hard time believing that I could receive so much bad news on that one glorious day.

I feel kind of like that now. I'm amazed that people are just carrying on with their lives and that things are still happening. I know this is selfish, but I don't know how almost everyone else can keep going and live their lives when my dad has died and I feel so empty. I just want to withdraw and lick my wounds. I know I can't stay hidden away forever, though - not just because the world does go on and I'm a part of it, but because I have to get used to the fact that things are different now with my dad gone.

I know that I'm starting to heal a tiny bit when I can go out and be amongst people. Today my sister and her daughter and I went out to a fabric store. The store played easy-listening music and every time a song about loss came on I was reminded of the fact that my dad is gone.

I don't know how anyone else reacts in this sort of situation, but right now when I say that I'm reminded of my loss, what's happening is that I am flooded with sensory memories: I can see what happened and the smells and sounds come back and whatever I felt then pours over me, intensifying the ache I'm already feeling. It's an overwhelming experience at.

Today, instead of trying to shut off the radio (or screaming to block it out or running from the store), I'd stop what I was doing and just stand there aching for my dad while trying not to cry. I guess this is some kind of progress.... but it'll be a while before I'm healed enough so that I don't experience this sensory overload. Or have to fight the urge to cry.

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