From all the reading I’ve done over the last six months to do with grieving, the one thing that doesn’t seem to stick in my head is the warning about memory problems. I don’t know why it still surprises me that I forget so many things. Yesterday when Johanna and I left the house at 2:30pm, the one thing I needed to do was drop some books off at our library here in Blind Bay and pick up a book on hold. It wasn’t until I was sitting in the library in Salmon Arm at 7:30pm killing time until it was time to pick Johanna up from the movies that I looked at my account online and realized I totally forgot to pick up my book and now the hold has expired. esh!
Forgetting simple things too can be so incredibly frustrating. Tonight Marc took Zoe down to the beach after supper. About five minutes after they left, I went for a walk thinking I would surprise him there. Today was a lonely and difficult day and I just didn’t want to be all alone. So with my walking shoes on, my iPod in my back pocket and ear buds in my ears, off I went. I wasn’t that far down the street when I got the crazy idea to listen to one of my favorite Josh Groban songs that I haven’t listened to in over a year: To Where You are. It’s a song about loss and this being the six month mark since Bernadette passed away, I just felt drawn to listen to it. Instantly the tears just start flowing and so did my nose! After six months of tears every single day at the smallest provocation and knowing the experience of just thinking of Bernadette for more than two seconds brings tears one would think it would be natural to remember to bring Kleenex everywhere I go, especially today. Incredibly….. no! Did I have a Kleenex? NO! Will I ever learn? Probably not. Regardless . . . . it is a beautiful song:
Unfortunately when I finally reached the beach Marc and Zoe were not there so I made my way back home, walking by my in-law’s ‘old’ place for the first time and again the tears threatened to come. They only moved away one month ago but it’s still hard to get use to. In a way it’s like a little death. We’ve never lived here without them being just down the street. Without a doubt, all three little girls’ favorite thing to do was walk down and visit Meme and Pepe. Zoe could even walk there all on her own without my help – at fourteen months old!
All along my walk but especially up the hill to home I fought an incredible sense of loneliness and when Marc and Zoe weren’t home yet I didn’t want to go inside but my back overruled me. I wasn’t home very long though when something rather wonderful and totally unexpected happened. Joseph came upstairs and asked me if I’d like to join him to watch a movie! I jumped at the opportunity, not caring what we watched, I was just thrilled to spend time with him and not be so alone.
I’m not sure if Joseph realized what the movie was about when he picked it, but he picked Rocky Balboa, the sixth Rocky movie, in which Rocky is dealing with the loss of his wife. It had been years and yet he still had ‘something in the basement’ of his heart that he was still working out. At one point his son is blaming him for all his own problems and Rocky says: Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place. And I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. Nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep movin’ forward. That’s how winnin’ is done! Rocky was obviously talking about the ring, but more than that he was talking about losing his wife. I found it interesting how it took him going back to doing something he loved – boxing, before he could finally work out that ‘something in the basement, that beast’.
Even more glaring for me was how his brother-in-law, Paulie, didn’t want him to fight because he didn’t want to lose him. As much as I could kind of relate to Rocky and his pain, I didn’t like the mirror Paulie was holding up. Yesterday I was doing my regular checking in to see how Jolene (sister-in-law) was making out on her five weeks of eating wheat so she can be tested to see if she is Celiac or gluten intolerant. After spending years avoiding even the tiniest trace of gluten because it makes her so sick, I was beside myself with fear and half convinced eating so much gluten would kill her. I admitted it to her yesterday and told her I even went out and bought a whole bunch more of those three day candles so I wouldn’t run out and could keep a prayer candle burning continuously for the five weeks. I told her I couldn’t handle it if she was called home too, especially after Ron and then Bernadette. She just laughed at me and said, “It’s all about me, huh.” As much as I hate that expression, she was right and I saw that through Paulie tonight. He wasn’t thinking about Rocky and what Rocky needed, he was thinking about himself and so was I. That’s not to say that I was ONLY thinking of myself, I was worried for Warren and the kids knowing how devastated they would be to lose Jolene. Maybe that’s one of the ways that ‘you will never be the same’ comes into play. Two years ago I would have only been concerned with how difficult the five weeks would be on Jolene and still had the confidence that she’d get through it okay in the end. Today I am more afraid she wouldn’t.
This all brings me to the one thing I’ve learnt above all else in the last year and a half, with Ron’s illness, then Bernadette’s, and now Jolene’s testing it is how easily we take the people in our lives for granted and yet there is nothing more important than those relationships. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Life is not about money or power or success or accomplishments or possessions, even the movie tonight pointed that out, it’s all about loving the people in our lives. And the scariest thing of all is that we have absolutely no control over when those people won’t be in our lives any more. None. We can lose a job, or money, or even dreams and bounce back, but losing a loved one shatters us. From that we don’t bounce back, we have to rebuild.