Friday, January 24, 2014

Life post-memorial, feeling just a little more vulnerable.

The week since Scott's memorial has felt much longer than a week. Overall I'm still doing well, but there have been more moments of sadness. It feels like my grief is a little more accessible now. I don't feel like I was repressing it earlier, or that I was in denial about my feelings (my therapist agrees with me on this). It just feels like a door has opened.

The memorial was beautiful. It felt so good to see so many people, to feel such a strong focus. I'm happy I was able to read the reflection I'd written (see my previous post) and that Clark was able to sit through the entire service (on my dad's lap, aided by a new toy car and two cookies).

After the reception, many of us regrouped for a game of Ultimate. Scott and I met playing Ultimate and many of our best friends are also players. I was rusty after not having played for three years, but I had so much fun running around in the sun with some of my favorite people in the world... and as soon as I got to the sideline, I was deeply sad that Scott wasn't playing with us. The happiest moments are the hardest to bear. I know that Scott was there in spirit, but I wanted to hear his voice and see his smile. I wanted his arm around my shoulder, my arm around his waist. 

The rest of the weekend was wonderful, and restful - dinner with my friends from DC and Amherst on Sunday night, breakfast with Davis friends on Monday morning, a trip to the Korean spa on Monday afternoon with my neighbor.

School on Tuesday was hard. I stepped out of small group as we started discussing a case of a pregnant woman with a recurrence of cancer in her lungs. It was the first time I left a class early like that - normally I can set my jaw and focus - but I didn't have the energy for it that day. Shortly after class, my classmates and I all found out what program we'll be in for third year. I learned that I'll get to spend my first three rotations (July - December) at the VA, which was my top choice. It was good news, but thinking about third year without Scott by my side is still hard. Hard to imagine how it will all work out logistically, hard to stomach moving on to the next part of my life without him.

I am thankful for the friends who have had lunch with me and Skyped with me into the wee hours of the East Coast morning. I'm looking forward to a massage and therapy and more coffee dates and dinner dates this weekend and next week. I'm thankful for Clark, who told me this morning that monsters have sharp teeth so that they can eat sütlaç (rice pudding, his favorite Turkish dessert).

Last thing: a short list of resources I've been appreciating recently.

Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman. For each day, there's a short quotation followed by a paragraph-long reflection and a 1-sentence mantra. It touches on many aspects of grief, and I'm surprised by how much of it resonates.

The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss by George A. Bonanno, PhD. He discusses how common resiliency is. I know that I'm allowed to feel whatever emotion I feel, but for a while it felt strange to not be distraught. Reading him makes me feel like I'm a normal person, dealing with grief normally, which is comforting.

Outrageous Undoing, a blog by Marian Lansky. This is one of my favorite posts so far. I don't understand all of what she writes about, but I do understand more than I would have a year ago. She helps me think about things being bigger than I can fathom. She helps me feel connected to Scott, and to people here.


Joe Kelly said...

wow--had no idea Marian was doing this. amazing how threads from earlier in life can weave their ways around you again, in ways you never expected.

marian said...

Much love to you, Libby. Thank you (on so many levels)... for sharing your journey, for letting me help in whatever way I can, for being you.