Friday, September 25, 2009

Random observations from an unreal journey

I had a few free moments between waking up from non-sleep and letting the fog of a massive headache settle back into its now-near-permanent place in my head, so I thought I'd start jotting down some things I've noticed over the past couple of days.

With apologies for bad formatting - I'm doing this on my BlackBerry, tapping it out intermittently through the morning, in between visits from friends and family - here goes:

- I find myself staring at people I've known my entire life as I try to remember their names. Inevitably, after a few uncomfortable seconds me me flailing around in confusion, I fail and have to ask them who they are. The response, usually in a "I can't BELIEVE you don't remember me" tone, sets me straight and reminds me just how compromised my head is these days.

- I sometimes jokingly blame my memory issues on my sudden-onset "brain cloud" - a reference to an old movie that nobody remembers (bonus points if you guess it right.) The attempted humor doesn't seem to bring smiles to their faces. I find myself wishing I knew how to recapture the funny.

- It's impossible to put into words how blessed we are with friends who dropped everything and ran cross-country to be here for us. I don't know what I ever did to deserve friends so remarkable that I see them as family, but whatever it is I'm glad I did.

- People don't change. Those who have always been mean-spirited, petty, self-centred and/or vindictive are renewing my belief in the inability of leopards to change their spots. Whatev...I've got other things, and people, to worry about.

- It's easy to feel that you're ok when you're surrounded by a room of people. Conversations about anything and everything - catching up on kids, careers and lives and arguing about the Canadiens-Maple Leafs - keep the dark, sad thoughts that hang over you temporarily at bay. But once it gets quiet, you're left alone with your thoughts. Or someone close to you starts to cry and you rush to be there. Or you catch sight of a picture and realize what you've lost.

Either way, not my best day.

More soon...

24 comments:

Tabor said...

Not sure all that I missed while I was hiking almost to timberline last week...now I have to work back and read some posts. Hope you are feeling much better.

Nej said...

Wasn't the Joe VS the Volcano??

Worrying about those "leopards" isn't worth it, you're right. They will never change.

Tabitha@ichoosebliss.net said...

Carmi, I am truly sorry for your loss. Losing my Grandmother was like losing a mother and it has forever changed me. I will be uplifting you and your family in my prayers. I'm truly sorry.

Holly Schwendiman said...

Carmi my heart is so saddened with your hurt. I pray you'll find the extra peace and strength that always come to the faithful during this time. Many prayers and good thoughts coming your way.

Hugs,
Holly

Thumper said...

No one should expect your brain to be functioning at 100% right now...if people get upset because you can't connect a name to a face, well, they'll get over it. Truly they will.

katney said...

Words are always an inadequate offering in times like these--but we must use them. I am so sorry for your loss. Whether is is sudden or expected doesn't matter, it leaves a hole in your heart that takes time to heal, and is never quite filled.

My husband has a theory about people. He calls it the more-so theory. Whatever someone is like when they ar young, they are generally more-so when they get older.

quilly said...

Carmi, if people are at all surprised by your distraction, they must have yet to experience the loss of someone vital to them. Your disjointedness -- that feeling that you are there but not really there -- is normal. Your central nervous system is working overtime to keep you from melting down. It doesn't really have time for inconsequentials, like people's names.

I am glad you have nurturing friends and family to help you weather those people unable to comprehend the depth of your pain. Again, my prayers are with you.

Marion said...

I found solace in humour, during times like these. Others did not understand why I laughed; for me, especially during the first few days after my daughter's death, laughter was a huge release.

Grief will come in waves, a wise man once told me. And sometimes, the waves are bigger than others...and sometimes they gently lap the shore.

My thoughts are with you and your family, Carmi.

Breeze said...

Peace my friend, gentle quiet peace to you and yours at this difficult time.

Breeze

Barbara French said...

Carmi, Sending warm thoughts to you. So sorry. Takes a long time to come to terms with this loss. I found you can't rush the healing. Don't even try.

Thom said...

You need to take it easy for a while my friend. No one should expect anything from you right now. I'm sending you all the aloha and sunshine I can to you and your family :)

Carina said...

I think this is what people call 'crushing' grief. Physically destructive for a while. I'm so sorry, and I hope your headache and your spirits clear as soon as they were meant to.

Oh, and it's Joe versus the Volcano. A classic!

Awareness said...

Carmi..... Keep the observations coming....the silence alone times are painful but so needy because its when you are visited by the memories. I attended a funeral today. The Minister, who is the most gifted one I have ever known, recited part of a William Blake poem as part of his beautiful eulogy. It melted me.... here it is....

"It is right it should be so;
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine."

joy and woe....silken twine. Sublime.

ps Joe vs. the Volcano! Gee, I thought I was the only one who watched that movie.... That first scene of the people walking into that warehouse of a place like drones just about rips my heart.. I CANT imagine working in a place like that. But, people do everyday....

Cloudia said...

ignore the unchanging-spots-leaopards.

Ignore the well intentioned who don't "get" that you are grieving and what thay means.

Know that people you never even met (like me) are sending you love.

It will get better. For everything there is a time....
Bless you, Carmi

lissa said...

Either way, not my best day.

I beg to differ. I watched as you engaged people in conversation, and you have a presence that helps those around you to deal with the loss you are also experiencing. But you rise above your own pain, letting it through a little at a time, and by doing that you are making it that much easier for your mom.

I understand, though...the magnitude of loss hits at odd times, and hits with intensity we can't process because we have no frame of reference for how to feel in this situation. You're doing great, Carmi...and you'll have worse days. And better ones. But because you touch so many people around you, you make every day your best day...and if it isn't a great one, there's always tomorrow.

I know the feeling of that constant headache as well. Give into it when you can, because you need to take care of yourself as well as those you love. And I know all too well that feeling of fogginess (Joe Vs. The Volcano, Carmi, really? ;-)...). I had several times, during my mother's shiva, where I broke down because people who were my "emotional triggers" came into the house and I couldn't contain myself. It actually felt good to let it go but to this day, I see them and the same thing happens...

Now, let me address one more issue before I yield the floor (as it were)...

I don't know what I ever did to deserve friends so remarkable that I see them as family, but whatever it is I'm glad I did.

You're you. That simple. And it's oh-so-mutual. Trust me on that.

See you soon.

hugs

kenju said...

Carmi, you can be forgiven for not remembering someone, under these circumstances. If they don't agree with that, they are self-centered.

♥ Braja said...

I recognized this and understand it is a trauma that makes you look at people and not know who they are; been thru that in the last few months, big time.

As for the leopards? They're not worth it....put them out. Erect soft obstacles of principled behavior that keeps them out of your space....

Pamela said...

that last paragraph is so true. Normalcy is in the beginning of grief, is just narrow place to hide --

sage said...

I can't believe you typed all that on your blackberry! Such gatherings are always taxing.

Mojo said...

Different people deal with trauma in different ways. Some erupt like the volcano, some divert it until a later, more private moment. None of them is right or wrong. The important thing about grief is to grieve -- how you do it is immaterial. But the distraction, the "brain cloud", that's a normal outgrowth of a system already overloaded. Some people will understand that, some won't, some will but only later upon reflection. Whether they do or don't is up to them. Your worry, your focus, is for you and your family right now and let the others catch up when and if they will. And if they never do, it's their own loss. Meanwhile, we'll still be here to lend what support we can -- even if it's from way south of the border.

It takes time, my friend, but it does get better. Trust me on this one.

sister AE said...

I would not expect any day to be your best day for a while. I send my condolences and the assurance that I remember brain cloud from Joe vs the volcano, orange soda and waterproof luggage.

As you grieve and remember, I hope you find a lot of good memories to keep close.

Catherine said...

So sorry to hear about your loss. Funerals are hard, but they are also a blessing as friends and family get together. I trust that your friends will also be there for you in the days that follow.

Kimmie said...

How hard that must be to be in a room full of people you hardly know during such a personal and emotional time .......

reminds me a little bit of my wedding - except for the final observation

kcinnova said...

Just... hugs and positive thoughts for you & your family.

And I would completely understand the fog enveloping your brain right now. Those that expect to be first in your mind are being selfish, I'm sorry to say.