Friday, October 02, 2009

Disengaged

I've been told that grief is like a roller coaster. I believe it, but I'd like to amend the definition somewhat: It's like a roller coaster in the dark.

The ups and downs are the same, of course, but you never know when something's going to hit you and send you reeling in a new and unexpected direction. At least if we had the light of day to work with, we could prepare for whatever comes next. In reality, no such luck.

So today's surprise was a gloom that settled in from the moment I opened my eyes and once again chimed in to the awful truth of the recent past. I'm pretty sure I've moved past the "it's like a nightmare and I hope I wake up soon" phase, but there's still a heartbeat of time every morning when it hits me that I no longer have a dad. While most days up until now that moment of realization has resulted in a wave of teary sadness, today it made my body ache and my spirit turn grey.

So all day long, that was me: quiet and unable - and probably quite unwilling - to smile or otherwise engage in the usual back-and-forth of everyday life in the not-so-big city. While I went through the motions of bringing the kids to school and chatting with parents and staff, I felt a curious mixture of lifelessness and pain that I couldn't fully cover up with a forced smile and happy-sounding voice. I've never been a good actor, and today didn't change that.

Yesterday I did my first interview - a taped chat with CBC Radio's Meegan Read - and today I did my first live radio interview with CJOB Winnipeg's Richard Cloutier. I spoke with CBC Money's Dave Simms and with David Friend from the Canadian Press, and we mused afterward about how good it felt to be back. And as good as it felt to be hearing and actively working with these professional, caring people, and as cathartic for my soul as it was to once again be the analyst and deliver crisply built perspectives on biz-tech issues, as soon as I hung up the phone I once again saw only dull grey.

So here I sit, reflecting on a day when not even a walk through the grocery aisle with my BlackBerry's camera was enough to budge my mood, when it hurts to lift my arms to type on my laptop, when I simply want to curl up and go to sleep.

Maybe it's OK to have days like this. Maybe this is where the rollercoaster was destined to go. I just wish I could see it coming.

13 comments:

Breakthrunow - inspire.collaborate.sustain said...

Yesterday, I had the trip from "hell".
I can resonant with your points.

Cloudia said...

where you are, is where you are today. It will change, believe me.
Your wife sounds like a woman of great valor and value.
Take it a day at a time.....
you will never be as you were before...you will enjoy life again, and you will be a better man.....Prayers, yes, for you both.

Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Thom said...

These types of days are to be expected. And one day you are going to get so you have had enough of them and it wont happen...It will take a while but it does get better. All you can do is take it a day at a time. Nothing more. Nothing less :) Aloha my friend :)

Jeremiah Andrews said...

I guess this is where we say, "The roller coaster is still in motion. Hold on and stay in your seat."

One day at a time.

Jeremy

One minute at a time, if you have to.

Cyn said...

Dearest Carmi, This is a massively life changing event..the loss of a parent. You are going through the initial stages of acute grief and it is a very dark and sad time. I know you will pull through, but please be gentle with yourself. It takes a long time to move forward from this pain. I do think of you often and I know the pain of parental loss. One day you will not feel the dark despair and grief, but you will find a smile one day.

kenju said...

Of course it is okay, Carmi. Your mind and body have suffered a great shock and it will take time to get back to normal.

NJ said...

It will get better Carmi but it will take time. For me the hardest moments were in the alone time on my ride home from work where my mind would just race with thoughts. I guess the pain just subsides as we get used to life without our loved one in it. Try to enjoy the memories it may be some comfort.

Tabor said...

Of course it is OK to feel however you are feeling. You are healing...ever so slowly. One of these days you will think of some incident with your father and smile a little at the memory.

Marion said...

There will be days like this. And it's ok to disengage...I did for a very long time. But I came back, as you will, Carmi, even if right now it seems as if the whole World is grey and smiles are a thing of the past.

I didn't believe this when people said it to me. How could I ever get over a loss so huge, I asked myself. But time did lessen the great waves of grief.

You and your family are in my thoughts, Carmi. One day at a time, my friend.

lissa said...

All normal, all expected, and you're doing better than many in your position - you're talking, reaching out, expressing and getting feedback. VERY important for this recovery process.

May I amend something? I know what you meant - but it isn't true that you no longer have a dad. It's just that he can no longer interact with you on the physical realm.

I believe, very very strongly, in signs of those gone past...and I do believe in visits too. Look for him in the signs that will make sense to you - such as those changing leaves last weekend - or those that will come clear to you at some later time, but that you make note of because they stood out to you. Listen to your dreams. Write them down when you awaken (immediately upon awakening). If you need an interpreter - I do that. Don't edit your language, just write whatever comes to mind as you describe the details, and events, of your dreams. Something will come clear.

You no longer have his physical presence...that's the hurt, and that never goes away completely. But he's looking out for you in ways the physical plane cannot. That is a comfort I take with me daily, that my mom is doing that for me and mine.

Give yourself time and give yourself interludes. Take those walkabouts and look for inspiration - and you'll find your dad. You'll find yourself saying, "I have to tell dad about this," and you will just have done that. He's listening, I believe that.

Hugs to you from across the miles and through the wires.

Ayala said...

I second Lissa's comment. The presence of loved ones who are all but gone, is very real if only you are open to see it, feel it, and experience it. I do not know and cannot imagine how debilitated, destroyed and depressed I will feel when it will be my parents' time, nor can I imagine how my daughter will react to the new reality and all the emotions that it brings. But I can tell you one thing for sure... even if we talk of the Saturn car we wished to have owned in our lifetime... even if we carry on about the latest gadget, photography, or the weather... even if we just sit silently and do nothing but eat ice cream (which I bought for you guys and will bring over on Monday)... even if everything seems redundant and futile... YOUR heart is still beating, YOUR blood is still flowing, and the sun (sometimes) still shines in the forest city. IT'S NICE TO HAVE YOU BACK!

Scarlet said...

As close as I am with my father, I can't imagine what your days must be like without yours as you no doubt were very close with your dad. Sounds like he meant the world to you and that's awesome! It's better to love deeply and feel the loss when the time comes then to be disengaged and feel nothing.

Your days will get better, my friend. In time, they'll get better.

((BIG Hugs to you!!))

Mojo said...

"The only way around these things is through them." a friend once told me. Or as a therapist once told me, "The only way to deal with grief is to grieve".

That's the roller coaster. And how long the ride lasts varies from one rider to the next. But to paraphrase others who have gone before me, and to more or less cite some wisdom from an "anonymous" source, "You are exactly where you are supposed to be."

And some days, that just sucks.