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Friday, August 22, 2014

A Caregiver's Grief

It's been hot and steamy here in the subtropics, and I mean steamy -- think steambath steamy, think sauna. And this is the time of year for Southern cabin fever, i.e. staying inside in the A/C and not venturing out unless necessary. So yesterday, when a brisk, strong storm pounced on our neighorhood then quickly departed, leaving a breezy, almost cool atmosphere behind, I decided to venture outside and begin to tackle the task of cleaning out The Green Machine.

Besides, Bob was asleep. And I was bored.

So I grabbed the trunk key to The Green Machine, and decided to start there.

Now the trunk has always been a sort of portable auto repair shop for Bob, and it contains his toolbox among other sorted and sundry things. I began with the toolbox, which I latched and lugged into the garage. Then I began pulling out Bob's used car parts. Bob had this habit of saving used car parts, because, you know, you never know when you might need them. So out went old cable wires, old greasy gears, rusted pipes and other things I couldn't identify. As I was reaching through this jumble of car parts, I found a dirty crumpled plastic grocery bag with something stashed inside of it.  I opened it and caught my breath. Inside was an old vintage license plate holder and a chrome footprint gas pedal cover:

I was, quite suddenly and stupidly, overwhelmed. Without warning, tears were streaming down my cheeks, my nose running, my whole body shaking, trembling I fell to my knees, right there on the street, gasping great gasping sobs, like my whole insides were wanting to come out of my mouth, like my soul was caught and squeezing somewhere inside my chest and ready to burst and all these memories of Bob rushing at me, Bob, the way he was before, my Bob buying that silly gas pedal cover because it was "cool" and how he was going to put it in The Green Machine, as well as that license plate holder, and how he never got to do those things, all these memories flooding my heart. My wonderful beautiful husband, lover, friend, soulmate.....

And I had to go back to the house, sit on the porch, collect myself, breathing deeply, trying to calm down. But even now, I have tears streaming down my face...

You know, I thought I was over this, it's been nearly 4 years. I thought I gone through those stages of grief and had learned "acceptance". And I really thought I was stronger than this....





7 comments:

Barb Polan said...

Diane, please don't have expectations of a timetable for grief - I had a stroke 5 years ago and I STILL grieve for my old life.

And you ARE strong, one of the strongest people I've encountered. Please don't sell yourself short.

Theresa Loder said...

Aww Diane , so sorry . I call that heartbreak delay..
I have experienced it too. It happens when you least expect it, no warning.. My heart hurt for you when I read this.
I too have some cleaning out to do and it's getting close ..
Probably why I have been putting it off .. Along with the extreme heat..
Sending prayers and positive thoughts ..
You are a strong woman Diane

Take care
Theresa

J.L. Murphey said...

Diane,
Just when you think you've got a handle on everything, something pops up and puts you back to square one temporarily.

Grief is like that. It never ends. I imagine there will be quite a few of those moments coming up as you transition to the new and better house. You will be saying goodbye all over again.

You are strong and these are minor setbacks. Allow yourself time to grieve. It's okay. Keep your focus on the end prize ie, new car, new house, and a better life for the two of you.

As far as the heat and rains go, we've got it here too. A thirty minute shower and the pavement steams adding to the humidity. No cool breeze to carry it away either.

Anonymous said...

People Cry Not Because They’re Weak, It’s Because They’ve Been Strong For Too Long.

Anonymous said...

Diane,

You've been under so much pressure for so long, you need those stress release cries from time to time. The memory of what was to be with that gas pedal is much like that "favorite song" that drives us to tears after a break up or loss of a loved one.

I suspect you'll have more tears to come, but maybe a little less often. However, that doesn't make you any less a very strong woman.

Take care of yourself. As always, hugs & prayers for you and Bob.

Dan

Rebecca Dutton said...

Grief can come back to stab us in the heart. I think it is more intense for people who have to show a brave face to the world. I hope you felt calmer the next day.

Mike Furr said...

I think we all have that moment when out of nowhere we find something, experience something that opens the spot in our heart we forgot we had. Emotions poor out and we are overwhelmed. For me I try think about how lucky I was to have had that experience and that it found a safe place in my heart to stay. Sure I miss those things and tears fill my eyes as well but how empty would I be if I didn't have those.
mike