Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Hell I See and Hear

It is February 5 and I'm officially over the worst of the holidays. All that remains is Valentine's Day, and that doesn't really matter, anyway. Jerry usually forgot such things. It isn't the day, rather it is the images and atmosphere that are troubling. But so are normal days.

This morning, as I was on my way home from dropping Sarah off at school, I was thinking about something related to a story element. It was unrelated to anything I am working on so I can't tell you why I thought about it. I suspect, in hindsight, that I was just messing around in my head. I should never do that. I know better. 

As I cruised along at 35 mph, I suddenly had a horrific flashback. Really, I don't have them often anymore but I still get them occasionally. I could see Jerry in the bathroom, in the middle of the nightwhen I got up to see about him. He was in the dark and said he was all right. He wasn't, but I didn't know. Then, remember waking up to him thrashing around on the bed, his wedding ring hitting the headboard railing and making that horrible sound. I saw myself jumping out of bed, running around the bed, calling him and then the room goes horribly quiet. By the time I got the light on and saw him I knew. But 10 years later I still try to wake him. I pat his cheek, call him, scream for help. 

It is all so vivid but I'm sitting in my car, driving down Virginia Street at 7:30 a.m. in 2019. It isn't January 29, 2009 at 3 a.m. in the middle of the ice storm of the century. I keep driving and I shout, over and over. "STOP. STOP. STOP. STOP" When that fails to stop the scenes, I pray for it to stop. Miraculously, it does as I pull into my street. 

My firm opinion is that hell is reliving all the horrible things you've seen, done, and thought in your entire life. My brain doesn't let go of trauma so I fervently hope I've served my time. I'm trying to be faithful so that something better is waiting and the hell I see and hear won't follow me.

Someone once told me it gets better. They lied. I don't relive it as often.


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ten Holidays

So, another Christmas done. I'm not sorry. I was blessed to have Becca, Sarah, and Madilyn with me and my sister came by for Christmas dinner. It was such fun watching Madi get so excited over the tree and presents. Sarah, of course, is an old hand at all that stuff and getting her excited is a lot harder. Of course, she had fewer gifts this year but she did get things she asked for and so I think she was fine with it.

Becca brought Madi over on the 23rd to stay until the 26th and we decided we'd get Madi's presents wrapped and under the tree after she went to bed. Sarah's were already there when they arrived.

Madi kept asking me where her presents were and I told her they'd be here "tomorrow", on Christmas Eve. I felt so sad because it was evident that this 3 yr old could understand that something was off with the presents. But she trusts me so she didn't really make a fuss.

Christmas Eve, when I came down the hall to the living room, Madi met me grinning and grabbed my hand. "Mawmaw, Santa brought me and you presents last night! Come and see!" I thought it was sweet she thought I was included in those presents. I wasn't but it wasn't about me anyway. She was vibrating with excitement and the rest of the day we struggled to keep her from opening them all. We showed her her name on them and spelled it out for her. She knew exactly which ones were hers. We did let her open two hoping to appease her but by sunset, we were done and we opened them.

Both girls seemed to enjoy their gifts. Sarah got her ITunes gift cards and bluetooth headset and books. Madi got the kind of things 3 yr olds get: PlayDoh, colors and coloring books, and baby doll stuff.

The girls went home tonight. Sarah to spend a few days with her mom before going back to school. I am home alone. As I took the photo of the tree, I thought of all the Christmases I've had alone since Jerry died. There have been 10 Thanksgivings, 10 Christmases, 10 New Years, 10 anniversaries, 10 Valentine's Days. Oh, some family have been here for the day here and there but always, at the end of the celebration, I sit in front of the tree and try to find a glimmer of something that feels like a holiday. Eventually, I think of all the Christmases that may lie ahead and well, we'll leave it there.

I'm not wallowing in pity. I had my annual grief cry today and visited Jerry at the cemetery. I stayed a long time and just sat in the car and listened to a podcast as I watched the grave stones in the VA cemetery. Some had wreaths, some had flowers and some had nothing. There were a few new graves. Jerry needs new flowers and I promised to bring them this week.  I don't know if it matters, actually, but it does to me.

It made me sad to see the forgotten ones. Once I wondered who'd put flowers on my grave regularly and realized that I'm the end. There will be no one left here for that. Well, if that ain't the story of my life. Of course, there won't be anyone to put them on his either. That's bothers me.