Monday, July 27, 2015
Some Time Away
Pearson's Falls - Tryon, North Carolina
July 24, 2015
There’s no way to sugar coat the fact that grief is indescribable to those who are in the midst of it. It is incomprehensible to those who are trying to understand it. The most frustrating part in both circumstances is the sheer unpredictability of it. My family and friends, although patient to the utmost, have to believe that I am losing my mind. One minute I am clear, calm and focused. The next, I am practically unable to function. Trying to anticipate either circumstance is a waste of time, yet it would be so helpful if I knew which day was going to be calm and peaceful as there is so much I could accomplish on those days.
The thought of traveling even to a “safe” place for a few days has been overwhelming as even getting my mind to focus on packing a travel bag seems impossible. I know you find that hard to believe since travel, hike or just get in the car and GO has been my mantra since the beginning of this blog in 2010. But the time came to try and the “safe” place was the home of dear friends from college days. We’ve shared joys, sorrow, trials, grief and every other life event for more than 40 years. We graduated from college together, the guys went through grad school together, we married within three weeks of each other and have lived 2 ½ hours apart since 1981.
January, 2014 - The last picture we have of a 40 year friendship!
It was a wonderful day.
(Sadly, no one thought to take a picture at our last time together in February)
The four of us spent an afternoon together at The Sweet Onion, in Waynesville, North Carolina, on February 9. Bill felt good and it was a day of shared friendship that NONE of us suspected would be the last we would ever have on this earth. They were in my driveway within hours after Bill’s death and knowing their jobs well, I have yet to be given an adequate explanation of how they both managed to get three days off from work to be here, but they did.
Although Tony likes taking care of me, it is difficult and emotional for him to comprehend being around me without Bill, so it seemed natural that it was to their house I would go on a week when he was out of town. It was just us girls and was a salve to my weary, aching, grieving heart.
They call it their mid-life “toy,” but Becky and I meandered around the foothills of North Carolina in their convertible, enjoyed some delicious meals, shed a lot of tears, walked a lot of miles, spent some comfortably quiet hours on their screened in back porch and simply relaxed in the comfort of friendship.
My "ride" for the week! - Forest City, North Carolina
I wish I could tell you that I came home better than I left, but I can’t. Those crazy mixed-up emotions won’t let me. When I was packing to go, I kept thinking I didn’t want to do this. It was just too hard. At times while there, I yearned to be at home. At other times, I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. As I approached home last Friday afternoon, the sadness and dread returned with a vengeance making me wonder before I ever got home if I’d made a mistake in going.
I can tell you that it was NOT a mistake. I can also tell you that I write this to try and help those reading who might be grieving know they ARE NOT ALONE in their fears they might be going crazy. I also write it to tell those of you who love someone who is grieving and want to help that the most loving thing you can do is LISTEN. Or simply be present.
Nothing feels right. Nothing feels natural. Nothing feels normal. I am told this will become gentler over time and the most important thing for me to do is acknowledge that this is awful, take it one day at a time (sometimes one breath at a time) and trust that I am doing everything I can to work through the pain.
All of the pictures in this post were taken at Pearson’s Falls in Tryon, North Carolina. It is a privately owned, but beautiful waterfall requiring only a short walk through a picturesque area. For those who might be traveling I-26 toward Myrtle Beach, Charleston or Savannah, it is an excellent leg stretcher just off the interstate with an amazing payoff and a lovely picnic area. I highly recommend it.
Thanks so much for your kind thoughts and comments. They do encourage me and I am grateful.