}

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Talking about it

Yesterday wasn’t a good day. Most people going through emotional pain won’t say anything. I just did. And that’s the point.

Yesterday morning, Sunny wouldn’t eat, yet again. I have no idea why not, but she didn’t, even though she was acting completely normally in every other way. I still have trouble with frustration, and for some reason, despite being a small frustration, it was a trigger, and I had the biggest meltdown I’ve had in ages.

The sobbing went on for far longer than usual, and my stomach became quite sore. In fact, I stopped mainly because of that, and especially because I was also exhausted. I thought about just going back to bed. I didn’t. I had things to do.

Sunny ate some dinner that evening (and ate normally today), but I had another cry yesterday evening, anyway, that time because I was looking at photos I’ve shared online, all of them showing the good times with Nigel, one way or another. I was also going through some work papers Nigel left behind to see what had to be securely destroyed, and what could just be thrown away. That gave me a particular insight into Nigel’s career, and that made me sad.

My bad day yesterday serves up several reminders. First, if I hadn’t said anything, no one would know I had a bad day. That’s a reminder that we may not know what private hell someone else is going through at any given moment while remaining silent. In fact, I’ve done that most of the time, too.

Another more specific reminder is that dealing with terrible loss and profound grief isn’t a closed-ended process, one with a beginning, middle, and end, but, rather, it’s a process and journey that has no schedule, no set course, one that will take as long as it takes. Along the way there will be good days, and some bad days, some of which may even be very good or bad.

A long time ago in this process I said that no one had to worry about what I say, but only if I stop talking. That was on my mind, too, and I knew I had to say something about my very bad day, if only to keep myself honest. After all, it provided lessons for me, too.

Sure, I had a very bad day, but that’s not what’s important; I’ll have more bad days and others will be good ones, and I may not say anything about either of them. If someone like me, a person who talks openly about what’s really going on in his life, doesn’t always talk about what’s happening, just imagine what others, people unaccustomed to talking about what they’re going through, may endure in silence. Unless someone speaks up, we may never know what private hell they’re going through. We really do need to be kinder and gentler to others, even strangers. That’s my real point.

Because yesterday wasn’t all bad, of course (no day is all good or all bad). Among other things I got the results of my most recent blood tests and they’re all fine. And Sunny did eventually eat. And Leo slept in my lap whenever I sat down. And I got some chores done.

So, yesterday wasn’t all bad, but the parts that were bad were very bad. How many other people around us could say the same thing on any given day? I’ll try to remember this lesson. Sometimes I will, other times I won’t, but one thing I know for sure is that I’ll have bad days again. What I don’t know is whether or not I’ll say anything about them.

This time I did.

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