Yesterday, my dad and I were planning to go shopping together. It started with me and my "Costco List," asking him if he needed to get anything there, and if he would like to go with me. He wanted to look for a printer-scanner-copier and another lens for his new camera. When he called to talk about what time we would go, he listed all of the places he wanted to go to compare products (my dad is an amazing shopper, and it's fun to go with him). For some reason, thinking of all of those store visits, I had a feeling of panic, as if I wasn't finding enough room to breathe.
I took a walk while I thought about what to do. It sounded selfish for me to bow out "just because" I felt panicky. I am not a panicker; I usually move through difficulty, when I know I have no choice. I did it all last year, over and over again, moving through horrendous difficulties and dealing with what arose. But yesterday, I had a choice; it was a shopping trip, and one I didn't need to make that day. I didn't want to go back on my word to my dad, or be selfish, though. I just knew I couldn't go along with the busy day he had in mind, and I began to feel as if I was going to cry, thinking about it. I don't cry easily.
As I walked, I asked for help. I kept thinking, "Don't abandon yourself. You have to listen to this feeling, even if you think it's illogical. It's very strong; it's telling you something." I don't know what it's telling me, but I am learning that I need to listen when my emotions get activated like that. So I decided not to go.
This is one of those strange things about grieving. I recall my friend Wendy telling me that she could not pump gas into her car after her youngest son, Tyler, passed away. She didn't know why; she just couldn't do it. I used to be able to pack many errands and chores into one day, and feel very efficient about doing it all. Make a list and check the items off; feel a sense of accomplishment. I was an active volunteer in my church and the school district. In my past life, I used to travel to various cities and speak to different groups (in my work). Right now, I can't do as much as I used to do, if I want to feel peaceful and centered. In a car, I prefer to be the driver, unless I'm with Gregg. David has his learner's permit; he loves to drive, and he's good at it, but the timing couldn't be worse for the sake of my nerves. When I get jumpy, I sometimes tell him, "Sorry; my nerves are shot. It's not about you." I prefer to be here at home much of the time, anyway.
So yesterday, my dad came over here and I showed him our P/S/C and its features. Together, we shopped online in the places that he wanted to visit, compared the products, and we had a bowl of soup for lunch together. Then he gave me words of love and support, and kindly left me to do his errands on his own. Thank you for understanding, Dad!
I sewed 2 quilts yesterday, worked on some projects here, and felt peaceful & happy.
If you have a friend who is grieving, try not to take this kind of thing personally. It's not about you. Sandy Barker, whose oldest son, Christian, passed away in December, posted a very profound piece in her caringbridge journal entry yesterday (May 29th). It's a poem called, "The Gap" by Michael Crenlinsten that expresses some of what it is like for us on this journey.