Grief is weird. One minute you’re fine and the next, you’re hyperventilating in the middle of the sidewalk in NYC. Today was one of those days.
I’ve had a lot of “normal” days lately. Get up, get the kids ready for the day, work, cook, watch tv, sleep. Do it all again the next day. And sometimes it’s chaos. And it’s not always outward chaos. Have you ever heard of the analogy about the duck? Calm above the surface, but peddling like crazy beneath the water? I feel like that’s me… most of the time. Outside I’m fine, doing all the right things. But beneath the surface, I’m going crazy.
I can’t always put into words the feelings that I feel. The loss is unbearable at times. Today, I walked to the bus station to go home after my day in the office, and my mind decided to remind me of the pain that lives deep inside me. All of a sudden, there were flashes of that day, the day that I learned my mother collapsed, and wound up in the ICU. The day I found out she died on her way to the hospital but was hanging on by a thread. And the day I saw her take her last breath. That image will never leave my mind. And when I recall those moments it’s like being punched in the stomach.
I lose my breath and can’t contain the emotions I feel. So today, as I was walking, and the images crossed before my eyes, I collapsed in pain and sobbed. I sobbed in the middle of the sidewalk.
And then, I pick up the pieces and keep going.
And just when you think you’re ok again, something happens.
I was almost at Port Authority when I noticed a man walking toward me. He was obviously homeless, but this was nothing new. Especially in this economy, I often see many homeless people in the streets. It doesn’t normally bother me, except to make me sad.
This time, as the man approach me, he lifted up his arm and swung. He tried to attack me. He tried to punch me in the face. Luckily I saw it with enough time to move out of the way. I’m not sure if he missed because I moved, or if he missed intentionally and only swung to scare me. I will never know. But HE kept walking and I froze in terror. Someone tried to attack me! All I could do was stop in my tracks and once again, I sobbed in the middle of the sidewalk.
It’s moments like this that I remember once again that she’s gone. She would have been my first call. She would have been the one to calm me down as I cried in terror in the street. But she’s gone. Forever. She will never calm me down. She will never be my lifeline. She will never be my person again. And that, my friends…. is just too much to bear.