Too many times now I have been struck down in sharp grief and reacted in ways I didn't think were lifelike. I keep sailing through this sea, sometimes foggy sometimes not. I get that this is fairly new to me. I get that my journey is only just beginning. I get that there are new surprises around every corner. I just find it startling when my reaction is stronger than expected.
A few months ago I woke screaming from a deep sleep because I heard Vicky screaming for help, as she had so many times over the years. It felt violent. I had never done that in my life. I thought it only happened in movies.
I've been struggling lately with other things. Complicated things. Things like grieving children who do really stupid things, and then fight tooth and nail about it. I'm doing my best to keep them from doing permanent damage, and I'm sick most of the time about it. While doing all of this, I haven't spent any time grieving or even thinking about my wife. After a long, hopefully productive talk with my youngest son I found myself able to breathe again. And that's when I started to feel the grief for my wife settle back where it had been. I'm ok with that. I think I feel closer to her when I'm grieving her loss.
I began looking through pictures. For the first time in a while, I was in the mood to think about her. When I put the pictures down, I saw her diary. Not a good diary. A chemo diary. I picked it up and started reading. I had opened it up in the middle, somewhere into February. Vicky had died on Feb. 17th, so I started moving towards that. What I didn't remember, was February 12th was an anniversary too. It was the day of her first diagnosis, in 2009. Her entry that day read "I HAVE BEEN A SURVIVOR FOR 5 YEARS!! AWESOME!!!".
I let out a yelp. Completely involuntary. I felt a physical pain in my heart. I sat down, before I fell down.
These reactions feel so dramatic. Totally involuntary. And totally alien to me.
But at least they're honest.