Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sneak Attacks

You know that movie Awakenings? The one where Robin Williams plays the Oliver Sacks character who briefly reanimates Robert DeNiro's Leonard by administering L-dopa? I was watching it today and weirdly enough, I got a little heart-twinge when they were measuring out the increasing dosages. I flashed (not literally, settle down) to all of those times when the docs couldn't figure out just what to do for Jane. Fiddling, adjusting, cranking up the settings, trying to find something that would make a difference. How frustrating that must be, to know precisely the problem and not have the technology to fix it. To know that the mechanism of life support is still so crude, but to have no alternatives. To watch the balance of a life teeter and finally fall while you stand helplessly by, with knowledge but no means. In many ways, it was much easier for me just to be the parent, existing day to day without projecting beyond a given moment.

But it was just a twinge.

The thing that really got me recently? Okay, so I still make mixes (yeah, yeah, "playlists", whatevs). And some are upbeat and perfect for chores, and some are more hard and driving and perfect for angry chores, and some are a little more... wistful. Oh, you know -- college girl feeling all soulful type of music. So, I put on a mix that I hadn't listened to in a while as I tackled clearing out boxes from our move eighteen months ago (I KNOW). Fine, fine, all's perfectly fine, right? I'm barely listening. Then the Cure's Pictures of You came on, and I actually thought to myself, "I should be crying over this, but I'm not. It's too cliched. I'm totally fine. Lalalala." Next song? Beth Orton's Thinking About Tomorrow. POW. I literally put my head down and sobbed.

That's the thing of it. I never know what it's going to be that knocks me off my feet. There's no avoiding triggers, because I don't know what they're going to be. I can read Horton and smile, but finding board books I had been saving for Jane twists my gut. Ambushed.


Cindy said...

I have a very dear friend, very dear, who lost her child at 6 months. That was 8 years ago. She built up certain walls, and shored them up in order to get through the days, and do what she had to do.

I can understand that. Life can be hard enough without trying to find a place to put a major tragedy.

It is rarely the big things that get to her. But every now and then, something, seemingly small, does exactly that - an ambush.


There's no planning for it. Just walking through it, like you're doing. Like you've done all along.

mommatosena said...

Ambush is such a great term. It's so true; it's the seemingly little things that you would never expect to be the catalyst to a wave of emotion. Ride the wave and get that bit out and move on as there isn't much else you can do. I remember going through a phase of trying to find something that would make me cry so I could do it at home. Rather than creating a public scene that I managed to do on a couple of occassions.

Cindy is right just keep walking through it like you have been. I am hoping that time is healing your hearts and that you continue to feel the peace and strength from the prayers that we still are sending.

Tasha said...

There will be things that will always trigger that "knock the wind outta me" feeling. But then, all too often, something out of the blue pulls at my heartstrings. Please know that we are still with you through this up-and-down time.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that song; I went to youtube. All I can say is that I cried with you.

Erica Houskeeper said...


I just wanted to say hello and let you know that I'm thinking of you. My sister works with your sister-in-law in Massachusetts, and she told me about Jane and your wonderful blog.

Given what you have gone through, you will probably find that the smallest things - perhaps a song or a scent - will bring you to your knees. Grief is like that. It just knocks you over without warning.

Sending you my thoughts and prayers.