Grief. This time last year, I was struggling with grief. It had become abundantly clear that my retirement dream of spending at least half the year traveling, some of it overseas, and some of it in my van, was under major revision. A year previously, my partner BA had suffered an acute attack of vertigo. It arrived, as it often does, following a bad cold. What was atypical was its intensity. She was immobilized, sick and stuck on the floor of her bathroom in the middle of the night. Following an ambulance ride and a few days in hospital, she was improved, able to move about adequately most of the time, and we and her medical team were hopeful that it would all resolve in the near future. Well, it didn’t go that way. It turns out that she has a permanent 70 percent loss of function in one of her vestibular nerves. Along with that, there have been a few other “brain events” that have manifested as reduced cognitive function.
Brains are very adaptable, and BA’s has found many work arounds. When she is well rested, with good reserves, she functions pretty well. Reserves down, whether from working on a project, talking a walk, poor sleep or any other stressor, and her balance is worse. More dizzy, lurching about, and exhaustion. Her brain copes, but it gets worn out much more quickly. And once tired, memory and thinking loosen as well. The upshot of all this is that traveling is very hard on her system, and staying on her own at home for more than a night or two isn’t a good idea. Okay on the good days, not so much on the others.
So even before the pandemic arrived, my/our travel plans were undergoing major revision. Then came Covid-19, which put them further into lockdown.
A year ago today, my father was ill and in the hospital. Covid-19 had been ruled out, and further evaluation confirmed the heart issue I had suspected. Some years before, he’d had his aortic valve replaced. The replacement valve was failing, and it was time for hospice. This was the beginning of a very intense month, gruesome details here if you’re interested. The short form is that Dad was able to pass peacefully in his own bed, attended to by his family. He was 90, and while a loss is a loss, this one was ok in the grand scheme of things. He’d had a long and active life, and he didn’t have to endure an extended decline, which he would have hated.
The next months were busy, with extra activities as I am Dad’s personal representative and executor of his trust. As of now, things are winding down, the tax stuff is getting figured out, and I am hopeful that things will be “done” within a few months. I was also busy at home, with extra duties due to the pandemic and BA’s limitations, and I was continuing to see a few clients in my psychotherapy practice.
By the end of last year, I had some hope. The vaccines were arriving, a sane president had been elected and was soon to be inaugurated. Okay, we’re going to get through this.
Then, more violence, just in case there hadn’t been enough already against persons of color all across the country. January 6 the capitol was attacked. More shootings elsewhere.
And on March 22, it hit very close to home, Table Mesa King Soopers in Boulder. Too close to much of my history. I wrote a bit about it earlier, and the short form is its a few blocks from my family home, my brother was in the store an hour earlier doing his routine shopping, two nephews worked there as students, my mom campaigned to get it opened. Yes, I have 50 years of history with that store, and moved to that neighborhood in 1958.
Too much. My system has hit tilt. My low reserves are lower, and overwhelm and shock run the day. I’m working with my therapist/healer. Its helping a bit, but some days I can do very little, while other days I feel close to normal. I jump at sounds, even a voice, and most things feel like they are too much, too hard, demanding more than I have to give. Yes its grief. It will pass, and despite all imaginings to the contrary, things will never be the same. Some things can’t be un-seen or un-known. We are all there in one way or another. The personal details vary, each of us has our own story, our own griefs.
How to grow and heal. Another journey without a map. I really would have preferred tangible travel. And nobody asked me.
For the Blogging from A to Z challenge