I am not the only one walking a thin line with delicate balance. The illusion that I used to operate under is apparent now and is not so apparent to everyone else who has not had the illusion shattered. For their blissfully oblivious state – I have a little envy. It was so much more comfortable then.
It is easy for small things to become stressful now. Therefore, I end up being on guard all the time. Yet still amazingly small things can set me off and end up annoying me – the fact that I am now undone by something so small. It is is wholly my responsibility to monitor the environment, the conversations and to keep my guard up. It is exhausting and multiplies the perceived stress.
The big events – the life events that are in themselves accepted by most to be sources of stress should seem almost monumental. Yet strangely – because they are so widely accepted and expected to produce stress – I at times – hear my inner voice say – “yeah well, knew that was coming . . .” The large universal stress producers have been experienced by so many that we seem to have a few blue prints available on how to handle it.
Example: I came home from a weekend away to a flooded basement. My husband had been home and caught it early enough that he was able to call the professionals who deal with this sort of thing. The source of the water was shut off (a line came loose under a sink). The fans and dehumidifiers are running. The insurance adjuster has come. Work will begin next week to restore what has been damaged. It is a royal pain, but there is a order in which these things are resolved. There are going to be decisions and inconveniences during the time things are being repaired and replaced but in a surprisingly short time – it will be finished.
I will do what I have to do.
While in my basement assessing the damage one of the workmen picked up my son’s guitar that had been stacked on a surface out of harms way. He while holding it – tuned it. I assume he thought he was doing someone a favor. He told me he had tuned it with a look of pride and when I explained to him that it was my son’s guitar he quickly put it down. He said he was sorry to hear the news of our loss, though he had only just recently learned of it. (We live in a very small town).
My son played violin for a while and picked up the guitar when he was in high school. He played at it. At one point he thought he would peruse a carrier in music. He was not immune to the dreams of youth. We sent him to Berkley School of Music in Boston for a summer music camp to let him see if indeed that was what he wanted to pursue. He came home from his experience and said it was not for him and continued to “play at” his guitar. He had been the last person to tune this guitar. And to be honest – he would not have appreciated this person messing with his guitar. My son could be a snob at times about certain things. So am I.
This small thing gained momentum and rolled right over the day. Like bowling pins I watched my intentions for the day scatter as my indignation grew out of proportion to the event. It is in these moments that part of me steps back and observes the situation. I understand it is out proportion and that I should not allow this to bother me. The rational part of me knows this. Then I find myself wanting to shake my head and comment “wow, you really are still a big mess, aren’t you?” But the emotional self, the raw still tender and volatile part of me sometimes wins. Maybe less often than a year ago or even a month ago but it still wins. Is this progress? Is there such a thing as progress to be had with grief? I don’t know.
I still think the workman had no business tuning the guitar, regardless of who it belonged to without asking permission first. That I am sure should be the bottom line for me. It would be like someone coming into my studio and painting on my painting. It is not acceptable. The guitar had been resting there undisturbed for over two years. And maybe that is not acceptable – a waste of a good guitar. But like I mentioned at the beginning – I walk a delicate balance.
Situations similar to what you described (without the addendum of the loss of a child directly connected to the “touched” object) cause me to become vivid. I realize that this is not really rational behavior. How others ignore it is beyond me. “Getting over it” may take days, weeks, never. Wish that my tears for you could help, but I know better.
I understand, as I can see a lot of Jamie’s things around still. It doesn’t bother me that my other son’s wear his clothes. But, there is this UGLY pair of shoes that when I see them it startles me every time.