The holiday season is already emotional at times missing loved ones who have passed, those we cannot see or hug right now due to the pandemic and just the cherished memories that bring the tears that seem like they will not end.
Today, as I was working and minding my own business, I remembered that I had to make a run up to another office to pick up paperwork. As I walk in, the administrative assistant was wearing this pretty, red and cozy sweater. I loved it and told her so. It made me stop and look at it closely and see the weaving of the yarn and admire the red color. I love sweaters and this was one that caught my attention.
As I was getting my paperwork, I overheard her tell the other assistant that it was her mother’s sweater. It was about two months ago that her mother passed away quickly from Cancer and she was the only child to deal with the grief and what memories remain today and through all of the tomorrows. I was so thrilled to hear that it was her mom’s sweater and the thought came, she is wrapped in her mom’s love as she wears it now.
My paperwork is now in my hands and I quietly and quickly leave the office as they remain talking. Normally, I would stop and talk and all that as women do, as I enjoy and have a wonderful work family. I could not talk. I could not leave quick enough and hoping that they would not stop my feet from moving out the door. The tears were falling quicker than I could control as I entered the elevator hoping I would not run into anybody.
How interesting that such a thing can cause such a flow of emotions. A pretty red, cozy sweater was all it took. Again, the holidays don’t help and knowing next month will be twenty-five years since my own mother passed away of Cancer, also quickly. It all comes back seeing the same sweater that is not one you see often and knowing I buried my mom in her pretty red, cozy sweater (somewhat similar to that shown). The weaving of the yarn, the gentle black yarn mixed in just enough to add to the unique detail and knowing just how soft, it indeed brought back memories of yesterday.
“When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.” Author unknown
Recalling the past can awaken an emotional response. Remembering an event, a situation, or a person can evoke a shiver of excitement, the heat of anger, or the anguish of grief. … Most emotional memories are the result of cued recall. A certain date may trigger an emotional memory such as in the anniversary of a loss.
Once again, as I drive to work, I have a favorite song right now playing in the car and sing along trying to hit the notes that they do. I did say I was trying, but singing is definitely not my talent or desire.
On my twenty to thirty-minute drive, my mind can stay active in what needs to be done, etc., or I just get lost in the music and soon enough, I am pulling into the parking lot.
It is when my thoughts cross over to something or in this situation, someone I miss so much and the tears flow faster than I can catch as I drive. Imagining in my mind how it would be if I ran into them once again. What would I say, or would my throat close up not allowing words to be said, like a valve keeping emotions contained. How would I act, how would they respond, would we hug or with the restrictions of the Covid19, would we just wave and go on our merry way? Knowing if just a wave, my heart would be broken once again of the grief felt with this loss?
Immediately, I turn off the song to get a handle on my emotions, so my eyes are not red as they peep over my face mask. Some days, a mask with a smile for appearances only have been seen. Isn’t that true for all of us, at times? Life can be hard at times, a medical issue, fear of this crazy virus, the sadness of not seeing and being with our children, family or friends due to the pandemic. The beautiful Christmas music now playing in the background, which stirs your soul and emotions are felt.
I get frustrated at myself for even allowing those thoughts to enter my mind. Plus, the makeup I just applied, which is now off and my eyes are no doubt noticable that I had been crying from the memories they envoked.
I so miss my sweet friend. Actually, I guess she is not my friend and cannot be a friend, as it would unethically be wrong due to the fact she was my counselor for four years. Now with almost three years since our last session, how could she not be special to me and basically considered as a friend? I have done so well but perhaps with the holidays, music and colder weather or perhaps what I am dealing with, my emotions seem frail, more than I thought.
Just as in a death, this also felt like one. The four years together, sometimes once a week or twice, she was a part of my life, sharing my deepest and darkest thoughts and it was all cut off immediately. That’s grief!
In grief, my parents and brother have all passed and I do think of them and if a certain song, usually or something else reminds me of them, the tears come also. Grief can come out of nowhere and knock you down for a bit with the emotions. I could have got lost in this song and cried all the way to work but I knew I had to get a handle of myself, not that I was denying my loss or sadness. I felt it but the tune to this one song, this morning, just opened up the window of sadness of my loss. I feel at times, grief of somebody you miss that is still alive is harder, as they are within reach but yet too far away.
I don’t know how either of us would react if we ran into each other. Would we hug or just wave? I don’t know but I do know it would be a joy to just cross paths once again. Even if I choke from the emotions, the closed door on my car with dark-tinted windows will allow me to let lose and cry a river. Yet again, get a grip and move forward. Feel it, acknowledge but keep moving forward.
Daggone these tunes that brings tears. Even as I write, the tears flow. Years ago, I could buck up and keep them hidden but I cannot do that anymore, as they just seem to seep out and roll quickly down my face.
Thinking back, when I first started meeting with her for counseling, and maybe for the first year actually, she knew I was holding back and would not be emotional. The hard, rebellious part of me remembers saying, “I will not cry. I will not waste my time and money in these sessions crying.”
With everything that is happening, the chaos all around the world, the virus of those that have had it or feeling as if it will get me soon, is like a dark cloud, but I think many of us are unsettled. If you have lost a loved one(s), please accept my condolences. We cannot live in fear but use wisdom in mask wearing, even if we don’t like them, wash our hands often and perhaps stay home more. We all want this to be over or at least more manageable.
So as the tunes of the Christmas music that is played or a special song that reminds you of someone, it is okay to cry. I am not as strong and rebellious as I once was, as the tears flow. I do know that in those tears of sadness I feel, I am also blessed. Blessed to have had her as a counselor for so long and to help me so much. I am blessed with many family members and friends. I also feel blessed with the ability to share my heart with you through my writings. Thank You for reading. I wish you a Merry Christmas.
Have you ever missed someone so much that even the thought of them makes you cry?
Most praise and worship songs tell that God is always there to listen and to help us. Hearing these words trigger our spirits to cry out to Him for help.
“Music is a way to connect sounds to personal memories. We often like a piece of music not because the music itself would be so moving, but because we heard that song when we felt a certain way. The music merely activates that memory and re-triggers the emotion. So no, you’re not the only one ;-).
This phenomenon is also the reason, why clubs, radio stations, Spotify playlists etc. bombard us with the same few songs over and over again: record companies try to raise their chances of you listening to one of these songs while you experience intense emotions (like your first kiss or that wonderful party at the beach with your friends). Because after that, you will pay everything to listen to this song again – sometimes these songs stay with us for our entire life! And – contrary to what we might tell ourselves – it won’t be because of the song itself, but because of the memory it triggers in us.” Matthias Orgler, 30+ years in the music business. RealWorldMusicTheory.com Quora April 21, 2018
Grief is not just about death. It’s about loss and that comes in so many forms. Learning to live with grief is a skill that takes time and patience along with the acceptance that there are things we can’t change, good memories that can comfort us in times of distress and new plans to make when we realise that plan A is no longer an option.
There is a saying that happiness is a journey and not a destination. In the same sense, grief is a pause, it’s not an ending. Be honest in those moments of great sadness and find the joy where you can in the moments that can still warm your aching heart. Grief is a description of a part of your life, it doesn’t have to be a definition. https://www.ouralteredlife.com/grief-for-the-living/
Ambiguous loss is a loss that occurs without closure or clear understanding. This kind of loss leaves a person searching for answers, and thus complicates and delays the process of grieving, and often results in unresolved grief.
“Normally we associate “tears” with “sadness”, but there are also tears of “Joy!”
Jeremiah 31:9 Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble. For I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my oldest child. (NLT)
The Bible tells us that God keeps all our tears in a “bottle”……… Psalm 56:8 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. (NLT)
Paul told Timothy…… 2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; 2 Timothy 1:4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;“
If you get a chance, listen to these two. They have two CD’s, one is Christmas. Mat & Savanna Shaw, a Daddy Daughter Duet
Why do I even try to talk to this man? I ask myself that after I kick myself for even trying, each time. No matter what comment I make, I get a blank stare, eyes don’t blink and I hear, What? Let’s not forget the lack of facial expressions, there is no joy… ever.
At times I say never mind when he says “What” and then at times I repeat what I had just said but in a slow robotic voice. Simple or detailed, it does not matter. If I say it slow enough and make my point quick, it will be repeated back to me (insert banging head against the wall, here).
The processing of his mind is on slo-mo with me. Frustration to the max. Overwhelmed on his end and zoned out, even with small sentences I may say. So why do I even think I have a chance of having a conversation with this stranger that I married. How is it that he can work, be involved with work calls and process but completely, and totally braindead with me? Perhaps it is the routine, coding and the numbers in the details of his job that makes this man tick. Actually, it is.
A suggestion from a counselor many years ago to hang a keyboard around my neck to spark life into this man. Trust me, I considered such but knew I would get that blank stare of confusion from his beady eyes, as he processes why I have a keyboard hanging around my neck, wearing nothing else. Forget that, in order to seduce him. He would not get it although wonder if the keyboard was an old one not used or if I took it from his desk. What spark? Fizzle!
My energy is depleted after all of these years to even try to communicate, forget the other. Different wavelengths, different floors, different life.
Explaining this life of mine to counselors up until recently was like unlocking my own padded cell to walk in and throw away the keys. They did not understand but advising me to leave. I could not in my right mind, of what was left of it, to leave our boys in his care. As they grew up and to be in their teenage years, they would run this man over and he would not see it coming or care. What? I had to stick it out and deal with the craziness it brought between the both of us and the grieving of a marriage that I will never have with this man, just a business partner.
The boys were finally in college, empty nesters we were, existing under one roof. At this point, I was beaten down to nothing left within me to fight. It felt as though I could only mumble, “Lord, please help me” in desperation. Thinking, “Lord, I know you know my name and I know you know where I am.” Otherwise, I was slowly dying within.
I knew I had to get an upper hand on my life and for living if I was to survive. Little by little, progress but healing of my spirit, soul and body was needed to take place. I decided in 2014 after having a major surgery and hearing cancer but it was found early, I think gave me the push I needed. I was going to give it one more shot with a counselor. Otherwise, I am done, stick a fork in me.
After much research, narrowing my choice of counselors down to two, I kept returning to one and that one, I made contact to meet. First meeting, I will never forget sitting down and looking at this woman and saying when she asked why I was there, which was “I think I am going crazy.”
You cannot tell me that the Lord did not put her in my path for this period in my life. The first three months, as we began to know one another, with me describing what this life and marriage was and is like, she had a clue. I was unsure, thinking it was a child issue, which was Aspergers (AS). How could that be? Still, she was convincing enough that this truly described this man. I began my research on Aspergers. This explains the craziness I was experiencing. Finally, I had a spark of hope, at least.
I found one book that seemed like a good fit for me to read and that I did. I underlined, marked it up with highlights and made notes all throughout this book. It looked like my Bible, all marked up, etc. Actually, this book felt like a Bible to me in the sense of describing this man that I married in 1989.
The lightbulb moment and understanding the craziness I have felt and relief that I am not crazy. Although, at times those thoughts come and I still wonder. I will not let these thoughts torment me any longer. Also, understanding why he did this or that and why the ‘keyboard moments’ made no spark fly. The spark or even trying to spark was out and done. Now, I just want to survive and get healthy within myself and I have been doing just that. He will never change and he has not and does not care to change. There is no working on us as I tried numerous times early on, only to be looked at in a blank stare. Sooner or later, you give up and get the help you need and let the other remain, as is.
Still today, even though we are still under one roof but on different floors, it works as we have our own interests and routines. There might be days that we may not see one another, or only in passing. Thank God, when we moved into this house, we remodeled the lower level as an apartment. Thinking this was for the kids the whole time, if needed when they got older, or perhaps used as an in-law suite. Never to think until just a few years ago, it was for us. Tell me that is not God. In that, back when we moved in, back in 1999, and I was planning the layout for this remodeling. I remember laying on the floor and counting how many drop ceiling tiles and brackets we would need, drywall sheets per room, etc. I had a lot of supplies delivered to the garage before even having a handyman. Crazy enough, this one handyman called me saying he never calls people but felt he needed to reach out to me. I will never forget that call and how surprised but also increasing my faith. Only the Lord knew of what I had done and what I needed. Interesting, actually mindblowing. Talk about faith increasing. It was when Bill worked and had this lower level all completed and then he asked me how I knew how much product to order that was needed. We had one box of ceiling tile left over and it was perfect to have for damage through the years. But God!
Aspergers is exhausting for the spouse. Whether it be the husband in my case or the wife. It’s a different world and the Neurotypical (NT) spouse must be a part of it. I have heard too many state the same thing in support groups. While there are some good traits, which is the only reason sanity remains, it is possible to exist. The good outweighs the bad and you feel as if you can stick it out a little longer and then there are those times when you are lucky to know your own name. Knowing early on in a relationship, there is an advantage of knowing your spouse has Aspergers. Later on, not so much. I have found that in life when we realize others deal with same circumstances, as in the Aspergers support group, we don’t feel so alone. We are not crazy. A spark of hope outweighs the monotone voice of the word, What?