After yesterday’s post, my dear friend J wrote a note suggesting in the nicest, most loving possible way an additional explanation for why I’ve been tearing up so much lately. I attributed it to the hormonal changes catalyzed by the surgery… which is surely a big element in what is going on. However, J is also right, that I need to face up to the grieving part of all of this. Here’s what her note said, in part:
I've read your last few blog entries, and have thought: "should I call?"..."should I comment?" but have each time concluded that I should wait til you "found" the missing piece of the puzzle yourself. Until now.
So, have you thought of this? During this "down time," when you have fewer demands on your time, you may be grieving the many losses and changes you've experienced this year and in the past, and those you anticipate in the future. You've mentioned some: your surgery and recovery, acceptance of your new "self" (even if, in time, your energy returns and you have no residual symptoms), father's death .. (and memories of your mother's death), …, and the pending departure of AS for college. These are each really, really big issues. And there are probably more that I'm not aware of or have forgotten.
After what you've been through, grieving is a normal, fully appropriate thing to do...even if it means tearing up during episodes of West Wing (which by the way I abandoned early in the first season, when I became thoroughly annoyed by the tracking shots...actors walking toward the camera, doors opening and closing, talking and being so so clever.)
My guess is that you have been pushing back on the grief for a while, keeping busy, focusing elsewhere, trying to remember how lucky you are and that the situation could be much worse...but it's finally here. I may be wrong, of course. I have been once or twice before....
Bingo. I should have seen this sooner, and that I didn’t is evidence of those powerful coping and denial skills that have contributed to me getting this far. And now it’s time to deal with this as well. I’ve said a lot of times here that the support and caring from this community of friends has been sustaining. Here it is again. My experience in life has been that the first step to change, to dealing with something, to being who I want to be, is always to see the problem clearly and own up to the part of it that I own. And in this, J couldn’t have been more on the mark. I don’t much like grieving (does anybody?) and I also know through experience, that it doesn’t get any better to try to ignore it or pretend it is not happening.
On top of the loving wisdom of the note, Michael felt vindicated because he agrees completely with J about the tracking shots, which he also finds distracting and annoying. They don’t bother me. Right now, I’m marinating in West Wing during my downtime and enjoying the so, so clever dialogue. After reading J’s note, interestingly, none of what I watched last night made me tear up.