I'm back at seminary. We are on a quarter system and my first class was yesterday.
Last night, my friends at home gathered after a Taize service, around an altar lit only by candles, to mark the year since Musical Friend's husband died. My husband described it as "terrible, somber, the family much less controlled than they had been at the funeral." That initial shock creates such a protective veneer, seared away a year later. And I had not really thought ahead to what it would be like for my husband, just as I had not thought ahead a couple of weeks ago to what it would be like for me to go into a funeral home. I keep forgetting that we are not who we were.
I have already written in other places that I had read that the sixth to eighth months are bad, really bad, as the shock finally wears off and the real reality sets in. Now, on the outside, we look functional. I go to class, I take notes, I laugh with friends over lunch. I have moments off and on all day when something reminds me of that real reality and I stop breathing and wonder whether I can get to the next minute, but I do. I had a meltdown during an exam a couple of weeks ago as I looked at the questions and the words swam off the page and I realized that I knew nothing, absolutely nothing -- but I was able to compose myself in a few minutes out of the room and return to fill a bluebook with -- something. Yesterday there was a moment in class when the professor said something, something meant to be encouraging and inspiring, and I wanted to flatten myself into the floor and melt away. Intention and effect so seldom merge these days.
Gal wonders whether the word trauma is too dramatic. Oh ~ no. I responded in her comments that if this were physical, we would be covered in bruises, our joints would be swollen, our bones cracked, our blood sometimes seeping through our skin. It only sounds like a melodramatic word because on the outside we look like ordinary people living ordinary lives.
Last week-end, two of my friends, in two different contexts and conversations, referred to blogging as navel-gazing. I decided both times that it probably wasn't the moment to reveal that I have been blogging away for ~ I think it's five years this month.
But I do hope I don't sound whiny. Grief is a self-absorbed process, but I am merely trying to record it as I experience it. I'm not under any illusion that I am the only one.
Cross-posted from Desert Year, my other navel-gazing home.