I have been stalling writing a personal blog entry for almost 5 months. I have been writing (as my contributions on other sites can attest to); I just haven’t written anything personal for the blog in a long time. Today, I had a mini break down, just with sobs and hiccups, not a my-life-is-over kind of break-down. I was listening to Christmas music and as sometimes music will do, it crept up on me and I found myself sobbing from someplace deep inside. It caught me off-guard and left me feeling totally comatose. Like I had been ambushed.
Sure, I had been thinking about the holidays coming up as I’m sure most people do when they have lost loved ones. But this break-down, made it real. Like boo! The holidays are here and you really are going to be alone and it’s going to be hard. At first I was upset that I had been caught slacking. I stiffened my back and turned down the music but the tears wouldn’t go away. I sobbed some more, then as they usually do, the hiccups rolled in. I picked up the phone and called the crisis line because I wanted to talk to someone who didn’t know me, but I chose to call my coworker instead, one who I thought could really understand. I didn’t want to hide this pain any longer. I needed someone to bear witness to this chaos that is the grief I live with.
I told her this holiday will be especially difficult because David WAS the holidays last year. The height of our romance peaked with the holiday season, but in a way that made it even more poignant for me. I was spending my first Christmas in Ghana after 17 years of being away. I was missing the consumerism that went with being part of the US culture. I was missing my progressive Newman Center community where I often worshipped when I was back “home” in Ohio. Presents were not on the menu for Christmas in our house and I was not about to attend a conservative catholic church that chose large celebrations to preach about homosexuality and sinners. I had done the grown-up grand-daughterly things like stock the house with groceries and Grandmother’s favorite provisions. I had replaced the septic tank, installed a new toilet and sink, and patched up all the holes in the house. I had topped this off with a brand new paint job for the entire house. Things were looking good on the outside but I was missing my mom and sisters very much and as usual my relationship with Grandmother left much to be desired. David understood this all too well. He was missing his family who he hadn’t seen in a year. We had bonded over a lot of things but I think the holidays made it even clearer that we were on the same side. Lucky for me, I was getting my family for New Year’s because my mom and sister were arriving on a Lufthansa flight that night. He was getting a care package from his sister who included a present for me: his smokeless cigarette that was going to help him keep his resolution. I got through Christmas 2012 because he was by my side. He made waking up each day a pleasant idea. Text messages doubled in quantity as the actual day drew near, reassuring me that I would make it to the New Year to greet my family at Kotoka International Airport.
I haven’t written because I don’t write for sympathy or to evoke feelings of sadness in my readers. I have felt that lately everything I’ve wanted to write would feel like a pity party. The truth is life has been good to me since I moved to the East Coast, and on the surface, I don’t have anything to complain about. I’ve gotten one of my dream jobs although sadly it’s not in my ideal location. I love my job and my students are growing on me. They make me wish I knew of a place like this when I was their age. Since NYC and Boston are just 3 hours away, I don’t feel as trapped. And…I bought a car! First car I paid cash for, thanks to a Good Samaritan. I have been to NYC twice since I moved here in late July and in all honesty, I have been able to take consistent breaks. In the meantime I have busied myself with getting into the flow of things here at the college: offering cooking, dance, and crochet classes; organizing and hosting Black Movie nights, serving on the social justice committee and facilitating workshops and supervising staff.
In short, I am busy. In long, I am lonely but I hesitate to fill the space with anyone because I don’t feel it would be fair to them. I don’t know what the appropriate grieving time is for someone who I’ve known dead longer than I knew alive. I just know that although I have almost stopped re-winding the day of the accident, I have yet to lose some of the flashes of our amazing times together which always leave me angry, then helpless.
I am learning that grief is a silent thief of joy and I am learning that it is often unbidden and is rarely tactful about when and where it decides to pay me a visit. Sometimes I want to believe that it is really about time and that it will heal the wound and that perhaps it’s just going to suck this one holiday and after that, it will get easier. Sometimes, I know that people mean well when they send me “stay strong” or “you are so strong” messages. Often though, I wonder if they know that I am more than staying strong and I often ask myself why I can’t make this go away any faster. I get defensive when I hear that we weren’t together long or that I didn’t really have time to know him that well. In other words, I should be over this by now. I want to say: “Well, I’m not! Do you have a problem with that?”
I think I forgot that this blog was mine and even though I had an audience, this audience had a choice to read or not to read. My job is to write my truth. The beauty and sadness of my truth is this: I am not beyond this yet. Most days I get there. Then there are a few that totally take my breath away and leave me speechless as he often did. (Clichés were so literal for us.) These “few days” have decreased over time and I have gotten better at handling me when they occur. But the reality is this: they still exist and some days these “few days” take me by surprise and reduce me to a puddle. Like this one did.
So, I am not only dreading being alone for the holidays, most especially, NYE when we made memories at Busua, I am also dreading being surrounded by family who will know I am missing him and will want to do something about this. I honestly don’t know how I am going to get through the holidays; I can only trust that I will make it through. I asked for a miracle two weeks ago but I don’t actually know what kind of miracle I am looking for. It’s not that I want to circumvent the process or make it go faster. It’s not that I want to find someone new pronto. It’s just that I need a miracle and somehow I think universe and Yemaya will know what kind of miracle I need to make it through.