I don’t think I am sat on my rocky sea bed anymore. I am no longer rendered immobile, speechless, paralyzed in fear from the threat of more hurt, more lies, more pain.
I think I have surfaced.
It’s been gradual. I am not sure when or how I floated up but I have. And I find myself a long way off shore, floating. Just floating on the surface of a not unpleasant rocky sea, my ears underwater just listening to the calming sounds of the waves lapping at my ears and my eyes closed.
I am just floating. Floating along with the comings and goings of friends, family, birthdays, events, meals, chores and errands to prepare for Christmas as a family.
And while I float, with my eyes shut and my ears occupied, I just feel the sensations. I feel the undertones and the undercurrents beneath me, like fish swarming below and I feel the thoughts high above my head, floating around like airless, meandering clouds with a hint of sinister nature.
Above me. Below me. And I float in the middle, a constant decision and choice to stay afloat and stay in the moment.
But every now and then, a big lightning bolt will fire from the sky or a whirl pool appears as a memory or a fact or an image will flash in to my consciousness and I am immediately short of breath, starved of oxygen and I am pulled under the water again, fighting for air, tight in my chest and cold fingers around my heart.
It’s a lot like grief. The parallels are frighteningly similar.
When Mumbo died, there so many feelings:
- the sadness that she had gone, no longer there to speak to, share or create memories with.
- The shock and numbness mixed with denial that it can’t be true.
- The anger and the incomprehension that it had to be her who had gone who had gotten Alzheimer’s, my Mumbo – why her? Why us? Why me?
- The frustration that it was totally out of my control, nothing would bring her back, make her better but also the obsession, to try and work out if I could have done anything differently, she could have done anything different to change the outcome.
- The period of awakening and the realisation that this was reality… a life without Mumbo in it;
- and finally the time of calm acceptance, adjustment and positive focus, letting it all go, to be at peace, in my head and in my heart.
Many people talk about a ‘grief cycle’. I think I used to even think of it as a cycle, not moving on to the next phase until the one prior had been completed.
But it wasn’t really like that and neither is this, this awful, awful reality. It may be a cycle, but the wheel keeps turning and like a bicycle wheel with spokes, you can miss phases out and find yourself at completely the other spectrum. And I have often found myself completing the whole bloody cycle in one day, or even an hour!
It’s exhausting. So floating is the only thing and the best thing I can do to conserve energy. Just waiting for the undertones, undercurrents, lightening bolts to strike, knowing that I will have the strength to resurface and not end up back at my rocky bottom.
And at least while I am floating, I am able to appreciate and even enjoy life and the little important treasures that pass me by. The boys running in the winter sunshine in Roundhay Park. My Dad and Edna and their happiness. A mince pie made at the French boulangerie where I made mince pies as a young girl.
Floating. I have always loved floating.