Wednesday, April 04, 2007

CORTEX KINKS - - A DIFFERENT VARIETY

The real adjustments to a loved ones loss come not during the first 8 or 9 months following their death, but afterward, or so it seems to me presently. I expect the adjustments are different for each of us with many situational factors resulting in each individual’s experience being quite unique. Even for me in another situation the loss experience was different -- losing parents, close friends, other relatives -- from loss of a spouse.

Typically, as I realized had been true with me, I was solicitous of others who had experienced a trauma event, including loss, during that early time frame of months. I've come to wonder if perhaps during that time period there evolves for the bereaved an unrecognized gradual acceptance of that solicitousness that develops into a degree of dependence. Perhaps it would be better to not have so much attention then, as inner resources are often rallied to take us through the briers and thorns along that rugged path when we may automatically have been able to muster the inner resources to navigate successfully on our own. Perhaps the solicitousness would be of greater benefit later.

I always rally well in a time of crisis, quickly erecting my temporarily less-than-substantial fortress with thick tall walls of whatever materials are readily available. But then, if I reach out through any windows in the fortress others are most likely to respond. Not all who offer solace can be postponed to provide it for a later time, nor would most understand that was the sole intent to have them in reserve. There seems to be a qualitative and quantitative element and time limit, as I, too, have likely followed, on providing immediate comfort versus that reserved for later, that can result in abundant resources that are inadvertently squandered before a time when they may be more desired. Perhaps, that, too, is unique to each individual -- both the mourner and the comforter.

I've come to think, I had been running on emotional high gear, or even overdrive, most of these past months. But, something happened following fast-paced Christmas holidays joyfully spent with family, though I'm not sure what -- giving way to another life adjustment phase, I suppose. I realized after the first of the year that I needed to slow down and allow life to catch up. After denying my son's suggestion that might be the case, I began to reassess my perception and could only conclude I did, indeed, need to anchor at one spot for a time.
.
My pace became more measured -- more like a vehicle moving at a steady speed in drive, though with an unsteady foot on the accelerator, occasionally resulting in sudden high rates of movement, or including even periods of being on cruise control. The early roller coaster ride became more like a boat ride skimming across the smooth slick calm of ocean waters in balmy weather conditions with fluffy white clouds floating in the blue skies above me. However, there was not one speck of land in sight, not even a sand bar, an atoll with a tropical palm tree, or a northern hemisphere evergreen waving welcomingly in the distance.

In January I began making a more successful concentrated effort to follow a regular early sleep time routine. This was haphazard at best as I like writing in the night, also being up and about in the day, but with such a life, when is there time for sleep? I had no difficulty sleeping, if I just stopped long enough. I began concentrating on an even more scaled-back part time work schedule, having eliminated completely for now one work location to which I had previously gone. I've found it is the actual going out to work each day that is vital for me, otherwise I could easily fritter away every wakeful minute with nothing accomplished. I have the utmost respect for anyone who is able to prioritize their activities at home for constructive gain when they don't have to leave the premises for work. This had not been an issue for me in past years, but for some reason seemed to become an issue with which I have had the most difficulty.

I ceased trying to work-in an afternoon adult education class around my work, instead taking only one night class. That seemed to feel more realistic. I limited all other commitments as much as possible though some unexpected events still arose. I lessened activities that I experienced as being obligations as best I could. I had mixed feelings about whether or not that was wise. Ordinarily, my experience is that the more I have to do, the more I get done; that I work well under pressure and time deadlines; that I thrive on situations with potential for the unexpected happening; that with not enough to do I procrastinate, not even accomplishing a meager task until the last minute. So the choices sometimes seemed like a Catch-22 – would I or wouldn’t I get more done?. Obligations might have had little or nothing to do with what I was experiencing, as I really couldn’t tell, but I just felt I must change some things and see what happened.

Uncharacteristically, I experienced some sense of accomplishment when a number of annual medical and professional requirements were completed in January, though some remain. These once seemed all quite routine to be worked-in throughout just the normal course of events, not meriting special recognition for their completion. I look forward to approaching them in that manner once again.

I relinquished a self-imposed idea of blog obligation. Instead, I was satisfied with just writing about ... whatever ... whenever ... seeing where my mind and heart took me. I had all sorts of ideas, even a few drafts written on pertinent serious topics of the day about which I had genuine interest and concern, but seemed unable to complete them in a manner I found acceptable for publishing here. I hoped that would change in time.

I indulged in a couple of DVD movie marathons as the mood struck me, but found I did not become personally invested in most movie comedies or drama plots and characters. Laugh lines, stories, just passed through my eyes and ears barely registering, much less taking up residence for any meaningful recall at a later time. Did I enjoy them? I think so, but am inclined to think they merely filled my mind, absorbed my attention.

I wasn’t drawn to recreational reading, as I was unwilling to focus intently on the words, much less relish their meanings, nor did I wish to concentrate to a degree necessary to mentally store all that information to access later. That said, I also purchased more books to read during that time. I am fairly confident, their content was not going to be absorbed by placing them under my pillow at night, so what was I doing?

I made little or no effort to attend the free Sun. afternoon jazz concerts on a regular basis in which I initially took refuge. That regular attendance pattern was broken when rare rain-predicted weather conditions cancelled one group. When I did resume going, I often arrived late or didn’t stay the full time though that is acceptable in that informal setting.

I restricted my Internet use of the computer. I still found I was unable to resist writing some notes to myself in notebooks in my purse, car and on paper pads scattered about the house. Finally, I wrote many of these words (in the present tense which I have changed) as a draft that I might or might not post. I felt strangely relieved to have them out of my mind -- I hoped -- but wondered if that peace of mind would continue, or how long before new thoughts would come to once again begin the cycle of distraction.

A few days later unexpected storm clouds blew which sent me to depths I had mostly been able to avoid, but there was nothing to do but take the soaking from the rain, while in the process the thoughts traversed the wrinkled brain eventually releasing those cortex kinks, a different variety from those about which I previously wrote HERE.

I found myself thinking that instead of my trying to relate to others, a distancing and detachment would be much more desirable including jettisoning this blog. Memories of times past with loved ones no longer present often intruded. The questions, insecure feelings, self-doubts, loss of confidence in trusting my own perceptions arose. Recriminations those few times in past years, for being so open, so trusting, for risking, muddled my thoughts. The most innocent comment or observation by others could set off waves of thoughts, even concerns, affecting my feelings and attitude when I was alone at home.

I was aware that for some time I did not always relish spending time in this house. I did not consciously feel a cloud descend upon me when I passed through the doorway, but I was aware of a decidedly differing atmospheric change that often slowly seemed to envelope me. Perhaps it's simply that there was time to think, that there was the once longed for, but now uncharacteristic quiet, this household had not known in over forty years. I had forgotten the pleasures of quiet inside a house, and now it seemed strangely out of place. I refused to regularly turn on a radio or television just for company. I wanted to readjust and once again take comfort in stillness that previously I could only seek out by staying up after everyone else had gone to bed, often into the wee hours.

I relished the quiet as I wrote those thoughts above with only occasional outside sounds penetrating my awareness – short quick high-pitched clicking notes emitted from an iridescent green-throated hummingbird hovering over a bird of paradise in full colorful bloom outside my window, the low muffled distant sound of an occasional environmentally polluting vehicle – a long standing nemesis which I ignored for the moment.

A number of weeks, maybe even a month later, I’m now skimming along the surface of a calmed ocean, the skies are blue, the house is quiet except for the sound of soothing orchestral melodies uncluttered with lyrics, the throbbing pounding of drum beats, the metallic twang and screech of guitars, or the toy piano artificial sounds of a keyboard. I’ll save all that loud raucous music for another time when I’m in a different mood.





6 comments:

  1. While I am sure that we all experience loss in minutely different ways, the same undercurrents are found in us all, and you have outlined them here in a very succinct way, Joared.

    I am hoping you didn't mean what you said about jettisoning the blog. You are the voice of reason on many subjects. If you leave, we are the poorer for it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You covered so much in this post Joared....I was caught by your first thoughts about all the support one has at the beginning months of these terrifyingly awful losses...And how one could really use this support later...So many women I know have said that in some inexplicable ways the second year of the loss of their husband was worse than the first year...That made a lot of sense to me...And all the minute adjustrments to the single life and what it means at every minute of every day...(which can be different every minute and different for every person, too)...It is quite a journey, isn't it?

    It siunds like you are adjusting and readjusting, as needed, and I guess that is all any of can do in many situations that have been thrust upon us regarding loss...it can be a different kind of loss, too, that one must adjust to...It can be pretty daunting at times. The need to try to do the best you can with the hand you have been dealt---the challange of life itself, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Joared
    I hope you are not feeling pressured to post here on your blog. Just relax and do what you feel comfortable with. I remember when you did not have a blog of your own but you commented on other blogs with great skill and insight.

    Just rest awhile if you feel the need.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just to clarify, I have no plans to jettison my blog -- was writing about that being one of many considerations some weeks ago when I concluded I needed to adjust my activity schedule including blogging and my posts. I was just trying to describe how my thoughts and feelings fluctuated between then and when I posted this -- the "potholes" and "detours" along this journey I'm on.

    Thanks for all of your suggestions and kind words. I am allowing myself more "down" or resting time -- figure if computers, programs, web sites can shut down when they feel like it, so can I! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I wish you well as you journey through the grieving stages. I wish the phenomenon of the blog had been available when my wife and I lost our 21-year old daughter, Margie, in 1978. At least for me (I doubt whether it would have relevant for my wife), the blog would have provided me an important emotional outlet.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey, I recently added a news widget from www.widgetmate.com to my blog. It shows the latest news, and just took a copy and paste to implement. Might interest you too.

    ReplyDelete