“What was I just doing? What was I about to say? What is that person’s name? I’ve known them for years. Damn it Bryan! What is wrong with you?”
For a while, I thought that maybe I was a little crazy. I was struggling to understand why my thoughts were so scattered and why I couldn’t get simple things done. Start to fold laundry, bring stuff to the closet, start to make the bed, turn and see dog toys all over the floor just to look up and remember I was supposed to be folding laundry and that was 20 minutes ago. I get frustrated with myself, overwhelmed at all the things I couldn’t or didn’t do and give up. The “What” turns from confusion to “what’s wrong with me?”
Bereavement brain. I never knew until Clayton died that it’s actually is a thing. In our world it’s “Widowed brain” but grief fog shows up in many forms. Sometimes you don’t even realize your head is in the mindless mist. It can be minutes, hours, days, weeks before your realize you were doing something. A full stop and change in direction leaving behind something you said you’d do. It’s only when you suddenly are reminded, you realize widowed “what” is now woven through the fabric of your life – Stitched sadness in unpredictable patterns.
This week, as I pulled out holiday decorations (I wasn’t sure I could even look at), I opened a drawer that had remained closed for over 2 years.
“Where did I put those? What did I do with them?”
I pulled the brass handles and stitch slid into my past. Shortly after Clayton died, a dear friend of his asked for some of his shirts and sweatshirts. As I went through his things, I happily set them aside knowing how much their friendship meant to both of them. Part of me was sad that his things were leaving me just as he had but I knew they were going to be loved in their new home. I set them aside in a drawer for safekeeping as I emptied out our closet towards closure.
The fog suddenly lifted. There in a drawer were Clayton’s things I thought I had shipped over 2 years ago – Forgotten fabric. I lost my breath. Seeing them brought me back to his last day. I paused, caught my breath and lost it again realizing my widowed “what” had kept me from sending her meaningful memories. The feelings of loss, guilt and failure swept over me. I sat on the edge of the bed and cried. It was unintentional but I was disappointed all the same. I forgot about sending them, which, in my heart, turned into “I forgot about him.” You can see how quickly something simple as a woven “what” can knock you off the road. We aren’t on solid pavement. It’s tough to balance bereavement brain when you’re walking on grief gravel. Unsure footing and failure is now a part of my life’s fabric.
So my only goal today besides writing this blog is to sew up this tear. Forget the laundry, forget the dishes, forget the gym. The most important thing today is getting out of the mist and sending a wonderful person a box of memories.
Year one was a fog. Year 2 was the realness of loss. Year 3 seems to be me stitching up the last 2 years worth of “whats” in this tattered tapestry…