I’ve heard that one way to tell if you’re progressing through grief is to try to track your mood. There are apps where you can rate your mood day-by-day and spot trends over time. As I reported yesterday, the mood swings are more hour by hour than day-by-day at this point. Today I cried before getting out of bed like I do every morning. I felt pretty good on my walk. I got some work done. Then around 3 o’clock in the afternoon I was spent. Oh, and I cried in the shower after my walk- as per usual. I called to cancel Shayna’s cell phone line. I’ve known for a month I should do it. I’m usually all about saving the money, but for some reason the symbolism of this act was just more than I could bear. Shayna loved getting a cell phone. We got it for her last year, ahead of the schedule Kayla had been on. The phone was a part of her identity. Now it sits on my desk and I look at it every day and it makes me sad. Cutting off the connection, giving up her number. That was so incredibly painful, so incredibly hard. Thank God for AT&T having a chat app on their website because I was bawling like a baby as I was “talking” to the reps to cut it off. Afterwards, I was spent. Done for the day. The smallest tasks can take so much out of us during this time. When that happens, I give myself permission to take a break.
Some friends had invited us to a comedy show last night. I’m trying to do what I can to stay in a normal routine and to do things to help my brain to heal from the chemical depletion that is depression. Regular, hard exercise helps. I try to distract myself with television and sports even if I may not be interested at the time. When my friend invited me to a comedy show I thought these comics are going to have a real challenge here, but sure. Ty and I need a night out. The show was all female comics and most were amateurs. They were pretty good. I smiled a lot and even laughed a few times. Of course my mind kept driving back to Shayna. I can’t expect to get my mind off her for 2 hours in a row, but for a few minutes at a time I found relief.
Then, the headliner, a black female comic, did about five to ten minutes of material on, of all things, funerals. Wow. Really. I go to a comedy show, my first one in well over a decade, probably close to two and there’s a whole part of her set about funerals. I don’t find funerals particularly funny any time. The subject is really raw right now. But, I didn’t make me sad, didn’t make me want to cry. Shayna’s celebration was just that. What I was thinking about while she was doing her set is how we are so uncomfortable with death. The only time we ever talk about it is to joke about it. We are all going to die. And some of us sooner than we think. Actually, make that most of us because most of us really still believe we are never going to die and neither is anyone we know.
While I have never been comfortable with death, one thing I have been keenly aware of since the age of 5 was that I am going to die. I have always thought sooner rather than later. For some reason, I never envisioned myself making it past the age of 25. I was raised in a church that talked about death a lot and my grandfather died suddenly when I was in second or third grade. I always thought it would be a sudden death. In spite of the fact that I have thought about death for all of my life, I have never gotten comfortable with it. I’ve resisted it. As she talked about death and funerals last night and people laughed at their own discomfort, for the first time in my life I was probably the person in the room the most comfortable with the topic, but I didn’t find it funny.
Back to tracking my mood. Can’t do it. Not yet. Every day is about the same. Maybe the periods of acceptance and normalcy are getting longer. I’m not sure. They’re still punctuated by periods of intense pain. Day 28 is done, but there is a long, long road ahead.