Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Grief is Selfish... and Exhausting... and Painful

I am sitting at the computer sobbing.

I was sitting this morning half listening to the television while the story about Jackie's Secret Service agent came on the TV. With it being the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK, it is all over the TV. I was half watching while playing with the dog and check my Facebook feed while listening to the TV.

Then I heard something that got my full attention. He explained why he ran to Mrs. Kennedy. When. I have see the video, I always assumed she was reaching out for help. In that moment, she went from being the wife of the President to John's wife. She did what was instinctual when someone is hurt. She was trying to gather the broken parts of her husband.

It's what we do when when we know someone we love is physically sick or injured in an emergency. We go into fix it mode. Especially when you are a mother.  The gentleman got her back into the seat of the seat of the car. She was not concerned with her own personal safety. The shooter was still out there. She didn't care. I can only imagine what she was thinking. (I have included the video from the news story this morning.)

When they swore in LBJ, she wore the dress, stains and all.

It is funny how our minds work in those moments of sudden death. I remember the day that we lost Sarah, there were long stretches of calm with moments of complete and utter despair, wailing and gnashing of teeth. But, there had to be some calm. There were people to talk to, decisions to make. Since her father was still on the way back from Albuquerque, I was the only legal parent there. I had to trust my own decisions.

I remember the dress I wore to the funeral. And, the shoes. It took nearly two years before I could wear the dress, again. I love the dress. A simple black, wrap around. And, the red satin heels Sarah had found for me the first Christmas after I left their father. (Her step-mom wore her plaid boots.) I nearly cried when I messed up the heel of one shoe. I stepped through the grate on the floor at church and scraped the red right off. I was crest fallen.

 I feel guilty, and probably will every time that I drive by a funeral procession, pass a funeral home or hear of some one's death. I go to my own memories first. We all do to a certain extent. And, as time goes on, I am sure that the time the memory lingers will become more and more brief. But, even watching the death of a President takes me back to that morning in Anson, Texas. When I sat screaming inconsolably while people wrapped their arms around my shoulders while I felt myself fall, spinning like a plane plummeting towards the earth.

I take that back. You know how in action movies someone is all ways jumping off a building and there is a series of awnings they keep falling through? Each one I hurts to land on, but the progressively slow their fall. And, by the time they reach the bottom awning, the have slowed enough that they don't go though, or if they do go through, they might scrape their knee.

That is a lot like grief. Falling is scary. Very scary. You know that it's not going to kill you. But, there is a doubt that tells you it might.

You will land. Maybe on your feet. Maybe not. But, you will land. You will be broken and bruised. You will probably limp away. But, the key thing is that you pull yourself to your feet. You get up and move on.

You will not be the same person.

You will be changed. You will be scarred.

But, you can move on. And, you will.

This was going to be a blog about the relationship between husbands and wives. But, sometimes a detour is a good thing.

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