Ch.176 Walking to the Creek to Talk with Pat
Today is the day after Thanksgiving. I’ve heard many warnings that the first holiday season is particularly difficult for grievers. But I wasn’t expecting to wake up this morning with a crushing heaviness in my chest.
Yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, went well. My daughter Cindy dropped in with her family in the morning, and then I spent the afternoon and evening with my son Josh and daughter Jenny and their families. Josh’s wife Patty and her family are from El Salvador; I was treated to special Salvadoran turkey sandwiches and a lively mix of Spanish and English conversations.
This morning, alone, was different, though. I woke up feeling odd, realizing something unusual was happening. And that’s when I began feeling as if someone were sitting on my chest. It's hard to express this feeling, although I’m sure you’ll recognize it if you’ve gone through intense grief. Crushing; heavy; painful; unyielding; demanding. “Stop everything else,” it says to me; “You must face your loneliness.”
I texted Sue, my fellow Lewy Body griever, who was also going alone through her first holiday season; she too was feeling the post-Thanksgiving Day impact. That’s when I realized I needed to talk with Pat. So, Levi and I set out for a little bridge over a little creek named Big Creek about a quarter mile from our house. Pat and I had talked frequently on that bridge, in addition to throwing pebbles over the railing where our big black dog Merle waited below to catch them.
I told Pat how much I missed her. I filled her in on recent events, such as Levi catching Kennel Cough. I doubt the words mattered. Nothing magical happened. I didn’t sense Pat’s spiritual presence. And yet, the heaviness in my chest did lessen, enough for me to continue our conversation as I walked home. Right now, I feel just as lonely as I did before my walk, but, paradoxically, I feel less alone.