Ch.176 Walking to the Creek to Talk with Pat

Ch.176 Walking to the Creek to Talk with Pat

Nov. 2022

            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.