Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Waves of sorrow and comfort

It's no secret that the last 36 hours have been pretty difficult at times.

Like when I walked through the door for the first time since Chassis was put to sleep yesterday morning...and when I realized that there would be no night time walk just before bed.

The thing is, I'm aware of my feelings much more than I ever have been. I think before (as an adult), when I was faced with something that would be painful, I would eat to numb the pain. Or maybe drink a beer or two.

But yesterday, I did neither.

I cried (a lot). I talked on the phone with family and friends (a lot). And I slept (not a lot).

I awoke around 6 PM when I was famished - and I should've been. I hadn't eaten anything since 7 AM that morning. I ate more than I probably would've - but that was more due to me being so hungry than anything else.

I did recognize that I wanted to keep eating. In fact, I wanted to eat every morsel of food that had ever brought me comfort. But we didn't have what I wanted in the house...and I felt too miserable to put on a bra and walk outside. It would've meant changing out of my PJs and that just wasn't going to happen. It seemed like that would take too much effort.

So I laid down again. And I did something I hadn't done in decades.

I sucked my thumb.

I used to suck my thumb when I was a kid. In fact, as pathetic as it is, I sucked my thumb until I was in 4th grade and my parents installed a medieval torture device of sorts in my mouth. It was basically a retainer that had SPIKES on the roof of my that if I put my thumb up there, it would poke it and hurt.


But it worked - I stopped sucking my thumb.

Until yesterday.

The thing is, I found myself strangely UNcomforted by the sucking of my thumb. Here was the thing I had done for hours at a time when I was a kid (and really, my weight issues emerged shortly after 4th grade) to comfort myself.

And it didn't work. It didn't feel comfortable or comforting. In fact, it just felt like everything didn't fit.

So I cried some more and cuddled a stuffed animal and tried to fall asleep.

Strange, really. That the two things that used to give me comfort and shelter from my sorrow didn't work.

Yesterday, I had to develop new skills. I was sad. I was lonely. But I got through it.

I sat with my feelings...without my thumb, without alcohol, and without food. Just me and my intense feelings. It was, to my best recollection, a first.

And you know what? It really wasn't as bad as I feared it would've been. Somehow me acknowledging my feelings - fully - made the tides of sorrow more manageable than I had imagined. Sure, the first wave was a doozy. But by the eleventh wave, I had hope that the wave wouldn't last long. I knew that the sadness would ease just as I know it will come back.

It's a cycle - like everything else. And although I am still very, very sad when the waves hit, it's something that I am getting through.

Your comments mean more to me than I can express. And just like how the waves of sadness wash over, when I check my email and see the kind words that you wrote, the comfort washes over me too.

So thank you.

P.S. TinaM had asked what happened...and I guess I forgot that I had written about her before...just not on this blog. I wrote about her neurological disease on my other blog - and if you'd like, you can read it here. But basically on Monday night, around 1:30 AM, Joe and I realized that Chassis could not and would not lay down. For a dog that spends about 21-22 hours out of the day sleeping, not being able to lay down and get relief from muscle spasms was exhausting. She was stressed, uncomfortable, exhausted, and clearly unhappy. It was a long road to get to this point (the previous post was written almost two years ago), but I know that I did the right thing. In the end, the vet, the vet tech, and two others were in the room with me crying right along side of me.


Amy P said...

that's some pretty amazing realizations. that's something i've been trying to do more: really feel whatever it is i am feeling and not always try to shush it with food or whatever. it's hard work. and you did a hard thing. but you know it was the right thing. i'm shedding tears for you my friend.

TinaM said...

Thanks for answering my question, I read the other blog and feel even worse for you :( To have to dread this for so long, I'm so sorry. I'm glad you know that you DID do the right thing.

One of the reasons I read your blog is because of how totally honest you are, no matter what. As much as I wish you didn't have to go through this, I thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. And the struggle that comes with it...
As hard as it is, you are doing a great job.

Kris said...

o'h Anne, I am so sad for you.
I am glad that you sat with your feelings and FELT them. I hope you realize how huge that is....what an important step and accomplishment. I am thinking of you and Joe.
PS---you could still go for a walk at night...

Lala said...

You absolutely did the right thing, but my heart breaks for you. Chassis has the sweetest face, and I know you must miss that sweetness terribly. I am so impressed that you sat with your feelings. Know that you have lots of compassionate folks thinking of you.

Lala said...

You absolutely did the right thing, but my heart breaks for you. Chassis has the sweetest face, and I know you must miss that sweetness terribly. I am so impressed that you sat with your feelings. Know that you have lots of compassionate folks thinking of you.

Sam said...

Oh Anne!! If I were there I would just give you the biggest hug and have a cry with you!! That is one of the hardest things to do, I'm very sorry for your loss. Sounds like she was an amazing dog, pet, and friend! I am amazed at your stregnth and courage! I pray you will have peace and get some sleep tonight!!

Holly said...

I am so sorry about your dog. I think that getting through this time without your past comfort things such as food, alcohol, stuffed animals, and your thumb you will in the end be more healed than you would if you had to comfort yourself using a substance of sorts. Your healing and grieving will be in it's purest form and you will become a stronger person because of it.

Becca said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. You did the right thing, you obviously loved her very much, and she knew that. It will get easier with time, just as it does whenever we lose someone we love. ~huggles~

Amanda said...

I'm so sorry about Chassis. I hope that you are able to continue to work through it in a healthy way. You did the only thing you could to help Chassis; you did the right thing.

Lanie Painie said...

It's so very hard to lose a pet. I'm proud of you for handling it honestly and without the food, etc. When I read Geneen Roth's latest book a few weeks ago, she was talking about the same thing you are here - about allowing oneself to actually feel and deal with the feelings instead of hiding behind food, drugs, or other "comforts". it's been helping me a lot with my anxiety.

Lanie Painie said...
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