A Year of Magical Thinking
A sweet friend recently handed me Joan Didion's book A Year of Magical Thinking, a book about Joan's tragic and unexpected loss of her husband and soulmate. Reading her experience with death felt so familiar I feel like I could have written it.
I read it in one sitting and would probably recommend it to anyone who has been through something similar. So far it's the only book that has really resonated with me...mostly because it isn't telling me what to do or how to think, it's simply telling the firsthand experience of someone who has also gone through unexpected tragedy and what it felt like to her.
It helps to hear that someone else thinks the same things I have been thinking, going through those same waves of grief that are often talked about. Joan Didion repeated the incident in her mind...replayed it over and over. I do the same. I have the image forever burned in my brain of looking at the caller ID when my mom called...we had put in place a "no call" rule in the family until we had heard from Jimmy the day we knew about the shootings in Jordan...and seeing her name on my caller ID made my heart drop in the worst kind of way. I was inconsolable. Without thinking I booked a flight to Houston on the redeye that left 2 hours later. I packed like 4 pieces of clothing that made no sense. And I grabbed an Uber to take me to the airport. I don't remember much else except how ill I felt when I saw my mom calling.
I have a before versus after complex, something else Joan Didion seemed to experience. Everything I look at now, absolutely everything, I think about in a pre-Nov 4th and post-Nov 4th mentality. It's jarring. It hurts every time, especially if I look at something I was doing the day before. I often times have a little mental blackout every time it happens...I will be in the middle of a conversation and this short blackout will happen. It's still all so surprising and shocking and raw.
The crying sometimes isn't as intense, but it comes and goes unexpectedly. I was working on my computer today...simple stuff... and I just lost it. I don't know why...maybe because I've been gone from home for the last 7 weeks and I am just tired? Maybe it's because I have a framed photo of me, Becca and Jimmy next to where I'm sitting? Maybe it's because I sometimes look at the Facebook photos of Jimmy's best friends and know that they too have a big hole in their hearts like I do...and thinking of their hurt makes me hurt too.
It's all really hard...and hasn't gotten "better" or "easier" yet...in all frankness it sometimes feels like the hurt just gets deeper and darker with time.