Friday, November 7, 2014

Hidden Grief Landmines and Smoothies

strawberry-banana-smoothieIn the world of living through grief, there are hidden emotional triggers or "landmines" that can seemingly come out of nowhere. These landmines used to freak me out, because I would be going along, having a normal day when suddenly I was blindsided by something that would remind me of Sue and I'd be a crying basket case, sometimes even in public.  It is scary to walk around not knowing when the next bout of grief-triggered crying might hit.

The good news is that I have gotten used to them.  The bad news is that I still sometimes find myself crying in public.

Today I went to the gym and decided afterward to get a smoothie. Near my gym there is a smoothie place that Sue loved. She pretty much lived on those smoothies for most of the last year of her life. Anybody who regularly visited her knew what her order was at the smoothie place and would bring her one. It did not occur to me as I drove up to the smoothie place that I hadn't been there since Sue was alive and I was buying a smoothie for her.

I pulled up to the drive-thru and started to ponder my choices when I saw IT on the menu. The smoothie she would always order. Just as I noticed it, a tremendous wave of sadness for all I have lost washed over me. I can't order her smoothie and bring it to her, sit down and talk all about life. Her smoothie is there for other people to order, but she won't get one ever again. This realization felt devastating.

I started crying. It was uncontrollable. Just then the Smoothie Place Lady asked for my order. I choked out an order (not Sue's smoothie, I think that would have sent me further over the edge) and drove to the window.

That poor Smoothie Place Lady handed me my order and looked like she was really wrestling with what to do about the crying woman at the window. She ended up deciding not to say anything. I think it was the right choice.

I pulled into the parking lot and let myself cry. I used to feel scared and weird when I would have these grief episodes, but I am learning that it is just a normal byproduct of loving my sister so much. These days I am more able to have a grief incident and go on about my day. I can even have a pretty good day, like I did today. I am gaining peace about the grief process.

It doesn't make my heart stop wishing to be able to bring my sister her smoothie, though.

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