Friday, September 18, 2015

In disguise

I've been feeling pretty good lately. My life is rich and, while I have ongoing cognitive dissonance that I can be happy without Kevin, I find that I am. I am working. I have a lovely home. I have wonderful friends and family. I am seeing someone who makes me happy. Life is good.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for any time know that recently I decided I was ready to figure out how to live again. Part of this process has involved cooking. I used to love to cook, so when I thought about things that would help me re-engage with the world, cooking was right up there.

For the last few days I've been feeling a little off. Tired, cranky, having a lot of trouble focusing. This made sense, my father has been ill, I've been working a lot, and so on. I decided to combat this feeling by watching a movie and making myself a nice a dinner, a little bit of self-care. Chicken roasted in my good cast iron pan. Cucumber salad. Fresh tomatoes. Yum. Everything was proceeding beautifully; dinner smelled great, I was enjoying the film, I was feeling more present than I had in awhile. The chicken was just about done so I reached in with a pot holder to pull the pan out.

You know what's coming. Those of you who are especially sensitive (Mom and Dad, I'm talking to you) may want to skip the next paragraph.

I didn't notice the hole in the potholder. I noticed only when I had already grasped the handle of the pan and was pulling it out of the oven. When I felt the searing in my finger I dropped the pan and chicken fat flew out, splashing my cheek, nose, neck and shoulder.

I was very lucky. It missed my eye and I was quickly able to treat the wounds before they became serious. I hopped into a cool shower, a friend came over with aloe and ice. I'm okay, though it will take a few days for the burns to fade.

As soon as I knew I was safe and had cleaned up the spilled grease (one kitchen accident a night is enough) I thought about what happened. I realized that over the last few days I've been feeling more acute grief than I had in a long while. I was missing Kevin. I was sad. As soon as I realized that, I remembered how grief has made me clumsy, tired and careless. Of course I've been off for the last few days. Of course I had an accident. Of course the grief is still there, brought back to the surface by events in my life and just because it comes back sometimes. It wears disguises now and it's up to me to recognize it.

I have known for a long time that the love Kevin and I shared will never vanish; it will live in me and can strengthen the love I feel for others. I have also known for a long time that I will never stop missing him, that this is now part of the fabric of my being, no matter how happy I may be. I'm okay with all of that. What I need to remember is that the grief will rise up again and again, maybe triggered by something or maybe not. I need to be able to recognize it, invite it in and listen to it, remember that it is as much a teacher and part of me as the love.

Grief is not the enemy. There is no enemy. There is only recognition of the visitor, the wisdom behind the mask, the invitation to take the time to feel deeply, truly, celebrating the love and honoring the loss.

Next time I just need to remember to check the potholder first.

(c)2015 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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