So I started this grief writing group. Kind of intense so far as yesterday the private Facebook group opened up for all of us. We didn’t have any prompts sent to us yet, but we were allowed to share little introductions of how we got there. I joined late but stayed up till 1:30 reading them. I felt. I felt so sad for all these beautiful people just trying to express the pain of their devastating loss…which helped me at least feel sad. Sadness is an emotion that still feels disconnected when it comes, but is better than having a zillion other emotions instead of the one that feels most appropriate to the season. So that’s good, I think. Sometimes it takes OTHER things washing over me to release what feels right—a song, a piece of artwork, a quiet moment in a strange church, someone else’s pain. Even then, it’s comes as a surprise: the big, sad things that don’t make me sad…and the gentle sudden-ness of things that do.
Sometimes I get Facebook memories that show up out of the blue. I really like them. They help me feel connected a bit. They help me to remember details I’ve already forgotten. They often do make me sad. But at least I can feel it for a minute. That seems appropriate.
This came up today from two years ago, with the following caption: Look! His trach has been capped! And a new haircut makes him look more like himself. The dark look on his face is because he was mad at me for not taking him with me.
All this brings me to sharing what I wrote for my stream of consciousness assignment in my grief writing group tonight. Funny it ended up being more about him than myself. Or maybe not so funny after all.
I don’t have a name. I don’t know what to do. I am not the person I used to be.
I wake up in a new room. Have I been here before? It’s strangely familiar…but I know it’s not home. I want to go upstairs. Or maybe it is home? Maybe someone will take me upstairs later. Maybe my wife will come and tell them I don’t belong here.
Surely someone will take me home later. Someone IS coming. They say my name: Vernon. I remember now…yes, that is my name. Vernon Paul Adams. I’m not sure how old I am, but I know I’m from England. Bournemouth. I can remember my street. My parents will know the rest. Maybe they’ll take me home later when they come. My dad always picks me up when I ask him.
Where’s my bag? Must keep it by me. Surely my important things are in my bag. My computer. My work. Mustn’t lose the bag when someone finally comes to take me home. I’m in California? Good, I always wanted to live in California. Don’t move my bag! I have to get back to work.
Someone is changing my pants. Oh my lord, I’m in a diaper. It’s terribly embarassing, but I feel better already so I won’t complain this time. This lady seems nice, I think I know her. Is it my mother? No,probably not really— she doesn’t look like her, and she speaks with a Mexican accent. She makes jokes as if she’s known me for a long time. I don’t like it. I yell and she scolds me. She knows my name. She asks me what her name is. I call her Mum, and she seems fine with that. Maybe if she calls my dad, he’ll take me home.
A man calls over from the other bed. “How are you doing Vernon. It’s a dialysis day. They are getting you ready. The ambulance will be here soon.” He knows my name too. What’s his? Now I remember. It’s Paul. Or Patrick? I ask him: “What’s your name again?” He says it’s Joe. Still doesn’t ring a bell, but his voice is kind, sounds like a smoker. He keeps talking, seems to know a lot about me.
I can’t see him. I can’t open my eyes. It’s too bright, must squeeze out the light so I can think. I don’t want anyone to lose my bag. I have to get back to work. I yell out so they hear me, in case they don’t understand: “I need my shoes. Make sure I have my stuff. I have to go upstairs. Don’t forget my bag. My wife will collect me soon. Don’t forget my shoes.”
My body hurts. My legs hurt. This room is green and boring. It’s surely a dream. Maybe I spent the night in a hospital? I’m sure someone will explain soon.”
“Hey buddy, ready to go to dialysis?” I open my eyes. Two attendants are above me, trying to move me. I don’t want to go to dialysis. I don’t know why I have to go. I kind of remember now. Oh, no…that horrible, uncomfortable place…no I don’t want to go there!”
“It will be alright,” one of the young men in uniform says. He seems nice. He’s young. He too, knows my name, as if he’s met me before. He’s so relaxed around me. Theres a pretty girl with him. Maybe I can convince them to take me home. I have a family to get to. I have work to finish. I can’t move my body, but I’m uncomfortable. I’m thirsty. Maybe I can get them to give me a drink…they are young and seem nice. Have I seen them before?
They put me in an ambulance. Ah…this is good. Surely they will take me home.