It’s in there, but I am holding it back. I really want to get through the next few days without tears. I’m not sure why, or what, but I think if I can remain stoic through this weekend, I will be proving something to myself.
I woke up after a restless night’s sleep with a monstrous headache. Lola was standing by the edge of my bed asking if she could go outside and play with the neighbor kids. I raised my head up to look at the clock on the bedside table. Ugh! It was much earlier than I had intended on getting up. T, who is an early riser, was already up and gone. Bless his heart. He was doing the weekly grocery shopping.
I sat up groggily, hair wild, head pounding, and tried to figure out what I needed to do first. I threw on a robe, and proceeded to help Lola dress in warm clothes to play outside in the 1/2 inch of snow. I remember those days of childhood. Even a sprinkling of snow was too good to miss out on when it’s Saturday morning and the neighborhood kids were ready to play!
Once she was out the door, I popped the first handful of many ibuprofen I would be taking today. I poured a cup of coffee and tried to figure out what was wrong with me. I felt miserable, but I didn’t have time to dwell on that. I had promised Em to go with her to see our “Hairapist.” We love the woman who does our hair. Not only does she help us look our best, she has become a close friend over the years. In fact, she and I are planning a weekend trip in January. I didn’t dare have a bite to eat. This headache was one of those debilitating, make you sick, kind of headaches. I threw on some clothes, put my crazy hair up into a ponytail, and slipped on some sunglasses.
I walked into the Hairapist with Em, and visited for a while before heading out to get us all mochas for our visit. That’s when the first wave hit. As soon as I was alone in the car, I felt like crying. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw the tears begin to well up in my eyes. I wanted to be home. I wanted to be in bed with the covers pulled up over my head. I wanted a friend. I needed a hug. I wanted my head to stop hurting. I wanted the stress and the worry to go away. I looked back at the poor, pained woman in the mirror, and I said, “Buck up, baby. No tears for you.” I bought the mochas and headed back. The visit really did do me good. The mocha revived me, and the friendship of women (stylist and my daughter) was exactly what I needed. I popped a few more ibuprofen along the way, and the pain began to become manageable.
It was noon, and I still had not eaten. I still couldn’t. Our next stop was the hospital, and knowing what waited there drowned out my appetite. I am tired of long corridors and medical staff. I’m tired seeing so many people who are going through terrible times in their lives. I’m tired of the haunted looks on so many of the faces I pass by. It is Christmastime, and once again, I find myself in sterile hospital corridors instead of celebrating the warmth of the season. I am tired, so damn tired.
T has been wonderful to me this past week. Knowing that he cares even when he isn’t along for the ride does help. I called him to give him an update on my mom’s condition, and he answered the phone, “Hi, precious….” Two words, and they lifted a load of pain.
Em and I stopped for a bite to eat on the way home. We had a chance to talk, to eat, even to laugh. She is going through a hard time with the approach of December 11th, too. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. It will be here, and then it will be over for another year. Until then, I will hold my breath and my tears. December 11th won’t take anything else from me without a fight.
I’m finally home. It’s Saturday, and it was more exhausting than a day at work. I wanted to lay across my bed and have a good cry. I felt the tears building up behind my eyes, in my throat, and down across my chest. I didn’t do it, though. Not this time, and hopefully, I won’t ever again. The tears exhaust me, and I need my strength. The tears weaken me, and I need my strength. I refuse to give another ounce of myself over to this grief. I need my strength.
Instead of tears, I will write. I will release the grief in a way that does not sap me of energy, but instead, strengthens my resolve. I’m snuggled up under the ugly blanket made by my great-grandmother years ago. I have a cup of coffee next to me. T had a pot waiting for us when we got back home. I’m safe, and I’m comfortable now. Right now, I have all that I need.