August 5, 2013
I've found avoidance. I'm not sure what the big difference is between the two, except I understand avoidance to mean avoiding the pain and denial to mean acting as if nothing has happened to cause the pain. I've probably confused the two on more than one occasion, but I've come to the conclusion that right now avoidance is more practical than denial, though neither will work in the long run and will probably cause more pain down the road.
I had this big idea that for the next eight days or so, while my daughter is out of town, I could totally hole up and avoid reality. I could sleep the time away and if that failed, watch one of the gazillion things that has accumulated on my DVR. Of course, I have to come out of my room to let the dog out and feed him, but he's perfectly content to hide away with me, so the plan sounded swell. I'm perfectly happy with pretending. I was an only child who had an imaginary friend, probably long past the "normal" time. Pretending, denial and avoidance get along swimmingly with each other, which is great, given my current state of mind.
Life, however, refuses to cooperate with me or any of my three closest friends. Such a nosy, intrusive thing, this life of mine. While I want to turn the phone off, turn off all the lights, make myself scarce and avoid one thought or image that makes me sad, life insists on reminding me, forcing me away from what I think is a safe place.
My dreams are still the primary way this is happening. I have had so many dreams about Brandon, it's crazy-sometimes, two in one night. I don't know of anyone else who has lost a child that has had one vivid dream after another about her child that is gone. And, in every single one of them, I've known he was either not alive or not going to be alive. My mind still refuses to play along with my heart, which just wants to not ache so desperately. I woke up today from what felt like a very long, involved dream. In reality, I'm sure it was only a few minutes. I should've written down every detail or at least recorded it, but it was so vivid, I was sure I wouldn't forget. Incidentally, I've never learned things the easy way, in case you haven't yet picked up on that little detail. What I do remember is that I was trying to help Brandon. I kept saying to him and to whomever else was in the room, "When you are dead...." or "when Brandon dies," and it was not a well received comment. I think it was my daughter who was telling me not to say that, repeating something I often say, to not speak that over his life. I couldn't get anyone, including Brandon, to understand that he was absolutely going to die, it wasn't just me being morose or dramatic, it was a fact. I was trying so hard to do ANYTHING to stop the path his life was on. I didn't wake up upset at all, something I understood when I woke up, but have since forgotten. Maybe the fact that I can dream about the boy without being awakened to the sound of my own crying is a good sign. God knows I cannot think about him during my waking hours without crying...unless I'm around other people, in which case I just keep talking like a maniac, so the dam won't burst open.
Last night I was thinking how unbelievable it is that I won't ever get to touch Brandon, again, I won't ever get to see those whiskers on his face or those crazy long and curly eyelashes. It's like everything good has just ended. I mean, there is still good here, but anything that might bring me joy is a bland taste of joy. It's so hard to explain, but it feels like there won't ever be a full-flavored life, again. Sure, I have to go on and I'll live my life, but losing half of your heart is probably like losing a couple of limbs...you can live, but never as fully, never the same, never without noticing that something is missing.
And, those thoughts are why avoidance is just so much easier. It's a good thing that booze is never going to be a vice of mine (one of the few) because it would just be too easy right now to fall into a bottle. I get why people get lost in booze or any addictive substance, I suppose, because numbing the pain, pushing the painful memories away, even for a little bit, is a little bit longer that you don't have to face a reality that feels like it will kill you. I keep hoping that avoiding the ache will be a salve that will work just until it starts to heal underneath. I think that if it can start to heal a little, just because of the mere passage of time, I'll be able to come back to it later and deal with it, without feeling like I want to die. I would probably tell someone in my shoes that all this is doing is prolonging the pain and my head knows that, but the pull to avoid the pain, just for now, is too strong. Even the remotest possibility of an ache-free day is far too tempting to walk away from, so I'm gonna hang around with avoidance a bit longer.
Today (8/6), I opened the FB app on my phone to this, from Rick Warren: Trying to forget doesn't work. But you CAN let God give new meaning to bad things that have happened to you. Romans 8:28. LOL, I can't even get away with a little avoidance without getting called out. I'm probably not ready to stop trying, but thanks, God, for the reminder.