In an episode of the science fiction television show Babylon 5 entitled "The Hour of the Wolf", Commander Susan Ivanova says:
That's how it is. It's 3 AM and I think I might have slept for two hours, so if this doesn't make a lot of sense, you might understand."Have you ever heard of the hour of the wolf? ... It's the time between 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning. You can't sleep, and all you can see is the troubles and the problems and the ways that your life should've gone but didn't. All you can hear is the sound of your own heart."
I actually woke up an hour ago and realized I was hungry. I forgot to eat dinner. I don't know that I was thinking about anything in particular, or got involved in anything distracting - I just wasn't really thinking at all.
I gave up trying to sleep, found some tamales in the back of the fridge; warmed up and paired with a Guinness, I had a very unfashionably late supper.
I'm currently binge-watching episodes of Poirot. They're mindless and sedative and usually do the trick but the little Belgian failed me tonight.
Last entry was May 23. We didn't scatter Asa's ashes as planned - the weather would not cooperate. Time passed and I thought I might do it in July, when my daughter was here for a most welcome visit - but when we came right up to it, I realized I'm just not ready. And I may never be.
We used to close the store on the 4th of July, go to a movie in the morning and then have All American Diner food for lunch. We'd have a movie marathon in the afternoon - usually action hero stuff. This year I chose to open the store for a few hours, having nothing better to do and finding a weird peace in routine. Then his birthday was on the 6th of July. Very dear friends took me to an Irish pub for a meal and a pint and it helped, delaying and defusing the sorrow. My birthday was the 25th, and it wasn't as rough as I'd feared. They say anniversaries and holidays are especially hard the first year, but none of these occasions were as hard for me as the ambushes.
Last week it came to my attention that the car might need some tending. Since I walk to work, it's not something I think about on a regular basis. I filled the gas tank in mid-January, and though I still had over a quarter tank I filled it again in mid-July, having driven less than 150 miles in that time. In all honesty it's been almost 20 years since I've had to deal with things automotive. The tires looked a bit low. I asked a friend for a second opinion and was given a tire gauge and some information and yes, I needed to put air in them. And should probably get them aligned. I found the folder with all the car's maintenance records and bless him, Asa had the tires aligned 4 years ago but had the foresight to purchase a "lifetime alignment package." So all I had to do was call Firestone and make an appointment. I picked up the phone and fell completely apart. This was HIS job. I just couldn't do it. I cried for almost an hour. I knew I still had to get some air in the tires, and some friends offered the loan of their compressor. I thought I should probably clean up the interior a bit before taking the car to their place and as I did, I found a small black canvas grocery sack. In it was a brand new, never used air compressor for tires, basketballs, and pool toys. I took it with me to my friends' place and had him show me how it works. I got this now. I still haven't made that call to Firestone. But I will.
It also occurred to me that the cats were due for their yearly wellness checks and booster shots. I called the vet and got them lined up and took Carmen in on Monday morning.
We walked in and our favorite receptionist was at the desk. I told her we'd have to change the name on the cats' files to mine, breaking the news about Asa. And burst into tears in a crowded vet's office. Damn it all to seven hells, this was HIS job! She put us into an exam room pretty quickly, I pulled myself together, and everything went very smoothly after that. I did laundry and grocery shopping right after taking Carmen home, and I was done with all errands by noon. I made some lunch and went to bed. I was exhausted. I got up a few times, did a bit of lackluster housekeeping, falling asleep and jerking awake over and over until I went to bed for real.
I take Montag in next Monday. It should be a lot easier.
The upshot of this little recitation is this - you prepare yourself for the Known Triggers (birthdays and such), but there's no defense against the unexpected memory bombs. The ones from last week are still going off even now. Grief attacks suck. They are getting fewer and farther between, but I think they're making up for that in their intensity.
It's 4 AM now and I need to rest some. Gotta get ready for work in 7 hours.
(gratuitous picture of beautiful tulips for no reason whatsoever)