Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Numb

I've been thinking a lot about grief lately. I imagine we all have. All of us humans.


Eight years ago, I took
my cute boots out in the canoe.
We had fun. 



Whether we are or aren't "coming out of the pandemic," we have definitely been IN one, and that has held grief. Birthdays missed. Hell, births missed. Deaths, too. All kinds of celebration of life. 


As society changes, in whatever way it changes in the next 2.5 years, those changes can cause new pain. 


Perhaps I didn't have a "productive" stretch during the pandemic. Perhaps I have redefined "productive" and live a far happier life, more connected to things that matter. Perhaps I have merely survived. No "merely" about it, though.


In any case, I am considering today whether I (and we, as a society) have been misunderstanding grief. It's not like I haven't experienced it before, and I know more grief lies in the days ahead. 


As does more joy. Make no mistake, I know that, too.


Today I had a(nother) dental appointment. I'm getting two back molars crowned this summer, and I have whined about it before. I acknowledge my privilege in having dental insurance at all, to say nothing of the wherewithal to pay premiums and copays. But it's just not pleasant, okay?


Waiting for the "numbing," as the dentist calls it, to wear off is always interesting. I'm continually poking or patting at my cheek, my tongue, my lips. Can I feel them now? Here? No, how about there? Maybe. Et cetera. 


And then, whoosh, the numb spots are gone. Today, sensation returned to my face after 3.75 hours. In the space of about 5 minutes, I went from "is that gnarly thing in my mouth my tongue?" to "hey, there's skin on my cheek and I can feel my lips!"


And yep, that's how I still thought grief works. Like in the movies: there's a montage where our protagonist drags herself out of bed in January, sometimes falling back into bed with a bottle of wine, but generally mooching around the house in her bathrobe while calendar pages flip, and then it's March and trees are budding and she wakes up and goes, "Oh, I feel better! I'm going to be okay."


Feeling returns. The good kind. Energy enough to overcome inertia, to return to some semblance of a former self. 


But I'm guessing that's not how it works. Or how it will work, for some of us, this time. Because while we've all experienced a pandemic, we haven't had the same experience. And that's not all the painful experiences that some of us are experiencing.


Funny (not haha) how old assumptions lie there, waiting to be questioned. 


Now that I have, I won't be wondering where all my old energy is. I can be open to whatever energy I have. And look for that joy.