There's a Zen koan: when doing hard practice, expect the weird.
And then there's this: When you meet the Master in the road, he will hit you in the mouth with a stick.
Both of these apply to my grief.
A short chronicle of what I've experienced to date: Rage. Anxiety. Fatigue. Nausea. Fear. Mania.
I thought that Virginia's death would be an end. I thought the grieving that we'd experienced in the last three years of her life, of the constant sense of losing pieces of what made Virginia and the pain that loss caused me would dissipate. I was wrong.
The grief has begun to manifest itself in ways I never expected. I've known depression and anxiety before -- hell, I've been treated for them. Grief is different. Grief comes to you at the moments you least expect it, and slaps you in the face. Grief hides like a cat under the bed, and springs out and sets his claws in your leg, regardless of whether you've done anything to provoke him. Grief hijacks your birthday, and reduces you to tears when you realize the one phone call and birthday card that followed you all your life to this moment won't be coming this year.
Intellectually and emotionally, I know that doing anything to numb the grieving process is counterproductive. And my grief isn't absolutely debilitating: I get up, get daily activities under way, experience the joy of walking the dog and sharing coffee with Graham -- life is beginning to go on.
But I'm stymied by other, simple things. And complicated issues that require real thought and persistence terrify me, and drive me literally to seek distraction.
I know this will pass. But while it's here with me, grief is the new normal. And friends, it sucks big time.