Friday, January 9, 2015

Flash Back - Flash Forward

OH NO.  Not again.

It's happening again!  

Please don't make me go through this again - please....

But the memory crashes in unwanted, unbidden, and the events of that pivotal day tumble like blurry slow-motion video footage - surreal but yet so real that I can feel the weight of every word, every thought, every emotion. They are like billows - giant ocean waves - and there's nothing I can do to stop them.

I'm terrified because (in hindsight) I know what the result is before I even see it again - but still - the scene plays out: the phone rings, I answer, and I hear a familiar voice tell me news that no parent should ever hear. "There was an accident ... a head-on collision ... she was killed instantly ..."

The tumult of emotions - the grief, the shock, the incredible horror and sadness, the disbelief and the anger - all descend. No, no, NO! I don't want this - I want it to go away, to stop, PLEASE STOP...

But it doesn't stop. The wave crests, washes over me. I struggle to keep from being bowled over, to remember which way is up - "Look for the light. The light is up. Reach for it ..." My head surfaces for a second; I gasp for air as the current drags me downward for another repetition of that scene - that awful moment - or vignettes from the minutes and days that followed. "Remember. This too shall pass. Feel the feelings, process them, it will get better." 

Illustration "Sketch Of Woman Crying" by
luigi diamanti at

In a cruel plot twist, the video in my head stops rewinding and replaying, and hits fast-forward ... showing me all the things I wanted to see but will never see: her finding a soul-mate and getting married, her having children of her own, her phoning me to ask me about potty-training ... all gone. 

I cry. I remember how full of life she was - I let myself feel how deeply I miss her, and hot tears fall and make tear-drop-shaped stains on my shirt as my shoulders heave up and down. 

I find some way to honour her. I find a song on YouTube that makes me think of her and her zest for living every moment. More sobs, acknowledging a future she and I will never have. I remember that someday, I will see her again. She'll wrap me in one of her big bear hugs, and lift me off my feet like she used to do.

It helps. I give myself the space I need to deal with the aftermath. I allow myself to grieve, to breathe, to look after myself, to reach out if I need to and to receive help from those who care about me.  Prolonged isolation is not my friend, even if I need some alone time at the beginning to get through the flashback and the flash-forward.

And the wave subsides. Someone throws me a life-line and pulls me to safety. I am able to let go, to relax. 

For now. 
Until next time.

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