Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Headlights and Hankies, part II

The surprise on my way home occured in my car as I began to process the emotions I have been experiencing in the past few days. Nothing to do with the headlight incident. Really.

It is a good thing that I work with a hilarious group of individuals or I just might be a bitter person. Their good nature rubs off on me every day I am around them, but occasionally even they can not improve my mood. That's how it was Monday night. I zoomed through the end of the days tasks at work, because I was felt as if I were going to cry at any moment. And I did not want to do it in front of them. Didn't want to be a baby. After all, this is my fourth Christmas without her.

I decided on the way home that I needed to go to Jae's grave. She needs a new flag on her flag stand. And her place has been bare lately, without a lot of trinkets and mementos. What she needed was an Angel for her grave or her headstone. As I went up and down the Wal-Mart aisles of decorations and ornament's, I began to cry.

There were no angels beautiful enough for her grave.

Carols playing overhead.
Mothers pushing their daughters around in shopping carts.
Dozens of people looking for cute ornaments for their tree.
No one knowing why I was there beside them.
Joy everywhere.
Joy. Joy. Joy.
I wanted to scream.

I asked the worker about angels. She said they had none.
"Kleenex? Do you have Kleenex?" I asked.
Nope. Just a brown paper towel.

Have you ever tried to blow your nose with a brown paper towel? It has to be similar to using aluminum foil.

After buying a few other things which I needed, and passing friends whom I held away with a wave, I finally reached my car. Out of control. Right there in the parking lot. It had been building all week,...maybe all month, but it came out right there in my car, in the dark, in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
(Did you hear me?)

I never knew people could have a nervous breakdown just from walking through a store. But from now on, when I go into the parking lots at Christmas time, I am going to look for those people like me. I know they are there.

Four Christmases later, I find that I am used to feeling of grief. It is very familiar to me. However, the intensity still sometimes catches me by surprise.

I can truly enjoy some aspects of the holidays, while others test my sanity.

Today, I am much better. Better at hiding it? No. Just better than I was. I don't try to figure it out. It's just the way it is. I am simply better today.



twin withers said...


Your bother Bobby is a very near and dear friend of mine here at work. We went out for lunch today (I invited myself for a ride in his new truck), and I was sharing with him the difficulties that I have during the holidays. He shared your blog with me.

My husband and I enjoyed the holidays, especially Christmas, oh so much. For reasons that only he and God understand, he took his life in June of 2002, leaving me behind to raise our twins, three years old at the time. This is our 6th Christmas without him. Although it is not as intense a breakdown, there is none the less an annual breakdown and a deep heartache at Christmas time because it will never be the same. I know as I watch our children grow-up there will always be a void. You have the sympathy of someone who truly understands the difficulty of dealing with the loss of someone so dear during the holidays. Just remember that we are still surrounded by so many people who love us and it really is a joyous time of year.

Merry Christmas!

p.s. Thanks for having such a wonderful brother.

Anonymous said...

Random thoughts -
Been there . . . probably even exact same WalMart

Do you think the person in the back room who monitors the security cameras recognizes us by our tears?

. . . and now it's all those little boxes of Valentine cards -

I love you, my sister in this walk
(cat lover)