I made a mistake last night - I picked up the book my book club read in November and tried to read some more of it. I knew I shouldn't have because I had nightmares when I tried reading it the first time...but the book is like a car accident that you don't want to look at but can't keep your eyes off of. It's insanely depressing and makes me think all kinds of horrible thoughts. Those thoughts make it tough for me to breath (I actually had to tell myself to take slow/steady breaths). I become completely irrational and question everything - especially my existence, the point of everything, why I brought children into the world, etc. In other words, the meaning of life...because the book is basically about death. I have always had a fear of death - I deal with it by not thinking about it. I haven't had to deal with it in years...7 years this February to be exact. That was the last time someone I loved passed away. I dealt with it okay because there was the "at least she isn't suffering anymore" aspect of it. It wasn't sudden and I had time to prepare for it. I still went through all the stages you go through when you are grieving and it still hurt. I was busy, though - and probably didn't deal with it the way I should have at the time. I have no peace when it comes to death - I do believe in an afterlife, but I don't think about it because it creates panic in me and not peace. I know that this is because I LOVE my life and don't want it to change. I know it's because I can't imagine not having those I love around me.
Anyway - so this book, "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion - talks about how she deals with the sudden passing of her husband and an ailing daughter. In her defense, she doesn't write in a way that is meant to depress you. She just doesn't sugar coat anything and really does give you a feel for what she went through. The general consensus at my book club was that it was too personal. You almost felt like you were intruding and seeing something you shouldn't. That's all true...it's extremely personal. Maybe that is why I can't finish it...I actually can't get past Chapter 5. She is an excellent writer and writes in a way that makes you feel what she feels - unfortunately, it isn't a way that I want to feel. I know I shouldn't try to read it again - but I probably will. I just don't like that it makes me feel so irrational.
When Joan discusses the things that she remembers about her husband, when she discusses how she goes over the events of his death again and again, when she talks about having the feeling that he will come back - that, even though she has publicly accepted it, she just cannot comprehend that he isn't coming back, when she talks about all of the things you have to deal with immediately after and then in the next month or 6 months or year, I just feel a tightness in my chest. It's because I know - I know that there is a possibility that some day I will have to deal with those same things. There is a chance that I will be in her position and be going through the things of a loved one deciding what to do with it all. I haven't lost a lot of people, yet. I have lost some - but I am blessed to still have so many family members in my life and those that I have lost I haven't had to do anything for. I was able to just focus on my feelings...I didn't have to make any decisions.
I pray that I don't have to deal with it any time soon - but I know it's coming. I think that's why I had to remind myself to calm down. It's easy for me to get caught up in the - every day is a day closer to all of these terrible things happening. It's a day closer to when I lose someone I love. It's a day closer to when I leave those that I love. It's a day closer to all of the things I dread coming to fruition. It's a good thing I have 4 beautiful children to distract me - it's a good thing that I have things to look forward to as well as dread. It's a good thing I'm busy. I know that sounds all gloom and doom and dramatic, etc. but I think that I've come up with a way to help me deal with it...and it's not that complicated. I am going to start writing down things to look forward to! I'm going to try to focus on being one day closer to something wonderful rather than one day closer to something awful. Maybe that's the point. Live looking forward to the good that is coming instead of dreading the inevitable.
Here's to hoping this post is one of a kind - and to starting my list! I'll share it when I get a chance...maybe the first thing to look forward to is getting a good night's sleep! :)
17 hours ago