Where I Am

A man has a recurring pain; it is often sharp and sometimes dull.  It can come at any time and it can last from a few seconds to hours.  It is often accompanied by tears and/or hyperventilating. It comes every day.   Sometimes the pain prevents him from doing the simplest tasks that one needs to do to get through a day.  Being an intelligent, rational person,  he goes to see his family doctor.  He describes the symptoms to his doctor who can see some of them because the man is crying and is obviously in some discomfort.  The doctor says, “I know your history and I can help you”.  The grateful man says “Is there a medicine I can take”?  Doctor: “No, there is no medicine.  The only thing that works is behavior modification along with recognizing the source of your pain.  If you follow the guidelines and rules in this pamphlet your pain, tears and hyperventilating will mostly disappear.  It may come back occasionally but it will be less severe and will last a much shorter period of time”.  Patient: “ Great doc, I am anxious to start.  When can I expect these big improvements you speak of”?    Doctor:  “It’s hard to tell but I think you are a promising candidate for a quicker recovery.  You strike me as a real man.  Most people take anywhere from two to ten years,  but you might be able to show great progress in a year or so.  Don’t worry, you will get there.  I am going to recommend that you attend group meetings with people that have the same symptoms.  These meetings can be very helpful.  Some of the people have been going to the meetings for years.”   Patient: Thinking to himself “Where can I get a new doctor”?

Kat passed away 4 ½ months ago.  In the grief meetings I attend I have met more than 35 people who have lost their spouses from 22 years ago to 4 months ago.  A few of the women have lost 2 husbands.  Many of the people I  have met have gone through the above scenario. If they haven’t, initially, it is because they were paralyzed and had a hard time taking a first step.  It appears that no one becomes an expert at handling grief.  At best, you learn to adjust to your new life.  That can take a very long time.  I am at the beginning of the adjusting phase.

I have become a writer.  Most of my waking hours I am thinking about my history with Kat; I remember things I had forgotten long ago.  I compose sentences and paragraphs in my head.  If I am writing about the subject now, i.e. dating Kathy, I add it to the story I am currently writing.  If the memory or thought is of something that occurred later, I record it in the notes I keep.  I don’t have a choice about writing.  I have to write.  That is how my passion for Kat is a living, breathing thing for me.  I cannot imagine living without that passion.  My fear is that Kat will be forgotten.  That is the most painful thought I have.  I can’t let that happen.  Those of you who knew Kat will recognize her in my writing.  Hopefully, those of you who did not know her will see that she was very much a person worth knowing.

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