I often sleep with my window open so I can hear the early morning traffic begin on the highway that is close to my street. It is comforting to hear another day begin and to know that we are moving in the same direction.
When I was little I woke up to the strains of my father’s Zenith radio. He was always up at the crack of dawn everyday of his life, enjoying his tea (with his first cigarette) and the various radio personalities from CKDH as they shared the morning news and music.
I also heard the three kisses he and my mother shared every morning before he left for work.
There is nothing like sound and the routines of the day to trigger memories. When Beatrice was young, Patrick and I shared bedtime duties. I sang the songs, read the stories and rocked her; Pat provided the entertainment (I know you find this hard to believe). One of our nightly rituals was his reenactment of the slow motion bionic man, complete with noises, facial expressions…well you get the picture. And as long as we laughed, he performed! He also had a great puppet routine with Robbie, the harbour seal, and Black Beauty, the horse. It goes without saying that both had very strong opinions and less than desirable attitudes, but once again his girls laughed so things often escalated. The joy in knowing that neither Bea nor I will ever forget these moments is overwhelming at times, but well worth the emotion.
Perhaps one of the sounds I still miss the most is that work boot on the back doorstep each night. Of course it is easier since the move to a different house but I will tell you that nothing, nothing eased the strain of the day or my anxious mood like Pat’s footstep at the backdoor each night. It was a sign that we made it through the day and that for the next few hours we were all together and safe, enjoying the simple things: a Murdoch Mystery, Modern Family, or All Creatures.. .
So it’s no wonder that the hours of 3-6 can still be a challenge in my grieving. What I choose to fill those hours with is the true key. Yesterday was a disaster. But not today. Today I had my hair cut by my friend and hairdresser who took the time to give me some extra curl; I took our sweet girl Sal for a walk to pick up the mail, and right now I am blogging. I got a great new scarf through online shopping (another blog unto itself) and it will be a tremendous evening for another speed walk downtown listening to some great tunes. Notice the power of that developing list. And while I hate the phrase “new normal”- please, there is absolutely nothing normal about what is happening here- I will advocate for the importance of routine and the comfort it does bring, particularly to those of us who carry that good old anxiety around with us.
Of course the loss of certain routines can only bring sadness. The certainty after all has been lost. The only thing I can say is to be aware, when you can, of what the triggers could be. And if you are blindsided, as I was yesterday, document it in your mind or on paper, and live differently the next day. It’s a hard process, and it’s tiring, and you do not always behave as you should. But people understand and they support and they commiserate.
And then you wake up the next morning with some really great memories from your childhood in your head and a picture of a crazy husband who talked for puppets.
Until next time,