My new emotional companions are what I’ve labeled rifle shots. Much like a devastatingly accurate shot from deer rifle, these rifle shots strike suddenly, unexpectedly and with tremendous emotional lethality. Unlike the emotional waves from previous months, these little bastards give no warning at all. The old waves of fun times, uh, I mean, emotion would swell up like a tide or tsunami and drench everything in drab. They were very overwhelming and could, if not carefully checked with acceptance and positive thoughts, drag me down quickly into a real mess. In contrast, these new rifle shots come on suddenly, with nary a warning. Think lightning bolt. I’m trucking along like nothing sad has ever happened and then WHAM! Tears are just flowing. It’s bizarre, absolutely bizarre.
The rifle shots come from somewhere although I’m not always certain where. (Maybe I should call them sniper shots?) I read something, hear something or just remember something. But they aren’t a go-digging-for-pain type of reaction. They are much more sudden.
Things that have caused the rifle shots in the last few days include:
- Ending a correspondence to a fellow widower with “And I sure miss her.”
- Reading a fellow widow/widower’s email that referred to the anniversary of their loved one’s death as their Angel Day (this was a tough one)
- Thinking while driving along about how I need to remember to be happy
The last few days have been especially challenging because of these rifle shots; they hurt and there’ve been many. My psychiatrist tells me that it’s a good sign; that because I’m venturing out and moving into my new Me world (vs. the previous Us world) I’m having experiences that are reminding me, conscious or subconscious, of special times with my sweet wife. His point obviously is that I’m venturing out and despite the short-term pain, it’s a step in a good and healthy direction. I understand his point but I’m not sure I agree with him although I can’t offer up a suitable counter-explanation right now.
They don’t last very long usually but were someone to see it happen it might be unsettling (like it is for me.) It’s very sudden. I can be smiling, laughing, talking like I don’t have a care in the world and then BLAM! Tears a just a fallin’. It’s kind of amazing, really. I recognize what it is, let it run its course, and then put it back into the past where it belongs. And it’s over. My psychiatrist compares these events to a splinter coming to the surface after an injury. All seems fine and then ouch! What’s this? A splinter? Then it’s gone never to be bothered with again. He thinks that after my round of “firsts” are done, the rifle shots will end. The firsts to come are many.