Emotional Sniper Shots

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.

11 thoughts on “Emotional Sniper Shots

  1. Kinda like that song…”There’s a tear in my beer”….I always used to laugh at that song. But now it hits too close to home.

  2. Chris,

    DI have been reading your post for about 9 months now. Ive posted once, because the love of my lfe and I were going thru the same thing. Exact same thing. I lost my precious angel on Aug. 9th, and am experiencing the same exact thing!

    It’s tough my brother. I went thru the same cool car thing. The emotional roller coaster sux! I catch myself going thru her posts from Aug. 9th on her Facebook, and squall like a baby. If I hear the song Home sweet Home by motley crue, I cry a river. Im here if you need to talk.


    1. Damn, Rusty. I’m sorry you have any idea what this is like. I’m very, very sorry for your loss. You are right, though. We are brothers now.

  3. Sometimes you have to jump off the carousel. You have no idea when it will stop going round and round, you’re going to hurl, and the only way to stop it is to jump.

    1. I feel like this is less a carousel ride and more like a post-tragic-car wreck cleanup. Our whole adventure fits nicely along the typical story lines: shocking opening scene (Jan 5, 3:30PM – Cancer calls), character build up, plot development, climax, unwinding and the denouement. I feel like I’m caught somewhere between the unwinding and the denouement. There is an end to this story and it entails me starting another chapter in my life. Happily, that’s begun.

      I don’t see many things really as carousel rides. Maybe that’s because of, as my great friend Weston once put it, my dumb optimistic-yet-practical attitude (a point of pride, mind you.) See, with carousel rides, as your post implies, you are completely out of control and victim to the endless spinning. I’ll grant you that for a while it sure felt like we were spinning out of control but it ended with a crash…. Or a blessed event, not sure which. Something powerful, for sure. But it ended. This “ride” I’m on now, too, will end. It’s transitional. I won’t be in “this place” forever and that’s nice to know. I don’t particularly like it here but here’s where we are I am. So, onward we I go. I’m glad you are here with me though. Thank you.

  4. I hope I didn’t cause one of those rifle shot moments for you. I walked up to you at a fund raiser recently and told you I read your blog. You don’t know me but I had a business connection with Maggie and I attended her art showing. The moment I walked away from you I felt I had intruded. I’m sorry if that was so.

  5. At least they’re not head shots and you’ve got on good Kevlar. Pretty soon I imagine they’ll be feel like paint ball hits and then mosquito bites.

    Keep on keepin’ on!

  6. BTW carousels are not out of control. They start and they stop, not always when you want them to though. They are up and down while also round and round. You don’t control them but they don’t spin endlessly. I worked at carnivals for 20 years, carousels for 18, that was 15 years ago. No, they do not spin endlessly. I feel we all go through the highs and lows of one situation or thought. Then it stops, we move from one ride to the other. Sometimes you need to jump off and jump start. Leave it going but you are not on it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *