It's been a rough month. Heading back to work after Monty's death has sucked the big one. The addition of way too many changes at work combined with feeling the loss of Monty every single day has made this one of my most challenging months yet. It's strange. I find myself bracing myself for moments that I know will be difficult - pulling up to my school and not seeing Monty's CRV parked in its spot, heading up to my desk in the office and sitting next to Monty's empty chair, the one with a piece of masking tape on the back with the word "nerd" written on it (I did that about a year ago and he, surprisingly, never took it off!), and heading to Friday happy hour knowing that Monty would not be sauntering in, predictably donning his trusty black t-shirt. Those moments are Ok because I'm prepared. It's the moments that I'm not prepared for that hit me the hardest. One day as I walked my student to my therapy room I thought I heard Monty's voice. I turned quickly and then my heart sank. Of course it wasn't Monty. Monty is gone. I felt such an intense pain in my chest I thought that I would fall over. I hadn't prepared myself for that one. The same thing happens occasionally when I am driving. The thought suddenly pops into my head, "Monty is gone." The hurt is so intense and I find myself bursting into tears.
I saw a grief analogy that explains this phenomenon perfectly. Grief is like a box with a ball inside. On one side inside the box is a pain button. Initially, in the early grieving stages, your ball is massive and takes up the entire box. It just constantly sits on the pain button. As your grief begins to subside, your ball gets smaller. It bounces around the box. It doesn't hit the pain button as often; however, you just never know when it will bounce directly on the pain. When it hits, you have no warning. Makes sense. I just really miss my bud. We leaned on each other when things at work were hard. Work is really hard right now and he's not here to lean on, nor is he here leaning on me. When things sucked at work we used to play "hands slap" to blow off steam (You know...you try to slap the person's hands before they can pull their hands away). What I wouldn't give to play that stupid game again. I'd even let him win. Sigh. It just sucks.
In other news, I apparently tore a ligament and stretched a tendon in my hand. It's ok though. At least I did it doing something cool. One of my frustrations about my stupid cartilage disease is that I never have a good story to back up my injury. Do you know how many times I've wanted to lie and tell someone that I hurt my knee skydiving or whitewater rafting in the Rockies? "I'm on crutches because I have a disease in my cartilage" is so freakin' boring and lame. So although a torn ligament and stretched tendon is not such a serious diagnosis, at least I am able to back up this injury with a decent story.
As I'm sure you know (because I shamelessly bragged all summer), my knees were quite awesome and I was able to get back to one of my favorite sports, wakesurfing. With increased confidence and bravado, simply surfing the wake was not enough, so I began incorporating a few tricks into my surf. One such trick, known as the "fire hydrant," is comprised of placing your right hand on the board in front of you and lifting your right leg out behind you. I actually landed the trick a few times over the summer, so I wasn't too nervous about giving it a whirl during each surf. Unfortunately during my last surf of the summer I lost my balance mid hydrant and jammed my fingers and knuckles into the board as I fell. My hand swelled up and I couldn't close my fingers for a few days, but eventually it subsided and although it still ached, I assumed it would ultimately heal on its own with time.
Cue 9 weeks post "fire hydrant fail." My hand is still swollen and my fingers are stiff. I get shooting pains down my fingers when I try to hold a pen or open a jar. I really didn't want to deal with it until it began to affect my ability to stably grasp my wine glass. At that point I knew it was serious business. Once it interfered with one of the few things that is currently bringing me joy, I knew intervention was necessary. After numerous appointments with my Doc, X-ray, and physio, it has been determined that I suffer from a torn ligament and a stretched tendon. So...physio it is. I'm really good at physio and looking forward to showing off my physio skills to some new poor unsuspecting physio. Hey, at least when she asks, "How did you do this?" I can show her this:
So that's how things are going. There are days when I wonder if I will ever feel true happiness again. I don't want to wake up each day just wishing for it to be over. But then there are days when I hear myself laughing at something one of my kids said, days when I catch myself smiling with a friend, and days where things feel OK-ish. So I guess eventually I will. I need to try harder and choose happiness. I know that...but easier said than done. Unfortunately the reality is that regardless of how small that ball gets, it will always be bouncing around the box.
Cheers Friends. Take care.