A slippery, synthetic duvet is slowly suffocating me, pressing me into the pillows that feel like they’re filled with rocks. I’m tossing and turning to the sounds of the Beagle snoring at my feet, on top of my feet. More heaviness. I can’t breathe. My throat feels like it’s clogged and someone is stomping on my chest. It’s emotion. Feeling displaced. Both, it, and I…
Where am I? This was a place I called home at some point, for some time. The room has been transformed from a colorful teenage chaos filled with posters of Weimaraners dressed up as people and the beautiful face of Jim Morrison, to now, an office with two computer monitors and a couch that pulls out for my arrival. My mother is sleeping in the room next door, ecstatic to have her little girl home, to tuck her in to a bed that was made with love for a sleepless night. I drift in and out of consciousness, looking for home on this couch-bed, but home was left behind in Boulder, Colorado, and home is out, dancing and being free for a night away from me.
I try to push the Beagle over, to make some room for breath, for blood to reach my tingling feet, and in the innocence of her sleep, she growls. Why am I here? I gaze over and next to me, buried under a ton of heavy air sits “The Tibetan Book of The Dead,” and I remember that I am here to heal. Here to process the anger that has been erupting like a volcano, being projected at home, on home; the anger that they say is the final stage in the grieving process. But if grieving is cyclical and if grieving is a process, then how can there be a final step? Perhaps, a spiral into the ether?
The healing has been slow. Is slow. I’ve allowed the past to partially scab over, but picking my scabs has become a bad habit. Sometimes, I just don’t want to forget. I scratch to remember what I have lost, longing to hold it close to my heart. Other times, I wish is to forget, but I bump into things that remind me, and the wounds re-open, get dirty, infected. I bump into babies on the street, or people who don’t know. I run into people who know but are too uncomfortable to face me. I bump into smells, sounds, tastes. I run myself crazy with memories.
I don’t know what I bumped into tonight, in the room from my past or the room of my dreams, but I am startled awake, remembering and feeling; the density of life. I miss my home. I miss Leif. I miss all that never was. I’m learning how to live so that I know how to die. I’m trying.
There will be scars, no doubt. Wounds like these don’t go unnoticed. Anger alone leaves streaks behind, welts the size of small mountains. But I will take scars any day over fresh wounds. The scars show that I’m a survivor. My heart beats stronger, and day by day, I’m healing just a little bit more.