Sunday, September 7, 2008

Death and Anxiety

Each day, usually in the morning, I get online. I open my own blog and check to see if any of my blogger friends have new entries. If so, I click and read. I am not commenting so much anymore but I am still reading.   

I'm not sure why I am not commenting so much as I once did.  In a way I feel like I've said or written about everything there is to say.   And commenting seems harder to me than posting.   Commenting means trying to find something relevant and significant and uplifting and encouraging.  For some reason it is harder now for me to pull out those thoughts.

In a few days it will be the 7th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I do remember it because of the attacks themselves just like I remember the Oklahoma City bombing every year.  I knew people killed in the Oklahoma City bombing.  I did not know anyone killed in 9/11 at least directly.  Still it was an event that touched us all in some way or another.  

But the 9/11 anniversary means as much or even more because I remember watching it with my mother and father. It was the last big thing (as in memorable big I suppose) I guess that we all three experienced together.  We sat there at the little table in their breakfast nook and watched Katie Couric.  I was early that morning with our coffee and cookies.  It had been my parents' habit to have coffee break at 9:30 every morning for a while and I continued that when I came to live with them.  Except I fixed the coffee and the cookies.

Coffee break was one of the things that I grew to love.  There were many other things.  I guess that is not a very big thing is it?  But I would really like to have that tradition again. 

Dad had been down to open the gate and get the  paper that morning.  He was still able to do all those things.   Only later would he lose those abilities and then regain some and then lose them all over again.  Remembering that makes me both sad and happy.  Sad that I cannot look out the window and see him opening the gate and picking up the paper and then walking back to the house and picking up trash along the way.  Happy that I relish the memory.

He and mom slept together in their bedroom then.  He took such good care of her even though it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to manage.  He was so very brave as was she.

Then, too, in a few more days after that it will be the first anniversary of my dad's death. I think about it ever so often. I have some anxiety about it. I don't know why exactly.  I try to push the anxiety aside but still it lurks there just beneath the surface.

I've been edgy and short tempered all week.  

It's not entirely the event itself that brings the anxiety. In part it is the remembering of that time and the near re-experiencing that I somehow go through when I do remember. The guilt of course is present.   I suppose the guilt never completely leaves.  The what ifs are there, too. And the missing mixed with the relief. Everything is all so jumbled up.

Monday I have to go to a funeral. He was such a dear, sweet man. He was only 71.  That's only 11 years older than I am.  It's been 6 years since he's been battling the cancer.  I shouldn't think it but I do anyway that I could easily have something myself in the next 5 years.   The last time I saw him was at Church two or three Sundays ago now.  He was in a wheel chair for the first time that I'd noticed.  People prayed for him and touched him and surrounded him and hugged and kissed him.  Judy went to him, too.  She felt close to him and he had helped her.  He had helped many others as well.  He hurt at the end but I hope not too long.

On the way home Friday evening I drove by a wreck.  A man on a bicycle had been hit by a car.  He was beneath the front of the car and I could see his body on the ground and he wasn't moving.  An officer was there and in the distance I saw a fire engine and a rescue truck.  Several people were gathered around the man and doing things I know not what.  I don't know if he was dead or not but I thought he might have been.  And if he wasn't then he was hurt.

I thought about what it must have been like when he started his ride.  He was wearing a helmet and a cyclists's suit and it was well marked and this was during the day light.  I can't imagine how or why the car hit him.  I wonder who of those people was the driver.   No one was expecting to have an accident when they started out.  And thank the Lord for those who stopped to offer assistance.

Not one of those 9/11 victims were expecting disaster.  I wasn't expecting dad to die when he did.  My friend may have known his time was near.

Seeing the accident nearly made me sick to my stomach.  And the anxiety I already felt welled up and I wondered briefly if I should pull over on the side of the road.  Maybe driving is just too dangerous.  I'm not that scared of being hurt myself really not that I want it.  But I don't want to hurt anyone else.  How do I really know those cars coming towards me will stay in their lanes or that those around me will not come over into mine or that the cars approaching the interesections will really stop?  Or how do I know whether I will make some terrible mistake and do something wrong or unexpected?

But that all is gone in a flash and I know it is the anxiety that causes it and I turn my thoughts to other things and continue on.   I am listening to KCSC playing classical music and soon I let my mind relax along with the sounds of the beautifully performed music. 

When I arrive at my destination I am so tired.  


~Betsy said...

Ever since the attacks in 2001, September has become a month of reflection for me as well. Our weather that day was incredible - beautiful blue skies with bright sunshine, much like it is today.

Everything felt right to me then until I saw the plane hit the tower. Life has never been the same.

Lori1955 said...

I think death always leaves us with scars that will never heal and when we lose someone we love, a part of us dies too.

I am holding you and Nancy close to my heart this month. I will never forget that week last year, the shear powerlessness of death coming all around us and there was nothing we could do to stop it.

¸.•*´)ღ¸.•*´Chris said...

Being an EMT, death never got easier for me. I never took it well and each call let it's own individual mark in some way. I remember some of the other medics just seemed to rebound after the calls but I seemed to be bothered by it a bit.

Thinking about you this month as well. I know this is going to be a tough one. Keeping you close in prayer.