I couldn’t move. I wasn’t physically hurt, nor did I feel conventionally sick — but still, I couldn’t move. My body felt heavy and loggy and my brain felt slow. My normal pattern of hopping out of bed and jumping into my work out clothes was unimaginable. So, I just stayed put and began to review why I felt so badly.
I had woken up crying. I wasn’t prepared for that sad wash of emotion – I hadn’t had one conscious thought upon waking, I had just woken up and the tears were there. Too many tears to be shedding, considering the happy place I am in my life.
There was a convergence of brain waves – my past traumas were slamming head on into my current awareness and I was caught in its sticky web. I felt exhausted and depleted. My muscles ached, my brain was foggy and my blanket was suddenly too heavy. I wasn’t sick but I felt sick. I can only describe this feeling as a full body migraine.
I know that I am lucky to NOT suffer from migraine headaches, as do so many of my friends. Dark rooms, hours in bed, plenty of drugs and quiet and rest appear to be their best remedy – but I didn’t have a headache, and yet I felt like my body had all the migraine symptoms.
I began to review. My husband and I had gone out for a lovely dinner the night before – just a glass of wine and grilled chicken. I was sure that too much food and drink were not the issue.
And then I began to acknowledge the day. It was April 18th and my deceased husband would have been 60. Ten years ago to the day, we celebrated his 50th birthday with friends at a belly-dancing bar and had partied all night. Three weeks later he was gone – poof!
I have had a full ten years to rebuild my life from this tragic loss – he died in a jogging/traffic fluky accident while away on a business trip.
I have had plenty of time to process the trauma and time has been my most generous medicine. It took years, far more than I could have imagined to finally wake refreshed and energized, no longer haunted with the disbelief of my altered reality and awash in tears.
And yet, on his birthday, ten years later, once again it was like a “Groundhog Day” morning — tears preceding conscious thoughts. Mourning yet again – spare me!
I tried to fend off any negative thoughts and stay away from wallowing in sad memories but today I wasn’t in charge. I looked over at my running shoes and workout clothes – knowing that once I was up and moving – as usual, the pain and sadness would lift. But I just couldn’t push forward, so I stayed put.
The day’s forecast was fantastic – by normal standards. The first real spring day, 70 degrees and sunny –– but, I was wishing for rain.
I was impatient with my discomfort and irritated with my inability to rouse my energy to suit up into my workout clothes and enjoy this beautiful weather.
“Surrender,” I steadily repeated to myself. My body was guiding me; my mind negotiated and finally complied. I stayed in bed all morning. I read, I wrote, I rested.
When I finally pulled myself from that bed, I needed to reach out to my brother and sister-in-law, and to my sweet mother-in-law and to our boys. Each one was in a state of acknowledgement of this 60th birthday and each one had their own way of being with this day.
Satisfied with my conversations, I moved my exhaustion to the sunny deck and lay on a lounge chair and did very little for the rest day.
And then around 5 pm I started to feel better. The vice that had wrapped itself around my whole being released. I could feel my spirits lift – my body no longer felt weighty, my energy started to pick up and my mind began to clear and lighten.
And as I left the house with my sweet husband, dressed to go out for the evening, relieved that I was ready to be “in” our evening together I was awed by what had happened.
I believe that my body took me to a necessary place of mourning and peace that my mind could not. It took what felt like a full body migraine to get me to stop and stay still. There was no reason to over-think or push through. My best medicine was quiet, rest and patience.
Discomfort disguised as a gift of sorts.