Highs and Lows

Last Thursday, while back in California for more job interviews, I checked out the downtown L.A. Art Walk, a monthly event that I’ve been meaning to do for ages.  I wandered in and out of art galleries with my best friend, enjoying the art and the live music and the street party atmosphere. But I think the best part was the food trucks. While sampling Indian samosas and Chinese BBQ pork buns, it struck me that Mike – both an artist and a foodie – would have been in his element. I had a bittersweet moment, wishing I could share it all with him, but it passed quickly. Sharing it with Sheila was good enough. When the galleries closed, we headed to a loft in the garment district for a variety show put on by some friends. It was a good night, one that reminded me of all the reasons I love L.A. and will always call it home.

This evening I went out with my mom and her friends Claire and Estelle. We ate a delicious meal and listened to a duo who played mostly show tunes and a little jazz. It wasn’t really my kind of music, but the singer was quite good and it was nice to get out of the house and eat something other than frozen dinners. In the second set, the singer dedicated a love song to his wife of 32 years… and the grief broke over me like a tidal wave. Eyes welling with tears, I barely managed to hold it together until the end of the song, then escaped to the ladies room for a good cry.

Tonight it all feels very hard. I’m missing Mike so much, and it feels so unfair that we only had six years together.

I’m remembering something my therapist told me at our last session. With traumatic grief, for a while it’s all highs and lows. (Well, it’s all lows at first, but then you start to you get some highs, shining moments that briefly pull you up out of the pit of despair.) What takes the longest to come back, she said, is the middle ground. I’m finding that to be true. An ordinary day, without some fun event to bring “highs,” can quickly sink into depression and grief. I still get stressed out really easily. I don’t know how to just keep my balance, my equilibrium, through a string of ordinary days. I guess I just have to trust my therapist that it will come back in time, that it is already starting to come back. Meanwhile, the next time someone suggests going to hear someone play show tunes and love songs, remind me to say no.


~ by hourbeforedawn on October 18, 2010.

2 Responses to “Highs and Lows”

  1. Okay, rule number 1, ALWAYS say no to show tunes. That way leads to a cheesiness that will leave you queasy.

    Rule #2, be gentle with my Lira. She’s hurting. ((((Hugs))))

  2. Watching my toddler learn to keep her balance is very enlightening – literally. When she stumbles or nearly falls, I say “Good catch.” Now she says it to herself or even to me. Good Catch, dear Lira – highs and lows…you’ll find your balance again. And you are right – 6 years was NOT long enough.

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