A couple of days ago, I wrote about the darkness. Interesting thing, darkness. You can’t appreciate darkness without having seen light, you cannot appreciate light without the dark. It’s all a balancing act on a deceptively thin wire under which there seems to be no net, and yet I walk forward.
Having been snowed in now for 2 days, it is easy to be myopic about things. I tend to focus intently on very small things that, at the moment, seem HUGE. Yesterday I completely lost my shit over – get this – a meat thermometer. I had roasted a chicken and was looking for the thermometer to make sure I wouldn’t be poisoning my children and, when I found it, I held it in my hands and fell to the floor. The last time I used it was Thanksgiving. Brian died Thanksgiving weekend. Therefore, that meat meat thermometer was like a knife to the heart. Stupid meat thermometer, so damn dark and hateful. And then I also realized Brian gave me the meat thermometer and had given me 90% of the things I had to dig through in order to find said thermometer, and then I started looking around and realizing that he is in every square inch of this house. Gah. Overwhelming.
Triggers are everywhere for me. Everywhere. It could be a shirt, a button, a certain glass, a smell, or the bottle of Men’s daily multi-vitamins. It could be the bracelet I bought Brian in Sayulita that I found hiding on the kitchen counter, the can of shaving cream that is still in the bathroom closet even though he hadn’t used it since September and we have no use for it at all now. Often, the triggers are horrible. They bring scary thoughts and feelings and ideas and visions and panic. Darkness.
Sometimes, however, they bring light. The boys bundled all up in their snow gear to go play in the yard with the dogs. My youngest son’s snow boots decided to not play nice, so I suggested he wear his brother’s and I would let his brother wear mine. As I put my snow boots on my oldest son and laced them up, I was triggered. I remembered that Brian gave me those snow boots for Christmas a few years ago. They are incredibly warm and nearly indestructible, and he bought them for me so that I could hike and play and be warm and safe. I felt so loved and cherished and taken care of when he gave them to me and I felt that same love pass from Brian through me to my son as I laced up the boots.
After they came in and had their traditional post snow play hot chocolate and toast, the kids did the dishes. I was sitting in the living room catching up with a friend via chat and I heard them start singing. Both boys doing the dishes and singing “The Highwayman” together, beginning to end, word for word, beautifully. It took my breath away and triggered me. For all the years that Brian and I were together, we would immediately get silent when we heard that song. No matter where we were, what we were doing, we just shut up and stopped moving and listened. It’s an incredibly powerful song and I have always associated it with Brian, even more so now that he is gone. Hearing our children sing it – especially when Dakota took over and sang, “I’ll fly a starship across the universe divide…” I almost fell over. I took a breath and peeked around the corner and was amazed. There were not 2 Kohl boys doing the dishes, there were 3. I couldn’t see Brian, but the eyes that see what isn’t there, the eyes of the heart, saw him standing right behind them and beaming. Sometimes he shines so brightly through our kids that it is blinding. Light.
I must remember that, even in the deepest darkness, there is light. It comes in flashes, in waves, in surprising places and surprising times. Let go and ride the tide. I will hang on to hope, lay back, and look for the light of the moon.
Rooftop Moon Gazing, Summer 2012