Why is it that the death of a loved one so vastly changes our perspective on day-to-day things? When my father first passed away, everything changed in my eyes. It seemed like the world was a new, dark place once I’d experienced loss. I couldn’t go to the grocery store to buy cereal, visit the library, or watch TV without being reminded of my father and how much I missed him. I referred to this new outlook as my “Grief Goggles,” noting that literally nothing would ever be the same.
And here I am, eight years after watching my father die, still affected by the lens of the grief goggles. After hearing that Victoria’s mom had passed away, I got on the phone, trying to make flight reservations to be there with Victoria for her mother’s memorial service on Thursday. Everything is sold out, and I won’t be able to get to my friend on the day she will need the most support she can get. Distraught, I had no choice but to carry on with the meaningless tasks of my daily routine: I worked, I took the dogs to the park, I folded laundry. None of these things bothered me, but when I had to keep an appointment I’d set up weeks ago with the florist for my upcoming wedding, I freaked out. Driving on the Viaduct, with the downtown landscape on one side and Elliott Bay on the other, I felt ridiculous for thinking about centerpieces and chuppa decorations with my dear friend, destroyed and mourning, 2,000 miles away. When the reality of human frailty and mortality is forced in front of our faces, carrying on some of life’s silly responsibilities can seem, well…dumb.
It took me a long time after my father’s death to take pleasure in life’s daily routine, but every so often, I return to that place of deep grieving, when all I want to do is curl up on the couch with a crappy movie and some carbs-and-cheese combination. Today has been one of those days.