So it’s looking like I’m only connecting with every other chapter of this book. Chapter 2 was kind of unremarkable, and Chapter 3 (“Embrace the Uniqueness of Your Grief”) was a little obvious. Chapter 4, however, bore a bit more fruit. In exploring my feelings of loss, the author notes that there can be significant delays in grief– that denial can be a kind of gift, and that we often find subsequent emotional triggers on particular days or in particular places. That the real sadness which we experience may take weeks or months to fully come. He also points to ‘explosive emotions’ as a kind of protest of the new reality. Which reminds me of the day shortly after Will’s death, when we were trying to hurry to an appointment at the funeral home. As we walked out the door, we saw the man from the durable medical goods supplier that had provided all of the oxygen and breathing equipment for our boy. I was relieved to see him, as we had called a couple of times to request a pickup of everything. All of the tanks were already outside, and the rest of the stuff was boxed up, so we didn’t really need to do anything except thank him for coming, and accept his kind condolences.
When I walked around to the driveway, I saw that his truck was blocking our way out. Once again, this was no big deal, as he was walking right behind us, and was more than happy to quickly move the truck and let us out. But somehow, the juxtaposition of being done with the oxygen, and having the truck in the way, and being late, and carrying my son’s not-yet-used baptismal gown to the funeral home all combined to hit me in such a way that– absent of any mental process– I found myself denting the trunk lid of the car with my fist as I walked by.
I remember the funeral director glancing across the table at my raw knuckles a couple of times, and I wondered what he was thinking about. Did he know what I had done? Was this common? Was I wrong to strike out–to feel rage at my son’s death? Should I be more reserved? Should I be more expressive, and less explosive? I just moved my hand into my lap until I signed the cremation agreement and the contract for the funeral.
Even now, my index finger feels sore sometimes, and I clench it and remember.