Settling in a routine after the death of my son is becoming robotic. For more than a year (We are at 14.5 months since Jacob’s death) I’ve had a wide range of emotional outbursts. I oft cry at a drop of the hat followed by questionable humor. My eating became worse than ever, and exercise became sparser than water in the desert. You’d be a mess too? My biggest accomplishment in the first year was staying sober. As an alcoholic, I am not diminishing this feat. It’s a big deal. Sobriety supports the foundation, upon which, I thrive.
Here’s a look at my new day to day activities:
- Wake up (even weekends) around 5:50
- Eat well
- Go to work
- Working nearly equally on my paid gig (Job)
- Work on Foundation
- Go Home
- Do “something” for a bit (TV, talk to family and friends)
- Go to Bed
- Wash, Rinse, Repeat
I’ve become robotic in both action and feeling. I have little empathy and little emotion. Losing Jacob, grieving, caring for Ana, Naomi, my nieces/nephews, sister, sisters-in-law, mom, and more took its toll. Then, I lost my sweet Max. Max and I were friends for years, but our relationship deepened when Jacob was diagnosed. My nights were spent talking with her on Facetime the last two years. We would laugh every night at 11PM when her tv room lights would automatically go off. “Alexa, turn on lights. Alexa, turn on the FUCKING lights please.” It was always followed with a polite, “thanks.”
Maxine was a rock. She faced her mortality every day for 10 years. I lived her mantra, “Today is not the day. Tomorrow isn’t look good either.” In Mid-November, “today was the day.” I knew how dire things were. I saw Max two weeks before she died. We hugged, cried, laughed, and hugged more. I walked through Max’s kitchen that day knowing we wouldn’t see one another again in person. I was granted a wonderful gift. I was given an entire day, in her last month. I will cherish that day for the entirety of my life. After Max died, I changed.
The human response to trauma is remarkable. I’ve become somewhat numb and robotic. The brain is the ultimate source for what we need. My brain has given me a reprieve from emotion. I’m somewhat incapable. I need to respect this as I know this too shall pass. This world lost a great person two weeks ago. My neighbor passed away, at 63, after a two-month battle with Pancreatic Cancer. I went to the funeral and spoke to David’s husband briefly, but I was detached emotionally. This has been my norm, lately. Both tragedy and, seemingly happy events, are treated with the same indifference.
Russia’s murdering of Ukrainian civilians as sparked little emotion from me. Analytically, I know it’s wrong. A sovereign country is being attacked by a dictator. American citizens, in large numbers, somehow don’t see a problem with this. I should be outraged, yet I am not. There’s a solo in the musical, “A Chorus Line” where Diana, a character lacking emotional range, sings about feeling “nothing” when her former teacher dies. I understand this more than ever before.
So, how do I snap out of my emotional indifference? Perhaps it just happens when I am able. My instinct tells me it will happen organically. My body is protecting me after primeval reactions to such grief. I guess that’s why I have a therapist. We shall see.