33 days. The other day it came to me. It has been 3 years and I don’t know why it took so long to hit my brain cells. Maybe my brain was protecting me from really thinking about everything that happened over 33 days. The trauma centers of our brains are capable of protecting us.
Our brains are forever physically shaped by our loved one according author, psychologist and neuroscientist Mary-Francis O’Connor.
When I read what she has to say about that fact I had an overwhelming wave of relief flood over me. She gets me, she really gets me. Then she wrote “We interpret what we see, how we act, and our capacity to love, because our brain carries them forever.”
This explains why I find answers to something I was certain I did not know, yet I realize now I do know it because my brain carries him and will carry him forever. What a beautiful discovery, but those damn 33 days.
As I write this I am on day 26 of the 33 days. The therapy I had for PTSD worked well to get me to a point where I didn’t collapse in hysterical crying any longer just thinking about how my life fell apart. However it also kept me from really feeling anything past the night of 2/19 until this year.
I truly dislike these 33 days however I also truly need them in my life and I need to remember them because I want to remember them.
On the 19th day of every month I have always been taken back to what happened in February. Then at 6:35pm I would always feel better. The trauma of it all had moved from the horror I had of what had happened and crossed over into knowing there was nothing I could have done to save his life.
As the months went by there were times when I didn’t realize it was the 19th. Eventually the trauma of 6:35pm eased off and at this point it only holds emotional significance in February.
Grief is sneaky though. It has partnered up with me for the rest of my life. It tricks me into believing things are getting better and then it rides in like a rodeo rider, ropes me and knocks me to the ground.
This year I spent time thinking about how maddening it had to be for my husband to hear us talking, to hear the doctors talking, to knowing this time he wasn’t going to catch the miracle of living on that he had caught before.
He responded to us, we could bring him out of his comatose state and he would do what he was asked to do, but he couldn’t open his eyes, he couldn’t move his body other than his hands and one arm.
I know he had to be in great emotional pain because he didn’t want to leave me yet. We were that couple, we made other people happy, we danced through our marriage and never got tired.
He had 10 days on machines keeping his organs going and then we knew we had to make the decision to honor his wishes and remove him from artificial means and move him to hospice. 3 days later he died.
The next 20 days for me were like living inside a different dimension. I do not remember much at all. I was alone. Oh, friends stopped by but I was alone even when they were there.
There was so much to do legally in closing down his business, there was so much to do with our property, with life insurance, with the house, with the yard and I couldn’t eat. Eating was something we did as a couple, every night was a date night. It has taken me 3 years to sit down at my table and eat dinner. He had his stroke and died as we knew him right after dinner.
33 days comes to an end for me on 3/23.
On day 33, I fed Willie and Corky our two remaining dogs, and let them out into the back yard. Corky found a sun spot and laid down in it and we always allowed him to stay there as long as he wanted to feel the warmth.
When he got up he didn’t head for the door, he was confused, and I had to go turn him around. He ambled into the house and laid down in the middle of my kitchen floor and just shook like a leaf. I fell apart because I knew then he wanted to go be with his man, his master.
My heart broke all over again. Corky adored Larry and Larry returned the love.
It was a Saturday, I called my vet and she agreed to meet us at the office to help this sweet dog go home. Corky went home at 635pm I don’t see that as a coincidence.
In closing, yes I have 33 days of emotional hell to go through every year. I have cried a lot this time around. 33 fucking days.