2/1/24

And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

Ever since my world turned completely inside out and upside down two weeks ago when Michael was struck by a minivan, I’ve been finding my Moments in weird places. The not-weird are the obvious ones, the ones everyone looks for. Sunshine after days of gray. A cat purring on my lap. My kids.

But the Moments that are sticking with me, that are resonating, are different, and sometimes, I think they’re things that people will wonder, “She gets a Moment of Happiness from THAT?”

Yep. And I just don’t fight it.

Since Michael’s accident, and I hate the word accident, because it just doesn’t seem to fit, it’s so much bigger than an accident, but since his disaster two weeks ago, I’ve really only had two major meltdowns. I’ve been teary here and there, I’ve choked up, that sort of thing. But I’ve returned to teaching, and people seem surprised. I even had someone ask me if I was okay, and when I said I was, she said, “It’s okay to not be okay, you know.” I do, and I also think it’s okay for me to be okay. Michael is alive, I am putting one foot in front of the other, Michael is alive, I am waking up, doing what I need to, and going to sleep, Michael is alive, Michael is alive, Michael is alive. Maybe when all the facts finally come in, I won’t be okay. But I am for now.

Except for 2 meltdowns.

On one night, as I was driving home from the hospital, I decided to treat myself to dinner from Culver’s, a burger place with fantastic frozen custard. I knew I had a meal at home, left for me by a caring student, but suddenly, my world just shrank down to a desire for a burger and a strawberry shake. So I went through the drive-thru, got my meal, and went home.

I didn’t realize that when I put my purse in the passenger seat beside me, the shoulder strap curled into my cup holder. The same cup holder where I placed my shake.

When I parked, I reached for my purse first, to put it over my shoulder. When I grabbed it, it launched the shake. Strawberry shake went all over my car, and I mean all over. The dash, the windshield, the seats, buried my remote to run my car, and all over my cell phone.

And I lost it.

Anyone who looked out at my car at that moment would have seen the car rocking. I hit everything my fists could reach. My language made purple look pastel. I went from me to animal in one flat second.

And then…I cleaned up my car. I cleaned up my remote. I cleaned up my cell. And then I went inside and ate my supper and drank the teeny bit that was left of my shake. I shared my fries with my dog, Ursula. I slept well.

Several days later, I was hustling to get out of the house and back to the hospital. I’d packed my lunch…a ham and cheese sandwich, and a little container of peaches. I didn’t want to bring one of my own spoons as I was afraid I would accidentally throw it away or leave it at the hospital. So I stopped in my classroom to look in the drawer where I keep plastic silverware for when students bring treats to class.

No spoon.

I was digging and digging and digging, while trying to hold on to my purse, my computer bag, the bag that carried other things that I might need at the hospital. And my thermos of cold water, which recently lost the little plastic appendage that closes up the spout.

The thermos slipped out of my arms, crashed to the concrete floor, and the lid flew off, and 22 ounces of water and ice spread everywhere.

And I lost it.

I threw the thermos across the room. I kicked the cabinet. I slammed the drawer closed. And I shrieked to the world, “I just wanted a f…ing spoon! That’s all I wanted!”

And then…I spread paper towels down on the puddle to pick up later. I picked up my thermos, which survived, and refilled it. I decided I would ask the nice nurses for a spoon, or I’d go down to the cafeteria in the hospital. I got in the car and drove off. My car still smelled of strawberry shake and I decided I liked it.

So was it these particular meltdowns that were my Moment of Happiness? No.

It was the aftermath. My shoulders relaxed. I breathed deeply. I laughed at myself and this whole bizarre situation. I felt a sense of calm come over me that left me…okay. And it’s okay to be okay.

I’m okay. And in those aftermath moments, I knew it. And didn’t question it. The pressure blew, I let it, and then…I was okay.

Still am. But it’s finding myself like that that helps me to realize that, no matter what, I will deal with this. I can deal with this. I don’t want to, but I can.

Just don’t be near me when one of these meltdowns hit. You might get hit by a flying thermos.

And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.

What I probably looked like while having my meltdown(s).

4 Replies to “2/1/24”

  1. I could actually feel your rage and the smell of the strawberry shake as you zoomed away in the morning gave me a good chuckle. I am sorry. I know how much you love your car. Thinking of you and your husband frequently.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about your husband. My daughters and I were in a horrific accident 22 years ago that left my daughter and with traumatic brain injuries. My husband doesn’t like the word accident either. He prefers crash which I find harsh so we settled on incident. Rage is a great way to let go of the anger, sadness , overwhelm, grief.

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