Monday, June 25, 2007

Down at the Pink Flamingo

As some of you may have noticed, I've not been very "perky" lately. I've tried to keep my chin(s) up and not focus on the negative and for the most part I've managed to keep it together, but my friends and co-workers have been concerned about my sadness. I usually walk around with a big silly smile on my face and I'm nearly always upbeat and happy. I've not been that way in awhile.

Wolf, my son, hasn't been himself either. To be honest, Dale losing his fight to survive took a lot out of both of us. We miss him. We miss knowing he's on this earth...

Over the last several weeks I've asked myself these questions: How long do I mourn someone I've known all of my life? Will I always feel this empty? When does the hole in my heart start to heal? Am I ever going to feel normal again?

I wish I could say that a lightning bolt struck the ground in front of me and I was healed of my sadness, but that is not the case. I'm finding that grief fades slowly, in very small increments. For the most part, since Dale died, I've not found much to smile or laugh about. Wolf confided to me that he hadn't either.

I spent most of Friday getting ready for a big work event. I finished making the signs and the posters and made certain everyone knew where they needed to be and when. One of my final tasks was picking up a large number of balloons at our local pharmacy/gift store.

The store was rather busy and it took awhile for the clerk to fill the balloons with helium. While I waited, I wandered aimlessly around the store, glancing at the items on the shelves without much interest. Until I came upon this...

"Try me! Just press my left wing."

As if in a daze, I reached up and touched the appropriate spot. Immediately the creature's head began to move from side to side and music began to play. Loudly. Very loudly. Everyone in the store turned to look at me as the pink flamingo's head bobbed to the tune of "You are my Sunshine".

At that moment, something happened inside of me. I started to giggle. Then I started to laugh. Not just a polite tee-hee, mind you...but a full blown belly laugh. I have no doubt that the people in the store thought I was nuts. I imagine more than one cell phone came out to dial the psychiatric ward and still I laughed. I guffawed so loudly that I snorted (I know...quite the picture I'm painting here).

After the flamingo finished serenading me, I picked him up and tucked him under my arm. By then the balloons were ready and I checked out, flamingo in one hand, gigantic bouquet of balloons in the other.

I went back to work, packed him up, added a note and sent him off to my son.

On Monday I received a call from him..."Have I ever told you how much of a dork you are?"

I think the healing has begun.


Courtney said...

Once you find that thing that makes you laugh it's best to keep doing it (or watching, or listening). For me it's Gallagher, Eddie Izzard and Graham Norton.

Anonymous said...

A friend once told me, "Whatever takes the cork out of your bottle, that's what ya gotta do!"

(I used to play Janis Joplin records to cheer myself up.)

Cathy said...

Oh Laurie! You're both my kind of dorks :0)

We all travel grief's path at different rates and in different ways. Time. Time. Time.
Be patient with yourself.

Wish I could have been there to join your mirth. I love a good laughing fit. It's even better when shared. That must have released so much pain.

jen said...

this is one of the things i love about you - you are eternally joyful, even when there are times of great sorrow. you have this sunshine (no pun intended) that comes through no matter what. even if it doesn't always feel that way to you. it's the journey, friend..and you are doing it.

thailandchani said...

I don't necessarily believe that "healing" means "done".. and there's no appropriate timespan. It happens as it happens.

I can imagine your son's reaction! LOL



Mary said...

I should be laughing like crazy, Laurie, but I have tears in my eyes. I love it when my daughter calls me a dork. It means they love you.

There's nothing like an uncontrolled fit of laughter to lighten the heart. I wish I were there, too.

Everyone is different when dealing with grief. I didn't grieve for my Mother for a few months after she was gone. Isn't that strange? I was full of grief for her two months before she died. By the time she left, I was emotionally void.

We're all different (weird, but different). LOL!

Anonymous said...

That's wonderful to hear you found something to laugh at.

I have learned that it takes a long time to be able to sit around and talk of those who are no longer here, and smile too.

I had someone die 4 years ago and I didn't speak of him for some time because it hurt so much. But now I can talk of him with a tear in my eye, but I can do it.

My Grandma has been a widow for 27 years and she says she still misses him so much that sometimes she wakes up and thinks he's there.

You will grieve forever but it will get easier.


Bonita said...

Wow! You really are in tune! I can hear the music...and, I wish I could have seen this happen. I would have laughed with you! Just a great story here.

KGMom said...

It's true--laughter really is the best medicine.
As for how long to heal--when my mother died, we went through a similar roller coaster. She was in hospital for 6 wks, getting better, getting worse, etc. until she died.
For a while, little things would set me off, then slowly less & less. Now I only tear up on specific occasions, but mostly I feel her love & warmth still in my life.
May it be so for you, as you remember Dale.

KC said...

Nice sandals on that bird! I'm glad you got some giggles. Healing goes that spurts.

threecollie said...

You are really a great mom!

MsLittlePea said...

How sweet of you to send him a little laughter. Big hugs Laurie.

Dave said...

Yes, the healing has begun. I can picture you in that store laughing so loud that tears form in the eyes. I have been there and from experience I know that it is a slow process but one that takes place and gets the individual back into the main stream. Stay with the flow my Pink Flamingo Friend.

Anvilcloud said...

Not only are you suffering a great loss, but you had a long period of deep involvement leading up to it. I'm sure that the longer the process the longer the healing. And it seems as though the healing is occurring. I think Dale would like that. Eventually you will mostly remember all of the positives.

Laurie said...

Courtney, thanks, I'll remember that.

Thomas, I love Janis Joplin.

Cathy, I'm glad we are your kind of dorks. *hug*

Jen, thank you so much. That was very sweet of you to say.

Chani, he really got a kick out of it, though his best friend is getting sick of hearing it sing...

Mary, he's called me dork for years. I find it very endearing.

Butterfly, thank you. Please give your grandma a hug for me.

Bonita, I would have loved to have you join me in my laugh-fest.

KG, thank you, that is beautiful.

KC, the sandals were the first thing I noticed!

Threecollie, thank you so much.

Mspea, big hugs back!

Dave, I know that you've been there. I can't imagine anything worse than what you've endured.

AC, Dale wouldn't want me to stay sad forever. He was too full of fun and too full of life for that.

Cathy said...

Laurie, I just wanted to warn you about that qualified book recommendation of mine. It's heavy. I mean really - it is. Given all you've been through, I just think something lighter, perhaps - something with more laughter - smiles.

Sending you a hug, sweetie.

Menchie said...

That flamingo is really cute.

Am glad it made you laugh.

LauraHinNJ said...

Dorkiness is a sure sign of healing, Laurie.


One day at a time, right. Let laughter find you both.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

It sounds as if the healing has begun, Laurie. I rather think that Readers Digest is on target and that laughter may be the best medicine.

Laurie said...

Cathy, thanks, I probably ought to stick to something a bit less heavy. Thanks for the hug.

Menchie, it's a funny lookin' little critter and it did make me laugh.

Laura, you're day at a time. Thanks.

Nick, I agree...laughter cures most of what ails us.

Carol said...

Good to hear that you're coming back, Laurie. Sometimes it's easy to stay in that sad place so I'm really glad something jolted you out of it.
Big warm hugs,

Within Without said...

So glad the healing has begun.

Pink flamingoes and dorks -- quite the combination! I think it all comes down to your sense of humor and positivity.

Smiles :-)

Squirl said...

I was so lucky, when both my mom and my older brother died, that my family's way of life is to always make each other laugh. Those times hurt so much, but being able to laugh softens the blow. I'm glad you found your flamingo. It must have been a wonderful release.