Monday, June 17, 2013

The Body Takes a Hit

The first 2 months, my body was buffeted nearly every day by shock and pain. All systems were stop--digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, immune. My heart felt weighted by a constant stone. Breathing felt like wheezing through a narrow straw. A bad cold would not heal, sapping my energy even for a walk around the block. A simple bang to the foot turned into piercing pain at night. I needed long naps every day. I literally could not stomach N's suicide.

I have never been to the doctor so often. I had never cried in the doctor's office before but I found myself telling her about N and breaking down over how I couldn't get well. She immediately took my hands and listened to my story with her full attention, telling me nothing was in my imagination and I should feel free to come in as often as necessary. In her notes, she listed the primary reason for the visit as grief. She surprised me with frank talk about young men and suicide. When they're done, they're done, she said, and there's probably not much anyone can do. She also advised me to ignore well-meaning people who say there is a silver lining to everything because "this is ugly and horrible and the worst thing that will ever happen to you." And she asked what I was doing to take care of myself and urged me to be gentle with body and soul. She urged me to read a book, When the Body Says No. I walked out of there feeling strangely calm.

I look back on the first two months as the time it took for the body to absorb the shock. I see that my illness and low energy isolated me from friends who wanted to talk or walk with me, but that perhaps I was meant to be alone and home-bound to process the tumult within. And when an endless cold dulled my senses, perhaps I needed to be numb for awhile.

The body may say no again. Meanwhile, I am seizing the bit of energy that has returned.

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