dealing with “the best”

“Things work out for the best.” “Making the best of a bad/sad situation.” “I wish you the best.”

These are common phrases. I have, and will continue, to use them myself. Because I believe it, I believe things tend to work out for the best and that it is possible to make the best of a bad/sad situation.

This does not mean I have to like it. In the moment or for a long while after the moment.

Since B died in 1998, March has been a strange month for me. At first it was just depressing and sad all the way through. I would look forward to the calendar change so my eyes would not linger on the dates anymore with this impending sense of dread. These days, I notice it more in my impatience with the whining all around me. Whereas normally I try to be positive and philosophical about it – I have no idea what is truly going on in anyone else’s life and there may be good reason for their whining and complaining about the silliest things – for at least the last week, 10 days I feel impatient and inwardly rolling my eyes at the ridiculous things people say to me or that I read online. Not a good time for me to be talking to anyone or commenting. I have nothing constructive to say; the snark is locked, loaded, and ready to fire.

Several of my friends contacted me yesterday via email or phone to just check in. It’s not that they have not talked to me so much as I have been unusually quiet and reserved when we have chatted. One in particular is in the midst of chemotherapy and depends on me for realistic perspective when she is dark and gloomy and miserable in the aftermath of her sessions. When she called Sunday I was practically comatose during our conversation, and my vague explanations of fatigue, job burnout, the lack of rain were not convincing. They she noticed the dates. Lightbulb moment.

I admit it snuck up on me this year, the lingering grief funk. Between work and the improvements here at the house, I have been immersed and consumed with normal, day-to-day life stuff. Yet I was growing more impatient and pumping up the volume to drown out the sighs and complaints about lesser significance issues that normally would barely ripple in my mind’s pond. The last couple of weeks, each and every one of those little things would start a wave of irritation that would continue to fester and grow until it was the size of a oceanic tsunami.

I count my blessings and recognize how fortunate I am in life. I think of those I love and am grateful that our little nuclear family of four has expanded to include A and K, that C and G have found someone who makes them happy and their worlds a better place. I express my gratitude for all I have, for the BEST life and that it continues to improve and evolve and expand. Hurts inflicted have mostly healed, enough to not impair me most of the time yet leave me with enough empathy to try and offer comfort and support to others in pain. I am primarily a happy and contented person.

Yet through it all I have this blotchy blechy feeling about who is missing from our table. When I think of where I was and what my life was like on this day in 1998, it is hard to recognize myself in those memories. I was someone who had not yet experienced loss. I am always honest about it, that if must go through it, ours was a great example of the best experience possible under such impossible, heart-breaking circumstances.

But as I said, I don’t have to like it. I do have to accept it. There is nothing I could have done to change the outcome, and at the time we made the best of a sad situation. But I still don’t like it.

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