“There is a pain so utter that it swallows substance up
Then covers the abyss with trance—
So memory can step around—across—upon it
As one within a swoon goes safely where an open-eye would drop him—
—Bone by bone” ~Emily Dickinson
The weeks and the first couple months immediately after George passed are vague and hard to remember. One of the only reasons I can recall them is because of this blog. The words from my early posts read like another person wrote them. The voice is so foreign to me and the dealings are as if another person that wasn’t me went through it. Yet the two weeks prior to his death are crystal in my mind. I remember the meals I ate, clothes I wore, conversations I had with work, his mom, my parents, his friends, it’s so interesting what the mind will do in order to protect oneself.
Disassociation is a common term that’s thrown around during the grieving process. It’s when your mind separates from what is going on around you. Most common disassociation is daydreaming. During those weeks, I would just stare off, never really being fully present. I have no idea how I went back to work a week after he passed, nor do I fully comprehend how I coached the 2014 lacrosse season. But I did, and rather well if I can toot my own horn here. But as I’ve learned more about disassociation, I’ve realized this is just the minds way of protecting against traumatic events. Almost like a crutch to get by and not really process the thoughts and information that is occurring at that time.
Disassociation can be seen most often at gyms. When the music is blaring, while someone is humming to a song as they lift, or when they’re running with their headphones in. These are all ways to disassociate. There’s an entire fitness movement dedicated to disassociating which is one I love and that’s spin or SoulCycle. Becoming part of the tribe, finding your soul, joining a community. It all centers around leaving all your stresses outside of the classroom doors. And it’s how I jumped into this health and wellness, and why I feel it’s important to embrace that feeling of separation from time to time. Especially during those harder work days, or work outs. Grit your teeth, lower your eyes, acknowledge it will be tough, and know you can do it. Know you’ll give it your best shot, because anything less won’t suffice. So jam those headphones in, stare off in the distance during your yoga classes and count the seconds until you change poses, because what makes us work doubly hard now will pay off down the road. Sprint, jog, walk or crawl, what you need to do to get there, that’s your pace to decide. Don’t allow anyone to judge you on the path you take unless they are walking that journey along side.