Last night, I attended a meeting where I got to see lots of my favorite people. The room was bustling. There was lots of energy and sound generated by people talking, chairs being moved and even by a little baby crying; in the midst of all of it, there I sat not saying a word. These are the toughest situations for me to be in, but as a person in long-term recovery, it’s pretty important that I push through the discomfort. To avoid this kind of meeting would be…well, it would be insanity. So, again, there I sat, not saying a word and feeling stressed, feeling restless, feeling frustrated that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. (Yes, even at age 57, I have moments when I still want my way! ) At some level, during the meeting, I felt thankful. I was grateful to be among friends who understand my frustration with not being the talkative “me” they’re use to seeing on Tuesday nights, friends who just allow me to move through this piece of L-I-F-E that has presented itself offering help when I’m ready to receive it.
I have a new perspective on what an introvert must feel like after leaving a busy social occasion. They need rest after they’ve been thrust into a situation like this. Unlike extroverts who draw energy while plugged into this sort of activity, they need to recharge their batteries after an event that involves lots of verbal interaction or social stimulation. Last night, when I left a social situation that I couldn’t plug into because of being mute, I felt not depleted, but suppressed because of not participating. It was like all my energy was locked up just waiting for a channel that never opened. So by the time I arrived home, I was ready to explode. I needed to DO something! Unfortunately, I had already cleaned the house earlier that day (can you tell how I deal with solitude?) so that was out. And even watching “The Voice” didn’t provide much relief from my restlessness. Although, I did tweet #voicesavemari about 50 times during the live voting segment of the show. I finally gave up and went to bed. I was tired, but I found myself lying awake in bed for a couple hours before finally drifting off to sleep.
After about 5 hours of pretty disjointed-dream-filled sleep, I woke up and set out for the gym. Finally, a solution was in sight! I pedaled about 12 miles during spin class, and that seemed to take the edge off. It was a brand new day. I committed to bring down the social stimulation level and find some peace today. I decided to seek out a silent and serene space to bring me back to balance. Where could I find such silent surroundings?
You can’t find a much more silent space than a cemetery, right? The thought occurred to me that I had not visited my parents’ gravesite since their funerals. (I’m embarrassed to admit this, but they’ve both been dead over 10 years.) So, setting my guilt aside, off I went to Resurrection Cemetery to visit Mom & Dad and plant some flowers. In my defense, I had attempted to visit the gravesites two times in the past. On both occasions, I hadn’t been able to locate their grave markers. Ironically, I did find my Mom’s sister and her husband’s grave, but not my parents’. Today was a different story. I parked my car, walked about 10 paces on the grass, and when I looked down, I was standing at my parents’ graves. That was a miracle!
When I arrived at the cemetery, it was pretty overcast, but as I cleaned up the gravesites, the sun came out. Kind of like a nod from above. Lots of memories of my parents flowed through my mind as I worked. I thought of things that I’d long forgotten about…like playing jacks with my Mom. Does anyone even know what jacks are? And then there were all the times my parents dragged me to Mt. Olivet Cemetery to plant flowers on my grandparents’ graves. One of the highlights of those trips was to pour water down the chipmunk holes to see if we could flush them out. (Never did, by the way. We probably just annoyed them.) I remembered a gravestone next to my grandparents’ that belonged to a man named Felix. It was a very plain stone and looked neglected with weeds and grass growing so high that you couldn’t see what was written on it. We always cleaned up Felix’ grave. It was just part of what we did. He didn’t seem to have any visitors, so the Smiths made him part of the extended family. My parents were always looking out for people who seemed to need help. (That’s a trait that seems to have been handed down.) I’m glad I got to spend some time with my Mom and Dad today…in the silence.
Day #24 is ending. I feel much more at peace at the end of this day, and I am looking forward to meeting with my voice therapist tomorrow. Wonder what she’s got in store for week #4.