Sunday, January 16, 2011

My therapy

Today I decided to give myself some therapy around my missing friend. I went back to my old church to be with the church family that no doubt would be going through a tough time today.

When I brought the idea of visiting up to Wally he wasn't sure about going himself. I understand why. We generally only go at Christmas time now and maybe once throughout the year if my extended family (who are musicians) are visiting and doing some special music. Otherwise I've distanced myself due to geography and the fact that initially it was a very difficult departure to make, quitting a job that I really did love. He didn't want to appear out of a display.

I knew though, for me, my only option was to go. To visit. To be. With my old church family and friends and to gain some sort of mutual support during this unsettling time. I needed to.

I set off this morning and went. As I rolled into the parking lot I wondered what awaited me. Would people be weeping? Would they have their heads down? Would they be able to even speak? I didn't know what discomfort may be behind the large old doors when I pulled them open. I soon found out.

I quietly entered only to meet two smiling greeters and little groups of old people milling about chatting quietly about the funeral of a long time member yesterday (a wonderful lady) and of course whisperings of Bee's disappearance.

For some reason I expected people that remembered me to know why I'd be there but the first person that greeted me had a bright smile and 'How ya doing? good to see you!' and a firm hand shake. Really? Hello, I'm here to pray, be somber and possibly grab some hope somewhere. Why the heck are you acting like nothing has happened? I was instantly annoyed.

I found my grandmother sitting with her love and a friend of hers. She expected me, knew why I was there and gave me a side hug. I sat and gave little waves to different people sitting through out the congregation (mostly kids I worked with). they seemed to know.

I was holding it together pretty well until a lady I'd worked very closely in the Sunday School came and sat down with her husband and our friends in front of us. She asked a heartfelt 'How are you?' I answered 'Alright' and hoped we'd connect without speaking and be able to chat later. Unfortunately she held my gaze and I completely lost it and began to silent cry until I couldn't breathe. I covered my face up to my eyes with my bulletin while she quickly gave me her hand and held onto mine. She would not let go.

I gasped for air which made it very obvious that I was not 'alright' and we sat hand in hand. Her not letting go of my eyes either.

This may sound like a logical womanly thing for us to do as we are friends but I have to say neither of us are 'that way' under any normal circumstances. We're both pretty tough, find emotions uncomfortable and read the other like a book and would prefer giving space knowing that's what the other one needs. We generally find comfort in these things. Today was different, but that was ok because it needed to be.

Though there were several people with tears, and a few with red noses, mostly people held things together and the service carried on with a light tone to it. I was glad there were a few that shared my outward emotions. I barely held myself together, and at times didn't even do that.

The choir sang a song that irritated me as much as anything they sang would. I was just not ready for anything spiritual at all. I just wanted to throw anything 'comforting' out the window. I'll be honest, sometimes it just makes me mad.

I was very impressed though that the choir even sang as Bee is a faithful choir member and quite musical, her voice and presence were noticeably missed. I don't know how they were able to stand and sing.

To top it off Bee's oldest daughter's mother in law is also in the choir and she was there, singing and stayed throughout the service. I really was impressed. I couldn't imagine.

I won't lie. The service itself, to me, felt cold and empty. Probably because Pastor D., even with a slow, quiet voice, was always so strong, paced and thoughtful in his speech. This is something that used to annoy me in our conversations but calmed me in his services. There was volume in his silences. Pastor D. wasn't there today though and the silences were gaping holes in the hour long time slot.

The gentleman that took the service did well considering the incredible pressure he must have felt. He did his best to delicately address the issue yet bring a light laugh at the same time. He mentioned chatting for 40 minutes with Pastor D. before the service and shared bits and pieces of that conversation. It brought comfort to people knowing somewhat directly how the family was doing. And that was apparently quite well considering. He even shared Scripture that Pastor D. wanted the congregation to think on (one of the verses was Romans 8:28 my favourite 'All things work together for good to those that love the Lord').

The speaker even told of how the younger daughter of Bee (16 yrs) said 'If one more person asks me what they can do, I'm going to tell them 'Buy me a pony''. This brought a brief and needed chuckle throughout the church.

After the service I met up with my grandmother and half of the congregation at Wendy's only to over hear muffled talk of what I'm sure most older people (and maybe not so older) were thinking: 'Well, I can't imagine her leaving her family. If that's the case how could she do that, just walk out?'. 'It's so strange for her to just disappear'. 'Blah, blah, blah...'

Though I've engaged in the same sort of discussion over the past few days hearing their banter bothered me to no end. It seemed so matter-of-fact and cold. This was somebody's mother, someone's daughter, someone's wife and all of our friend. How can we just talk that way? They seemed not to identify with the potential despair she was feeling (IF that even happened).

I can only hope my chatting was with heart felt feeling, empathy and care. Not that that would make me better I guess, but hopefully at least a wee bit more .... something.

I e-mailed three friends that I knew I could comfortably share my feelings with for my desired need for prayer. People that for one: would pray and for two: would not judge me for asking for prayer, not only for Bee's family but also for myself.

In the e-mail I had noted that I realized that it was likely selfish of me to request prayer when I wasn't directly involved in Bee's life anymore, but I had to admit that I was feeling more than I thought I could comfortably handle.

In response my closest friend said 'Eva you have a tender heart and you care, that's not selfish' (paraphrasing). I don't think of myself as tenderhearted ... at all.

I've discussed with Wally both my recent and past issues with heart wrenching situations that have come up. I have a history of not dealing with them very well emotionally. I call myself crazy (as I feel, compared to others, that's what I am). Wally told my tonight that he thought that I perhaps over empathize when others go through things and I feel what they are going through very deeply. I had never thought about it like that.

Yesterday I wept for ten minutes as I was curled up in a ball on the floor of the bathtub during my first shower in four days (don't worry I hadn't left the house during two of them). The water barely qualified as warm and there was little comfortable about it, but it was a place I could release without judgment, from myself or others. I love the shower.

There are two circumstances I feel as though I connect with easily and deeply and grieve greatly when they occur. Any kind of injustice to a vulnerable person, and those struggling with depression, especially if they are not seen as depressed. Likely because I've been both.

Or because I may be crazy. Who knows?

What I do know is that it pains me to see people in pain. It pains me even more to see people I love in pain.

I can only hope that I am sensitive enough to sense when I have the opportunity to be part of someone's healing rather than part of their infection.

As far as Bee's case goes I had a phone call tonight saying that her vehicle was finally found (after 5 agonizing days) but no Bee. The location has not been shared as the police want to investigate further before media are notified and evidence contaminated.

For now ... hope lives.