Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An Unwanted Journey: Day 1240 – Death Seems to be Stalking


I guess it’s inevitable that an unexpected and untimely death, especially of one of your parents, would lead to elevated personal anxiety levels. That death (as anxiety) is stalking me seems obvious for several reasons.

First and foremost, my coping skills aren’t working.

Take trying to be normal for example. I’m getting out of bed, walking around, sometimes getting dressed if only because the doctor or a nurse will be visiting that day. From an outsider’s viewpoint, there would be little rhyme or reason to my meandering through the rooms of my house. In fact, an observer might be justified in worrying about the state of my mental health.

And then there’s exercise recommendations. I’m trying to relax instead of simply relaxing. I’m trying to breathe deeply and calmly, consciously and without apparent effect. Neither one is working.

And then there is grieving with others who shared the same household with my mother. I invited my father and my brother to visit and, in doing so, felt good about our time together; but then a few hours later the anxiety reappeared and I had to pop a lorazepam just to gain some distance from anxiety. So I guess grieving too didn’t work.

What about writing and research? After all, they’ve always been productive exercises in the past.

During the visit, I was asked to create a written tribute for my mother for the memorial service next Saturday. After doing so, I reviewed what I had written. It felt right. The tone was what I wanted. I was honest and successful in isolating the positive, life-celebrating aspect of our relationship. But a few hours later, it’s as if I hadn’t written anything at all.

Prior to the visit, I searched out and started re-reading Nathaniel Branden’s Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, certain that I would re-discover tools to keep anxiety under lock and key. Instead, I was unable to recreate enthusiasm, finding instead a self-conscious and academic tome instead of a repertoire of life skills.

How about evasion? Maybe a movie or an engaging TV series or episode? Oasis HD is exactly that; namely, an oasis from standard TV fare on the world’s only HD nature channel. We definitely are happy to be subscribers to Oasis HD. One example is the compelling and awe-inspiring Hubble’s Canvas.  Here, at least, the evasion offered is cosmic in scope, with a clear implication that life, however long or short, is blest when we become conscious of the enormity of our universe and the intricate dance of particles, heat, and distance even before the evolution of life.

Evasion is transformed into gratitude and awe, a gratitude that we are privileged to witness in movement of the stars and an awe that overwhelms death and dissolution merely by illustrating the conditions under which life evolves and itself (in the form of humanity) becomes conscious of both life and death.

It could, of course, be simply that the drugs are finally taking effect, timed to coordinate with my viewing pleasure. It could be that the time of day has paired up with the beauty of HD TV to throw a window open to the soul once more, making death and anxiety bit players on a much larger stage.

Whatever it is, I like it.

1 comment:

Brie said...

Thinking of you tomorrow Don. So glad you are able to go.