Ch. 5


What a cruel companion…the subconscious mind


     Grief is so personal and cruel. It places ‘triggers’ everywhere I look. When I see a stack of books. Sandra’s magazines with stickies everywhere – sides and top. Her shoes, still by the door. Her reading glasses on the table in the library. When I open a cabinet and see her favorite oils and vinegars. Her coffee cup and her favorite teas…just waiting.
Many of you have been there and know how cruel these triggers can be. Oh yes, you have your own and there are many. There is no denying, “The subconscious mind, you are a cruel companion.” However, for me, the subconscious triggers are in a category of cruelty all by themselves.
     When I do the grocery shopping and I walk through the ice cream aisle, my subconscious still reaches for her Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream, her favorite. One Thursday, yes that is my usual shopping day, I went through the candy aisle and said, “Oh, they have restocked her favorite chocolates…then my cruel subconscious pushed my hand forward, then I stopped…”
On special occasions, we would stop at our favorite ice cream store, they had the very best raspberry ice cream. Not long ago, while on an errand, with my mind wondering and configuring my stops, I saw my right blinker was on. I slowed and realized my Cruel Subconscious was saying, “Stop! Stop! Let’s take home a cup of raspberry ice cream. She will be so surprised” Then I realized…
My Subconscious never takes a day off or misses an opportunity to stick another dagger in my heart. On my way to the checkout line, yes
it was another Thursday; my eyes caught the magazine section and saw the new edition of “My French Country Home.” It was almost like the magazine was glowing. It was one of Sandra’s favorites. Yes, it struck again, I reached and realized…
Yes, there are many and they never seem to stop. And each one hurts more than the other, then the cycle begins all over again… ice cream, chocolates, magazines, and more, every time I go out. It never stops, and it hurts so bad. And I know my subconscious will always be there, never missing an opportunity.
     However, there was something I figured out the other day. I was weeding and mulching her flower beds when my eyes found an emerging French Poppy, originally from the package of seeds given to Sandra from a friend in Provence.
Instinctively, I looked toward the house and yelled, “Sandra, I found one!” It was then I realized how to ‘not’ conquer but battle my subconscious. It came to me: The reason these triggers hurt so bad and come so frequently is because we had such beautiful memories… the smile she flashed when I handed her a box of chocolates, or the excitement that new magazine created. The laughs we had when I brought home a ‘big’ container of coffee ice cream. Only to find the empty container in the trash the next night. Playfully I would say, “Oh Sandra, can I have some of your coffee ice cream?” Without blinking, she responded, “You left it on the counter, and it melted. Had to throw it out.” I turned away quickly, only to feel myself smiling and saying to myself, “She IS good!”
So, my Cruel Subconscious, keep reminding me of the good times and beautiful memories. Yes, you will hurt me deeply and repeatedly. But I promise you this, the times Sandra and I shared, those beautiful memories, they will heal any hurt you deliver.
Dear friends, writing…this is the best way for me. It may not be for everyone, but it is the best way I know, right now, to keep from drowning. It hurts, but it is better than banging your head on the garage wall, taking a walk in the woods and not returning, or becoming too friendly with Johnny Walker or Bud Weiser. Believe me, for those who still have a spouse or partner, “No words, no one, can prepare you for becoming ‘One.” I thought I was (reasonably) prepared because I saw the day coming…for a long time. I thought and talked to myself hours upon hours. But when that morning came, I kissed her for the last time…and I felt the hollowness of life. Then I whispered, … “I love you more. See you soon”  –  Mike