I was watching a TV show this evening, an episode in which one of the main supporting characters dies. As the main character of the show was taken over by grief and trauma, and while the other supporting characters were helpless and trying hard not to be, I recalled so vividly what I felt like after Colin died.
The all-consuming importance of having the right clothes on, of choosing the words to a death announcement so carefully... that thing we do where we focus on the most ridiculous, mundane details as though they are suddenly so very important.
My heart was pounding as the main character faced the question of how to carry on with life after a death. My heart pounded just the way it did when I faced that same question: what next?
I wanted to cry feeling that old anxiety, that breath-stealing fear.
Why would I choose to remember that fear? Of all the things I felt back then, why did I pick the fear to recall?
And I thought about a conversation I had with a friend recently, about carrying trauma around and how it take a lot of emotional effort to keep our traumas so fresh in our minds.
I watched the characters on television flail helplessly around not knowing how to express their grief and I sat sweating, holding my breath for fear I would fly apart, feeling my heart pound in my chest, and I let it go. I saw it for the choice it was, and I chose to let it go.
And then I focused on the dialogue, 'cause Joss Whedon is just damn funny.