My father-in-law died yesterday.
A lovely man I'd known since the 1990's. He'd been ill for a while but his sudden decline surprised us all.
Or perhaps it really didn't. He was 91, an age I'll feel lucky to attain, so a sense of time reaching its limit had hovered in the background for a long while, pushed to the back of my thoughts in case admitting to the sentiment would hurry things along.
But this weekend, a weekend where he seemed to be stabilizing after a bout of pneumonia, I felt that strange heavy feeling descend onto me. That slightly altered state where it really doesn't take much for me to go slightly insane, disengage from clarity and enter a world of delusion. These periods - which one could label as 'depression', and indeed they have been - can be dangerous. It doesn't take much to move me from thought into motion, and my most profoundly self-destructive actions take place at times like this.
Not that I feel in danger today. Too many constraints, the results of years of psychotherapy, the grounding counteractive of the anti-depressants I take, are in place for me to slip into the darkness. Besides, beyond that, I simply have the memories, events often written down in great detail as they were happening and easy to refresh by a glance through an old journal. Memories of disaster in a myriad of different forms. Burned I have been. I stay away from the fire.
But the mere fact that I am interested in the fire again speaks to the stress I am feeling. Losing a loved person does leave a hole. A hole that can sometimes be difficult to define but a hole nonetheless.
That hole opened last night.
It is not filled.
It may never be filled.
But it needs to be accepted and taken into my world. Embraced with love and repaired at whatever pace is right for the time.