Rear View


Facebook, in its algorithmic, Machine Overlord simulacrum of dispassionate binary friendliness, offers me those “Prudence, we thought you’d like to see this post from XX years ago” looks at something from my past.

Today, it was a ten-second video from one year ago of my dog Strider taking a Frisbee off of my husband Jonathan’s head. Certainly not Academy Award bait. It’s a poor plot, there’s no character development, the lighting is pedestrian… I’d posted it because as Jonathan’s diseases caused such a significant personality shift, it was nice to show his friends a tiny clip of him smiling with a now-rare sweetness. Posting that video helped us to hide what was really going on with him.

Of course in hindsight, I know when I watch it that he was about six weeks from his death. I can see that he looks gaunt and fragile. I can see that his ability to engage with the world was so deteriorated that playing with the dog was worthy of not just photographing the event but also posting it.

And today I can see that I didn’t realize where I was going until I looked in the rear view – because I watched that video not with my accustomed anger but with the first uncertain blushes of sorrow.

Is it possible I’m moving into a new phase in my mourning process? Christ, I don’t want to get weepy… even though I know a little quiet, reflective weeping might do more than anything else to help me get to healing. If such a thing is possible.

And if I’m shifting emotionally, might not that explain my strange inability to remember to meet Eleanor for lunch or sit in on the high school reunion phone call? Might it be a part of why I don’t seem to be able to pass up dessert after MONTHS of eating for my health? I really have been sugar’s bitch lately… and sugar has ALWAYS been a coping drug for me. A reaction to stress.

Yeah. Might could be.

So this is what I know: I’m not going to let my sugar dependency derail me. I’m going to assume the next few months will be harder than expected, and I will simply have to forgive myself for eating crap…

…but I can’t stop ALSO eating veggies and drinking water and making smart food choices when I can. And I can’t stop working out. After I saw the Jonathan-and-Strider video on Facebook, I did my six minutes on the stairs. I fretted over the video and what my reaction to it might mean the entire time, but I did it. I’ll do my HEP this evening, too. Maybe I can’t be perfect – nor should I expect perfection – but I can be good. I can take care of myself, as he could not.

This is ALSO what I know: I posted a LOT on Facebook after Jonathan died. I process things by writing about them, and airing my mental confusion for others to see was somehow helpful; I must be a hopeless exhibitionist. Therefore, I need to steel myself in the coming weeks because Facebook is sure to algorithm me into some pretty intense flashbacks to Jonathan’s death. No matter how bright the road ahead looks, it’s smart to remember there’s a big storm in the rear view, and it still has the potential to reach out and smack me when least expected.

And if that leads to chocolate cream pie, so be it; it will also lead to rapid and determined trips up and down the stairs, and the support of my dear friends, as well as my Body Dynamics family who will see me through this as they have through everything else.


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3 thoughts on “Rear View

  1. I love how you are allowing yourself to feel … whether good or bad or sorrowful or joyful. You are being so very good to yourself and it is awesome to see. Way to go, Pru!


  2. Yeah— what Julie said above. And I also love that you bring us along on this rocky ride. Perhaps we, your readers, are the weight in the back of your moving forward truck — for traction.


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