The human brain is really amazing. Well the combination of the brain and body is really amazing. Ok, no really the combination of brain, mind, body, heart, soul is just kooky.
Ya’ know how sometimes you ask a person, “What’s wrong?” and they say, “I don’t know”? Well it can be true… or they’re an overly dramatic asswipe that just wants to milk the attention. But let’s say it is really true. It’s because something has triggered your brain to create an emotion of which you weren’t even aware. You know subconscious-like. There are also two things called “muscle memory” and “sensory memory”. Muscle memory is just what it says, your muscles remembering repetitive movements. You’ve heard the term “It’s like riding a bike”… you never forget. Sensory memory is like when you smell a certain smell and memories come flooding back. Whenever I smell cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes, I immediately think about the Chatauqua County Fair. Ride motors and smoking carnies abound. I know I’m strange. Very Pavlovian of me, I want to immediately buy curly fries with vinegar.
So this weekend, all that stuff crept up on me and launched an attack of epic proportions, rivaling a Sharknado and Amanda Bynes throwing bongs at the same time.
As I said Tuesday, I went to the town I grew up in for my high school reunion. No one in my family has lived there since 1981. I haven’t even been to visit in 2 or 3 years and I’m only an hour and 45 minutes away. So, at one point I decided to take a ride around looking at some old haunts, one of which was the house I grew up in.
We originally lived in a beautiful colonial house that my Grandfather built in 1908. But when I was 3 my Dad was named Administrator of the county run nursing home and it was required that we (all 8 of us) live in this dinky ranch house adjacent to the home. They’ve since abandoned that practice and the house has been vacant for several years.
I drove out to that house and as I drove up the driveway, completely out of the blue, completely unstoppable, I start tearing up. I park and get out of the car to go look in the windows and I start to sob uncontrollably. What the fuck?! I go around looking in every window sobbing. Jesus, I hope somebody doesn’t drive by, they would think I was hysterical and looking for a crack house or something to get my fix.
Then it dawned on me. I missed my Dad. It was the first time I’d been back since he died. My Dad just passed away in October of this past year, about 2 months shy of his 90th birthday. So it wasn’t any grand tragic unexpected loss. We knew it was coming some time. But nonetheless when it happened it was really sad. I may be an adult but he’ll always be my Daddy.
So being at that house triggered everything. The smell of the trees, the feel of the brick, the sound of the creek across the street, the visions of my Dad walking across the lawn to work. As I looked in the windows, I saw my youth. I saw my Mom cooking and my Dad sitting at the dining room table. Jesus, I’m getting verklempt just writing this. Somebody smack me!
I tend to consider myself not overly emotional. With all I’ve been through I try to keep things in check. But man, this just came over me like a torrential downpour of emotion. I was sad, yet happy. I was longing, yet content to be there. So to further fuel my craving for all things Dad, I drove over to the home and took pictures of the fountain with the boy with the boot in front, which we used to play in. Not like in in, but sit beside and stick our hands in. Then I called my Mother sobbing. I said I missed Dad, and her (she lives in AZ) and thanked her for a great childhood. She was sad the youngest of her 6 children was crying but understood.
It took me a while to to calm down. Then I went to a picnic with classmates looking like the drunk girl who had been crying in the bathroom of the bar all night. I eventually got my shit together. But man, how powerful was that? I understand I am still grieving, you know how they say it’s a process and all. And I will be for a while. It has hit me at other unsuspecting times like seeing something he liked in a grocery store. Oh yea, Wegmans is now like, “Here comes the crying lady again, get ready for a wet cleanup in aisle 3”. I catch myself thinking, “Don’t be such a weenie”, but I guess I don’t have much of a chance with that mind-body connection… I’ll just have to let it takes its course.
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