I wear fake eyelashes. Not the kind you buy in the drug store or department store. Not the ones you stick on your lids with glue. Not those. I wear the ones where each individual fake lash is carefully glued to each individual real lash and they stay on until the real lash sheds. Sounds painstakingly tedious – but it’s actually kind of cool. I like how they look. A lady named Diane does them – or as it’s called – “fills them” every two weeks.
I was there the other day. I lay on a table on my back. Diane wears these glasses that magnify my lashes so she can see where to glue the fake ones to the real ones. She sits at the top of the table near my head like she’s going to give me a facial but instead she sticks little patches underneath my eyes, tapes up my lids and tells me to keep my eyes closed.
Sometimes we talk. Sometimes I fall asleep. But this time I just cried. We were talking about something – I don’t remember what. I remember saying, I—miss–my–daughter – and the flood gates opened.
I have discovered, after grieving for almost two years it will never be over. There are people who say – and I accept – that I should not want to – quote -”get over it”. But I will tell you there are times when things are going just fine when sorrow hits me out of the blue and the feeling is overwhelming. I can be driving in my car. I might hear a certain song. There could be a familiar scent in the air. The leaves could be blowing in the wind – or as I discovered – I could be getting my lashes filled when I am struck with the most intensified grief.
The hurt is indescribable because it cuts so deep – didn’t feel this way in the beginning. But during those moments of tears I feel like a part of me is dying. And in that moment, there are no words – no actions – no thoughts than can make that pain dissolve.
I feel it.
I live it.
I get through it.
I have come to understand something I was told early on. Not so long ago I interviewed a grief expert who said there are many people who struggle with grief daily. You might know some of them. They go to work – to church – they are around family and friends and appear to be fine. In some ways they appear to be “over it”. But truth is they are unable to live a truly satisfying and meaningful life. Some of them feel guilt because their loved one is dead and they’re still alive. Maybe they think they could have done something to change fate. It could be any number of issues – but for them moving forward would be abandoning their loved one’s memory. It’s as though being fulfilled with life – and all the joys it can bring – would be an insult to the person who is not here. It’s a game of tug of war. Perhaps the person who loses is the person who’s still alive.
Nearly two years of grieving is by far not a life-time. I have many more tears to shed. But I believe in my heart my daughter wants her mother to feel complete. She wants me to live a fulfilling and happy life. And knowing her – as I do – she would be mad if I didn’t try. So as I attempt to move forward I remind myself that everything she left here on this earth – memories mostly – move forward along with me.
As I laid there on that table with Diane carefully attaching each fake lash to each real one – the tears rolled from the corners of my eyes, streamed down my face and puddled in my ears. Each tear – over and over and faster and faster. I couldn’t stop. The problem with attaching lashes is the glue doesn’t take well to water in the first 24 hours. So Diane made sure to avoid getting any lashes in my tears.
I sat up on the side of the table trying to carefully open my eyes. I’m always afraid to open them too quickly. It’s best if you let the glue dry so your eyes don’t feel fumes that might be lingering. I opened them slowly and they felt just fine. The tears were gone. I looked at Diane apologetically – feeling a little guilty for putting her through all those tears. She didn’t seem to mind a bit.
I left there and went on with my day. As I recall – it was a really good day. My daughter would have been happy about that.