Two steps out of Darlene Merchant’s office I thought:
“Why do I keep doing this to myself? Why do I keep coming here when I know it will rip me…”
“Because” I interrupted “you know it helps”.
I lost my argument and won, I guess.
I had another Accelerated Resolution Therapy session today.
It had been awhile but I remembered exactly where we’d left off.
Each of us experienced an individual loss of Natalie. I lost a sister, my parents lost a daughter, so many people lost a friend… I think all of us were so in shock, I don’t remember hugging anyone. Except for Enid, right when I walked in the door. In the ART session, I needed a family hug. I needed to honor the loss of a family member, not just a sister but our entire family dynamic was forever changed. There was now a huge hole in our five person family.
So today we processed what happened once we got to LaSalle Apartments. It was the most agonizing wait. I can already feel my chest tighten, just thinking about it. What a contrast… it was a gorgeous day, the building was bright, clean and classic.
I remember sitting and holding myself. Pacing. Wondering what the fuck was taking so looong.
It was a nice conference room, big enough to accommodate all 10 of us. Room to roam but every second spent not talking to anyone who knew what was going on… It felt like my skin was on fire. I was fully awake, alive and still burning in Hell.
Finally, the Medical Examiner came to speak to us. Asked about her medical history etc.
It was when the detectives took my parents up to see Natalie for the last time that I lost it. It’s when reality set in that I would never see her again. Not the way I remembered her.
How we’ve been doing the ART in my sessions, is I go through the scene in my mind a couple of times. I do some body scans, notice what I’m feeling. Sometimes I sit with it then try to move it, other times I just move on to the “director’s scene”. I knew I was ready to move on because the director tried to jump in at every chance.
Here’s what happened once I “re-wrote the scene”.
Jessica let me into the apartment. I started yelling at the M.E. and the cops to get out. Just GET OUT. Once they were gone, I laid down on the bed with her. I held her. I cried into her hair. I told her I was sorry. When I looked up, Justin was on the bed too. The three of us held hands. At this point, I know my brain was tired and overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do because I saw my parents near the bed but they were like holograms. They were flickering, like I wasn’t sure if they should be there or it should just be us siblings. I ran through a quick log of memories, of the three of us. At the cabin, on vacation, when Justin was just a little guy…
God, it hurts.
Then I was down in the conference room. The M.E. started to name “the name of the deceased is…”
I flew towards him.
“Stop! Just stop.” I clamped my hand over his mouth.
“Not today. Don’t do this today. We need just one more day.” I told him.
By now I was sobbing.
We did a body scan and at first, I saw myself trying to push this mountain of grief away. It wouldn’t budge. I heard Nat laughing.
“You won’t get it to go that way,” she said.
Clouds appeared and parted. Sun rays came down, spilling onto the pile of unimaginable sadness and melted it. It looked like lava but quickly cooled and turned into a river.
We ended, as we always do, going across the bridge. Towards grandma’s fountain.
I started with my hospital blanket (because of the rough texture) around my shoulders and I leaned over the bridge to feed some koi fish. It was peaceful.
When I was ready, I finished crossing the bridge, taking my seat in front of the fountain. I tipped my head back, indulging in the slight breeze that blew before the sun set and the multi-colored lights of the fountain came on.
I felt almost… content. There was still a sadness. Originally, my body had felt heavy. Tired. Weighed down. Now, I was still tired but not in the same way. I was exhausted from feeling and working. I felt sad, but like the first few layers of lead had been lifted.
I’m not really looking forward to going back next week but I know I will.
I know I will and it will help.