When it hits, it hits hard.
I woke up very early (a little after 12 midnight) last Monday, eager to finish computing the last of my Econ. classes' Midterm grades, so I could surprise them that day with not only fully returned papers but also their Midterm grades, the first day after Midterm exams, and not a week or two after, which is the norm.
So when I met my first class at 9:30am, I was fully prepared. I heard one student comment to another that she can't believe I've returned their papers to them and given them their grades so soon, and I was secretly pleased with that.
Then came my 12:30 class, and everything went well, too, and I was so proud of my self for being so efficient.
By then, though, I had already started to feel a throbbing headache, which I just shrugged away as the effect of waking up too early.
By two o'clock, though, just 30 minutes before my next class, I was feeling so dizzy and nauseous I could barely walk straight to the University Clinic. I only thought to have my blood pressure checked but I couldn't even trust my self to still remain solidly seated while they took my blood pressure, that I went straight to the nurse in charge instead, asked for medication and one of the beds to lie down and rest on.
I was promptly assisted and while I lay down there feeling groggy, but needing to inform my 230pm and 330pm class contacts still that I won't be able to meet them that day after all, I still managed to text them. After which, I put my phone on silent mode and proceeded to go to sleep, hoping I could at least sleep off some of the throbbing headache away.
I remember my last thought just before I dozed off, though-- how, if it weren't for B and the hope of being happily together with him someday, as well as the hope of seeing my children grow beautifully into happy people leading meaningful lives, I'd be happy to die right then and there (!). I remember this because it surprised me even as I dozed off.
An hour later, I woke up feeling better but still groggy and feverish now, and promptly went to the car to drive over to the Integrated School area to pick the kids up.
While waiting in the car (they knew it was pick-up time), I suddenly just started to weep, feeling sorry for my self. Even if I wanted to climb into bed right then and there, shut out the rest of the world and just rest and be babied for a change, I couldn't, as I still had responsibilities to attend to like pick up the kids and shop for groceries on the way home, as food stock at home had run out.
The self-pitying mode spiraled and I started thinking of how, even if I have a good life now, I still have to do everything on my own, and how, even if I have a good love with B now, we are not together yet... how unlucky i am, getting to a good place at last but not really there yet,... and so on and so forth. It helped (or didn't help?) that Meryl Streep was belting out "The Winner Takes It All" and "Slipping Through My Fingers" from Mamma Mia in the car stereo.
By the time the kids came around, I had wept enough to manage to wipe my tears off now and present my happy (well, composed, at least) Mommy face to them.
And so, on to the grocery shopping, then the dinner instructions to the housekeeper at home, then the homework with the kids, and finally, getting my much-needed rest in my own bed a few hours later, with the throbbing headache and fever to a high pitch now.
By early morning yesterday, it was a full-blown case of the flu.
And then, I realized, it's not just the flu.
A little email exchange with B made me realize that this is something deeper than just the flu.
Since June, I have been down like 3 or 4 times, when I never even had the flu for the entire year last school year while I was on leave, and even while taking care of Papa and Mama during their last days at the hospitals.
My thoughts since Papa and Mama died have been mainly on how this world does not appeal to me now, how I've lost my taste for things which used to inspire, excite and move me to work and reach for more, how I've even dreaded going on my all-expenses paid travels now, and how I just wanted to stay home, close to the kids and the things I loved, doing only what I truly desired--reading and writing learning how to cook and bake well so I can feed my family and my self well, and taking long walks in Nature...
I used to think that my parents' deaths have blessed me with this acutely clearer sense of who I am and what I essentially just want in my life; I still do. I also used to think that I've been taking my parents' deaths quite well, compared to many, as I have in fact been flourishing and blooming in so many ways, even people tell me so.
What I didn't realize was that in the subterranean depths of my life, I am grieving so deeply, it takes my body to tell me (and to keep telling me) this now.
I surfed for grieving articles late last night (I slept most of the whole day yesterday, so I felt fully awake and alert late at night instead), and yep, a lot of the physical, emotional and even social symptoms are there: dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, fatigue and weariness, loneliness and sadness, wanting to withdraw from social contacts, even a sense of wanting to die or dying soon...
This one article struck me most, as I just wept and wept, recognizing my self in it even as I read it: "The Peculiar Grief of the Adult Orphan".
Forgotten grievers, disenfranchised grief, orphaned adults, adult orphans, midlife orphans-- they can't even agree on the term yet, but at least, there is recognition of the phenomenon now, when before, it was just swept under the rug, with "adults (are) supposed to be fundamentally different, quickly dealing with the grief of losing the people that raised them from the cradle."
I wept my self to sleep last night.
I wept so long and hard that I woke up feeling cleared and refreshed, like I've excavated my lungs and heart out of all the dross and pain there, so I guess that's a good thing.
I'm still feverish and groggy this morning, though, so I still called in sick. I even asked the kids if they can just be absent today, too, so I don't have to drive out to take them to school and then pick them up again later today. Naturally, the kids are happy to be free, while I have this temporary reprieve today, at least, from further mommy duties.
What this recent bout with the flu has taught me, though, is to finally sit up and take notice of my grief over my parents' recent deaths and all that it entails, to fully acknowledge now my much-decreased energies and capacity to give to others (I'm glad I refused overloads this semester, and have refused a number of university assignments too; my intuition knows me better than I know my self consciously!), and to not expect my self to perform tasks as well, as efficiently and as generously (loading my limits taking on multiple projects all at once and just multi-tasking) as I used to before.
Lately, I've been concerned about how I couldn't seem to concentrate and take in information for long periods anymore (that's why I have 900-plus unopened emails), in addition to my inability to stay up all night working without paying for it health wise the next day.
I've noticed in my self an increased incapacity and intolerance for bullshit (that's a good thing) with a shortened fuse and fast-boiling temper (not really so good), too.
It's a good thing I've resumed my daily meditations as regularly as I can again. But even that has its challenges, because meditation makes you even feel more onion-skinned and sensitive to energies in and around you even as you become more cleansed... and that's maybe why I have just been so quickly prone to flu and so weepy lately.
When will this end?
I don't know; I don't think I should even expect it to end. The articles I've read say it subsides over time, but at the oddest of times, it comes up again.
I'm just sharing my journey here. It's my way of dealing with it as healthily and positively as I can ...
I don't even expect any answers anymore.