About a week after my dad died, I felt the Earth tilt. I stepped out of bed one morning and fell toward the ceiling. My whole world was upside down and spinning. It was like riding a tilt a whirl at the fair.
I am living with Vertigo. It’s often connected with blurred vision or earaches. My sight has been a little smudgy since dad passed on. I’m okay if I stare straight ahead, don’t tilt my head up, down, or to the left. Lying down is the worst. When I get into bed at night, I hold my pillow close, thereby ensuring a soft landing. Then the room begins to spin. The child in me enjoys this part, even as the adult feels like throwing up. In the daytime the vertigo catches me unaware, like a surfer being overtaken by an unexpected wave. Its weird.
One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that I don’t handle change well. I enjoy a boring life. (Not that I have one, in spite of it.) But I like a routine. I like eating regularly and watching the same television shows. If I enjoy a certain book, I’ll read it again. If I really like it, I’ll read it thirty times. Same with movies. I’ve watched ‘You’ve Got mail’ once every couple of months since it came out in the early nineties. I don’t even know why.
When my mother in law was dying, I started experiencing chest pains. I actually went to emergency twice. The second time it happened, a nurse very tactfully told me that when your heart is breaking, it can feel a lot like a heart attack. Aahhh. So now, I wonder about the timing of this vertigo. Not that its a figment of my imagination. It’s very real. But maybe it has something to do with the fact that my whole world is off kilter. My dad is gone, my mom is a widow, and the world as I’ve known it is changed forever.
So If you see me staggering around town, please know that I’m not drunk. And I’m actually doing very well. Because my sadness about dad is tempered by my faith. I believe that he’s having a well deserved jam session with all of his musical heroes. He’s harmonizing with Frank Sinatra and playing clarinet with Benny Goodman. So he’s fine. But until I get used to the fact that he’s not here, holding up his corner of my world, then I’m going to be unsteady on my feet. Getting out of bed in the morning will require some concentration. My world will spin out of control for awhile. But it’ll stop eventually. I’ll regain my footing and carry on. I just need a little time to adjust to the change.