My rather unique grieving process- indoor skydiving.
I've shared that my Uncle died just a few days ago. It was a mix of hard living and poor dietary choices that led to several strokes, and ultimately a heart attack. He was in his late 70s or early 80s. I should know, but I don't keep those dates in my head all that well. He lived the life he wanted to live for the time period he wanted to live it and then had a relatively short and sharp drop decline to the end of his life.
I'm a little sheepish about this tradition I've set. It's filled with privilege for one because it's expensive, but it also strikes me as being weird. Really... I mean, who fucking goes sky diving to take an emotional load off. Anyway, it strikes me as weird... that said I want to share it anyway. So, I'm hard on myself for this anyway, but also feeling a touch defensive about it.
I heard about my uncle's passing. I think I was in shock for a few days. I spoke to him a few days before he died. He started hospice and I knew this was coming (even though I thought it woudl be months away) so I don't feel like a terrible nephew, but it's hard to see that side of my family die especially after my mom's death. I didn't communicate as frequently as I should have cause it triggers me and makes me relive her dying of cancer.
Anyway, I called my aunt and didn't reach her, and she called me back right before my lesson / flight time. It's like the universe was precisely facilitating my ritual. She kinda walked me through how he died and for the first time since I heard he died I could get some tears out.
I then went in and did five 2 minute sessions. 2 minutes sounds short, but the closest thing I can think of is when i wrestled in high school and the periods were 2 exhausting minutes. I'm like 240 pounds. It takes some physical work even with the wind doing most of the work to hold me up. So, it's a little bit mentally challenging to balance and feel ones body and navigate the wind. It was emotionally relieving. I like feeling like I'm floating and I like breathing the wind shooting into my lungs at 100+ mph. The phrase take a breath of fresh air is amplified at those speeds!
When the whole thing was over and I was in my car I finally could let some go. When I was in graduate school I had the hardest time of my life. I was literally working around 100 hours a week. I would take every other Sunday afternoon off and otherwise I was working from around 9am in the morning to 11pm at night. I did that for 8 months so I could graduate and get to the job that was waiting for me. I worked at that clip and it was literally killing me. I would get in there and dealt with a million stresses. My wife would tell me to get her the fuck out of Texas, work would tell me to hurry up as the job wouldn't be there forever, and my boss would tell me I'd never make it on time. The stress was gruesome. I used to leave my fume hood (I'm a chemist), walk into the adjacent lab that was vacant, cry for a good 5-10 minutes, and then go back at it. I didn't have enough time to waste more than that. Toss in a friend's suicide and coping through heavy drinking and I was in a bad way.
Anyway, the point of that is that because of time constraints it changed the way I cry to intense 5-10 minute bouts and then life goes on. I was in my truck right after flying and the wave hit. My uncle lived near Austin. So, when I went to grad school down in Texas he lent me a car, let me stay at his house, my wife and I would visit. He was a fan a supporter. I don't want to share too much because I want to write an obit for him, but this week has been a real struggle for me. I'm down to just 2 people living in the generation above mine, and while I wasn't super close to my Uncle I certainly felt loved and grateful for the time I spent with him. He could be a little stoic and hard to know. That's my mother's side of the family for sure, but even through stoic I felt a lot of love, which I'll truly miss going forward.
So, here I am sorta at my worst just trying to let the wind take a load off. I try to be a strong, balanced and neutral leader as much as I can be for as long as I can be. That often means keeping parts of me at arms length from this place, from people I care about, from members of PALnet, and my digital homestead. That said I love this place and I love being a part of this community and wanted to share a touch of weakness and vulnerability. I'm not always the image of the guy I put out there. Sometimes I'm just a sad nephew dearly missing a beloved and supporting uncle. It's just being. It's just me. I thought I'd share what that's like at the tough times.
Steem is the broken hearts club. Here's another piece of my heart ripped off. I'm betting folks can relate, and I'm hoping this can positively impact at least one other person to hear this story and see the approach even if it is a little off the wall and in the air. Much love Steem. I've gotten some very supportive comments and kindness. It matters and thanks for your caring. Please keep my family in your prayers for a bit.