I’m a fairly coordinated person. Ordinarily. But in the months after Arthur died I had some painful falls.
The first was on my first hike after Arthur’s death, early last spring. As I was coming down a series of switchbacks on my way home I stumbled and fell flat on my face. I had my camera slung over my shoulder; how I kept from breaking it I don’t know. But I did slice open my left thumb next to the nail, and abraded some skin on my left hand and right elbow. All in all I was very blessed not to have hurt myself worse. The weird thing is I stumbled on the way up the trail in almost exactly the same spot.
Then ten days later I wrote this in my journal:
Here’s something weird: I’m often uncoordinated, still, after all these weeks. It’s like I’m a different person. I just did a little housecleaning. I was walking backwards dusting on top of the screen and fell over the center speaker, falling flat on my back. The center speaker has been sitting in that same position on the floor for five years. Then half an hour later I mopped the wood floors. When I finished I tried to position the mop in the bucket so it would sit without tipping over, and I ended up tipping the bucket over and spilling most of the water on the office rug and floor. And I still have a bandage on my thumb reminding me of that horrible fall on the hike ten days ago.
These accidents were brought to mind by something I read recently. A woman had fallen and broken her foot not long after her husband died. While the orthopedist was working with her foot she asked him whether this was a common injury for people who are grieving, and, she wrote: “The orthopedist, without even looking up from my injured foot said, ‘Of course, someone who is grieving has lost their balance.’”
In my worst moments of grief it feels like the ground has been pulled out from under me and I’m falling…