Grief has transported me back in time to when I was a teenager. Actually, it’s taken me even further back to feeling like a middle-schooler. Tween I guess it’s called now. If you’re a woman you probably remember that time in your life when your bedroom walls were covered with posters of singers and actors–ripped out of your Tiger Beat or 16 magazines. (16, that’s a misnomer. I was definitely reading better material than what they offered by the time I was 16.) My “faves” were Bobby Sherman and Randolph Mantooth. (Under 50?…look them up.)
I remember being this age and living in West Virginia. I lived in my bedroom with the radio on or in the living room watching sitcoms. I can’t even remember how I got the magazines. I’m sure I had no money, so my parents must have spent their money on them for me. It wasn’t a time when we were rolling in dough so I now think back and appreciate that they purchased these for me. Tiger Beat and 16 made it very easy. All the photos of these handsome fellas were full-page and easily torn or cut from the binding. A roll of scotch tape and I was good to go. I’d post the photos strategically on the walls around my twin bed. I kept them on my side of the room as I shared it with my younger brother Jason and I think he was still in the Hot Wheels mindset. I would stare at these photos and daydream and look forward to a long life ahead of me with endless possibilities. I could plan and plan and plan.
Now I don’t suffer from the “walking on air” syndrome, or the hopeful “Dear Diary” entries. I don’t look forward to meeting these celebrities some day when “I’m sure they’ll fall in love with me and want to marry me.” But I have resorted to talking to photos on the wall, and kissing my pillow and closing my eyes to imagine, instead of what it would be like, what it was like. I imagine Pete’s voice and I have conversations with the photos I have hung and strewn about the house, particularly in our bedroom. I tell him goodnight and then I get angry. And I hug my pillow and I get angry.
There’s no aspiration built-in like there was when I was 12 or 13. No plans, no letters written and mailed like I must have sent to David Cassidy. Nothing hopeful about it. I feel foolish, and then I feel angry that I’ve been put in this spot. Anger shifts to disbelief. I cannot believe Pete is gone. Cannot believe that this is now my lot in life. That there is absolutely nothing I can do to roll back time just a year when we were hopeful and excited about every single moment and we’d plan and plan and plan. I cannot wrap my head around it. I struggle with this concept of disbelief until I tire myself out and fall asleep.
How do you cope with situations of disbelief?