This past Thursday, I had my first (real) A.R.T. (accelerated resolution therapy) session.
It was pretty amazing. The first time we met, we talked about what issue(s) I wanted to work on and if A.R.T. was a good option. I was there strictly to work on my grief over Natalie. She had me recount the “scene” that currently plays through my mind when I feel like I’m losing it. I started from the morning of May 19th, when I got the call from my brother up to the viewing and funeral. It’s a four-day scene and she said I needed to chunk it down. Thursday I was ready. I started from sitting in the bank, waiting for a teller so I could open a checking account. I was in a chair, reading a story about the mayor and how whenever someone in Minneapolis was killed by a gang or gun violence, he would go with police to inform the family.
“What a horrible job to have” I remember thinking.
I remember hearing my phone ring and seeing Justin’s phone number.
“He’s going to ask me to work” I thought.
That was not the case. We talked and then I held my stomach all the way to my parent’s house.
After I went through this “scene” in my mind (while following the movement of her hand) we did a body scan.
“What do you notice?” she asked.
“I have a headache. My chest feels heavy, so heavy I feel like it might cave in on me. The rest of me feels numb.”
“Would you like to move that around?”
She told me that some people imagine a magnet, sucking the pain out of them or angels pulling out the energy. I had a vision of Bruce Lee, punching the headache away.
Half way through though, he got tired and I saw my grandma. She held my head in her hands.
“How do you feel?” Darlene asked.
“I still have my headache but the pressure in my chest is gone. I mean, I feel so much lighter…”
The second “pass” ( a term meaning a round of hand movement while I follow it with my eyes -similar to EMDR therapy) was me getting to be the director. I just have to adjust the scene to something more acceptable.
We begin again. The first thing I notice is that I’m standing in the bank in a long, flowy skirt and a Hawaiian shirt. Natalie was married in Hawaii. I’m reading the paper again and the tiny, thumbnail photo of the mayor turned from a black and white copy to full color and climbed out of the paper. He sat in a chair to me and took my hand.
“It’s going to be alright” he assured me.
I was confused.
“You’re going to get some bad news, but it’ll be ok, I promise.”
I pulled away, scared.
The phone rang. It was Justin.
“You know how Nat always wanted to join the circus?”
“Fuck it. I’m not going to lie to you. Natalie met up with CW and they went flying together.”
(CW was a friend of the family who passed away in 2006 due to a fatal car accident. Natalie often had dreams of him where they’d go flying together.)
My breath caught in my throat. I was sad but not overly so. I felt almost a relief… she wasn’t in pain or suffering. She was with loved ones, watching over us left here on Earth.
Justin continued “I think we need to do something. Get together, maybe watch some fireworks, see if she says hi”.
(Fireworks are our mom’s symbol for death)
Next thing I knew, we were on a hilltop, watching colors explode in the sky. Shortly after the show started, the word “hi” appeared, along with a heart and the name Nat.
Another body scan revealed my headache had vanished as well and I felt an odd sensation, like trying to keep a beach ball under the water and it just won’t stay submerged. Intellectually, I knew I was sad. Who wouldn’t be? It’s a terrible thing to go through and yet, I couldn’t get my body to go along with it. I felt light and free. I could breathe without difficulty, without tears…
That was Thursday. Today, Sunday (Easter) it came back a little bit. One of the last of the lasts. The last of the “firsts”. First Easter without her. One more to go: Mother’s Day. That’ll be a bitch.
I’m going to keep going with this A.R.T. and of course, I’ll keep you guys updated.
Happy Easter! Good Night!