Just recently, bumps, scratches and bruises have mysteriously appeared all over my body.
A quick inventory: On my left forearm I have an deep yellow, inch-and-a-half-long bruise. On the underside, I have an angry red scrape that curls around from front to back. On one palm, I have a wee boo boo. Further down, I have four pink slashes, in various states of healing, across my shin.
And yesterday, I slightly burned my right forearm accidentally blasting hot water instead of cold while washing dishes.
Other than the singed forearm, I have absolutely no recollection of how I got these wounds. I don't remember any fisticuffs in my recent past, or ever, really. I don't think I've challenged anyone to a duel and don't recall getting up in someone's grill.
But since Mike died I am a one-woman wrecking crew. Unfortunately, my body is the demolition site.
I am more injury prone than my pre-K son. I run into walls, misjudge the width of door frames and walk into open cupboards with my face.
In the past, I have generally had control of all my faculties and all four limbs. I have never carried myself like a ballerina but I'm no lumbering galoot either.
Many bizarre things happen when your spouse dies, I am discovering. Along with your memory and day-to-day brain power, you lose a sense of your own body and the space you take up. Other than the obvious pain, and feeling like a dummy, it troubles me that I have become a klutz.
Turns out, I am a completely normal klutz. Clumsiness is directly related to stress, my social worker told me. At least I think it was her. My memory is shredded, along with the skin on my shin.
Even though I honestly and truly feel like I am doing quite well with this whole grief thing, my stress tank is full. And when your mind is whirling with every other little and big thing--settling the estate, raising a little man, and doing my nails, for example--there is simply no room for your body to naturally remember what to do and how to navigate through the world. While that's not a scientific explanation for why I am suddenly Buster Keaton with bruises and a lot less funny, there's some comfort understanding the method behind my body's madness.
Like many stages in the grieving process, this too shall pass. Until then, I hope to retain all limbs.