When my mother was alive, there were points in the week when I just KNEW something bad was going to happen. Mondays, and Tuesdays, and Fridays at 4pm were hot spots, as were Sunday afternoons, usually around 1pm. What was special about those particular timeframes? Well, Monday and Tuesday often faced the long week ahead. Anxiety set in with too many marks on the calendar, or worse, not enough to keep her mind, and body engaged and off the topic of her stresses.
Sunday afternoons were always the worst though. I could often feel the pressure building as the day crept on. Sunday afternoon: the weekend’s basement where all the excitement gets packed away and replaced with anticipation of the week ahead. Sunday afternoon: the time when most people have plans and those who don’t find themselves discomforted by loneliness.
I think I spent at least three years of Sundays, possibly more, anxiously awaiting the sun to set on Sunday afternoons. During those years, I dreaded Sunday afternoons more than any other time period in the week. I hated the gut feeling of knowing something awful was about to happen. I became hyper-focused with ensuring that I could hear my phone WHEN, not IF it rang telling me my mother was on her way to the hospital for yet another scary stay. Sundays were not about rest, or fun, they were about functioning, and waiting for the inevitable.
It’s been over four years since I said “good-bye” to both of my parents. In those four years, I’ve learned to silence my phone and to not over-anticipate every negative thing happening in my life. Sadly, my body, and brain still hold onto the fear, and anxiety of Sunday afternoons. In fact, I can almost tell time by the feelings that creep into my soul on what would have been my mother’s most triggering days.
Sunday afternoons, especially when the sun hides behind the clouds just so, or when the sun hits the trees just so, or when the birds sing, or when the ice-cream truck passes, basically any given Sunday afternoon…Sunday afternoons, what can I say, the sun sets on Sunday afternoons, and my anxiety rises like the tides beneath the moon.
This past Sunday found my heart racing to a beat that only Hip Hop dancers could hold. I felt off. I knew something was about to happen, but of course, my “Spidey Sense” could only transmit that SOMETHING was going to happen, not WHAT would actually take place.
Sure enough, a brick fell on my mood later on in the evening. When it hit, I knew exactly why it happened, and realized that I had been anticipating the brick all day. I wasn’t surprised by what it was, how it happened, or why it happened. I was hit hard by the brick, but what else could I expect from a sunset on a Sunday afternoon?