A Grief Revisited

Not a post I planned to write this week. Nor was it sitting in my drafts with several other unfinished posts, but it’s what I’ve been preoccupied with enough to feel compelled to do. Consider it a grief update, if you like.

It has been six months since I touched on my personal grief, and eighteen months since our loss. That number doesn’t seem real. I was getting by okay for quite awhile. However, like the frozen ground after a warm spring thaw, cracks have begun to appear.

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Recently I’d been feeling down and blue, and generally malaised, unable to recognize the source or pinpoint a reason for those feelings. Last week, I came home from work with such little energy, feeling only numbness. I laid on my stomach on the couch for hours. My husband had made a tasty dinner, which I got up to eat. He was excited to listen to the home openers for our major league baseball teams, chilled a few craft beers for the occasion, and set the radio (goodbye, cable tv) to the game; I truly don’t deserve him sometimes. I laid on the couch listening to the ballgame, which at least made it seem like I was doing something, and I stayed there all night. I wanted to lay there for days, months, forever. Want is too strong a word. I felt a lack of want, to do or feel anything ever again.

There are times when emotions bounce off of me without absorbing them, except in a robotic state. There are swings to the other end of the pendulum, too. Occasions where  sadness and pain are immediate and anger is searing, when I wish to scream at the top of my voice that, LIFE IS SO UNFAIR!

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In the words of Augustus Waters in John Green’s, The Fault In Our Stars, “That’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.” I’m trying to remember that, accept it and let the hurt and sadness come, rather than tamp it down, as I have an urge to do. I try to remind myself life is neither fair, nor unfair, but what you make of it. I remind myself, too, that in many ways I’m lucky. I still have both of my parents, though not in stellar health and dealing with their own grief, while many friends have lost a parent younger than my own. I’m married to a wonderful man, I have meaningful relationships, a job I enjoy doing well…some days these reminders are helpful, others, they make no difference.

A few insights I’ve learned through grief:

It’s well-known that grief is isolating. Many people are oblivious to the struggles and inner turmoil occurring at any given moment to those experiencing grief. This is understandable, it’s difficult to know what another is going through, especially when attempts must be made to ‘put on a brave face.’ Reverting to solitude is natural when one feels no one understands.

Grief drives you to distraction. During this recent rekindled bout, I’ve forgotten my phone, coffee and lunchbag numerous times. Also important essentials, such as, applying deodorant and forgetting my dog outside for an hour one chilly night (until I recognized little scratches on the back door as my shivering pup). Still, not as bad as the time I left the gas burner on the stove turned on, after cooking a meal I dropped off to my parents on my way to work last year. Thank goodness my husband comes home for daily lunch and turned it off before the house burned down.

Grief, short and long-term, causes a loss in focus even when you remember what you should be doing. I haven’t been able to read more than a few pages at a time in months, for example. Staring into space at work, making mistakes on simple tasks, sitting in traffic or arriving somewhere without remembering how I’d gotten there occurs more often than it should.

Grief may cause you to question the value of certain aspects of your life, and life in general. This doubt can lead to uncertainty, anxiety and stagnation. Attempts to reconcile all of these aspects with the rest of living makes grief a daily burden.

Lastly, everyone’s grieving period is different.

What has helped:

I’ve begun following a grief guide page on social media, which provides daily supportive messages to those experiencing grief and/or loss. Not all apply to what I’m feeling, but it has pushed me to pay better attention to what I’m going through. Much is linked to David Kessler’s site Grief.com.

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Awareness helps, walking, talking and writing helps. Diversions, healthy escapes, making plans, occasions to look forward to, times when I feel I’m making a difference, all help. As does an occasional day of laying on the couch. Already I feel better today than I did yesterday.

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12 thoughts on “A Grief Revisited

    1. That’s nice to hear, Amanda thank you. I wavered on posting only because I don’t enjoy posts full of negativity or whining, yet I wanted to be truthful about the reality of what I’m going through. If it can be helpful to others, that would be great bc I think it is for me to express it, lightens the heavy load a bit so to speak.
      I wouldn’t have written about it publicly a year ago, but I’ve changed. Reading your struggles has been inspiring as well, I’m sure its helpful to others dealing with similar situations-it’s hard to know how to handle difficult subjects. Also how to respond to them, so I thank you for the kindness:)

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  1. Grief comes in so many decibels. Some days just a slight hum, others it’s a thumping bass drum and sometimes even a cymbal crash for me. I can empathize a bit. This time of year is the worst for me. It’s my mom’s most favorite season and holiday (Easter). She loved the renewal of spring; fresh air, green grass, beautiful flowers and Easter dresses on little girls. My niece was so excited to show me her Easter dress the other day and I got choked up knowing how much my mom loved getting us all dressed up in pretty frocks for church. But, alas, I will push on through and enjoy my blooms and this year, I was able to plant the Redbud tree I wanted in honor of her. So, friend, just keep going. You can do this. Just acknowledge it, wallow in it if needed, and pull yourself up. You are strong and you are loved. Your post helped me and writing this comment did too so thank you!

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    1. Did it Rach? I’m glad, especially because you have been beyond supportive through the whole nightmare. I’m grateful that by suffering our losses so close together, it has helped us understand in some small way. Grief is too personal to be compared, but the empathy of a friend is a gift. If grief is felt in decibels, mine was deafening for a few days, now it’s subsiding.

      I know this time of year is hard, it’s my mom’s favorite too😊. I think of you and your mom all the time and all my dear friends with Mother’s and Father’s Day approaching. I worry so much about G and what she must be going through…I believe kids are more adaptable than us, but I worry. I’ll never be able to thank you enough for all the love and support you give.❤❤❤

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    1. What you already do is more than enough. Inspiration, thoughtfulness, encouraging words, I appreciate it all, and the prayers. But maybe, more face masks? KIDDING, JUST KIDDING! I had forgotten to thank you earlier for the mask you sent, I’ll let you know if I enjoy the experience. Thank you from the bottom of my ❤.

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  2. Thanks Jessica<3 I've been floundering for awhile, but think I'm pulling myself out of it. Some days are extremely hard, however, I've been coping a little bit better.

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  3. My sister wrote this blog on her grief and it makes me think alot about mine..mine is often the loud tears and tissue type or the pics and saying types but is it also the quiet prayers and thoughts as well. It remains both consuming and sutle. It is a price of love and fact of my everyday life😢

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  4. I’d say that unless your grieving process involves harming others, there is no wrong way to do it, nor is there ever a convenient time. And it’s just so specifically individual, isn’t it? How you deal (or not) is not how I’d deal (or not.) So I can offer condolences, and empathy, but I’ll never really understand the circumstances that make your grief so devastating for you. It’s the world’s great, shitty equalizer – none of us know how to deal. Hugs, as always.

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    1. About as individual and universal as something can be. As I told my friend Rach above, a friend’s empathy is a meaningful gift. That and a bittersweet appreciation for things you’d never thought you’d miss are the only gifts in an otherwise (shitty covers it well) time.

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