Wednesday, October 28, 2015

my word's but a whisper, your deafness a shout

·  Grief doesn’t change who you are, it becomes who you are
· •There’s no wrong way to grieve
· There’s no time limit to your grief    

These are the mantras that play over and over daily in my head as I cope.  These are the things I tell myself so that I know I’m okay, even if I am still so lost in sadness.
   But, now I think I have to add one more.

   Grief changes the way you grieve.

   Because becoming one with your grief changes the way you are able to process emotion for everything else that follows
           – maybe forever, I don’t know, I’m only 1,112 days into this.  There’s a lot I don’t know.-   

But, what I do know is that it doesn’t matter how you arrive at this point – my grief isn’t “more” or “longer” because I lost a spouse.  It is what it is because of how it affected me and how my brain processes it.  You can’t tell me to get over it any quicker than you can tell someone who’s had a fight with their best friend, lost a pet, or lost a child.  I know that grief comes in all shapes and sizes and some people can process and accept – and some times the loss of your favorite pencil might send you off the deep end.  Grief has broken people just as often as it’s made them crusaders for a cause.  I don’t claim to be an expert, but what I have learned is that loss is loss, and it becomes a part of you. 
    Becoming this person of grief, I have already experienced how it effects daily life and witnessed the survivor’s guilt that numbs any joy and happiness.  Grief mars the simplest of pleasures. I’ve had good moments, but even then…. I am different and they are muted. 
  Recently, my family went through another loss of a sort and it’s only after experiencing those events that I’ve come to realize the next page I have to add to my grief textbook:  Grief changes the way you grieve. 
This is huge to know.  Let me explain.
     When my kids do something “stupid’ (like forget an assignment that was due, lose something important, etc.) I always tell them to stop getting so upset over the ‘why did this have to happen’ and focus on the ‘what can I do about it now’.  They work themselves up because they are so upset with themselves it ends up making the situation all the more stressful. 
“Stop making yourself sick over the fact that this happened, learn from it, do what you can to fix it, and them move on,” I tell them. 
      It is the same for me with sadness in watching my daughter hurt.  I should be there with a cup of tea, a fuzzy blanket, and a horror movie.  I should be the one nodding as she rants or hugging her as she cries.  AND, I have done all those things – but I’ve also felt her pain and her sadness much more than I should.  I’ve dwelt and nearly made myself crazy with vial thoughts and unforgiveness.  Then, realizing that I was spending far too much time and effort being upset over this, I made myself sick with thoughts like, “what is WRONG with me that I can’t let this go?”  “Why am I letting this effect me to the point of obsession?”  (okay, maybe obsessed is a bit strong, but I felt a bit insane at the time)
       I started to write.  I started to make lists.  I talked to my trusted confidants.  They said things I didn’t want to listen to – things like, if Rob were still here I wouldn’t have been able to work myself up into this much of a tizzy.  And, they’re right –but through writing and praying, I’ve come to realize that it’s more than that.  Being a person of grief and having a brain that isn’t totally recovered, I can’t just get over things.  I can’t stop that I turn everything into another reason why Rob should still be here.  (and yes, I have gone to pieces over losing my favorite pencil since Rob died, that was me). 
     So, my first step is to take my own advice and stop making a hard situation harder by reprimanding myself for being sad.  I can be sad, I SHOULD be – it was a heartbreaking situation and my poor daughter is still trying to pick up the pieces.  Should I be this damaged by it? 
No, absolutely not.  I should have been an appropriate amount of dignified anger/sadness and then the model of forgiveness and recovery, I suppose. 
But, honey, that just isn’t who I am anymore.  Grief is messy.  And it messes with your head.
I’m going to give myself that freedom and start from there.  Maybe tomorrow will be better. 
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