Some Things on Grief

Written April, 2018 – recently I went through my drafts and either finished them and posted them, or deleted them. I couldn’t bring myself to do either with this one. It had a purpose, I just didn’t know what for or when. Today when going through drafts it reached out and bit me.

It’s been an exhausting few weeks.

I have followed through with my Statement about doing what I need to do to get through the last couple months. I wrote when I felt the need, I read a handful of books. I drove and listened to music. Visited the cemetery. I went and saw movies with Matt and had movie nights with both of the kids. I socialized when I felt like it. I gave up chocolate for Lent, even though I’m not super religious. It seemed like a good idea though, and I mostly stuck to it. Except for that bowl of Oreo-Os. I couldn’t resist.

Today marked the 12 year anniversary of my mother’s death, and oddly enough multiple songs that my dad was fond of played on the radio while I was getting ready for work. I had it tuned to a rock station, otherwise I wonder – had it been tuned to a 60s station, would there have been a lot of Motown? That was mom’s genre of choice. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I swear anytime I’m anxious or upset ‘Turn the Page’ plays. I really think it’s Dad’s way of saying chin up.

So I smiled, and sang the words to the song while I did my hair, and somehow I knew my parents were smiling too.

It’s funny, the things that give us solace while we grieve. Alternately, it’s funny the things that hurt us while we grieve. One day, ‘Turn the Page’ will make me smile, and the next, I’ll have to stop what I’m doing to take a moment to cry if it comes on. Yet another day I’ll angrily hit the skip button, trying to ignore the feeling of bittersweet sadness that is bound to overtake me if I listen to the song.

I wrote the first few paragraphs of this at a point in my life when all I knew was what it was to be in a continual state of sadness. I moved forward with living my life, to a point – I worked and cared for my children. I did fun things. Looking back though, it was as if there was a cloud obstructing my view. Like swimming on a cloudy day – I knew the sun was there, but I couldn’t see it. I always was wondering when the next bad thing was going to happen, when I was going to have to start the grieving process for another person. . . All while I was still coping with the fact that I had not gotten over my parents passing. . . If there is such a thing.

Two years later, I can say that I am a little better. I can’t tell you that you ever ‘get over’ someone’s passing, but I can tell you that you adjust. That the sun comes out again. That there are more times when I let ‘Turn the Page’ play through and I don’t cry then there are skips or tears.

I have struggled all my life with the concept of death, and with grieving. As a child I would lay awake nights, fearing I would never wake up if I let myself fall asleep. I have struggled with properly grieving my entire life because being tough is all I’ve known. I knew two years ago I needed to embrace my grief, I needed to lay down beside it and get to know it. Otherwise, it would eat me from the inside out.

I can’t say I’m healed. I can’t say that I have found a proper concept on how to grieve yet, or that I am okay with the fact that death comes for all of us. But I can say that I’m getting there. In acknowledging that I am not okay, somehow I’m becoming better. Don’t ask me how that works, but it does.

March and April weren’t as hard this year as they were the past several. I shed some tears but I was nowhere near the wreck that I have been in the past. I’ll take whatever progress there is.

If I could tell anyone anything that is going through the grieving process, it would be to give yourself time. Give yourself time to work through it. And actually work through it, don’t ignore it like I did. I’m not a therapist. I’m just a real life person battling her demons, and I’m documenting the process through my blog. I’m documenting the ups and the downs, the good and the bad. Life isn’t always pretty, it’s not always a fairy tale. And I hope that by me sharing the good and the bad and the ugly, someone somewhere sees a glimmer of hope. You are not alone in your sadness. You are not alone in your battle. Everyone has a demon or three. Or twelve (Ha). There’s no ignoring them. They’re persistent bastards. It’s only when you sit down and hang out with them, get to know them, that you can finally vanquish them to the past.

I hope that you are brave enough to give your demons a hug. In getting to know them, you will get to know yourself better, and you can grow from there. You can heal from there.

Happy Tuesday. Don’t be afraid of your demons. After all, they are a part of you.

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