During the second session of the support groups I facilitated – I did an exercise where I asked the group members to imagine that someone was coming into the room who had never lost anything. This person was coming to the support group members because they were the experts on grief (since they are going through it). I did this exercise as a way to get the members to talking about what they are feeling or going through. It gave us a chance to discuss the normalcy of different grief responses and to also talk about ways to deal with things.
So this week has been one of those weeks where I feel like I have had to explain myself to many people. Fortunately most everyone is understanding and supportive but the world also forgets what I’ve been through. After all, I still look the same. I don’t look any different (other than a few pounds) nor do I look like someone who has lost two of the most significant people in her life in less than four months of each other. For the record, I feel like I’m doing pretty well – considering the circumstances.
So today’s post is not only for myself but what I believe every grieving person wants the rest of the world to know. I am certain I will leave out things but that is where we have to remember that grief affects everyone differently and there is not a wrong or right way – simply healthy and unhealthy.
- I am grieving 24 hours a day. The fact that my Mom and Nanny are no longer here is an ever present fact in my every day life. Sometimes I can focus upon other things and others I can not.
- As I am grieving 24 hours a day – my energy level varies throughout the day. The intense feeling of fatigue has hit me like a wall out of no where and it can hurt to pick up my feet to walk to the other room.
- Asking me what is wrong is such a loaded question. Where do you want me to start? These two beautiful women are no longer here. I talked to them daily. I miss them. I’m trying to figure out what to do with my life without them in it.
- Although I do feel I provided the best care that I could provide, there have been moments that I have questioned if I did enough. It is a game the brain plays attempting to feel as if there were the possibility of more control.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about my Mom or Nanny. So many people treat death like the elephant in the room and avoid any conversation of the losses. Of course, there may be times when I am comforted by not discussing it – however, I am not going to be offended if you simply say “I’m so sorry for your loss and I’ve been thinking of you.
- I’ve been surprised by who has been supportive and who hasn’t. Many people are often shocked by the friends or family members who suddenly do not offer support via their prescience, phone calls, cards. Many times support isn’t offered because the person doesn’t know what to say or do, so they do nothing. Sadly, doing nothing makes the griever feel as if no one cares. On the flip side, there have been wonderful surprises of love and support from people who were perhaps mere acquaintances.
- I know people are trying to help in regards to suggesting what I should be doing with my Mom’s estate or belongings – but I can only do what I am able to do on an emotional and physical level. Asking me about my Mom’s belongings at my Nanny’s visitation and calling me about selling the car the afternoon of the funeral is simply tacky. I have a good business mind (and a husband who works in the business world), we have every intention of completing things in a timely manner.
- I have every intention of not being a hermit and remaining social with our friends. However, I ask forgiveness in advance if I cancel a planned event or it takes me a day or two to call/text/email you back. I also need to remind people to keep on me if I do cancel on them too much.
- I am currently in the early stages of my grief where I find myself wandering and not completing very much. It’s been helpful to have friends who allow me to do that with my thoughts and comments and validate that it’s OK I am wandering.
- I am grateful that I am not currently working and I’ve given myself permission to not start thinking about the college courses I will be teaching until sometime in July. So many individuals have to return to work full-time after a death and they struggle. It’s hard to care about anything when your world feels like it has fallen apart. Again, I’m grateful that I do not have to get up and be somewhere at a specific time every morning. It would add another layer to my grief.
- Although I try to be kind to myself, there are also times when I am hard on myself in regards to my expectations. I have to remind myself that time wise I have experienced a significant amount of loss in a short amount of time. As a result, there is no way I should be fully functioning.