Friday, June 3, 2011

Grief: When I Ignore My Feelings...Meltdown!

Yesterday I had a lovely meltdown.  I have been doing a lot.  Good and bad.  Good is being busy - showing up - doing new things. Good is finding support on Facebook and trying to support others.  Bad is not reinforcing the positive side by using the techniques that I know work - including simple things like pressing the play button and listening to my hypnosis tapes.  I don't mind the words good and bad.  Bad doesn't mean guilt and beating myself up.  It means falling back in to old behaviours and not doing things that will make me feel better.

One of the traps for me is that I have been saying, "It's okay." when it's not.  I have been saying "I'm okay." when I'm not.  I know positive thinking works for a lot of people.  Act a certain way and the feelings will follow.  If I act in such a way that I am ignoring or covering up my real feelings I always unravel.  This is the time of year two years ago when Artie was dying.  He died on July 17th.  I am feeling more confused and sad and incompetent than usual.  I write a blog on grief, I did a show which I am editing on grief - how can I forget that I AM GRIEVING.  It's been almost two years and Artie hasn't come back and I haven't died.  Not much of a surprise there.  I'm not delusional.  I'm sad and lonely without HIM.  Not without a generic someone - but without HIM.  Instead of paying attention to the real pain of this I am so busy getting help and trying to accomplish things and connect that I am falling apart.  I need time to spend with my dead husband.  I need time to spend with my grief.  If I don't spend time with it, it sends out tendrils that creep and crawl into every crack of my day and night.  Some folks who post seem to absorb pain better and embrace joy better than I do.  Some of them are telling the truth (they actually discovered that people like me have something they call the misery gene - I am genetically structured differently than perky folks who probably don't read this!) - but some of them are lying.  I know because I read something jolly on line and then get a message or e-mail about the pain underneath.

I love laughing.  I love making people laugh.  I'm still doing that - and my days and nights are fuller than they were when Artie first died.  I'm still sad.  Every day.  I'm not looking back into the past - I love Artie and our life together.  I learned so much from him, laughed so much with him - I think it is wrong to not carry my past into my future.  It's how to make that past enrich my future instead of destroy it.  I named this blog Stop Thief:  Don't Steal My Grief for a reason.  Now I have to say it to myself - don't steal your own grief.  Don't cover it up. 

My other problem is the fact that my daughter is pregnant and giving birth in Seattle when I am NYC makes me wildly unhappy. I apologize to those of you who have had children or grandchildren die - because I know that to have her across the country is so lucky - because she is alive and I want her to have a happy pregnancy and I want to support her.  However, everything that makes me sane is in NYC.  I don't even enjoy my short trips to London or anywhere anymore.  I was a misery in Russia.  Luckily the friend I went with loves me and didn't mind.  I don't know how I can go to Seattle for a month around Erin's due date and stay sane.  I had lunch with a couple and their 3 month old beautiful daughter yesterday.  I want to be a daily presence in my grandchild's life.  I can't be.  I want to be there to know my daughter better and share things with her.  We talk every day.  I don't want to have to choose between my life and everything I do to keep from curling into a big old grief ball and never uncurling and being with the only family I have left. 
I have been so busy pretending this is okay with me that again I am unraveling.

I always give other folks permission to feel what they are feeling - why not me?  I have done all this work.  Why aren't I better?  I don't know how to be better without Artie to comfort me and hold me and talk to me.  I know how to be a little better - not a lot better.  I know how to be a little brave - not a lot brave.  I even was going to go on a date and the man did the thing I never understand - he said he would call and then he didn't.  I'm not 13 - I'm not sitting by the phone.  However - why bother to say you are going to call and then don't without at least shooting off an e-mail to say Oops, don't have time. 

I don't know if I'm selfish in this - but I think people who have found new love relationships find it easier to live.  It's not that they are not still grieving their original spouse.  However, I don't think there is the same kind of feeling with someone who is happily remarried and someone who is alone.  I can't imagine finding another love like I have with Artie - but if I did - it would be very easy for me to blog about recovering from grief because I would have bear hugs and cuddles and not this endless quiet or the babble of my DVDs.  Not that I begrudge them.  I am so happy when people love and miss their dead love and yet find a new love.  I just don't think they live on the same planet any more as those of us who are going it alone.

That's part of the problem with my daughter - she really is the only family I have.  I am lucky to have a lot of good friends - but that is different than family.  I won't burden her - but oh how I wish she would move back east.  Not to live with me - I don't want to be taken care of - but to be someone I could spend time with. 

No answers today.  Just uneasiness.  But I'm out of bed - and soon - out of the house.  Things planned for the weekend.  Next week is busy.  Staying alive.  Looking for the sunshine - but being willing to say it's pouring rain when it's pouring rain.  Hey folks.  It's pouring rain in my heart even though it is sunny outside.
Hope you are in the sunlight today - if not you can walk with me under my umbrella.  xo

1 comment:

  1. Today, I am stumbling around in the wilderness of loss.... My wounds are still relatively new (6 months since my life partner died), but so much of what I have read here applies to me too.

    Thank you for sharing your pain and triumphs so openly and in doing so helping us all.