Thursday, November 13, 2014

Grief: Can't Catch Up With Myself

Some people say they can't let go of grief.  Me, mine comes with me everywhere.  I don't expect to ever leave it behind.  I woke up the other morning and said my husband's name out loud.  Over five years and I miss him and long for him and will never get used to living without him.  However, it doesn't stop me as much as it once used to from doing things.

That's what I mean by I can't catch up with myself.  My life has gotten very busy lately.  I am traveling again.  I am spending time with my family.  I am putting myself in places where I don't have time to sit around and feel sorry for myself.  I don't have much time to crash any more.  I need that time.  Sometimes when I get home by myself that's what I do.  The first day I just stay in bed and don't move.

I'm not grieving less - just moving more.  That first year I did almost nothing.  I just wasn't capable.  Now I am.  But sometimes I still just don't care and it is difficult to motivate myself.  That's why I make plans.  I have to keep showing up so I don't become a hermit.  Nothing wrong with being a hermit - but I think my husband would want me to be part of the world.

I'm finding grief overwhelming though.  I have been meaning to write a blog post for a while and keep putting it off.  I still post every day on my Facebook page Grief Speaks Out - but I don't respond very much to individual people.  Grief is exhausting.  I don't want to write a book about it and do workshops.  I have read where people stop writing grief blogs saying they want to return to the land of the living.  I'm not going to stop writing - my grief comes with me into the land of the living - but I have realized that I will write less often.  I am sorry for that.  I know people are helped by what I write.  I just can't face it any more.  It's like I want my grief to be a solitary thing for a while.

Maybe it's the holidays and my husband's birthday coming up.  Grief, after more than five years, still makes me sad and irritable and confused.  I don't want to go through this season again.  Yet - I want to go through this season because of my granddaughter - who - can you believe it - will be three in December.  I told her I was 63 - much older than her.  She asked me, "Do you have to die?"  I said yes - but hopefully not today.  I told her that I will always come back and I will always love her but when I die I won't be able to come back on the train in my earth body any more.

So here I am - caught between two worlds.  When my husband first died all I wanted was death.  In spite of that - and because of him - I have made a life for myself.  I want to die to be with him - but not today.  Today I am supposed to be packing to go out of the country again.

I didn't want a life after he died - but I got help and showed up and did things for other people.  I wound up with a life.

I'm still married.  Someone wrote me to "help" me about someone she knew who was happily remarried.  As if I didn't know.  As if I live in a cave.  She wanted me to have love in my life.  I have a lot of love in my life.  My husband isn't replaceable.  She missed the most important thing about grief - the person we love is not replaceable.  Even if I did change my mind and started dating - I would miss my husband.  If your child dies and you have other children it doesn't matter.  If your sibling dies and you have other siblings - it doesn't matter.

Most of the time I make friends with my grief these days. you know from the last post - sometimes it all collapses again into the dark place.  The place where everything seems impossible.  Yet everything is still possible.  Maybe I don't have to catch up with myself.  My living self will go on if I let it - my grieving self will feel overwhelmed and sad and everything it feels.  It will lag behind, resist going, and yet will come anyway.

I have to go and pack for a trip I don't want to go on - yet I know I will have a good time when I get there.  It's who I am these days.  I wish my husband was here to kiss me goodbye.  I wish I could call him twice a day.  I wish I could rush into his arms when I come home.  I can't.  He is on a trip where you do not need to pack - and I have to wait to join him.  Maybe he is kissing me.  Hugging me.

Sometimes I feel foolish lying in bed hugging the stuffed animal he gave me, wearing his jacket.  But it's what I have left.

That's how it is these days...self pity - loneliness - then - gotta go.  There's life to be lived.  I want him to watch me and be proud.

That's what I'm thankful for this holiday season - all the wonderful moments of love and laughter.  I don't have it now - but how lucky I was to have it at all.  I am still grateful for the depth of grief that measure's the height of love.  I asked people with all the pain they were in if they thought it was worth it - if they knew about the grief that was to come -would they do it all again.  Everyone said yes. is my attempt - to make my husband's life more important than his death - to make loving him something motivates me instead of crushing me.

I wish for us all those moments of joy and even peace to balance all the pain and anguish.  There are pinpricks of light even in the darkest abyss.  May they shine brightly - because they are coming from those who have died who are trying to show us the way.

Take tender care of yourself.  You deserve it.  xo


  1. God bless you my blog friend! Your posts truly help me to see that we can find a way to go on and see the positive side of living WITH grief. I am so thankful that I found your blog. Travel safe my friend. I love the part about pinpricks of light in the dark abyss and the light as a symbol of our dearly loved ones who have died trying to show us the way. You have an amazing way with words, using them to bring comfort to our grieving souls!

  2. I have been the part time caregiver for my parents for 7 years and the fulltime one for two. My Mom died August 282014 and my father died on October 17th of this year.there is where the true love match my brothers and I are grieving for family for their loss at this point and my younger brother who we have always had Thanksgiving with has decided that he's not having Thanksgiving this year that he just needs to be quiet be with his family and grieve. I can respect that but I also feel like I need my family too and that I'm losing more than just my parents in this..going to their home and sorting through things is a whole new level of pain I never ever dreamed I could survive from losing them was bad enough watching them take their last breath, I can't begin to describe it. I how do you get through the holidays when your own family is isolating themselves in their own grief and you feel like an outsider. I have no husband or children of my own and I'm trying to find a job as I was my parents full time caregiver for 2 years when I had to quit my job I just feel like I will never be normal again.

  3. There are times when the grief overwhelms us and we just need to be alone with it or even just try to take a break from it once in a while. I get your need to write a little less. Thank you for your words both here and on FB. They have certainly helped me get through some dark spots each day. I hope that you find a little peace and find some energy to keep on getting through. Thinking of you with much warmth.