Friday, September 12, 2014

Learning How to Grieve ~ Part Two...

Just when you think you are at the point of acceptance, the final stage of grieving, something, almost anything can bring all the pain back in an instant.  Then without warning you begin to feel helpless, overwhelmingly sad, and incredibly depressed all over again.  You are left bargaining but this time around you are doing it to just make the pain stop already. 

 For me it was a birthday.  I made it through the day just fine, it was a few weeks later when it hit me out of the blue as I began to cry uncontrollably. The party, presents, cake, and games that never were…the yearly family gathering was missed by us all.  The memories that would have, could have, and should have been made caused the tears to flow even harder.  Will next year be the same?

 It feels as if my world has ended all over again.  I know it has not because I have gone through this part once already, but it does not stop the pain I am feeling here today.  My life will go on, I hope not as slowly as before.  I am just waiting for the new normal to return again…at least I now know that it is there waiting for me.

 Although this day is a really, really bad day, it is only a day.  Once I silently cry myself to sleep tonight, I will wake to a new day, a stronger day because I made it through the last. Each new day I have to remind myself if I made it through yesterday I can make it through today.  I am finding new and inventive ways, or at least they are to me, of getting through the days, weeks, and months.

 I have learned that grief really does come in waves.  One hour you are completely fine and the next a total and complete wreck.  One day you are okay and another at your complete worse wishing the day would finally end or some days not even bothering to get out of bed to face this cruel world at all.  I have even noticed that some months are even better than others.  It is a process with no time frame and no real order or sequence.  You just have to learn to ride the waves and embrace them as they come…easier said than done!

 I am still learning how to go with the flow of what my heart and soul are feeling.  I found myself still trying to desperately to push thoughts and feelings away.  I was told it is a natural reaction, a way our brain tries to, in a sense, protect us from the tragedy or something like that…I kind of zoned out during the explanation because I did not want to hear it quite yet.  This is only meant to be a temporary solution though.  The sooner you face the grief the sooner you will begin to heal.  The longer you run from it the more it will fester and grow to consume you.  The grief began to consume me and despite others trying to make me realize that was happening, it was something I had to realize myself due to pure stubbornness.  Take my advice here and do not take too long to face the grief.  Once it begins to consume you it is so very hard to climb back out of that darkness.

 It took me quite some time to cry and it had me concerned.  Let me explain, I cried when it first happened but not a real cry where you cry your heart out until it hurts and you just cannot cry anymore.  The soul cleansing type of cry.  Once I finally allowed myself to do just that I began to realize it really is okay to cry and it is not a sign of weakness but a sign of healing.

 I remember the first time after my loss when I laughed, I felt so guilty for it.  I now know that it is okay to laugh and I do not have to feel guilty for having positive emotions while dealing with loss.  It, in my opinion, is another sign of healing.  I have been crying and found myself laughing, at my husband being silly to cheer me up, it is common now for me to do both at the same time.

 I have to remind myself, although my husband does an amazing job at doing so, to take care of myself even when I do not fell like it.  When I do not want to eat, he makes me take at least a bite or two off his plate.  When I do not want to get out of bed he encourages me too, often by “making” me go to the store with him or a quick car ride just to get me out of the house.  He tells me to go write something because it is what I love to do.  He also reminds me that I need to keep living and quit hiding from the world.  Unfortunately, not everyone has someone as thoughtful, loving, and caring as my husband is to me so it is even more important for you to remind yourself of these things.  Something that I am gradually getting better at, I finally made dinner for the first time a few weeks back and it felt good to be in my kitchen cooking again.

 I have also learned how important it is not to shut people out or cut yourself off from relationships.  I am finally letting everyone back in and have found that not only have I hurt others but I have hurt myself as well by shutting them all out.  The more people I let back in the more love and support I am finding to help me move on with my life.

 As wonderful as my husband is, he doesn’t always respond perfectly to my grief.  No one will be able to 100% of the time, some will not be able to at all, and some will even let you down and disappoint you.  Friends and family members who you thought would be there for you are not, while people you barely know will reach out to you with inspiring and encouraging words to brighten up your day.

 I was not prepared to work through the hurt and forgiveness at others’ reactions.  I was already dealing with enough pain and when others did not react in the way I expected them to, it was a whole new level of disappointment and I pain I have never experienced before.  So if you are grieving, please prepare yourself for this, do not expect everyone to react the way you want them to.  Also remember that some people may love you but just do not know how to react or support you in the way you need and want them to.

 I have a closer relationship with God now, for he has proved to me that he has been here all along perfectly.  He has not let me down, as I originally thought.  When I am alone he lets me scream to let it all out.  He lets me cry and question and even allows me to throw every single emotion I have at Him and yet he is still here perfectly for me.  He is not only there perfectly for me but for everyone who is grieving because he is always near to the brokenhearted.

 I have found that taking the time to truly remember those we have lost has actually helped my grieving process.  I have privately written about my loss in detail and have relived all of the memories of times we have shared.  I soaked up all of the good times we had shared and during the bad times pull them from my memory to get through that bad moment in time.  Looking through old pictures has helped me as well.  I was surprised at other old photos I came across that brought smiles to my face when I was just crying moments before. 

 As I mentioned in the first blog post, it really is okay to ask for help whether it be professional help or friends and family members. It is also okay to need people.  The more love and support you surround yourself with and accept, the easier the grief becomes to deal with. Do not get me wrong, you will have days, even weeks where you think you have begun to accept your loss then the next thing you know you find yourself grieving yet again.  Those moments of feeling acceptance help to push me through the bad times because what I did not truly know before is that those moments really do exist and in the end that is what I am working towards.

 I have said it before but everyone experiences grief in completely different ways and in their own time frames.  The best advice I can offer from my experience is to completely embrace the grief and stop trying to run from it because I have learned that despite the hurt it can be a beautiful, deep, and incredibly profound experience.  Do not allow yourself to be afraid of the grief just learn how to ride the waves.  I am continually surprised at what grief has and continues to teach me and if you are grieving, I am sure you will be as well.

 To those who have read this blog post…thank you for letting the writing process make me feel better today.

© 2014 Lysa Wilds