Day 2 of 100 Days of Grief


"There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world."
-Unknown


Todays prompt is about mourning.  In this book they talk about how there is a difference between grief and mourning.  It says, "Grief is the constellation of internal thoughts and feelings you have when you lose someone you love and value...Mourning, on the other hand, is the outward expression of your grief. It is an active process."
I didn't realize there was a difference between mourning and grief.  I've had so many people tell me that I need to grieve and all I could think was "what does that even mean?!" I felt like they were trying to tell me that I needed to feel the pain and it felt a bit like a slap in the face.  I felt the pain every moment of every day.  I was swimming in the pain.  I think what people mean to say is that I needed to mourn.  And who knows, maybe they didn't see all the emotions going on inside me because I was trying so hard to put on the strong face that I felt like they wanted to see.  I didn't want people to see me falling apart.  That and I was still a mom and a wife.  I still had those responsibilities and if I let myself feel all those emotions all the time I would be completely useless.  

Todays prompt:
Check in with yourself and ask, "Am I allowing myself to actively mourn this loss, or am I holding my grief inside?"

When I first lost my baby the emotions were exhausting.  I remember that first night coming home from the hospital after hearing that my baby died.  I had spent 10 minutes or so crying on Nicks shoulder and then we walked out and went home and picked up the kids.  We told them that the baby died and then I sat in a chair all night crying.  Trying to make sense of everything.  The next day I woke up exhausted and I turned on a show.  Disney + had just come out and I was able to sit and watch shows that made me feel good and not think of anything.  I think those first couple weeks I bounced between numbness and complete meltdowns of emotion.  Everything was hard.

I wanted to jump back into life because for the previous 3 months I had been a useless lump on the ground and I was so tired of being a burden on all those around me.  I've been in a lot of therapy at different times of my life so I knew all the skills they tell you to help manage life and be okay.  They would tell you to make sure you're exercising, get 8 hours of sleep, eat well, think outside of yourself, write in a gratitude journal, write to express all your feelings, create things.  So I did ALL of those things.

I started doing yoga everyday along with some strength training to gain back the muscles in my legs and arms.  I took Unisom and Tylenol pm every night to try and get the 8 hours of sleep.  I ate small portions of food, scared that if I ate too much the realization that my baby was gone would hit me in the face.  I collected supplies to give to other moms and their babies.  I wrote in a gratitude journal every day.  I wrote down exactly what happened and how I found out about losing my baby.  I started making jewelry to remind me of my baby.  I made gifts for other people to say thank you for all they did.  I did all of it.  Hoping that it would make the pain go away.

Then something changed.  All the things I was doing I started to resent and hate.  I hated the bags of diapers for the kits I was making because it was a reminder that I wouldn't have this baby.  I hated doing the yoga because I wasn't getting any peace while doing it.  I hated the food because it was a constant reminder that I wasn't sick anymore and my baby was dead.  I hated the gratitude journal, I wasn't grateful for any of this.  I hated all of it.  It was adding more weight to already heavy feelings I was having.

I think doing all these things wasn't an attempt to mourn but to run away from the pain that I was feeling and each week got harder and harder.  I couldn't figure out why it wasn't getting better.  I was doing all the things that I knew were supposed to help me feel better.  I was missing the part where I actually had to cry and feel those emotions.  Don't get me wrong.  I was crying but it was only for small periods of time when things would trigger it and then I'd cry for a moment and then find a distraction.  I did this for weeks.

And then I hit a wall.  More like I fell down a dark hole that was too dark to see.  There was one week where everything was just too hard.  Too many "waves" hit me and I remember the last hard thing pushed me over that ledge into the dark hole.  I didn't want to fight anymore.  I didn't want to try and have hope.  My hope had died.  I remember begging my husband Nick to please just let me go because I couldn't bear the pain anymore.  If he loved me he would let me go.  I've never been in such a dark place in my life but the only way that I could think of ending the pain was to end my life. 

Nick pulled me through that night and in the morning we went to the doctor.  I ended up getting on some antidepressants which I've always hated but the change in how I felt was night and day.  I was able to look at a sunrise and see it had beauty.  The pain was still there, the pain IS still there but something in my brain changed.  My doctor said that sometimes when your dopamine levels get so depleted you can't "bounce back" from hard things and the medication helped with that. 

I think that now I am still trying to run a bit from the feelings.  I think that is why I started this journal of 100 days of grief.  I make ridiculous "to-do" lists each day just so I don't have a moment to sit and think and feel.  Then Sunday comes around where there aren't really any "to-do" lists and the day exhausts me from the myriad of emotions I am feeling all in one day.  I'm hoping by writing this blog I'm releasing some of the emotions a bit each day so that Sundays won't be so overwhelming.  I'm hoping that like a pop bottle I can release a bit of pressure each day so that it's not one big explosion. 

So, how am I doing at mourning?   I'm still doing a lot of the same things I was before but I'm trying hard to listen to what my body, spirit and emotions are telling me to do.  In my yoga class my friend talks about listening to your body and only going as far as it tells you to.  So each day I'm trying to be compassionate with myself and only stretching as far as I'm capable that day.  Today I haven't really made it out of bed and I'll probably stay in my pajamas all day.  Today I may get in my yoga or spend time creating but maybe not.  But today that is okay as I'm working through the emotions of trying to move forward in this next year.  Tomorrow may be different where I can do some of my to do list and be more productive.  But today I'm choosing to let myself have the time to feel those emotions and not be okay.  

Comments

  1. Such beautiful and powerful words, "feel those emotions and not be okay." I have struggled accepting this fine line in my own life so many times. Thank you for sharing your truth and this wisdom.

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