Day 12 of 100 Days of Grief
"Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm."
I overdid it today. Last night I was so scared of this week. I found myself in my Box of Hope looking through the things and just feeling. I miss her so much. It still hurts. I couldn't sleep after that. My mind was restless and wrestling with all the thoughts and feelings. Around 2 am I got up and laid on the couch so I didn't wake up Nick with my tossing and turning. I went and sat on the chair in our living room and stared into the darkness. That numbness came back and eventually I fell asleep.
With little sleep I woke up with my alarm at 6:00 am determined not to make Henry late. The last couple of weeks before the break Henry was late most days. I feel bad about it and I'm sure his teacher was probably pretty frustrated with me but it was all I could do to get out of bed. Poor Henry was lucky if he got a bowl of yogurt on the way to school.
I got up, made oatmeal, got dressed, and looked at my to do list for today. There were 19 things I had to accomplish today. I was determined to get all of them done. Each moment throughout the day I was moving, doing something, being productive. I couldn't sit. If I sat then I'd have to feel. I couldn't fall apart today. This is the first week of me trying to get back to normal and I wasn't going to break today.
Looking back, I wish I had just taken time to feel. I guess that's what I'm doing now but I'm exhausted and so emotionally drained it's hard to think clearly. How am I going to make it through the rest of the week? Tomorrow I start lessons and it terrifies me. I've been thinking about them all day today, dreading them. Not because I don't love teaching, I do, but do I have the patience? When I teach I put all of myself into it. It takes everything. I'm not sure I have everything to give. I guess we'll see.
Today's prompt talks about the stages of grief. I remember a friend sent me a picture of papers the hospital had given her after she lost her papers. I vaguely glanced over them. I feel like when you're so raw with emotion at the first you can't take anything in. People gave me books and papers and things to help but I just couldn't look at it. I wish I could have. It would have made this whole experience a little easier. Who knows though. I feel like I did what I could when I could.
The 7 stages of grief are as follows:
1. Shock and Denial
2. Pain and Guilt
3. Anger and Bargaining
4. "Depression", reflection, loneliness
5. The upward turn
6. Reconstruction and working through
7. Acceptance and Hope
In the book it talks about how grief isn't orderly and predictable. And that you won't eventually get to a destination in your grief. I've found for me I feel like I ping pong back and forth between all of them at different times. I could even say that throughout the day I feel all of them.
Today for instance I've felt the pain and the guilt. The constant myriad of "what if's" always are in my mind. What if it was something I did that killed her? If I had eaten more, if my body had taken less and given her more would she still be alive? The pain is always there. Just the deep ache in your heart that never really lifts. Usually after this the depression starts in. The thoughts of how will I ever recover from this? I just want her back so badly. I pull away from Nick and the kids trying to just be okay.
Then I try and pull myself up and keeping going. I start the to do list and tell my brain that it didn't happen. Then as the day goes on I'm angry. Most often not at someone or at anythings. Just angry. I become a terrible mom yelling at the kids so frustrated that I can't control anything. I feel like I'm grasping for anything to control and I can't. I can't control anything and I'm angry.
Then there are moments when I see something beautiful or when I'm sitting with Hannah I reflect on how lucky I am that she's still home with me most of the day. She's starting kindergarten and I'm so scared that soon she'll be in school too and I won't have anyone. Hope was supposed to be here with me.
I never really know where I am in the stages of grief. It changes from one minute to the next. How do you ever get to acceptance? How can I ever accept that my baby is dead and move on? Is that a thing? How do people do it? How do people keeping going forward when they've lost someone?
Today's prompt is this: If you have read about or been told about the "stages" of grief, remember that this is not how your grief will proceed. Don't allow yourself or other to tell you how, when and what your grief should look like.
I like this phrase, "don't allow yourself or other to tell you how, when and what your grief should look like". I am guilty of this. When I did look at this paper my friend sent me I thought, I'm in the upward turn. I skipped through depression and anger and soon I'll be able to "move on". I was so wrong. I've found that grief is something that just comes and goes and the more you try to control it the harder it is. A lot like those waves I talked about in the first post. I'm finding the more I fight the wave the more I tend to struggle but when those waves come if I stop fighting and just feel and let it move through me I'm able to recover better. Kind of like if I stop fighting with the wave and just float through it, it's less destructive. It's finding "peace in the storm" rather than fighting against the storm.
I'm not sure I know where I am in this process of grief. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out my motives and wondering if I'm handling this in the "right" way. I know there really isn't a "right" way but I always worry I'll get caught in my anger or my pain and not be able to get out. I don't want to become someone that is bitter and angry all the time. Somedays I feel like I'm sliding down that path. If only grief really were like the stages. If it was predictable where you would go through one to the next and all the way to acceptance. I honestly wonder if I'll ever make it there. Will I ever make it back to Hope?