Over the past 6 and a half years, I’ve learned that grief almost gets more complicated over time (as if grief could possibly be any more complicated). For me, holidays and special dates used to approach like an oncoming train: overwhelming, distracting, loud, anxiety-inducing, and …
I’m sure most of you have heard of PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Basically, it is anxiety caused by certain triggers, and it occurs in people who have been through or witnessed a life-changing event and have difficulty recovering from it. Before losing my husband, …
Grief is…weird. Anyone that has experienced grief likely knows that it’s not a linear process and it’s messy. It’s complicated and exhausting. With my most recent pregnancy loss, I didn’t have much time at all to process it. The chaos of the start of a new semester sort of ruined any hope of processing I had. There were some loved ones around me that–although unintentionally–downplayed the loss, which caused me to push down the grief because it wasn’t really warranted. I wasn’t expecting for long enough for it to be considered a loss worth grieving. I will get my time soon. It was early. It was probably chromosomal. I had homework to do. I had class to attend. I didn’t have time to lie around and mope.
Fast-forward to last weekend at a jazz club. I was enjoying the music and atmosphere with my mom and husband, sipping on a cocktail, when I was completely caught off guard with emotion. I looked over to my husband and told him that I should have been X weeks pregnant by now. I felt sad and angry and hopeless. Something about the music and the emotions it stirred up caused me to reflect and feel a wave of grief.
It left almost as quickly as it came, but I did allow myself to feel sad and experience the feelings it brought on. If I’ve learned anything from grief, it’s that sometimes grief just doesn’t make sense. It needs your attention and to be acknowledged for a bit. It needs you to feel what it wants you to feel and then calm it down and put it back in its box until the next time it decides to come out. I think in Western culture, we are expected to be “over” a loss after a certain amount of time, whenever society decides it’s time to be over it. We’re expected to hit some sort of point where random things don’t make us cry, feel mentally exhausted, or be nostalgic.
I can tell you from far too much experience with grief that that couldn’t be farther than the reality. I can tell you that it is okay–and encouraged–to feel all of the feelings. Grief is something that needs your tenderness and understanding. Grief is not only the acceptance and emptiness from the loss, but it’s the loss of all that could have been. What would this person be like now? What things could we have done in this time? How different would life be if this person were (still) here?
I’m here to tell you that there’s simply no timeline for something so heavy.
Since the end of August 2015, when Sam was first hospitalized, I started understanding what unconditional love meant. Of course, I had always loved Sam, but in the months following his original diagnosis and observation, I loved him even deeper. I loved him knowing what …
If all you do today is get up and shower, that’s okay.
If all you do today is wash a load of laundry, but leave it in the washer, that’s okay.
If all you do today is step outside for some fresh air, that’s okay.
If all you do today is one thing off your seemingly endless to-do list, that’s okay.
If all you do today is cry, that’s okay.
If all you do today is binge-watch your favorite Netflix series, that’s okay.
If all you do today is listen to music to keep yourself off the verge of a panic attack, that’s okay.
If all you do today is breathe, that’s okay.
Do what you can.
Try to do a little more tomorrow.
Don’t get stuck.
If you can’t walk, crawl.
Take care of yourself.
I see that you’re trying.
You’re doing just fine.