Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Permission to Grieve

Today is shaping up to be one of those thoughtful days. They come every so often, without planning, without announcing themselves ahead of time, they pop up and push me back into my chair.

I didn't expect it, but I can't say I'm surprised either. It's been almost two full months since my father died. Tomorrow is my mom's birthday - she died 8 years ago. And, today I'm home alone. The kids are at school, hubby's at a meeting all day.

I'm home.


With my thoughts.

And my grief.

Something about getting close to anniversaries, and having time alone seems to bring out my grief. Today, in the shower, it was a flood of memories; well not really a flood, more like a movie trailer where the highlights flash before you without any continuity. Anyone watching for the first time wouldn't understand, but those who have seen the movie know whats happening in the moment, what happened before, and whats going to happen after. It tends to bring up many emotions.

... The family meeting when they told us they couldn't do more to treat him ... Watching him lay there in the hospital bed seemingly sleeping, but not really knowing ... his doctor's face ... another doctor's face ... the tone of his voice in a brief conversation years before (the words elude me) ... the doctor commenting, "his nurse is highly invested in his care" .. the male nurse who took extra time to be sure he was not just taken care of medically, but comfortable too ... my brother's face as we talked casually while waiting for doctors to come ... my sister asking the incredibly brave question, "Could he be cared for at home?" ... and more .... and more ...

How can anyone else understand? Honestly -- they can't. Every relationship is different. Every person's grief is different. My grief, my memories are different from my brother's. They are different from my sister's, though we do share some memories. Our reactions to our loss are different. And our grief is different from others who have lost their father. Because our father was different. Our relationships were different.

I've been told, give yourself permission to grieve. This is incredibly wise, freeing advice. It was first given to me after my mother's very sudden death in June 2000. A kind, caring friend sent me a series of books (Special Care Series) by Doug Manning of In-Sight Books. I cannot begin to tell you how helpful this series of books were for me at that incredibly difficult time.

And so, as I find myself walking this road again, I've begun to re-read them. The first booklet, "Discovering Permission to Grieve" comes about a month after the death. It reminded me to go ahead and grieve as I want to grieve. Allow yourself to feel and express the pain. Do not hold it in or try to pretend that it's less than it is. Grieve. In whatever manner works best for you. Grieve.

It also encourages you to find friends with whom you can grieve. People who don't judge. Who don't limit your grief. People who will above all, listen.

But, I find myself in a place where life is busy. Incredibly busy. My friends, my family, the people around me, even Christian friends, they are busy. They have their own lives, their own issues going on. I don't want to intrude on them. And, they wouldn't understand (that's what I tell myself) . Because grief is very personal. It is different for me than it is for them. Can I really begin to describe all that's going on in my head? in my heart? I don't think I have words for that. They just won't come.

But, I need to grieve. I need to express this pain. I need to get it out or I may explode.

So, here I am. Grieving on the Internet. Will I do this again? I don't know. Probably. Writing seems to be cathartic for me. I think it helps. I think taking the time to write it out forces my brain to slow down long enough that I can actually find some words to express the pain.

So, for me ... for now ... for this moment ... grieving on the Internet -- works for me.


Amy said...

I am so sorry to hear of your losses. I journaled for years and always found it to be very freeing-- something about getting those words out of my head and onto paper really was helpful. I can see where blogging would be the same, with the plus of also having others there to support you.

Ann said...

I lost my father to cancer 15 years ago when I was 17 years old. I lost my mother to cancer 5 years ago. I lost my 43 year old brother to a sudden heart attack 4 months ago. I grieve every day for them. I think of them all the time. It does get easier with the passage of time, but it never goes away. I'll be praying for you to get through this tough time.

Wanda said...

Wow...thank you for sharing. Just today, I received an email from a dear friend here at work (she just lost her 22yoa son to cancer on 12/5/08). She's glad to be back at work...but is so overcome with her grief at times that she feels like it will never stop.
She also told me that when she has a memory or sees someone that reminds her of him...she writes down her thoughts.
She's started writing down memories, what hurts at the particular moment, how she's feeling and why. All good ideas for coping, I think.
I will say a prayer for you, sister. No one can take your pain away....only God can do that. He doesn't want us comfortable with this earth (we are to run after the prize always).
Heaven is our real home. You're so brave to reach out. I lift you up! Hang on!

KrustyTheCat said...

I am so sorry for your loss ((Hugs))

Rina said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I spoke with a very dear friend today who just lost her dad... I would like to send this to her, if you don't mind.

UnfinishedMom said...

Please feel free to send it along. Part of the reason I decided to post this is because I knew there would be other people who needed to know that someone else is walking the same path.


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