Sunday, February 19, 2017

Numb: Photoless Edition

days since the worst day. 

I have been completely overcome with emotion off and on since February began.  At times I feel guilt, regret, and weak.

Numb is the best word I can come up with.
I've questioned if I need therapy.  I've questioned if I need medication.  I have questioned if I should just shake my fist to the stars and yell, 
"You get this one God.  You win."

I looked up the stages of grief because, five years should make everything okay and make me "right" again.  Don't you think so?  I thought I could tick them off one by one to say, "see?  I've conquered them all and can move on now!"

Let me list the "stages" of grief.  And, also let me give my own uncensored interpretations of the stages. (The numbering system that shows below has nothing to do with anything.  Please ignore!)

    You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.
You will react to learning of the loss with FULL awareness that it happened... especially if you are the one who discovered the body.  There is absolutely NOTHING that you can do to "avoid the pain".   It was real... my husband was dead.

  1. PAIN & GUILT-
    As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

    You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn't do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.
Guilty feelings? Immediately following, and ever since, for not taking him to the hospital the night before.  Even now, I can't let that guilt go. I have guilt of being angry at him for being sick and if he would have just done this or that, he'd still be here.  I have guilt for resenting the life he had before mine where he raised four beautiful children and was healthy.  Guilt, guilt, and still more guilt.  It never goes away.  This is a phase that comes and goes when you least expect it.   And, probably the worst guilt of all... sometimes, a little thought would whisper in my head that maybe it would be better for him if he did die to relieve his pain, to lessen my worries.  Now, that is selfish and greedy.  I urge anyone reading this to read or watch the movie "A Monster Calls".  I bawled through the entire thing.  I almost felt it was written for me and all those who grieve in a way that creates shame and guilt and secret thoughts.

The only time I really felt anger was at the family gathering on the night before Terry's funeral.  My brother, Bruce (who had travelled from Vancouver, BC) and we ended up alone in the hallway together.  We chatted a bit and then I just said "I hate him!  I hate him for leaving us!"  Bruce took me in his arms... my  only sibling who could fully understand my anger and loss.  He just held me while I fell apart. It only lasted for a very short time.  Bruce has his own story to tell with it's own twists and turns.  I would let him tell his own story as it isn't mine to tell... except to note that he lost TWO of his children in the same car accident several years earlier.  One daughter, a young mother, and one son who was still in High School.  Bruce knew.  Bruce knows.

As far as "bargaining", I never did because I knew Terry wasn't ever coming back. Plus, why bargain with a God who would do something so cruel as to take away my first true love way too soon.

Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

Oh boy!  The one phrase that kills me over and over again is, "You will see him again!" "God needed him more than we did."  "Blah!  Blah!  Blah!"  I'm not listening to you.

This weekend, yes, I have experienced the true magnitude of my loss.  Yes, it depresses me.  Yes, I isolate myself on purpose.  And YES I reflect and reflect and reflect.  I have thousands of memories that I treasure.  Over time, I will forget them or they may become clouded.  That thought terrifies me and it's then that I mention him to real live people.  My love can't be measured or understoond.
    As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your "depression" begins to lift slight
  2.  I agree with this statement.  Life does become calmer after a while. I can look at his belongings now and can sort through what I want to keep, give away, or donate  BUT, he's still there in the back of my head telling me to "Get rid of it all.  It's just junk."  No, sorry, that's not going to happen.
    As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.
This one happened about a week after I (along with some 60 people including some I have never seen, showed up on moving day and move me to my new home.  I have nieces who send me surprises through the mail during February)  People are good... it I let them be.

Honestly, I am an optimistic person who people look at and automatically think I'm happy-go-lucky. .. balanced.  I DO look forward to seeing and doing awesome things.  I KNOW I'm okay that way. I can find joy in most situations.  

If we could just block February, that would solve my deeply emotional anxiety concerning the big fat hole Terry left in our family.

After thinking over why I feel more upset over this anniversary is (other than marking a big year... (FIVE years!)  time is that one of my most dreaded fears from the beginning are now manifesting.  

•  I'm l feel like I'm losing touch with Terry's kids.  We text, we Instagram, we group text sometimes. But it's not like before.  People have lives to live and families to raise. Life gets busy.  I get that.  But, when I'm the last to know of a suffering  grandchild, or parents and children with celebrations of promotions, and milestones accomplished... my heart hurts.

I remember after the funeral, I hugged Terry's daughter, Melissa.  I whispered in her ear, "Please don't forget me.  You are my link to him."  His children really are a part of my life and I love each and every one of them with my whole heart.  But, people move on and... I'm the step-grami and shouldn't expect to be at the top of their lists.  I understand that.  It's hard for me to remember that life moves on with or without me.  I am dispensable .  It hurts.  But I understand. (However, I refuse to turn into Grandma Neen!)

•  I worry about my own daughters and their families.  About three darling granddaughters he never met.  He would be the doting grandparent.  I can visualize him with each one.  He would love to hear Eloise read to him.  He'd enjoy cuddles from Hazel.  He'd fight people just to hold Poppy.  He would think Zoe is the funniest little kid he'd ever met and he would melt at Zoe's toothy smile!!

•  I wondered if I would make it this far.  Honestly.  I have not exercised or been at a healthy weight for a long time.  In short, I let myself go and I'm so upset with myself.

•  Considering  I believe in (sort of) an afterlife, I worry that he has found someone else to love.  That would be awesome for him... not awesome for me.  In my church is is understood that polygamy will be reinstated in the after life in order to receive "exaltation"!  If that turns out to be true, I would rather live in Hell. True or not, I still worry about it.  And I hate the notion. (Someday I will be brave enough to write a post about my feelings toward the religion in which I was raised.)

•  I worried about contact with Terry's extended family.  I haven't seen his brother, sister, nor any of their children since the funeral.  I miss them.  

So, here I sit... numb.  I'm not feeling anything good OR bad.  Just counting down until tomorrow is over.


Melissa said...

Tami, I love you my dear friend. I've been thinking about you all week. I wish I could hug you right now. It was so hard to move away from you that year. I hope you know I think of you often. I'm glad we have kept in touch. Love you. He loves you.

Rachel said...

I love you. I have no words that will make any of this better. I'm so sorry that you had to go through this, that you are still going through this, and that you will continue to go through this. I'm so sorry!! I'm so sorry that you hurt. I love you.

Becky Jones said...

I love you Aunt Tami!

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