My Grief Challenges

Sad & Selfish

I am feeling really sad. My family would like Bob and myself to join them for Thanksgiving, and Bob would, willingly, drive, but I am so tired. The doctor said I need to take some time and get some rest, and not be scheduled—whatever !!!  Sleep has never been fun for me.     Besides being tired, I plain don’t want to be the downer around family.  As it is, since Shawn died, no matter where I am, I feel like I have been lugging around a gigantuous white elephant.
I have decided on some markers to get past and then I will work hard at get togethers with family and friends. I am being quite selfish, at this time, and I do not like it.
I, also, tend to care very deeply for others. I try to make sure folks know I care, one way or another. I don’t want to look back and think I should have said or done this more than I did. I don’t want folks to feel like their struggles have been forgotten. That being said, I realize God is the ultimate carer. I, also, don’t need to fret so much-God is caring, always. I have to face facts that there are times one has to take care of them self-selfish as that might seem, to those looking in, from the outside.

I attend a grief class. The topic, for the past couple of weeks, has been breaking us into the idea that it is possible to survive the holidays and other such days. I noticed two types of folks: those who have already past the point of being a firster. They have a relief/dread in their communications. They made it through the firsts, but there are still sad days to deal with- even though, for some, many years have passed. The others are dreadfully facing the firsts of everything: b.days, anniversaries, etc.. The list grows as one recalls precious occasions with the one now gone. We, are also, frequent tearers. I put myself in the category of official hankie carrier.

A coworker, who’s son died almost a year and a half ago, was talking to me about the hardest thing: “finding the balance”. This one stymies me. If grief has its own course, how does one figure how to make all balance ?  My friend told me that our whole body is affected and traumatized from our losses. Take the time to deal with all the emotions and physical problems. One day, you will be surprised that you are wanting to participate, in life, again.
With the job I have, it is important to be able drive my passengers safely and responsively, my emotions have to be compartmentalized, which can create it’s own problems. I am, also, one of those folks, if I am not in the hospital, I work. Well, it is hard work trying to spare my coworkers my grief releases. It is super exhausting trying to deal kindly with passengers who think they are above bus safety rules. Some behavior problems- we cannot be told about-are extremely stressful. All this is very trying, especially, when I, also, have to consider the safety of those outside the 33,000 pound metal box I maneuver.

I have chosen 3 times I am going to be away from work.  I have decided to miss work for the date of the fire, Shawn’s b.day, and Shawn’s death date. I can’t always see triggers ahead of time, but I know the days that will be the hardest.
Before last year, in seven years, the only time I missed work was for my 12th b.day. You see, I am, also, known as a “Leaper”.  Yep, my b.day is February 29. What a special day that was, I actually met other “Leapers”, for the first time in my life !!!  Plus, it was my pre-teen b.day -for “Leapers”-that is a big deal !

In grief class, this week, the video mentioned having balance when it comes to sleeping, and life events, in general. I must be grieving wrong, it sounds like most folks can close their eyes and sleep away. I dread sleeping. I need to be totally exhausted, like when I try to sit down and watch a movie and my eyes can’t stay open. The reason I dread sleeping, at this point in my life, is because waking from sleep means I have to face Shawn’s goneness- again and again and again.    I HATE IT !!!

A Blue Question MarkA Blue Question MarkA Blue Question Mark

Before I finish, these questions have been bothering me:

? What does it mean when folks happily say words like: God did a 180 degree turn around and answered my prayer ? What if God doesn’t answer how folks expected ?
? Why is it important to be made stronger ? If heaven is our next home, what do we need to be stronger for ?
? What is the difference between trust and hope ? Many use the words interchangeably. So, I am just wondering who has thought what each word-really- means? Do we trust that God knows what is best, or do we hope He will respond the way we think is best for Him to choose ?

Just an interaction with my husband, Bob. He has been blessed by not having boundless emotions.

Bob, asked me, after I had gotten home from one of my grief classes-words to the meaning of: what did people do in the past before there were grief classes ?
This has plagued me for quite a few days. Am I just so weak ? Why can’t I gut up and manage Shawn’s goneness on my own ?
Well, just yesterday, November 23, a thought popped in. Not everyone that travels by ship needs a life raft. As it so happens, I had been traveling aboard a ship that required a life raft. It has been a blessing to have have fellow travelers at my side, folks that know we have rough times to deal with.  It is encouraging to have something in common while experiencing the tumultuous writhing waves; survival.  The long, cold darkness is less haunting. Some are less afraid than others. Some need more encouragement. It is also, less stressful, knowing that fellow life-rafters, don’t need repeated explanations for the varied emotions, that tears are expected, and advice is on the back burner.  None of this is meant as a negative to caring family and friends-it is just a fact.
One of the topics, our pastor spoke on last week, seemed to be about not isolating. One scripture that I recall is: Ecclesiastes 4:12. “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Us life rafters, being together, are preparing to deal with what lies ahead. Maybe, what we learn from each other can be shared with the folks we know, to help them better understand all that encompasses our life-raft situations.

Last comment.  I am not isolating, just following the doctors request. Most folks know when a sickness happens, no matter the date, the sickness needs to get dealt with.

It is my prayer that my precious family and friends enjoy many wonderful moments with those they love. And, even though distance separates many, I hope all make efforts to share their love and care long distance.
Bye for now, K

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2 thoughts on “Sad & Selfish

  1. Hi Kathy: I read your last blog post and you are right that a lot of your Idaho situation was talked about in the video on Sunday. I’m glad you feel you can do what you need to.

    Another point in your blog caught my attention. It was what your husband said about what did people do before grief groups?

    In the past in England and the US when a family member died the family went into deep mourning for a year. This entailed wearing black clothing (sometimes down to the underwear) and not participating in any social events for the year. Women wore veils when out in public. Society expected that there would be a period of time, at least a year, when the grieving where not expected to be themselves and were released from being part of the community.

    I’m not advocating going back to wearing black and totally restricting our lives, but along with abandoning those customs we as a society seem to have forgotten that people need time to grieve, time to plod through the first year and often the second and third before they can resume the regular pace of life.

    I pray that you will have rest over the Thanksgiving weekend and strongly sense the presence of the Lord’s arms around you.

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  2. Thank you Terrie.
    I have no idea why I went to the life raft example ??? Just a few moments ago, when I was doing some reading, I had it in my head that life rafts have been used longer than they have. One article mentioned being invented in the early 1900’s. It seems that there has been a benefit with the use of life rafts, as well as, different resources for dealing with grieving. With both, rescue seems to be the common denominator..
    I think I like the idea of folks getting together, I have been encouraged meeting folks further along than I am or who have gone through a “first”. If it be possible to be an encouragement to others, I hope God could use me.
    It is my prayer that folks have a restorative Thanksgiving. Whether that be in regards to rest, relationships or a re-entry back to living *in-spite ofs.
    Looky there !!! In that last sentence, I used 3 r-s, 3 being my favorite number, I love it when things like that happen.!!!
    Prayerfully, K

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