Many things going on here, thus the absence of posts and tweets. But I think I’m starting to see the light at t end of the tunnel. I wanted to give a brief update and share with you my highly opinionated way to deal with loss.
Not all loss is bad, as in the case of my grandmother. She led a very full life and as I grew older I heard stories of exactly how full ;)! She suffered several strokes in the last two months and was in a very poor state, physically and mentally. Now she is in a better place and I’m sure she is dancing and singing and so happy. This is not a sad time for me. We were raised with a positive outlook on the passing of the eldery. So much so that some considered it in bad taste when my dad and his brothers were cracking jokes and laughing at their father’s funeral. But they knew it was a great for my grandpa. That kind of set the tone for how we dealt with dying in our family.
I dealt with loss this earlier in my week when I packed up everything in the my old house. My Ex left for Hungary last Tuesday. I had to have everything out of the house by Tuesday. I had to go through everything he left behind to move in to permanent storage while he’s in Europe. He had nothing taken care of it was all left up to me. I was very sad as I looked at my wedding album before putting it away. Sadness brought about by the pictures soon turned in to anger for the fact he just left me to deal with the physical mess of the house and the emotional mess of his children wanting their daddy.
Because I had the kids with me I had to stuff down all the emotion. And the more I stuffed it down, the worse it became and the shorter my fuse became in dealing with my kids. 3 year olds will be 3 year olds and they were living up to their age for sure. I knew it was getting worse and I sent out a cry for help and Gail Hyatt answered. (She is my secret angel. I think God picked her personally.) She took the kids and finally alone I was able to deal with the emotions. When I picked up my kids at 4:30, I felt very healthy about where I was emotionally. Had I not been able to deal with my emotions, I’m sure the day would have been far worse.
In light of all this I wanted to post this note I left on a message board for a friend. She has just went through 2 unsuccessful IVF (invitro fertilization) treatments and was asking for help within our group on how to deal with the loss. This was my response. She told me at dinner last night that it helped alot. So I thought I would share it here in case anyone else that is reading is dealing with a loss of any kind.
You and I have discussed the IVF situation before. I was lucky with Emma & Jacob. But I remember when they went through the stats with me that using frozen embryos successfully is very difficult. But there is always a chance and we always have hope. Staying positive is the best possible thing to do in that situation. I’m so sorry that you are having to deal with the outcome of this. Given our previous conversations, I’m hoping you are ok with me giving you my real feeling about dealing with loss.
I think we’ve all been educated on the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. What I think we do an extremely poor job of is allowing ourselves to really go through those stages in our own time and way. Often friends/family don’t know what to say so they try to cheer you up or get you focused on the positive “You can always try again” “This doesn’t define you” “You have your son, you should just put your energy in to him” or they try to justify “Maybe this was for the best” or they resort to the ever popular “It was God’s will”. All of these things are true (in my opinion). But no one really talks about the pain. No one really gives us permission or encourages us to really grieve.
One of the things total strangers have said to me regarding my blog is it made them feel like it was ok NOT to be ok sometimes. One girl had suffered a miscarriage, she was young so everyone tried to convince her it was just life, move on, get over it. She felt like she was supposed to maintain this happy – oh gee, I guess i’ll have better luck next time – Leave it to Beaver attitude. No one told her to curl up in bed in a ball, pull the covers over her head and scream & cry about it.
It hurts!!! But dealing with hurt is ugly, so people don’t want to, but I think you have to. You have to embrace the pain. Let it wash over you like a flood. Cry, be angry, it’s not fair! If you’re spiritual tell God how angry you are, how much you’re hurting, confused and disappointed. (He knows our heart already!) Being angry & hurting is what you are supposed to be doing right now. The sooner you can wrap your arms around the pain and take it on, the sooner it will lose its energy and power. And the healing can take place.
Having a child to care for makes it difficult, I know. But you need to schedule time to be alone and deal. Use a friend, family, whoever is available. I would often take the kids to kid’s gym at the Y and go home and be on my knees crying the minute I hit my bedroom. It may sound funny, scheduling time to cry. But those releases/breaks from having to care for anyone BUT yourself, makes the time you are with everyone else bearable and more enjoyable.
I think we often try to stuff it down, suck it up and deal with it. Take care of our kids and try to pretend we are ok. That often makes it worse and prolongs the process. And then it becomes this thing sitting in your head and your heart festering. You’re never present in the moment because it’s a distraction. And that’s not fair to anyone, especially your son.
It’s just my opinion, but I hope it can help in some small way. Call me if you want to talk further.
How do you deal with loss?