Tag Archives: NB13

Hurtful Hurts and Truthful Truths

grief2Someone very close to me shut off their filters and let their feelings fly. Alcohol short-circuited those filters, but I think the emotions they shared, or more accurately hurled like burning daggers through my heart, were sincere. According to this person who I do love and respect, I am selfish and self-absorbed. I am weak because I take “F’ing DRUGS” to make it through the day. I am lazy and lay on the couch doing nothing all day. I am failing my youngest son and am not taking care of him. I am “ruining everything and destroying what is left of” my family. I hardly to go the cemetery, and the worst of it – I wasn’t there for Nolan when he left this world.

Want to let that sink in for a minute? Imagine trying desperately to get your head above water and managing the occasional gasp of breath, and then someone comes along who you thought would help you swim but they toss you a cement block instead and it drags you down into the depths of the darkness where you lose all sight of what’s up and down, and you lose all will to keep fighting for air. Welcome to my Now.

Before you condemn this person, consider their point of view. We all say things when we’re drinking that we wouldn’t and shouldn’t have said otherwise. I’m not sure it makes the statements untrue, just that they wouldn’t normally say them out loud. We are all entitled to our opinions and feelings. Just because they hurt, well, that just is. So without getting angry, what do you do? What do I do with all of that?

I’m doing everything I can think of to make it through each day yet each day is getting harder to make it through. I’m reading books about how to deal with Grief, meditating, reaching out to a support group, writing about my feelings, letting others hold me up when I’m too weak to stand. It’s supposed to get better, right? I find myself surrounded by people I wasn’t close to Before and yet I can’t imagine making it through this without them. I’m letting people in and telling Truthful Truths, as someone very dear to me calls the hard things to admit. I’m choosing to only spend time with people who help bring me to the Light, and I’m being authentic. What else can I do? Why is it getting harder?

Here’s my Truthful Truth for today. I am drowning, and I have no desire left to swim. Perhaps Dagger-Person is right and my family would be better off without me. No, I’m not suicidal, but every time I get a migraine, I’m almost hopeful the Aneurysm will rupture so the decision is taken out of my hands. I’m not supposed to talk like that. It makes people nervous. I would never do anything to force the issue, but there it is. I spend more hours a day crying and reliving that horrible experience over and over and over than I spend doing anything else collectively. I’m exhausted with fighting to make it through. There is no respite. There is no peace when Death steals your child and your Soul.

Chasing Ghosts and Finding Signs

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I heard the footsteps again last night. This wasn’t the first time, and I’m not the only one that’s heard them. They walk the same path Nolan would take when he was getting ready for bed at night. The steps woke me from a dream where I brought this indescribable, unconditional, pure love to children. I’m not sure what kind of healing I was doing, but as I cradled a young girl to my chest, she said she needed to lay on my necklace. (I have a necklace with a heart-stone that Nolan held all the while he was in the hospital that I wear every day.) When I asked her why, she replied in a whisper “Because it tells all the Secrets.”

That’s when I heard the footsteps. They usually come around 3:30 am. This time I got out of bed and tried to find him. “Are you there, Nolan?” I asked the empty room as the tears silently fell. “Where are you?” I didn’t see him. I wish I had. Is he wandering the house at night? Is he still going through the motions as he did here on Earth? I wish I knew.

I sleep in about 30 minute intervals. My mind is constantly calling out to Nolan. Every dream I have is about him. Usually I’m looking for him or something that I know represents him. Many times I’m trying to move in my dream but being held in place or trying to run and not going anywhere. It doesn’t take much to interpret these dreams. The night before last, I was restlessly searching for Nolan and finally was able to find part of him. I saw his feet. Is this progress? I don’t know. I couldn’t find the rest of him, or I just couldn’t see the rest of him. It’s hard to tell. You know how dreams are.

After searching the house for Nolan, I laid in bed for hours just watching the clock and crying quietly. At some point I fell back to sleep and dreamed that I was at school and a girl came up to me asking where Nolan was and how he was doing. I had to tell her “Oh Honey, Nolan passed away in July.” We both broke down, and I awoke awash in the emotions of that moment once again. There is no respite in sleep.

This morning I was reflecting on many of my dreams and not really listening to the radio playing. I was lost in my head, talking to Nolan, begging him to come back. Something strange happened. It’s not the first time this has happened either. It seemed like the volume turned up or my consciousness tuned in just as I heard:

“Sleep tight, I’m not afraid. The ones that we love are here with me.”

Was this a message from my Boy? A message from myself to myself? I don’t know, but it brought me both pain and comfort. These lyrics speak to me on so many levels. Take a moment to sit and listen with me.

The first time this happened, we were in the car. I was just sitting there, lost in my head, crying out to Nolan and it sounded to me like the radio volume increased just as the lyric rang out:

“You’ll be in my heart. Yes, you’ll be in my heart. From this day on, now and forever more.”

When I listened to the whole song, it rang such a Truth to me. I knew it was Nolan speaking to me through music. Why do I even question it? Music is (was?) such a huge part of him, is it any wonder he would reach out in this way? The signs are there. They comfort and they bring sorrow in equal measure.

I wish I could go back in time. I wish I could jump forward in time to the moment I see him again. All I have is Now. But Now really, really hurts.

 

Dinnertime

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Last night we sat down to family dinner. I cooked two nights in a row. You probably don’t know what a big deal that is. I’m a good cook. Truly. I won’t give you salmonella, listeria, trichinosis, e. coli, or any other yucky food-type-poisoning. I have some dishes I make that DH says is better than Olive Garden even. (Hey, we set a mediocre bar here.) The problem is that I don’t like to cook very often. It’s not even that I don’t like to cook. It’s really that dinner comes at the most inconvenient time of day. We undoubtedly have some kid at some practice from 5:30 – 7 most nights. There’s homework and cranky time and getting ready for bed time. Who can combat all of that and still pull their family to the table together over something actually cooked and not defrosted? As Karma would have it, DH and Nolan always equate love with food. I couldn’t care less whether I even eat, and that’s not due to Grief. I’ve always been that way. I like food. I just don’t equate it with love.

Family dinner was always super important to Nolan. The most random and important topics were covered during family dinners. We talked about politics and world events and we talked about manscaping and horrors of waxing. We had fun. We argued and when things got heated, I’ve been known to throw lettuce at someone which would spark a food fight that was way more fun to have than to clean up. We had fun, even when stuff like this happened (yes, that’s a green bean in his nose):

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We had dinner as a family every night right up until the middle-school and teen years tore everyone in different directions. I managed to cook double on nights that I found time so that we always had leftovers for the next night. The worst offender of interrupting family dinner is baseball season. Really. Our player had to be down at the field by 4:00 for a 5:30 game, which didn’t end until around 7:30, at which time they had to clean up and have the Coach’s talk and yadda yadda yadda, and it’s 8pm before we even get home. I gave myself a pass, and Nolan was kind enough to give me a pass as well, on family dinner during baseball season. Hey, we were all at the field together anyway, right? Popcorn counts.

Nolan loves (loved, damn I hate past-tense verbs) eating as a family. He hated “make a plate” nights and would always ask me to at least sit with him while he ate. Even more, he hated (damn past-tense verb, I hate you!) “Whatever” nights. That’s when there was no food prepared and you had to find “Whatever” to eat. Sandwich? Cereal? Whatever.

I haven’t cooked more than a handful of meals for DH and Li’l N “Since.” I’m trying. I know Nolan would be so mad at the lack of thought given to dinners in this house “Since.” I want to honor him and still be as close to the old Me as “Before.” It’s not easy. Wednesday night, I made a lovely dinner and waited 30 minutes for DH and Li’l N to get to the table and ended up starting dinner alone.  Believe it or not, it was easier on me before they came to the table. Anyway, last night we all made it there at the same time and Li’l N decided he wasn’t eating what I made and was going to cook his own dinner. Whatever. It took him a little longer and I had to help a bit, but he finally made it to the table. I tried to eat but only tasted tears. We were 3 when we should still be 4. I remembered back to our younger days when we were 7 around the table. It made me profoundly sad. Li’l N now sits in Nolan’s seat, which he did “Before” on nights Nolan wasn’t home. That’s ok, but still. Nolan should be sitting there.

Li’l N was in a really crabby mood. I’ve noticed his fuse getting shorter lately, and I’m concerned he’s got some anger towards the world that might be coming on. DH did his darndest to pull Li’l N out and start a conversation. N was having none of it. I just happened to ask about a project he’s working on and had mentioned in passing, and the words came tumbling out. I hit on something he cared about. It was a great diffuser and a great conversation, and it made me think. We really haven’t been present like he deserves. We listen and hear “blah blah blah,” and N knows it. So I took a turn last night.

After dinner when he fake punched me, I didn’t scold him has I’m afraid I’ve done all too often “Since.” I just fake-punched him back. Then I fake-karate chopped him. Then I for-real picked him up, flipped him onto the couch and sat on him. Do you know who would do that? The old Me. The Me from “Before.” We went on to have the best fake-ninja fight that I totally fake-won. N laughed. Really laughed. Uninhibited, full-bodied laughs came. You know what else? So did I. For that little span of time, I was present with Li’l N, and he was present with me. We weren’t “Before” or “Since” but simply “Now.” It changed the energy of our house. It became a Home for just that little span of time. Yet, that was something big.

I can’t do it all the time. Not yet. I don’t know if the old Me will come back as “Before.” I doubt it because that old Me never knew this pain and didn’t have to carry this emptiness. Perhaps, in time, a new Me will have some of the same characteristics and tendencies as “Before.” For now, for just right “Now,” I strive to be in the moment with N. Giving him his Mom back is the best thing I can do to honor Nolan. That, and maybe cook more.

3 Months “Since”

Nolan suffered his Aneurysm on July 18, at around 10:10 pm. He lacked any brain function at the time the neurosurgeon first checked him at 2am on July 19. There has to be a second evaluation for brain function at least 4 hours later before a person can be pronounced “Deceased”. I remember dreading 6am, knowing they would check again. I was able to put the doctors off until the afternoon of July 19, when I watched everything they did during the 2nd neurological evaluation. It was horrible, but I’m glad I stayed with him during that exam. It left no doubt in my mind that Nolan was already gone. So, in the late afternoon on July 19, Nolan was pronounced officially “Brain Dead” (although they had some kinder, fluffier term they used it means the same ugly thing). Because we chose to honor Nolan’s passing by saving as many other lives as we could, Nolan was kept on life support while transplant teams and recipients were gathered and prepared. He was taken into the operating room the night of July 20, and was finally taken off of life support in the wee morning hours of July 21.

Which date do you go by? Is it by the “official” time/date stamp on some stupid “official” certificate? Do we call it when his heart was removed from his body? It’s horrible. It’s more than just 1 day to survive each month. We have to survive 4 separate anniversary dates each month. Which do we pick as our own “Official?”

We (DH, me, and Little N) consider Nolan’s passing to be on July 18, 2014 at approximately 10:15pm. That’s when his heart stopped beating. That’s when his breathing stopped. CPR was able to keep his blood oxygenated, but he didn’t maintain a steady heartbeat again until he was somewhere between Pittsfield and Bangor on the Life Flight helicopter. By that point, we all knew he was gone. I knew before the 2 ambulances even got to the house that he wasn’t coming back. I knew. I just knew.

Because of the length of this ordeal, we have 4 days every month where we remember some part of the trauma more strongly. The night he “went down,” the day of his “official” date, the night he went into surgery, and the day he was taken off life support. I think this makes it even harder.

On October 18, I decided that I simply couldn’t handle this 3-month mark. I opened the door wide and invited Denial right in. I asked Denial to bring as many friends as he could to help pretend the night away. What I literally did was this (taken from my personal Facebook page):

3 months. I can’t do it, so I’m not going to. Here it is, this is my Bat Signal going up, rallying the Troops. I’m going to have a Denial Party at my house tonight because that is way more fun than a Pity Party. We’re going to pretend that everything is ok and that we can survive this. We’re going to pretend that Grief isn’t swallowing us all, and we’re going to pretend laughter comes easily. We’ll throw some carnage on the grill and pretend we still like to eat. If you can handle that (and some cocktails) come on over, bring your kids, a snack or drink, and we’ll open the door wide for Denial. Just for tonight. We can get back to Grieving tomorrow.

It worked. So many of our friends showed up with food in hand and a hug in their hearts to help us make it through the night. 10:15pm came and went without my noticing. Our house was filled with laughter just like “Before.” I couldn’t have managed that night without everyone surrounding me and helping me stand. Seriously. I am so thankful for everyone who answered the Call. So what happened when everyone went home?

It turns out Denial is a fickle son-of-a-bitch. That “F-er” left with everyone else. He left me stranded and alone at 3am. I am so lucky that my dearest friend, my Soul Sister, was staying the night. I crawled into bed with her, sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. She simply gave me tons of Reiki and love until I fell asleep.

The following few days were also horrendous. It’s funny how things only occur to you in hindsight that should be so obvious. It really wasn’t until I began writing about Nolan’s timeline that it dawned on me. You’re probably one step ahead of me at this point. No duh the next few days were so hard! I didn’t consciously think about each day’s representation, but my body knew. My heart knew. Now I know, and maybe next month will make more sense when I spend 4 days in bed crying.

Swallowed Whole

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This morning I spent 45 minutes composing a blog entry about a happy memory. I decided that after baring my Soul, I would give myself, and you, a break from the Grief. I think that’s important to do every once in a while. It was a fantastic piece of writing, if I do say so myself! Considering I’m not all that impressed with my writing, that says something! I laughed while remembering the great Slim Jim War. I planned to finish up and publish the piece, get dressed quickly, and spend my day in my new favorite place, Castine Candle Company. ( http://www.castinecandle.com ) Carrie and Micah, who own Castine, have become so dear to me. Their shop is my safe place to go and just Be. They let me help with whatever they’re working on, and most importantly, they make me laugh. I love them.

My writing was going so well, I decided to include a short video of Nolan being funny. I wanted you to hear his voice and his laughter. Inadvertently, I clicked a link which navigated away from the page. Yeah. Bad move. Everything I had poured my heart into, everything I laughed about, everything that made me feel good in that moment was gone. Simply and irretrievably gone.

The floodgates opened. I called DH to come help. I posted for help on Facebook and stepped away from the computer. I tried to hold off the panic, but it came full freaking force. So, trying to stay rational, I went and took a shower. I thought I’d just go about my day and not let it get to me. It’s frustrating to lose all that work, but it’s not the end of the world.

I found myself on the floor of the shower crying so hysterically you couldn’t tell which was water and which were tears. I couldn’t breathe. I was trying to tell myself that it was only a bunch of words and I could write them again but it didn’t help. My emotions didn’t match the event. Then it hit me. Nolan’s gone. Just like that. Simply and irretrievably gone. And I can’t get him back. There is no “undo” button. I poured my heart and Soul and every fiber of my Being into that Boy. I laughed with him, at him, because of him. I enjoyed everything about him, and as simply as I clicked away from a screen, he was taken from my life.

I don’t even know how I managed to get out of the shower or upstairs. It’s all a blur. I was having a full-blown panic attack. I have no idea how DH knew to come check on me, but thank God he did. Well, good for me, not him. He found me on the bathroom floor, in the very spot where we lost Nolan. I couldn’t stand and was hyperventilating severely. I had taken a half pill (under the tongue like you’re supposed to in an emergency), but my bottle was empty. No help there.

I don’t know how long I was on the floor. I remember almost calming down and my head spun so quickly, I passed out. I know I stop breathing when I pass out. I heard DH’s voice from what seemed like far away telling me that “This is not good for me. Get up. Get in bed.” It roused me enough for him to get me out of the room. God, it broke my heart all over again. I was the one on the bathroom floor with Nolan when he went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing. DH was on the phone with 911 and came in to start rescue breathing, and then when we lost his pulse, DH was the one to start CPR. I grabbed Little N and tried to get him out of the room so he wouldn’t see. I can’t get into all the details of that night right now or even just the events of that room. I was in and out of the room and have those visions that replay on a constant loop 24 hours a day. It’s nothing compared to what DH has visions of. And there I was, in the same spot, on top of Nolan’s blood stains still marking the carpet, unconscious and not breathing.

I let DH get me to bed, and there I stayed all day.  I managed to get up long enough to pick up Little N from school and take him to the doctor. My head was still spinning so badly, I was nervous to even drive. I pretended like nothing was wrong, but Little N knew. He looked at me a little sideways and asked if I had remember to pick up my pills today. Little Bugger is quite an intuitive young man. As soon as we got home, I climbed back into bed where I remained right up until I decided to just let the words out, which was about 7:30pm. I cancelled my plans at Castine. I didn’t answer my phone. I watched bad reality tv all day. And I cried an ocean of tears. Instead of the respite from Grief I had given myself permission to enjoy, it sneaked right up and swallowed me whole.

Some days that happens. Tomorrow is 3 months “Since.”

Naked in front of the crowd

 

stagefrightI thought after the last few days of heavy posts that I would put something a little lighter up today. Maybe share a laugh about Nolan. I do that. I get so far into the dark spaces that I have to let some light shine through. Sometimes I use humor or sarcasm to do that. Sometimes I use beer or wine. Don’t panic, I’m not an alcoholic, but come on. We all do something. Sometimes I use loud music. In this instance, though, I feel like doing so would be running scared. I feel a major breakdown coming on. Saturday will mark 3 months since the World went Dark. My plan was to share the details of Nolan’s passing on that day. I’m not sure if I can. Now I’m wondering if I even want to. We have been so open about everything in regards to Nolan that the last private moments we’ve kept are the graphic details of what actually happened that night. I know I said I promise I would tell you his story, but now I don’t know if I can keep that promise. I think I will just have to wait and see.

I have bared my Soul to you 3 days running now. You have reacted with nothing but compassion, support, and love. I owe you more than running scared. So I will stand before you, naked in front of this crowd, and tell you why I really started this blog.

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Another family who lost someone to a Brain Aneurysm was holding a fundraiser. They were selling sweatshirts that were designed to honor their Hero and raise awareness. My family worked closely with the Kat-Walk and Karo 5K for Maine Brain Aneurysm Awareness in September. https://www.facebook.com/KatWalkKaro5k. We brought them a team of over 130 people and raised over $7500 in funds to go towards their efforts. I bought the sweatshirt from another suffering family to support their efforts to raise awareness. And I felt like a hypocrite.

Here I was talking about what happened to Nolan and what happened to other families. Here I was going around talking about the signs and symptoms of brain aneurysms. I was touting statistics and treatment options…and I was keeping this secret. I’m carrying that same silent killer inside me.

I told my older kids about how I felt like a hypocrite and thought I should just come out with it. One of my daughters suggested starting a blog rather than just put it out on Facebook. It felt right. One of my daughters shared her concern about how people are still staring at her in public and she didn’t want even more attention. I tried to assure her that people aren’t staring like “OMG Do you see what she’s wearing???” I tried to assure her that people are looking at her in awe that she has the strength to be up and out and still moving. I think people look at all of us and wonder how a body can contain and carry such heavy Grief. Still, my amazingly strong daughter said she supported my sharing this personal journey.

So, Did you catch that? Typical of me, I slide something really important in and then move right along hoping you miss it. I can’t let you miss this. Here it is again. I’m carrying that same silent killer inside me. I, too, have been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. There. It’s out there. Folks, this can happen to ANYONE.

I have seen a neurosurgeon who suggested I wait a year and see how it goes. That was good enough for me and my friend Denial. For some reason, I keep hearing a whisper between breaths that I shouldn’t wait and I should go for the further testing now. Denial doesn’t like that plan. It’s only in honor of Nolan that I am listening to this whisper. I wish I wish I wish I had known the symptoms and taken him to the doctor. I’ve been told time and again that there really was nothing that could be done. His condition was so severe that no doctor would touch it, and even attempting to would most likely leave him in a perpetual vegetative state if not killing him instantly. Mine is not nearly such a big deal. Denial says it’s not a big deal at all!

The day of my initial test, I made a comment that came across as hurtful to one of my children, but I didn’t mean it to be that way. It was an honest statement. I said “I almost hope I do have what Nolan had that way I won’t have to worry about living another 60 years without him.” In hindsight, that was a horrible thing to say. But it was true that day.

The old cliche is true. Be careful, my Friends, of what you say and what you wish for. You just might get it.

Dentist Day

I had this whole post started about my 2am turmoils and what it is like for me to get through the night. I was going to tell you all about hearing a male voice during the night that didn’t belong to anyone in my house. I was going to go on to share a dream I had shortly after Nolan passed where I think I experienced his Death. About 300 words in, my Mother stopped by to visit. I, of course, took that opportunity to escape what I was doing. That’s another thing I was going to tell you about – how I am the World’s Best Avoider of Difficult Emotions. I was going to tell you all about Busy Days and Breakdowns. Then something else happened.

This afternoon was our Dentist Day. Every six months, my family overtakes the Dentist’s office for the afternoon. It used to be all 5 of us, but then M got old enough to go on her own. We were down to 4. With us, we brought a playful spirit to that office. It really was fun. Little N played with all the toys, I chatted with the staff, Nolan questioned everything, and DH was just Darling. We took up their whole block of appointments for that time frame. Twice a year for the last 8 years, this was our routine. My boys love (loved?) getting their teeth cleaned. Nolan used to say he would have them cleaned every day if he could. This from the baby I had to sit on for the first 3 years of his dental visits. Didn’t see that coming!

When the appointment reminder showed up in my calendar this week, I just closed it out and didn’t look again. I felt a little lump. I’m good at avoiding (did I say that already?), and just pretended it wasn’t happening. I mean really, it’s the Dentist. It’s not a holiday or an anniversary. It shouldn’t be a big deal, right? Well it was.

I had a minor breakdown before we left and quickly took an anxiety pill. I know I put my Disclaimer out there, but sometimes I just don’t want to cry! The pills help, but I still cry. When we got to the office and I went into the back and laid in the oh-so-comfortable chair, I was holding it together pretty well. Or so I thought. The Dentist came over to offer her support. She had lost her brother at a young age and shared with me that in time, the memories and thoughts of him no longer held the same “sting.” I have heard that from others. “Sting” is about the biggest understatement I’ve heard in 3 months. Try more like a sledgehammer, chainsaw, chinese star, harpoon, machete, gunshot, poison arrow, and high-heeled shoe impact plus about a bazillion percent and we’re on the way to understanding the “Sting” of losing a child. But I digress.

Can you tell what’s coming? Yup. I lost it. Silent tears poured down my face. I’m at least glad they were silent because I am an ugly crier. The sobbing, hiccuping, sniffling, scrunched up red faced kind of ugly crier. So silent tears were likely the benefit of that little white pill I was smart enough to take.© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

There I was, laid back in that chair with the bib surrounding my neck, the bright light shining directly on my face. The Dentist in a mask with only her eyes visible, trying to offer me words of comfort and my mascara is leaking into my ears. (Oh yes, I even put on makeup in an attempt of looking half-way human today. Not going to bother with that nonsense next time.) I felt like I was in some kind of horror movie. Truly, my life IS a horror right now.

So what did I do? Did I get up running away screaming from the injustice of it all? I sure as Hell wanted to! No, I stayed and thanked her profusely with my outside voice while my inside voice cursed and ranted and, for once, stayed inside my head. I attribute this to that awesome little white pill I was smart enough to take. Yay me for that.

Enter the Hygienist, who happens to be a friend of mine. She was my Savior today. She simply handed me a tissue and said she was “Only going to say this. I think about you and your family every day.” That simple statement gave me permission. That simple statement said she understood to the best of her ability having never gone through such an experience. I thanked her, and this time it was sincere. Both my outside voice and my inside voice concurred. I told her that I was just going to cry through the appointment because Nolan was supposed to be with us today. She said that was absolutely fine. And you know what? It was.

Most people get really awkward around Grief. There was nothing she could do to make it any better and we both knew it. She simply held space (and cleaned my teeth; no cavities; yay me) and let me pull myself together.

It hurts like hell right now. When I made this appointment 6 months ago, the thought that Nolan would die had never crossed my mind! I never thought “I hope we are all still alive and together in 6 months.” That would have been absurd. As I made the next appointment for just the 3 of us, <insert more tears here> I prayed. I really did. Please God, Goddess, Beings of Light and Love, Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and Whoever the F*** Else is in charge up there – PLEASE let the 3 of us still be alive and together in 6 months.

What else can I do?

Things I’ve Learned about Grief

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After Nolan passed, I started noticing all sorts of weird changes in myself. We all know the stages of Grief;

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

What I felt didn’t always fit neatly into one of those boxes. It still doesn’t. Grief is also not so easily navigated through one phase to the next. You might typically start with Denial, which I absolutely did and still deal with, but the process is more circular and winding back in on itself all over the place. I’ve spent a great deal of time with Denial, starting from the moment Nolan lost consciousness. I Bargained my way through the next two days he spent on life support. I haven’t hit Anger yet, or at least full force. I’m not an angry person, so maybe I won’t. There was a period, and my Darling Husband might say I’m still in it, where I snapped at him unwittingly. I wasn’t angry at him, but I suppose I had a very short fuse and my compassion took a hiatus.

So, I had all these feelings and odd things going on and I decided to write them down. I left the list on my kitchen table for DH to add to, but he never did. Writing has been my thing, not his, so I understand. I was hoping, however, that it would bring us some common understanding of where we each were. We are polar opposites and having vastly different experiences in dealing with Grief. I can’t speak for him, so these are the things I’ve noticed in me.

  1.  It’s completely and utterly overwhelmingly exhausting. The simple act of opening my eyes feels like too much of an effort. Simply taking one breath after the next is a monumental task.
  2. My mind has become unfocused. It’s impossible to think about any one thing for any length of time. Wandering aimlessly from room to room has become a regular thing.
  3. Every task takes longer to complete. This is probably because my mind is so unfocused.
  4. Food tastes different. It’s like everything has lost its flavor. Life has become bland. (Side-note on this: I have seen people in Grief lose lots of weight very quickly. Me? I eat next to nothing and haven’t lost an ounce. Where is that Death Diet??? Can I not get at least one little bit of  help here???)
  5. This should probably be number 1, but it was number 5 in my notebook and I am copying verbatim. MY LIFE IMMEDIATELY DIVIDES INTO “BEFORE” AND “SINCE.” I capped all that on purpose. A long, deep, dark divide has crossed my path. No matter what comes next, every single thing will be either “Before” or “Since” I lost my son.
  6. Grieving differently than my spouse is very lonely. I need quiet and solitude. DH needs to be even busier than “Before.” Nobody else in the world has the same pain as the two of us. Dealing with it in opposite ways makes it so that we are not sharing. We are not going through this together. We are grieving alone even in the same room. I fear the chasm this has started to create. In all honesty, my marriage was in rocky shape “Before.” The statistics on a marriage surviving the loss of a child are not encouraging. This scares me.
  7. Long car rides are a really, really, REALLY bad idea. There is just too much time to get lost in my thoughts. Those thoughts are never good. Down the rabbit hole you go.

I’ve learned from a class in Bereavement that at the moment of Trauma (yes, it deserves a capital T), more than 100 chemicals and hormones flood into your body to absorb part of the impact. That’s what triggers Denial. It will literally save your life because your body could not handle the full impact of the Trauma. I have to agree. I know I couldn’t handle it. Still can’t. Anyway, it can take 3 to 4 MONTHS for your body to BEGIN to process through all those lovely little helpers. You will likely stay a little numb or in Denial during those months. It is approaching the 3 month mark “Since.” I think about that and go blank. Thank you Denial. It seems we aren’t done with each other quite yet.

I now come with a Disclaimer.

I’m new to this whole blogging thing. I’ll be honest, it’s not something I had planned on ever doing. I have been a journal-writer since I was 8 years old. Writing has always been my way of processing my world. It’s never something I ever imagined I’d share with anyone. Everything I thought I ever knew about myself, the world, life, and the natural order of the Universe disappeared in a heartbeat – or more accurately, with the ceasing of a heartbeat.

On July 18, 2014 at approximately 10:15pm my 14 year old son Nolan stopped breathing. I will get into his story in another post. I promise. This is merely me saying to you, whoever you are (and does anyone actually read these blogs?) I’m here, I have a story to tell and a Journey to share. Before we get too far along, you should read my Disclaimer, so here it is:

If you see me, I may cry. If you talk to me, I may cry. If you look at me, I may cry. THAT’S OK. Please don’t let fear of my tears stop you from being around me. I might also, not cry. We might talk and I will run out of things to say. That’s ok. It’s not you. Seriously. You might be afraid of saying the wrong thing to me. Don’t worry. I’ll more likely say the wrong thing to you. My filters are GONE. If you complain about how your “life sucks,” I’m probably going to point out that your kids are alive. Your life doesn’t suck. My perspective has changed. On everything. Go ahead and say Nolan’s name. I will. I might cry, but THAT’S OK. If you see me out, I probably look like crap. I don’t care about my appearance or what I wear. If you’re lucky, I’ve showered. Don’t judge. I’m using every ounce of energy to just get out of bed. I don’t have any to spare on pretenses. I’m different than I was, and I don’t even know myself well right now. I will probably offend you with some of my opinions and thoughts. Too bad. I will never knowingly say something hurtful, but my Journey is emotional and raw and honest. It’s likely that I will say something that will trigger your own issues. That’s your problem. I have enough of my own.

So there you have it. A disclaimer. A warning. I don’t know where I’m going, and this is not going to be a pretty view.

Reader Beware.