Grief, Confusion, Heartbreak and I'm Selfish

Grief feels like dirty laundry. Something I should not hang out for all to see. Like an invisible wet blanket thrown over my head painfully weighing on me. It is possible I do not want to face it, but really I do not want to burden anyone else with it either. It is easy to carry silently, sometimes with a terrible look on my face. I've added several wrinkles and a turkey neck in the past couple of years and I blame the grief.   
This season of my life has been killer. The past 3 years were murder of the spirit. This cloud kicked my rear and tore me to shreds. I have been grieving for a long while now, and I knew it, but I really did not know it. I am climbing upward out of this mess as best I can. It is slow and confusing and I am trying.  I decided to write about it, because there is no way that I am alone, and because it hit me hard today.  

Grief sucks. It is a horrible thing that makes me want to continuously throw up to get the pain out but nothing comes up. I learned about the stages of grief in college; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I can accurately say anger is a big one. Denial too. Ok, depression and probably bargaining. Acceptance hopefully.  One way or another, I am sick of feeling ill.

 I drove mom to Anthropologie this evening, one of her favorite stores to shop for clothes.  She loudly announced to the workers just as we walked in that she cannot see, but her daughter is shopping for her because her nephew is graduating from Air Force basic training. At this point, and let me say, I am a jerk, everything she says drives me bonker bananas. This is nothing new and she was on a roll today.  This is her new normal, but I want her to be the old normal.  I miss the intelligent and hilarious 60 year old woman who was my mom. I miss my mom. She is not that person. She is someone else, a shadow of her former self, and she likes to yell at me in the dressing room.   

She had a stroke over 3 years ago, many of you know.  Major brain injury. She had another stroke recently. She is not the same person, and yet she is. She is physically here with us, under the same roof, only it is not the same person I grew up with. Or maybe she is? Mom is here, remembering  and saying things that let me know she is the same and then she is different.  Absolutely dissimilar.  I am not sure if she realizes the contrast between who she is now and who she was.  Occasionally it is obvious when she engages my children in conversation and they tell her they are confused by what she said. Her entire sentence is nonsense. You can see the light bulb go off and she quickly realizes she said something strange.  And then there are times she has perfectly reasonable conversations and she is my mom again. I grieve who she was and sometimes she comes back. It is confusing.  
During the day, she does not want to be around other people unless I am with her, but she misses everyone so much. She longs for community. My frustration often gets the best of me when she anxiously waits for me to come home so that I can take her out again. I wish she had friends. I wish she could drive.  If she could figure out how to use the phone or turn on the tv again. I wish she was her old self, and she isn't.     

I spoke to a friend last night who takes care of her husband.  He is also not who he used to be. She said she considers herself to be a horrible person for the thoughts she has and how frustrated she gets with him. He can be mean. He drives her crazy and she feels like a jerk because he is the one with the injury and he can't help it, but I get it.  I get it.  Grief is awful. It brings out the most confusing feelings. It conjures up pure and vile emotion and you want to run away as fast and far as you possibly can until you reach a cliff and jump right on into deep water, and then you feel guilty because you realize you miss and love and need that person the most. Keep pressing on. When I am at my worst, I count to 30 and rest on the fact that she is my mother. She cannot change, and she would like to be her old self too.   

Grieving the living. It is a heavy thing. There is no end to it until there is, and then the guilt begins.

I met a lady in the voting line at Randall's grocery a few months ago who took care of her mom too. Her mother passed away from Parkinson's disease recently and she thanked me for talking with her during the hour and a half wait time. She kept an eye on my mom through the window while we waited in the line wrapped around the building.  She was grieving too. She talked and talked because she realized I understood what her grief was like. She felt guilty for not taking advantage of every moment with her mom because she was overwhelmed with pain during the care-taking process.  I get it.  I get it.

I am not alone, and neither are you.
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Take a moment to watch the following interview on Grief with Bobbie Herzog.  Please subscribe to the channel and share if you know someone who needs to be encouraged.

I wrote this post months ago.  It took until now to admit it. 


Popular Posts