Grief – The Scenic Route

My beautiful picture

I have always been the type of person who has the mentality of all or nothing.  If i’m going to do something I’m like Nike, Just do it! Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to everything in life.  Grief is one of those things. See my dad was the patient one. He had lots of patience. Me…not so much. That’s one of the reasons I hated being in the passenger’s seat when he drove.  I just wanted to get there. Get to the next stop. Keep moving.

Dad was more for the scenic route, the long way home, he was never in a rush.

I feel that way with grief.  My dad passed away just over a month ago.  I thought for sure my life wouldn’t go on. And if it did i would just spend days crying and then things would slowly go back to normal.  I’ll cry, I’ll grieve and then it will be over and I’ll be OK. Like a skinned knee, a broken bone, a cold.

Grief is not like that.  Death is not like that.

Each day I wake up is different.  It’s like your life is just the same, yet your life is very different.

Some days you feel angry at the world over what seems like silly things.  You run into someone and they simply say, “Hey, sorry about your dad” and hug you.  One day you may respond, “Thanks!” and smile. Another day you may take a deep breath as you choke back tears because you’re standing in Starbucks and God forbid you cry in the middle of a store in front of all these people who will judge you.  Some days you smile and think of something funny he would have said or just a memory of him pops into your head and it makes you happy.

Then you run into the person who must know you just lost someone close yet they just simply say, “Hi! How are you?” as they make simple conversation, never acknowledging your loss. You smile and chat while inside your head you are having your own conversation.  “Are they serious? MY DAD DIED!! WHY DON’T YOU KNOW MY DAD DIED? YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO TELL ME YOU’RE SORRY!! WHY ARE YOU NOT SAYING YOU’RE SORRY!”

Inside your head you want to punch this person in the face and scream at them.  How can they be so insensitive??

It’s the strangest feeling.  As much as you don’t want to talk about it, you want people to acknowledge it. And when they don’t, it only makes you angry.  And sometimes, you don’t even know if it is just because they simply have no idea or maybe, they just don’t know what to say.

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Some days I feel like I walk around looking normal to everyone on the outside.  They must think, “Wow, her dad just died and she seems fine!” But I’m not. Yes, I may look OK.  Yes I still smile. Maybe I smile a little more now because I realize that there may be millions more going through what I am going through and maybe someone needs to see that smile to make it through the day.  But really I just get up, keep moving and fake it a little.

Some days I feel OK and all of a sudden it hits me and I have to run to the ladies room to cry.

I feel like I keep waiting for it to hit me.  Like maybe one day I won’t be able to get out of bed because I will be overcome with grief.  Many days I just feel tired. No tears, just tired. Many days I forget things. I have a great memory most of the time but lately I feel much more forgetful. I often keep myself busy and my calendar full.  Then there are days that I just need to be alone. Even if it’s to sit home and cry by myself. Other days I need to be surrounded by others and maybe even laugh or share stories about my Dad and tell everyone what a great man he was.  I think the scariest thing about grief is that you really don’t know how and when it will hit you. If it will be tears or anxiety or anger. So right now I’m learning to take each moment as it comes. Whether it’s strength or laughter.  If I need to cry, I cry. If I need to nap, I nap. If I need to scream, I scream. Because the one thing that is for certain about grief is that there is no wrong way to experience it, just take it as it comes.

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Comfort in the Uncomfortable

The healer cannot heal others without first healing themselves

But how do you heal yourself

without allowing yourself

To live

To love

To feel

To anger

To cry

To laugh

To explore

To grow

To break free of all that you thought you were

all that others expect you to be

to become all that you truly are

It’s not about being comfortable in your own skin

But finding comfort in the uncomfortable

Because all that is uncomfortable is what pushes you further

Because breaking the mold and pushing through to the next level is how you grow

and growth is how you heal

 

It’s ok to Cry

We all have those days.  Those days we feel like we have failed.  Those days we want to sit in a corner and hide.  Or crawl back into bed, pull the covers over our heads and shut out the rest of the world.  Why is it we are so hard on ourselves, yet so kind to others.  Why do we not give ourselves more credit?  If only we could look at ourselves through other people’s eyes.  If only we would treat ourselves, the way we treat others.

Encouraging ourselves.  Telling ourselves, “hey!  It’s ok.  You can’t do everything in one day.  You don’t have to be perfect.  You are human!  You are not a machine.  You are not a droid or a clone.  You make mistakes.”  In fact, that is how you learn better!  If we could take the time each day, to find one thing we love about ourselves.  Be proud of what we have accomplished.  

I feel like lately I have had lots of conversations with people who are feeling down.  Having moments they want to cry.  Moments they don’t want to get out of bed or just moments of struggle.  Guess, what?  What if I told you we ALL have these moments?  Yes, even I do!

For those people who know me, who have known me throughout the years either in person or through social media, what if I told you a secret.  What if I told you that I have had these moments.

Yes, I may post statuses on facebook about how my teenager is driving me mad.  How my car was broken down.  How I didn’t want to work in insurance anymore.  But that’s not all.  There are things that I have not shared.  Moments that maybe no one even knows about.  Today, I need to share these moments.  

As a single mom, yes I have complained from time to time about not having money.  I may have felt bad for myself.  But what if I told you there were nights I cried?  Times that I felt sad and lonely.  Times that I cried in bed alone and had pity parties.  Nights I wondered why was I alone.  Nights I felt unworthy of pretty much anything and everything.  I didn’t tell anyone.  I was supposed to be a strong, independent, single woman.  I felt I couldn’t show anyone this side.  I couldn’t show anyone my vulnerability.  I would fight to hide that and get up and put a smile on my face.  I would walk around confident in public because that is what a strong, independent single mother does.

Over the past few months I have really been working through some things.  Dealing with the fact that I am sensitive.  Thinking about the fact that I try to be tough.  That is, until I realized who I was fighting.  It was me!  I was fighting myself!  I wasn’t fighting anyone else but me.  I finally realized that it’s ok to be vulnerable.  It’s ok to feel!  It’s ok to ask for help, to accept help, to feel emotions.  It’s ok to be me.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not strong and independent.  I have proven that for years.  But sometimes being strong means asking for and accepting help.  Sometimes being strong is being vulnerable.  Having the strength to ask for help.  The strength to accept help and the strength to cry, but then get up, wipe your tears and keep going.  

I am not writing this for pity, but for encouragement.  To remind all these strong independent, single women out there to know it’s ok to be vulnerable.  It’s ok to ask for help.  And it’s ok to cry.

 

This is a song by India Arie that always encourages and remind me that I can do anything when I believe in myself.  If you are having a rough day, go ahead and take a listen.