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.

IMG_20180903_085927_272

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.

Advertisements

Ups and Downs and Other Lessons

It’s been a couple of weeks since I started my blog.  To be honest, around the same time I was starting my blog, I had just shared one of my first writings publicly.  (See link at bottom of blog)  It was a response to a blog I had read by Wendy Grossman, as well as, how Wendy and I became friends.  Long story short, my post on Wendy’s blog got some serious recognition and feedback.  The response was overwhelming and exciting.  I felt like I was ready to quit my day job and become some famous author.  Ok, ok, maybe I got a little ahead of myself.  

I was on a natural high from the love and positive comments I was getting from everyone.  But as we all know what goes up must come down.  And then it happened…the crash.  The negative comments, the criticism, the misconstrued words.  As much as I tried to prepare myself for this, there is no preparation.  It’s amazing what the power of words can do.  

I learned a lot from that first post.  I learned that words have the power to create and the power to destroy.  I learned that once you put something out there, you can’t really get it back.  I started thinking, maybe I’m too sensitive to be a writer, if I can’t take criticism.  After a few days of anxiety, my mind spinning itself out into ridiculous scenarios and trying to think of how to fix or correct the fact that someone took my words the wrong way, I had to step back and look from a different perspective.

I started reading blogs and reviews, comments by people on facebook and all over the internet   I started seeing how some people, regardless if right or wrong, are just rude and hateful.  I saw that some things, just aren’t for everyone.  For example, I love India Arie, so while listening to her music one day, I started to notice there were songs i would skip and others I would play twice.  I realized that certain songs I just like better, they sound better or I relate more to the song.  It doesn’t mean she is an awful artist or some of her songs suck.  It means we all have our own point of view, our own preferences.  It means some days we crave chocolate and others we want salty and spicy!

I also realized just how sensitive I am. I have always known I was sensitive.  I’m a people pleaser.  I hate conflict.  Really I focused on this about myself a little more.  I kept trying to tell myself not to be so sensitive.  I kept saying not to take the negative comments to heart.  Don’t let one or two people bring me down.  But I did.  I cried, I felt anxious, I couldn’t eat. Yes it was a bit much, but it is me.  It’s ok to be sensitive.  It made me realize that is what makes me, ME!  My sensitivities give me the ability to see other people’s point of view.  To try and understand people’s pain and stories even if I have never lived them.  My empathy is a gift.  To feel love above all, you must experience pain and hurt and anger so that you can appreciate all the beauties this world has to offer.  

So as scary and wonderful as it was to start putting myself out there, it was healing and strengthening too.  It is helping me to grow and nurture my inner child.  I actually had a bit of writer’s block for the past couple of weeks.  I was still writing, but i was scared to think of sharing again.  To put myself back out there. I have now realized that every blog, every post, every word that I share, is helping me embrace my inner Ginger.

 

To read the original blog I am referring to, please check out Wendy’s blog linked below

http://wendyjanegrossman.com/2015/11/16/a-reader-responds-elissa-butson-on-why-shes-attracted-to-black-culture/