Tag Archive: writing


Lessons Learned While Grieving

1. Time is no longer measured in the traditional sense. It becomes impossible for your mind to process the passing of calendar days when part of yourself remains rooted in the moment your world went silent. You’ve become a boulder at the bottom of a stream where all you can do is watch the current move swiftly by while praying it is strong enough push you along.
2. Well-meaning people are everywhere. You desperately want to let their words comfort you, but all you can think about is how angry you are and how unfair it all seems. “I’m sorry” doesn’t offer the solution you are craving and you can’t place blame on “they’re in a better place.” These phrases lose their meaning. They become placeholders for actual conversations in order to mask the uncomfortableness that the topic of death tends to bring about.
3. Nothing will fill the hole left behind where the people you are missing should be. There are words that will never be spoken, and milestones you can never share. Thousands of potential memories lost in the reality of death. The realization that you will never get a chance to walk them through your first home or introduce them to your children will steal your breath and haunt your dreams. The vastness of this hole is far greater than anything you could have ever prepared for.
4. Some days are just hard. There will be no reason that you can pinpoint but your heart will ache and the elephant in the room will settle down on your chest, making it hard to breathe. You have to be patient with yourself. It is not an easy task to try to reconfigure what your life looks like without these people in it.
5. You will try to convince yourself that you are ok. One morning you will wake up and realize it has been days or weeks since your last breakdown. You will look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you have made it out on the other side. Somehow you have done what felt impossible at first. You will be confident. When you get in your car and the first song you hear causes tears to fall down your cheeks, you will realize that you had been lying to yourself.
6. You are definitely not ok. The quiet of the night will threaten to swallow you whole and sometimes your arms will not be strong enough to hold yourself together. Allow yourself some space to fall apart. Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better.
7. The dreams are the worst. They make the anxiety in your chest blossom while images of caskets and funeral processions fill every inch of the space between reality and unconsciousness. Some nights they even trick you into thinking nothing is wrong. That the people you are missing are right where you left them. When you wake, the truth crashes into your chest like a freight train, causing the lies in your dreams to go up in a ball of flames and smoke.
8. There will come a point when some people will forget the reason for the sadness in your eyes. They will stop asking how you are doing or if there is anything they can do to help. It will seem strange to you that something so central in your life has been forgotten, but it’s perfectly normal for them to move on from your tragedy. This is the point where you will start to feel alone. This is the point where you need to muster up all of your strength to fight the voices in your head lying to you about being alone.
9. Slowly you will begin to laugh again. Timid at first, but eventually the smile will make its way to your eyes. Instead of staying home, you will find yourself making plans and keeping them. Hope will start to push its way through the darkness; a shining reminder that there is still so much life to live. You will do your best to swallow the guilt you feel over living your life when everything in you is screaming about how unfair it is that you still get one.
10. You are stronger than you think you are. Every day is a battle fought in this war that you had no choice but to serve in. Your tears have created an ocean, but your body remains a battleship navigating the stormy waters. No matter what the demons in your head tell you, know that you are stronger than you think you are.

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Grief

This is something that I have been working on for a little while now. I wanted to read it, but I couldn’t make it through the whole thing without breaking down. This was the healthiest way I could get out what I have been feeling since October when my grandpa died on the same day as a friend committed suicide. Emotions are complicated and grief is no exception. For those who are struggling with the same things, this is your trigger warning. Thank you for reading, and I understand if you can’t. Sending so much love and positivity to my friends and family.

 

Grief

 
I got out of bed today.
I did my best to leave the demons behind on my pillow.
The ones who wage a constant battle in my dreams,
With their swords of anxiety and worry, clamoring and clanking
Coinciding with my restlessness.
I left the house today.
I did my best to weld together a thick armor.
In an attempt to protect myself from things no one can see.

I cross the days off my calendar with a fine tip green sharpie and a ruler.
It’s been almost 4 months since I forgot how to breathe.
If I were being truthful, it probably started much earlier, only now, too much has happened.
Except death isn’t something that ‘happens.’
It’s something that stops things from happening.
It is lives that are gone and futures that are stolen.
It’s lungs that no longer expand and eyes that cannot see.
Death stops things.
What I am learning about grief is that it is uncontrollable and unpredictable.
The scent of a fire sends me back to when camping meant dirty feet and golf cart rides.
Where grandpa would dance to country radio and teach us to play cards.
It takes me back to before and makes me watch, knowing what will happen next.
Yellow makes me think of the gown I had to wear when I kissed you goodbye.
It is inescapable and I am frozen.
Grief finds me in a picture online or a song lyric while I am driving.
It seeks me out at work when a coworker jokingly says he should kill himself.
He doesn’t know that his words trigger the grief.
He doesn’t know that even though I am looking at him, all I can see is a casket.
That while he is speaking, all I can hear are sobs echoing off the caverness ceiling of a church.
Cries from friends and family for a man who never made it out of his twenties.
Looking at my coworker, I am frozen.
Afraid to move or speak out of fear of losing my carefully placed armor.
Grief is confusing.
It’s not knowing who I am crying for today.
Whether the tears that are staining my pillow are for those we buried or for those the buried  left behind.
Some days it’s knowing that I am crying for both and I am frozen.
I’ve always been known as the sensitive one.
And lately it feels as if Niagara Falls lives on standby in my head.
With the tiniest  provocation, the waterfall will pour out of my eyes, leaving proof of my softness streaked and stained down my cheeks.
My instinct is to be strong for me, for my husband, but my body is not my own right now.
It is  held captive by fear and sadness and it leaves me frozen in place.
I am still trying to just push what I feel away.
Separate these emotions from my day to day,
But these feelings are like strings and each one I have swallowed has become twisted and knotted in the pit of my stomach.
Turning sour, like an ulcer; eating away from the inside out.
I cannot move.
Some days I don’t understand what is wrong with me.
I think that enough time has passed and I should be moving on from this stage.
But I am frozen.
Maybe, with time, I can grow out of these feelings.
Like the clothes of my childhood that no longer fit the awkward shape of my teenage body.
Maybe I can remove them from the closet of my soul and pack them neatly away in a box.
Mark it for goodwill and drop them off in hopes that someone else could benefit from them.
But grief is not something I can just pack away.
It is a shape shifter, constantly taking new form.
It steals the breath from my body and I have to fight the urge to gasp for air.
It’s holding me hostage inside my head and some days it locks me inside my home, frozen.
This invisible monster has taken up residence inside barely leaving room for me.
My body is holding this grief like a balloon captures air.
Filling and stretching until I can no longer contain the pressure.
How is one person supposed to manage this pain?
My happy has turned its back on me.
My shoulders carry the weight of people gone too soon.
And my bones are supporting this guilt that wont leave me alone.
My tears aren’t always my own, and I don’t always understand the anxiety in my chest.
The demons from my dreams always find their way back to me,
Looking for war when I just want one moment of peace.
But they are relentless.
Constantly showing me how fire turns memory into ash.
Or putting me inside the darkness of a wooden box.
Where it is dirty and cold and I am frozen.
I am always frozen.
So I cross the days off my calendar with a fine tip green sharpie and a ruler.
One precise line from top right to bottom left.
Visually marking the passage of time.
I hope one day this will trick my mind to unfreeze my body, and let me step forward.