Grief is a sneaky little sucker. It comes packing a rainbow of emotions ranging from neon bright to the darkest of dark.
Grief is terribly uncomfortable. Any person who has experienced true grief I believe would agree and testify that it’s a bizarre chain reaction experience. Grief is weird because it gets all balled up like yarn. Grief tangles up ALL of the human emotions. Not just one or two but all of them such as anger, sadness, loss of interest, dispair, sorrow, anxiety and fear. It comes in waves and it floods over you like a tidal wave.
In light of some recent events, I want to share my personal experience with grief and shed some light on my raw reaction. I believe the data reveals that grief is intermixed on the spectrum of physical/mental health and wellness. Grief can come from a loss, a sudden situational change, a divorce, a financial loss, bad news or sudden health change.
My grief is not tied to a physcial loss of a loved one. Mine is more situational. As I write, I’m in the thick of a severe grief stricken scenario. I find myself grieving truth versus reality and injustice versus the truth. (I shall share the full story at a later date). I‘m grieving a lifestyle that will be lost for my loved ones. I’m grieving separation. I’m grieving overall change and yet still praying and hoping it’s only temporary.
The gutteral pain that I’m feeling is like nothing I have ever felt before. It’s hard to put into words but I will try. Time has stopped for me and yet the world continues spinning. Everyone seems to be going on with life but I’m stuck in pause. My brain and my body are not in synch. I’m functioning but my mind is in outter space. I want to stay in my sweats and do nothing. I feel like I’m going crazy because I don’t know what to do or how to act. I can’t do anything to change or effect the outcome. I feel at a loss and completely out of control.
The past two weeks I have felt like a complete phoney. It’s as if I’m fake smiling or better yet my smile had been lost. Almost like I have been internally robbed of my funny bone. Good grief this is hard!
There is a nagging dull ache in my heart. I feel broken inside.
Luckily, during this yucky time, I have been able to get out of bed every morning. I go through the motions of daily life almost without a hitch. I’m a little off on the day of the week but from the outside I’m able to function and carry out ordinary tasks. Fortunately my job involves exercise which helps me expel the pent up stress. (see my must have GRIEF list below)
I keep FAITH close to my heart and in my mind. I spend at least 30 minutes or longer in prayer and studying the word of God. I’m also talking to God all day long. (I’m sort of bossing Him around and telling HIM what to do) I whisper to Jesus in my car, in my heart, and in my dreams. I have the ability to compartmentalize which seems to keep my world spinnng. I think I’m functioning at a normal level in the gym and at home.
HOWEVER…my diet looks like a terrible angiogram. Up and down, back and fourth, yo-yoing like a big dog. Seven weeks ago I was physically unable to stomach or even think about food. I had severe nausea and couldn’t register hunger. (I’m always hungry for the record). As weeks have passed, the situation has changed and become more real, I’m now over eating. I’m eating even when I’m not hungry. I’m stuffing my face with carbohydrates and wine which has added a whopping eight to nine pounds to my figure. The thing is..”it’s just weight…I can always take it off.”
The hardest part are the small things that catch you off guard. There are so many unexpected variables when you’re going through a hard season. For instance, friends and family will call, text, leave messages and or do something special to help cheer me up. These precious thoughtful moments open the flood gates of tears and emotions. Where did this come from? I thought I was past this point in the grief game?! But in a nano second there it is again. Teary red eyes full of water. Perhaps I’m on a phone call talking with a friend and suddenly I’m full of anger rehashing the story, cussing like a sailor, and welling up with angst. Where did this come from? I thought I was past this stage? This is an ongoing daily surprise.
The enduring gestures, while so sweet, are also a reminder of the current circumstances. But what can you do? It’s hard to factor in all of kindness from folks who just want to comfort and love on me. People are expressing their genuine concern and it’s overwhelming. I feel like I’m living in a recurring funeral. Have you ever been at a funeral and you spot an old friend across the room, whom has taking time from their day to show up for you and suddenly their prescence rips open the flood gates catching you totally off guard. WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?
Then there are the HUGS! All of the hugs! Now, I’m a fan of the hug and kiss greeting. I’m all about customary cheek or lip kisses and full frontal bear hugs. I think hugging is far too underrated. But a hug in certain circumstances can bring a person to uncontrolled snot sobbing. These hugs sweep you off your feet and send you into a whailing melt down. It’s so bizarre but what is it all about? Again where did this come from?
Well it’s like that!
This is how I have been living for the last 10-12 weeks. And I guess there is no rule book for the wrong or right way to grieve. The important part is that I process what’s happening and deal with it. Come to grips with it and know that in a future time it won’t be as bad. I’m telling myself that it’s perfectly okay to be sad and let it run it’s course like the flu. Because that’s what this feels like. A sick flu but there is no medicine no, antibiotic to make it better.
During the beginning of this process, I had no tears. There were no signs of the emotional roller coaster that was coming for me. It was like a zombie had temporarily taken over my brain causing me to zone out. Operating in overdrive all day long. I was merly going through the traditional motions but now I’m in the losing it phase. Emotions scattered from here to kingdom come!
At night, I cry in the bath tub and I cry before and right at bedtime. As I said, I carry on during the day and I guess it’s because my mind is somewhat occupied with work. I do get weepy during the day but the real tears are done in private. ALONE! I don’t feel welcome to incumber the teen queen or Mr. Chicken Fry so I hide my sadness inside. Which also makes me mad and sad.
All I know is that this is all very real. This is my first true experience and it’s super shifty. One minute I’m doing okay and the next, I feel sucker punched in the gut. Like my skin is turning inside out. Any negative retoric from Mr. Chicken Fry sends a big thick wall of resentment up between us. I feel like I’m faking life in a way…because on the inside I’m a wrecking ball of boo!
So what would be helpful? If you are experieneing grief, loss or life changing extraordinary circumstances here is my list of MUST HAVES!
You need a soft safe spot to fall. It’s so importat to be strong for yourself and for your loved ones but it s also vital that you have a safe, calm, space to grieve with no judgement or rules. If necessary, ask your spouse and kids to pick up the slack for a while. Give yourself a pass. If you’re not allowed or it’s uncomfortable to come home and just rest and be yourself, find another way.
This may mean that you need to check into a hotel for a few days, or send your spouse and kids away if they can’t help support and lift you up during this temporary phase. BECAUSE IT IS JUST TEMPORARY! Maybe call on a friend or family member and ask them to take you in for a few days. Try and lean in and allow people to take care of you so you can take care of yourself.
Open up and talk to your husband, wife, a friend or family member, a therapist, a christian counselor, or a pastor. You need one to five strong people to lean on emotionally. (Fortunately I’m blessed with 30-40 women a week who help carry me). It’s best if these people are like minded and will give you an ear, sound advice and place no judgement on your feelings.
3. Waterproof mascara, eyeliner and foundation. I use Loreal hydrofuse mascara and lancome water proof eyeliner. I love the IT cosmestics cc full coverage cream with 50 spf. Tear and sweat proof to the max! Trust me I’ve done the leg work!
4. Advil because crying can cause massive compound head aches.
5. Water – hydration is critical. You’re body is under pressure and operating in overdrive. Water will help equal and balance your body. If you’re drinking alcohol or taking medicaiton in addition to dealing with grief, the body can easily become dehydrated leading to other problems. You must drink water and limit caffeine and alcohol. (UMMM yeah right)
6. Rest. Sleep. Try taking a hot epsom salt bath before bed. Watch something comedic or uplifting before going to sleep. Play encouraging praise music in your ears, in your bedroom, in your car or office. Pray and ask God to give you rest.
7. Activity. Exercise such as a brisk walk to clear your head. Perhaps a bike ride or go for a swim. Basically anything to stir up your heart rate. This is often times the hardest step but the pay off is so rewarding. Even an activity such as bowling, a simple board game or card game will improve your mental state. Even if you don’t feel like it try it!
8. A careless spirit. The worry and the sensitivity I feel right now is at the highest state. What I cannot do is worry or care what others are thinking. My pastor once told me, “It’s none of your business what other people are thinking.” Chris Seidman What liberating words to live by! I can’t be bothered with other peoples opinion because everyone has one but it’s none of my business. I have to do me even if it looks crazy. Even if it looks depressing, even if I’m totally pretending to have fun, I can’t care what ANYone else thinks.
In light of everything I can so see how easy it is to become entrenched in despair. I have felt the tug to come a little deeper into the dark. I feel the chasing of my tail, like a puppy dog going round and round and getting no where. I’m acutely aware of the satanic attacks on my thoughts/mind. So instead of allowing these real emotions to swallow me whole I lean toward the bright stupid productive side. I started cleaning and pruning. I found myself the last two weeks doing meaningless tasks almost as if I was nesting. I started purging my closet and rearranging furniture. I went drawer to drawer purging anything I have not used or worn in the last 5 years. I took a huge load of stuff to CCA, Christian Community Action. This has not taken the pain away but has kept my mind somewhat preoccupied. I have days when I don’t cry and days when I weep all day long!
If you have ever felt grief or been in a similiar situation…you know what I’m talking about. I hope that if you are or know someone who is going through the motions of despair you will reach out. Or if it’s you…find a way to reach out. A simple text to a friend who you know will have your back and respond in an instant. Don’t allow grief to beat and keep you down. Time will come around and you and I will find laughter again. I will find away to build a new normal. The circumstances will look different but so what. I will never stop trusting in God almighty and thinking Him for all of his many blessings along the way.
God invites us to rely on Him during all seasons of life. Lean not on my own understanding and in all ways acknowledge HIM and he will make my path straight.
Life is confusing but God doesn’t change. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people. But what I do know is that “and we know that in ALL things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
I have been weary to share this. I was weary to even write it. I haven’t felt much like blogging because usually my topics are upbeat and positive. In any case…I took the risk.
The truth will set us all free!
Love, adjust and trust.
Up next: Tomorrow a blog post called Happy Space wouldn’t ya know!!!