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Friday, January 24, 2014

Rocking at Grief

I’m sick.  Again.  2nd time in 2014.  I’m over 2014.  2014 is lame.  The end of 2013 was lame.  Mleh.

Grieving is a weird, wild ride.  I’m at the point now where occasionally I can have a few minutes of thinking, talking or interaction without feeling the constant pit in my stomach, the never-ending undercurrent of sadness…but then it comes back.  The dark shadow of grief doesn’t stay away for long. 

I’m mildly embarrassed to admit that I recently said “I want to rock at grief.”  Yep, I said it.  I want people to think, “Wow, Jenny has handled grief with grace and courage.  Such an impressive griever, that one.”  In my head, this idea has manifested into guilt.  (I AM awesome at guilt).  I’ve actually started feeling guilty about feeling sad.  Yes, my dad died.  But he died in a great way.  He didn’t have to suffer.  He didn’t have to worry about us being burdened with his care or making difficult quality of life decisions for him.  He didn’t die in a car accident or in some other tragic way.  He didn’t die exceptionally young.  Mike lost his mom to breast cancer when he was only 12.  I had many, many more years with my dad than he got to have with his mom.  This is how it’s ‘supposed’ to happen, right?   You’re supposed to lose your parents.  I can’t imagine losing a child.  That heart-break seems too much to bear and I don’t know how people cope.  Wouldn’t I rather have it go this way?  Isn’t this how dad would’ve wanted it?  He had a beautiful death.  How dare I still feel sad when other people suffer so much more than we have.  Shouldn’t I be doing better?!

It’s obvious.  I’m sad ‘cuz he’s gone.  I’m sad because my kids won’t get to grow up with their grandfather.  I’m sad because we were really close, and I can’t call him on the phone now and tell him about practicing baseball with Matthew or taking Kayli for runs or watching Zach’s first basketball game this year.   I’m sad that I can’t ask him about home improvement projects.  I’m sad that now Mom’s a widow…and having to figure so much stuff out – managing three properties, taking care of the administrative needs for my disabled brother.  I’m sad that we won’t get to celebrate their 46th wedding anniversary in four years.  I’m sad because we were going to go camping together again this summer (and the kids and I only went with him once).  I’m sad at the injustice of it all.  He did everything right.  He was active and healthy, and I’m sad that it didn’t really matter.  I’m so selfishly sad that I don’t get to 100% enjoy things right now.  We’re taking the kids to Disneyland and Legoland next month, and I just can’t be excited about it.  I’m sad for so many reasons.  We saw each other at least once a week and often talked more than that.  Not all adults can say that about their relationship with their parents.  So, yeah, I’m sad and yet I feel guilty about it.

Friends of ours – who lost their son a few years ago – gave both mom and I a book, Healing After Loss – Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman.  It’s funny how some days the reading is so written for me it’s a little weird.  That was the case yesterday.  I couldn’t help but laugh as I read:

 “Sometimes we berate ourselves: Why are we not doing better? Particularly if we are people with any pretense to faith, why can we not muster the resources of faith and be a model of calm acceptance and inner serenity?

Because we are human beings and we are hurting…

I will not further burden myself by trying to fit some image of a “model griever.” The strength I have is the strength to be myself.”

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