Sunday, April 26, 2009

For those who've hung in there

Everyone kept telling me it would get worse before it got better. I was dismissive. To begin with, they were all talking about Thatmom, and my need to be there for her. The words were ominous in tone, a foreboding warning. But I also didn't believe it could get worse. How could things get any darker? How could my grief ever surpass the pain I felt at the hospital? The instant loss, the learning to be without. Things could only get easier.

And then about two weeks ago, it hit me. Unexpectedly, without warning. It was as if the curtain had risen letting the theater of my life begin. Since then, there hasn't been a day without tears. I find myself crying in public at inopportune times. Just last week the mere sound of Thatmom's voice on the phone broke me down in a matter of seconds.

I remember the days after the funeral as a blur and, with one very specific exception of a hysterical breakdown in Macys, oddly still waters. It wasn't that I didn't cry or grieve, but it was at appropriate times, or in conversations with Thatboy - remaining strong for the person who needed me most. I overheard Thatboy telling more than one of his friends that I was handling things "a little too well" and I felt frustrated. I didn't know any other way to handle them and I figured I'd get my own shot at dealing with my grief once I got Thatmom settled. But the weeks went by and although I had moments of sadness and tears, I was definitely functional - at an impaired level. I went through the motions, and did what was expected, things that had to be done. Then there was an improvement where I went above what had to be done. I went out, I cleaned the house.....and I honestly believed things were getting better. Which explains why I was so blindsided.

Thatmom sent me an article from Slate by Meghan O'Rourke: The Long Goodbye which I instantly connected with. The article was written in several installments following the death of the author's mom December 25. Although our situtations differ in that her mother lost the battle she had been facing with colorectal cancer, the feelings and emotions that she expresses are not diminished by the fact that she had weeks to say goodbye, instead of minutes with an unresponsive body.

"Since my mother's death, I have been in grief. I walk down the street; I answer my phone; I brush my hair; I manage, at times, to look like a normal person, but I don't feel normal. I am not surprised to find that it is a lonely life: After all, the person who brought me into the world is gone. But it is more than that. I feel not just that I am but that the world around me is deeply unprepared to deal with grief. Nearly every day I get e-mails from people who write: "I hope you're doing well." It's a kind sentiment, and yet sometimes it angers me. I am not OK. Nor do I find much relief in the well-meant refrain that at least my mother is "no longer suffering." Mainly, I feel one thing: My mother is dead, and I want her back. I really want her back—sometimes so intensely that I don't even want to heal. At least, not yet."

And the lit nut in me loves the analysis she does with Hamlet - a play centered around a son mourning his father. Ms. Rourke is a few months ahead of me in the grieving process and it's good to read that things will get better - although her clouds began lifting around 4 months, which means I have two more months of suffering ahead.

I mentioned in February that I wasn't exactly sure where this blog was going to be heading and I'm starting to get more of an idea. I'm going to go back to using the blog for "thoughts I feel like sharing." (I have a separate space for thoughts I don't feel like sharing) There are those who have expressed that they don't like the things I put on here when it starts getting personal, but I'm pretty sure a majority of them don't read this anymore, and I save my thoughts on them for that separate space. I will continue to post recipes and food - but probably not to the same extent I did before, which I know will lose me one reader for sure, and possibly others who aren't as vocal about the types of blogs they read. But at this time, it's useful for me to have a space for me - recounting day to day activities, feelings, thoughts, adventures (we're working on getting Thatmom to come down to San Diego next weekend if we can work something out with Thatbrother tonight at dinner). I'm hoping that I'll be able to see things in a more positive light if I'm able to take a step back from them as I write.

20 comments:

  1. Well, I for one am glad to see you back...at whatever intervals that may be!! I also don't care what you post about...it just makes my heart smile to see you around, especially when you swing by to visit with me. AND, I learned awhile back...my blog is just that, MY BLOG. So what if a few or many don't like it, it is mine. It is my place, I didn't create it for those few or many, I created it for me. SO, I subscribe and will continue to subscribe...so you have 1~

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  2. Beautiful and powerful post, my friend. I miss you and send you much love.

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  3. It's really good to hear from you and to hear your [written] voice. Grieving is healthy so just continue to do what you need to do. Thinking of you.

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  4. By all means - use your space as you would like. Actually, I find it sad when people move away from some of the more personal life experiences to the more Martha Stewart portrayal of life.

    I would imagine that the first few weeks after a traumatic experience would be more of a survival mode without having the time to emotionally respond. The whole thing about handling things "too well" seems to be it doesn't allow for the grieving process.

    I wanted, also, to commend you on being such an amazing support for your mother. I'm sure there was never any question - but I'm sure it's tough, particularly with there being some distance between you.

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  5. For me personally (not that you need my approval anyway--who are these idiots who felt they had a right to an opinion?) I have connected to some extent with the bloggers I read--and the person behind the food is what makes them interesting. Further, once connected, I want to know how they are doing. So I am glad to hear that you will continue writing in whatever way you want to. I am also glad because it seems to me that doing anything at all is part of staying connected with life. Something it could be too easy to not want to do? Did that make sense? Anyway I am mostly talking out my youknowwhat as usual because I don't knwo what what to say but want to express my support in some way. Hang in there.

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  6. Blogging is for connecting with others and giving yourself an outlet to express yourself, no? Well at least that's how I use mine! Not sure who would tell you otherwise. You do what you need to do. I'm happy to hear you'll be blogging more because I hope it will help you through things AND give us a peek into your life! hugs, my friend.

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  7. I'll be here, reading and supporting you no matter what you decide to turn this blog in to. I wish you the best during this difficult time.

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  8. It's your blog and you can cry if you want to. I send you a hug, my friend.

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  9. Blogging has a different meaning and purpose for everyone. This is your space. All I can say is your mom was a wonderful lady to have touched so many. The biggest of hugs.

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  10. This is an creative outlet and you should let it all OUT!!! whether we like reading it or not! I am glad you are back...we will all one day go through some kind of adversity and we should be there for each other!!!

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  11. (((hugs))) I think of you often. And I agree with that author. It's okay to no be okay. No one should have expectations of you and how you "should" feel. Every single emotion you experience is valid and appropriate to YOU.

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  12. So glad to "hear" from you. I've been thinking about you a lot. I think you should use your blog any which way you want. Since you are one of the few who has a blog opposed to skimming and I actually enjoy reading (as scrolling), you won't hear any complaining from me. I'll just be glad to see you back around. :) It shouldn't come as a suprise that you're Superdaughter, just like you're Superwife, and for that I'm sure your mom is incredibly grateful. Sending lots of thoughts & hugs to you.

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  13. Grief is so highly personal that nobody has the right to tell you what you should experience and how. We all go through it and none of us is ready for it - even when we're expecting it. Take your time - do it your way - don't suppress your emotions -be who you are and not who someone else might expect you to be - they're not living in your skin.

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  14. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and keep them coming if it makes you feel something, anything. It is your blog and most of us will stick around to hear you out. Grief is a strange and mysterious thing. I lost a baby (20 week fetus) 11 years ago and every once in a while I get hit with the grief and loss, so many different feelings. I can remember after I deliverd the baby, about a week after, a lady reported me to my doctor saying I was grieving too much. What? All I got was a week? I am thinking of you, take your time.

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  15. I started reading through a link on someone else's page (I don't remember who). I think your recipes are interesting, but I like your blog for you, and will continue to read, no matter what you choose to post about or how often you choose to do it.

    HUGS!

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  16. I just have to say that I do not understand people who feel like they have right to tell you what you should and shouldn't put on your blog. I have not encountered that yet and I hope I don't. But this is your blog!! Write what you want and remind these insesitive and dopey people that they don't have to read it. I enjoy reading what you write, recipes or not, because of the way you write. That's all...I'm off the soapbox now!! Take care.

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  17. you deserve to make your blog about whatever you feel like, without worrying about what people will think.

    i'll be reading no matter what. hang in there, friend.

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  18. [hugs] You do whatever you want with this blog. We'll always be here.

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  19. I agree with the others. Your blog is your blog and you write about whatever makes you smile, cry, scream, etc. I'll keep reading, too! Side belated note: I'm so sorry about the loss of your dad. I've not commented on it - didn't know what to say, but I've thought about you, for what it's worth coming from a strange blogger friend.

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  20. As much as I love food, I love reading and hearing my friend's personal thoughts and feelings even more. You've got a reader for life with me at least, no matter what you feel like sharing here in the blogosphere. {{hugs}}

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