Monday, April 24, 2017

Grief...what it is technically and what it really is

image is not mine...I got it from google

This year makes 9 years since my mother and daughter passed and the beginning of my brothers passing.  I have had alot of things in life to deal with and the one constant thing above all else is GRIEF.  If you have never meet grief then you my friend are lucky.  If you have had the unfortunately meeting with grief, I my friend am sorry.

When you google the word grief you will find all sorts of things about it.  What it is, what it isn't, facts, myths, stages, thoughts and poems.  Everyone experiences it different.  The official definition of grief is:
grief/ɡrēf/noundeep sorrow, especially that caused by someone's death.
"she was overcome with grief"
informaltrouble or annoyance.
"we were too tired to cause any grief"
But what grief actually is to each person is different.  Here are the 5 stages of grief according to WebMD:

What Are the Stages of Grief?
Your feelings may happen in phases as you come to terms with your loss. You can’t control the process, but it’s helpful to know the reasons behind your feelings. Doctors have identified five common stages of grief:
  • Denial: When you first learn of a loss, it’s normal to think, “This isn’t happening.” You may feel shocked or numb. This is a temporary way to deal with the rush of overwhelming emotion. It’s a defense mechanism.
  • Anger: As reality sets in, you’re faced with the pain of your loss. You may feel frustrated and helpless. These feelings later turn into anger. You might direct it toward other people, a higher power, or life in general. To be angry with a loved one who died and left you alone is natural, too.
  • Bargaining: During this stage, you dwell on what you could’ve done to prevent the loss. Common thoughts are “If only…” and “What if…” You may also try to strike a deal with a higher power.
  • DepressionSadness sets in as you begin to understand the loss and its effect on your life. Signs of depression include crying, sleep issues, and a decreased appetite. You may feel overwhelmed, regretful, and lonely.
  • Acceptance: In this final stage of grief, you accept the reality of your loss. It can’t be changed. Although you still feel sad, you’re able to start moving forward with your life.
I believe that these stages are the most accurate you will find out there.  However, I do believe that all of these things are missing something.

I believe that it is missing the fact that grief is ever lasting.  That grief feels like you are in a bad dream that you can't wake up from.  Grief is something that you live over every day.  Grief is that elephant in the room that no one can see but knows is there and sitting on your chest.  Grief is the disconnect from your mind and your heart.

My mother died of cancer 9 years ago on the 19th of this month.  My first response was immediately crying and gasping for air.  It was as if I was drowning and no way to get out of the water.  I didn't want to believe it but I went straight into survival mode and caretaker mode.  I took Family Medical Leave and took care of my mother around the clock 24/7 until her last breath.  I remember one night after my mother went to sleep, driving my car at 3 in the morning to an empty parking lot about 2 miles down the road from her apartment and screaming to the top of my lungs.  I cried, I yelled, I cussed, I begged, I pleaded, I bargained and then I just sat there in silence for what seemed like an eternity.

My mother was my rock, my best friend, my teacher, my biggest cheerleader and my greatest hero in life.  She was never going to die in my mind ever.  She would always be around because my mother had survived so many horrible things in life and she kept going.  Reality was she was dying and there was nothing I could do to stop it.  Not that I didn't try of course.  When my mom got sick with cancer our family changed in more ways than you can imagine.  You see my mom was the glue to our family.  No matter what we were going through, she was always there for us and found someway to fix things.  Holidays, birthdays, special occasions, get together's were all because of our love for our mom.  None of these things have been the same since she passed.

Now fast forward to just shy of 6 months.  My oldest daughter was at a neighbors house and decided to ride on the back of a guys motorcycle.  Yes, I am sure you can see where I am heading with this.  My second daughter who is only 16 months younger called me on October 6 at 8:35 p.m. and told me that Heather had been in a motorcycle accident.  She got the call from the lady that was behind the accident when it happened.  They found Heather's phone and just started calling people until they got a hold of a family member.  This my friend is why you should never have your phone on lock while you are out.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  I ran out of the house so fast that I couldn't even remember where I was going.  You see my daughter said it happened in front of a gas station less than a block from where I was at.  Reality was it happened about 3 miles down the road at the other gas station with the same name.  I got to the scene and damn near hit the firetruck coming to a stop.  They tried to stop me as I got out and ran to the scene but I was determined to get to my daughter.  She was already on her way to the hospital when I got there.  I had to call my best friend to come get me because the police wouldn't let me drive.  They said that I was not in the right frame of mind.  I guess they were correct considering I tried to charge the guys that caused the accident.  Yes I was not in my right mind.  I was pissed, scared, hurt, confused, numb, in disbelief, in denial, angry, enraged and drowning while standing on dry land.

To this day, even though I know she is gone, she isn't coming back, I will never get to hold her again in this life and she will never get to see her children grow up, I still don't believe she is gone.  I keep thinking she is going to walk through the door and this will be a sick and twisted bad dream.  This will be me waking up from a coma or something to find none of these events actually happened.  My heart knows she is gone because it breaks everyday when I wake up and she isn't here.  My mind on the other hand is another story.  I seen her in the hospital bed, I heard the codes be called, I held her hand after they pronounced her dead, I arranged the funeral and burial and stayed until they put her in the ground.  However, my mind says none of these things happened.  My mind keeps telling me that she is going to walk through the door.

There are days when I can laugh about a memory and other times when I just start crying for no reason.  I still talk to her and my mom on a daily basis.  My other children and I still talk as if they are still here.  We know they aren't and they will never be again but it doesn't stop us.

This year my youngest brother who is older than I am passed away.  He died January 23 of this year.  I still have not seen the official cause but it is probably safe to say it was due to drugs.  I know he had drugs in his system but since he donated his organs there was no autopsy.  So here I am again, dealing with grief of another close family member.  Again, I know he is gone and never coming back but that still doesn't help me any.  I still have the same thoughts that he will come through the door and say "hello to my baby sister" just like he always did.

You see my friends, grief is different for all of us.  Even though there is a definition for it and stages for processing grief, there is no time table for it.  As you can see from my experiences above I am still very much going through grief of my mother and my first born daughter.  Within 6 months I lost two of the most important people in my life.  I guess it was only fitting that it happened this way.  They were so close that it was like looking in a mirror for them.  My daughter was the first grandchild and the closest to my mom.  My mother was the main babysitter for my children.  We had my mom cremated and when they were ready to close the casket on my daughter we snuck my moms ashes under the pillow of my daughter.  They will forever be together.

I still am not at the acceptance stage of grief and honestly I don't know if I ever will be.  What I do know is that I have 4 of the stages of grief that I rotate in on a daily basis.  I am not sure if it is because I lost my mother and daughter the same year or if it is because I lost my mother and daughter.  Lost, what a strange way of saying someone has died.  I didn't lose them at all because I know where they are.  They are in heaven.  They aren't lost but away in another place that I have yet to go.  So please if you are experiencing grief, ask for help, seek guidance and talk to everyone and anyone.  You are not a bother to them at all because those that truly care about and love you will be there to listen to you, hold you and be there for you no matter the time of day or night.

If you are going through grief just know that you are not alone.  There is someone, somewhere going through grief as well.  You are not alone now nor ever.  If you are having thoughts of suicide, get help immediately.  You are already going through grief and I know you wouldn't wish what you are going through on anyone else.  Suicide only makes this cycle continue even when you are aren't here to see it, you have caused or will cause someone else grief.

Wednsday the 26th would have been my brothers 48th birthday and he won't be here to celebrate it with his kids or family.  This is another stage of grief.  The stage of moving on even when they are gone and still remembering them and celebrating them.  No matter what anyone says about grief, only you can determine when and what stages you are going through.

I hope this post was useful to you in someway.  I know that nothing can change the grief that you are feeling and no one can truly understand your grief.  Your grief is like your DNA or your fingerprints because they are yours and they are unique.

Please take care of yourself and talk to anyone and everyone that will listen.  Trust me when I say it helps.

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