I say all the time and mean it, that if we just could all accept ourselves without judgment we’d be so much better off. Not a new thought to be sure but one that’s come back to me today as I realize I’ve been judging myself pretty harshly for all this grieving “nonsense”. Ha!
Self-judgment and comparison to others is such a terrible habit and it’s very hard at times to realize when you’re doing it. Compare = Despair. Too true and I’ve caught myself lately strangling on tears because there have been so many I just don’t want to go there anymore and I’m tired of posting repeated deaths on Facebook since July 2010 and I think I should be more “in control”. Even worse most of you know that my Scarlett aka Last of the Mohicans, who has been my best friend for more than 12 years, is tottering around like the little old lady that she is and likely to fall within a few months as well. Fasten your seat belts…
Anyway repression of emotion always results in the uprising of old negative thought patterns and over-sensitivity all of which hurts more than a few tears. Ok a lot of tears and generalized attitudes of mopiness. I don’t like feeling off balance and taking so long to notice that my cheese is slipping off my cracker.
I have found myself obsessed over finding the perfect chocolate ice cream (just plain Haagen-Dazs) or the very best cheese fries (no one tops the Steakout in Ft. Collins). Or when some narcissistic ass clown jumps me publicly with all sorts of attacking statements I allow it to hurt me and further ruin my day rather than immediately understanding that “his/her” tirade is “his/her” own insanity and I don’t see it because I’m a couple of bubbles off plumb.
I also notice during those times that typical spousal behaviors which normally barely register in my awareness suddenly become fodder for fantasies of suitcase packing or nearly uncontrollable impulses for argument starting. Seriously?! You didn’t rinse your cereal bowl AGAIN?! WTF? Do you realize how hard it is to get Frosted Mini-Wheats off glass bowls once the icky shreds are dry? Oh my poor, poor husband.
The nice thing about Facebook is you can toss out an update and within minutes be reminded that you’re not psycho for living life slightly askew while going through a looooong term grieving process. That kind of validation goes a very long way to letting oneself off the “aren’t you done crying yet?” bandwagon. It’s cool and I thank those who always come to my rescue. Those little one liner statements back to me provide more comfort than I could ever have imagined.
On the subject of grief I have been reading a lot about it which typically makes me cry more – sheesh – but there has been a lot more said in recent years that grief is not in traveled in 5 stages. This made me feel so much better because mine sure does not seem to follow those lines, even though I do understand that the 5 stages are not at all linear. BTW grief rituals don’t help at all!
My grief seems more like a crazy making mix of relief that my dogs aren’t suffering the effects of ill health anymore, guilt over the relief of not having to worry about said ill health effects/expense, missing my Dad terribly but being angry at him too for how carelessly he treated his body throughout his much too short life. Selfishly I think Dad should have done a better job with that whole thing, then comes anger over the whole death process in general – I mean really, given how deeply they impact our hearts, dog life spans seem unbearably short and this seems so unfair to me that I seriously wish I could have a chat with whomever started all this life/death/creation stuff anyway! As in…um…uh… excuse me, God? Yes, well, although I hate to bring this to your attention, I think you might have made just a teensy tiny mistake in this one tinky winky area regarding how very few years you’ve allotted to the companion pet population. Now go FIX it!!
Then, for some unknown reason, it all fades away and other than small pangs at the sight of a dog bowl, finding remaining hairs on my clothes or catching myself still opening the front door very slowly so as not to mow over Chloe who liked sleeping right behind it, all goes quiet for some time. Peace, breath in the lungs and sleep in the night returns until it doesn’t and the storm rages through again.
It’s a wonder those of us who have too much feeling and not enough logic about animals have survived throughout time. How do we keep getting up? How do we keep facing the day? I sure as hell don’t know! I suppose after 45 years of getting up every day it’s such an ingrained habit that not to do so is far too foreign an idea to act upon. Which by the way, cripes, am I forty-five already? Good Lord, oh well there’s another topic to rant on about for later J
So to anyone else out there who thinks grieving is bullshit. I agree; it certainly is however try to allow it as much as possible and seek help in those times you feel you cannot ride it through. Take breaks. I find movie binges and good books help but remember that oceanic waves of pain are not held back for long and are so much worse when they do break through whatever feeble dams we construct to try and contain them. Life will not be denied and sadly, death comes right alongside it. You can’t stop the flow of any of it without some serious repercussions when you to try. Acceptance of wherever you are in the process and allowing the feelings to naturally rise and fall go a long way toward resolution over time.
If nothing else it might help to remember that you aren’t nuts, that there is at anytime day or night someone out there feeling the same way you are and we’ve been surviving losses since the time of our creation. Even Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth: “Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart, and bids it break.” Hang on, that wave will go back out to Sea soon enough.
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