Friday, March 11, 2011

Addressing the "Elephant in the Room"

It's been 13 days since Grief came barging in the front door, unannounced, carrying a suitcase, and informing me that he was here to stay a while.

The first seven days, I was powerless to stop his invasion of my life.  He rushed in and took free- reign of my emotions.  I was completely consumed with his presence, and he was absolutely exhausting me.  I could barely sleep, eat, or think with him in my face all the time!

On day eight, I'd had about all I could stand of him!  Like a house guest who has overstayed his welcome, he was gnawing at me.  I decided to lock him in the closet so I could get some stinkin' relief. I actually thought this might work, and for about a half a did.  But then he started hollering from the closet, and banging on the door until I let him out.  Then Grief made me cry...but only for a little while this time.

After my plan to shove him in the closet failed, I decided to try ignoring Grief.  He might be hanging around, but I wouldn't allow myself to look at his sorry little face.  I would stay busy and clean things.  I would reorganize the shelves, and try a new recipe.  I would vacuum and dust, and do 5 loads of laundry...all the while pretending he wasn't in the room.  Then Grief would open his big fat mouth and shout out all sorts of random memories. He would remind me that it was my my mom who taught me the proper way to fold socks, and Mom made the best desserts, and Mom used Palmolive dish soap to wash the dishes...and then Grief would make me cry all over again.

I absolutely hate crying, so I decided to deny Grief's existence in order to make the tears stop. I told myself that this wasn't happening to me, he wasn't here to stay, and his visit was all a bad nightmare that I was going to wake up from any second.  This approach lasted all of about twenty minutes.  Grief filled the house with memorial flowers and stacks of "I'm sorry for your loss" cards, and phone messages, and sympathy meals and I knew that Grief was real.

Next, I decided that if Grief was here to stay, I would interrogate him with a million questions.  I would pester him day and night until he gave me the answers.  I'd pull out his toenails one by one, and pluck his nose hairs with tweezers ,and use Chinese torture if I had to.  But Grief is a master of silence.  He is really tight lipped! He wasn't about to give me any answers, so I gave up trying.

Sometimes, I get in a big  fat fight with Grief, and I deny him, ignore him, suppress him, shove him in the closet, question him, and come to accept him...all in a span of 10 minutes.  That, my friend, is an exhausting battle.  And one that Grief always wins.

The funny thing about Grief, is that he's stuck to me like glue.  Wherever I go, he divides the room.  Those who have yet to be intimately acquainted with him tend to be shy, and awkward and leery of him.  They are at a loss for words, and feel uncomfortable being around me because of him.  But what surprises me even more, are the other half that know Grief well.  They recognize him the moment we walk in the room, and they sympathize with me for having to drag him around.  Because they know Grief, and understand his nature, they are not afraid to comfort me, and tell me all about my new house guest.  They are the most helpful.  They write me letters of encouragement about what to expect, and they aren't afraid to call me while Grief is in town.  They hug me and love on me, and tell me old stories about when Grief came to visit them, and then they reassure me that he will get less overwhelming, in time.  They gladly let me cry on their shoulder, and give me Kleenex, and tell me it's going to be alright.  I'm so thankful for the ones who already know Grief.

Currently, I'm coming to terms with Grief's presence.  I understand that the more deeply you loved someone, the longer Grief stays with you, and the more "in your face" he gets.  I'm blessed to have loved, and been loved by my mother an enormous amount, so I figure that I've got to get used to the fact that Grief is going to be around a long time with his suitcase full of tears and memories. We have a little understanding now.  He lets me go about with my day, and only interrupts me occasionally.  We have our good days and bad days, and I still occasionally have the sudden urge to stuff him in the closet and shove a sock in his mouth!  But I know that the longer I suppress him, the more it hurts, and the longer he stays.  So for today, I'm learning to live with the guy.  Today we're at peace.

I have no idea what tomorrow will be like, though.  Grief is just so darn moody and unpredictable! He's a lot like a woman!

Taken hostage by Grief,

1 comment:

  1. You're on my mind and in my prayers! XO XO XO