Saturday, June 2, 2012

Good grief

People who know me well know that I use the expletive "good grief!" to express frustration with unwanted situations. I'm not a swearing person, so it's my way of getting it all out. "Good grief" is also the phrase I would use to describe the goal of someone dealing with a loss. Experiencing grief is absolutely normal. Ensuring proper movement "through" the process would be "good" grieving. Easier said than done, let me just tell you. These words describe exactly what's going on right now. I'm super frustrated with the situation right now. I also am trying to focus on changing my mind about the situation. Let me explain...

A few days ago I was in a very dark place. It felt like I hit the lowest point I could and I was so completely lost in despair I didn't think I would ever find a way out. The pain and sadness were so overwhelming there didn't seem to be any good in the world at all. I was consumed with rage - an all-encompassing hatred towards every person, every situation, every bit of life that I could not have - and it would not relent. It felt to me as if all the hope of the world had disappeared and all that was left was hurt and pain. I burned with rage. My focus was completely on myself and how unfair the whole situation was. I turned all my pain inward and let it fester to a very unhealthy point. After a couple of days of just marinating in so much hurt and pain, I thought I was going to explode. I had thoughts of death (it seemed to be the only way out) but also the realization that I was not a person who could actually hurt herself physically. I could never, ever do that to Bryan. That realization made me even more miserable because I do not want to think that way and because it was just another reminder that there is no way out of the pain. There was no escape.

On Thursday night, I was so agitated that I knew I had to just get out. I packed a bag, told Bryan I was leaving and got in to the car to go to my parents house. I didn't really know where to go; I just needed to get out of our house. Bryan called my parents as soon as I left and my mom called me to say "don't drive while you're so upset, we'll come get you." I turned around and waited for them. They picked me up and we went to their house. The next morning, I listed to my mom singing to herself in the kitchen as she made breakfast. Then I listened to laughing and joking as the rest of my family sat around to eat.  I felt so mad. It seemed like everyone was moving on from the sadness of Samuel's death except for me. Even Bryan seemed to be "just fine". I asked myself, "Am I the only person who still misses him?" That led to even more sadness. Later that day, I freaked out on my mom and sisters, and finally went back to bed. Since it was my sisters' birthday the whole family went out to lunch. While they were away, I got up from my restless attempt at a nap, and went to let the dog out of his kennel. For some unknown reason, when I went to bend over to open the door, I suddenly had a super sharp pain rip through my lower back. I keeled over in pain, tried to get up and hobbled over to a chair. I had thrown out my back. I sat there, in emotional and physical pain, and cried. "Really? This is all I need right now!" Good grief.

Bryan came to get me, we went home and I spent a restless night of not being able to sit, stand, lay down or anything else without lots of pain. I just sat up and cried most of the night. I couldn't believe it. What else is going to happen? (I'm sure it's no coincidence that all the stress of the past month manifested itself in a physical ailment). We looked online for a chiropractor open on Saturday, found one, and I counted down the hours until we could go. Finally, it was morning and we went. The doctor told me it appeared to be an old injury, flaring up to cause a pinched nerve and a ripped muscle. That was why it hurt so badly. Then he said "you need to come back every other day for the next 4-6 weeks and we'll get this taken care of". How incredibly defeating. I just barely got back to feeling normal (physically) after my surgery, and now here's this; a whole new amount of healing time required. We left and I cried. I can't keep doing this! is all I could think. We went home, I took some of my post-surgery pain medicine and I started to feel better.

Later in the day, I got a text from my friend Jaimi asking if she could come and see me. (Somehow she always seems to just know when I really need a friend). I agreed and a few hours later she arrived. It was so good to talk! I always feel my best when I can just talk and spend time with a person I care about. She had brought us a few meals (what a blessing) and just sat with me for a while to talk. For a few hours, I had some peace.

During the past few days, I've really learned a good lesson about grieving. I can't put all of my focus on the bad. Yes, there is a whole lot of horrific elements of everything that's happened and I do think that just about anyone would feel completely overwhelmed by all that has taken place. If I think about the past year as a whole, I think it's super justifiable to go a little nuts. We have been through more stress than we could have imagined. And, after all the stress and craziness of Samuel's pregnancy, we found ourselves in more pain than we expected with his death. We miss him so! It's been a ridiculously stressful, horrible, wonderful at times, and crazy mess this past year. Who wouldn't lose it? But the pain, despair and rage are getting me nowhere. I realized that with all my time focused on the pain, I couldn't really find the time or energy to actually focus on what matters the most: my love for Samuel. When I turn my focus back on him, his sweet face, my love for ever inch of him, and all the wonderful times I had with him, I can move forward in my grief. I can miss him dearly and just be sad that he's gone. No need for self-destruction. Just "good" grief.

So that's where I'm at right now. Making the conscious effort to focus on the good. Choosing to control my thoughts and not spiral out of control on a path of despair. Taking it moment by moment. Trying to remember the love I have and not waste my energy on pain. God needed to get be back on track and maybe He knew it would take something like back pain for me to stop and think. Maybe He can make something beautiful out of something so ugly. I'm going to try to believe that, and continue making "good grief" my goal.

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