Sunday, August 13, 2017

Still Here, Still Hard

I haven't been writing much, because, well, how many times can I write about grief. No, I'm not "over it", but coping is beginning to happen more often. There are too many memories here, at this apartment complex. Have no idea when we will be able to move. I'm trying to keep busy. It doesn't always work.

The sun is noticeably changing position in the sky. August...mid summer, soon to be late summer, then fall. I love the change of seasons, yet the changes make me emotional, and vulnerable. With my daughter gone and my hubby working 12 hour shifts, that leaves me a lot of alone time to sulk, eat and otherwise sabotage my health. I spend a lot of time online, talking to people, friends, relatives, the succulent group, but then I'm just sitting. I don't like to walk alone. It would be nice to have a dog to walk. Nothing really good is happening here at this apartment complex. Too many memories.

My husband helps all he can. He takes me places, we talk, he tries to keep me positive. He hugs me when I cry and acknowledges how hard it is. It's not easy consoling a mother who has lost a child. It is a non-fixable, painful, sometimes debilitating situation. I am happy to report that when hubby and I are together, I am for the most part cheerful, and for that we are very grateful. I could never ask for a more loving and understanding man.

Each time we visited my daughter's grave I found it incredulous that I was standing there talking to the ground. "Why am I talking to the dirt? My daughter should be standing her talking to us!" I cried. Hubby said, "I know, I know, it's not right." We set flowers in metal holders and added bottled water. Hubby weeded the bare earth (do they even put down grass seed? I paid for perpetual care). I looked around the cemetery, knowing full well it was impossible, but hoping to see my daughter walking somewhere.

Sometimes when things become bad I write in the online grief support group I joined. I always receive support, answers, and suggestions to cope. One of the questions in the support group was, "Do you have a grief counselor?" The answers were surprising. Quite a few said yes. Some said they had been getting counseling and medication for years. Others said they tried but couldn't find a counselor who understood them. "Only someone who has lost a child can understand the scope of grief of someone who has lost a child." Others said they tried medication and had bad side effects, so they stopped taking it. Others said no counseling and no medication.

One day I started playing a mind game with myself. I decided to pretend that my daughter is still alive and just away, and that's why I haven't heard from her. I started to feel better, but then I began to worry about my state of mind. So I posted on the group:

"Does anyone go into denial, I mean, on purpose, just to be able to get through the day without feeling so horribly sad, crushed, soul shattered? Sometimes I pretend my daughter is just far away, back in Australia or something and that's why I don't hear from her. I know it's not true."

I've gotten 50 answers, 95% saying, yes, as a coping method, denial gives them a break from the pain, and in fact, going in an out of denial was mentioned by several as an approved way to cope from their experiences in support groups.

So, denial it is. On a boat on denial, it's more than a river in Africa.

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