23 December 2013

On Grief and Grieving

I want to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to my cousin. When her mother, my dear aunt, passed away a few years ago, I was very sad. And I was (internally) snarky every time she said "it's different when it's your own mom." My aunt was like my second mom, I thought it was exactly the same. I was very wrong.

My own mother passed away this year just before Thanksgiving. She had a very unexpected heart attack that took her instantly, no one could have done anything to save her. A month later and I am still not okay. I am so very far from okay. This grief is powerful; it steals my breath and boils my blood. This is a sadness that goes deeper than I have ever felt, even over my aunt. It is more pure than the chronic depression I have battled since adolescence. This is a new beast entirely.

The first few days were just shock. Nothing felt real. I kept trying to wake up, like it was a nightmare I could shake off with a good cup of coffee. Then came the insomnia and anxiety. I was unprepared for the raw panic that hit me. It was unrelenting. I shook, I cried, I couldn't breathe. I was terrified all of the time for weeks. Some therapists actually believe that anxiety should share space with bargaining in the stages of grief, because not everyone bargains. I apparently do not bargain. Now, I am finally sleeping, and the panic has mostly subsided.

Now the anger has settled in. I am furious. I am mad at the universe for taking her away. I am mad at Mom for abandoning me. I am mad at everyone who still has a mother and doesn't appreciate her. I am mad at myself for being such an insufferable tool. I keep lashing out at people, whether or not they deserve it. I cry over nothing. I punch things. I want to scream a primal scream until my throat bleeds. I want to hide under my bed covers and escape into a book. I want to be everywhere and nowhere.

But life doesn't stop for grief, no matter how intense. The dishes need done, classes must be attended, and shopping lists accumulate. So I learned to put away my sadness, anger, and anxiety. I tuck it away, and get on with life until I can't take it any more, and it comes flying out with rage and pain, and takes out anyone near me.

So, no I'm not okay. I think I'm going to be, though, and I'm planning to see a therapist to make sure of that. I don't know if any of my rambling could be helpful to anyone else. I hope there is something in this that is of value. If you have found this because you are in pain and you are not okay either, just know that you are not alone. And I am sorry for that. I'm sorry that you are not okay, I am sorry that you are hurting. But you, like me, will get through this.

I think.


  1. I am not ok.
    And as much as I try, I am unable to cheat this grief.
    Thank you for sharing. <>

  2. Now I understand why people (my son and granddaughter to be exact) "blame" my daughter in law for losing her life. They say things like "she should have stayed home that night" I now understand they are still in the anger stage. Thank you.