I have found myself over and over again contemplating grief. There isn’t even a medical condition for it. There is no physician coding, there isn’t a medication you can take to cure it or its symptoms. The most hilarious encounter I have had throughout this process was applying for intermittent leave, while I was explaining my “condition” to the family medical leave office. I needed to assess how many times a month I would have this “condition” and for how many hours in the day they wanted to know? I actually laughed at the poor women over the phone. “How many hours a month, might I be stricken with grief, over the loss of a family member, to the point I am unable to function at work you ask?” Let me just consult Jesus, and I’ll get back to you, is what I wanted to say. I mean, I am also very curious how long I’m going to feel so crappy, that I serve my children dinner out of the back of the freezer. On most days I can’t muster any more emotional energy to cook dinner. I have so many piles of laundry, I’ve renamed them new urban living. I have also secretly contemplated ordering my groceries from an online store to be delivered and hopefully put away by elves. Truthfully, I also still ignore almost every happy event posted by anyone I know on social media. So, I’ll get back to you when I figure out the answers to your questions medical leave office.
The days of feeling completely unable to move, from the shock, might be gone after the last few months, but now I am left with the reality of grief. It hits in waves of unexpected bombshells. It reminds me of the scud missile attacks during Desert Storm. You are just walking in broad daylight not thinking about anything and then see an image, or hear a song, or hear someone talk about something their family member did reminding you of your loved one, and BOOM you’re hit, you’re down, apply pressure, it’s going to sting for a while. The part I didn’t realize is that grief is emotionally AND physically exhausting. That is the reason that simple tasks seem to take everything out of you when you are in this state. It also seems to be very difficult to actively engage with people who are not aware of the grief situation or didn’t have a close connection. It means the person experiencing grief either has to act as if everything is ok, or they have to explain why they aren’t feeling like hanging out at happy hour or whatever it is. I have decided this is why other cultures, for centuries, wore black for a year. No one asked the person in black mourning clothes, “Hey Martha, what have you been up to? Did you have a nice weekend? How ya doing today?” Martha, dressed in black from head to toe, before Goth and Emo were even a thing, would then say, ” I’ve been staring at pictures, wandering around my house from room to room, I can’t remember if I shaved both my legs in the shower, and this weekend I served left over lasagna from the back of the freezer to my family hoping if I dumped a can of sauce on it they wouldn’t notice,” or something like that.
Most people mean well when they are asking, I think it’s just exhausting to lie is all I am saying and say the typical I’m good, great, fine. I had a tutor working with my daughter when she was younger. The tutor explained to me that when my daughter came home from school she was physically and emotionally exhausted from having to work so hard on focusing her attention all day, with her A.D.D., that she was on fumes when she came home. It occurred to me, that wading through the grief process, while functioning in the world moving at a faster pace, can be similar. My hope in sharing this blog and these thoughts, is to help people, on the outside of grief, understand why months or even a year later, a grief striken person might rather enjoy cat videos to social gatherings, why they might be seemly fine and then instantly become grief bombed unable to function, or why they might wander around room to room with one hairy leg, online shopping.