XOXO Xoxo Xoxo xoxo xoxo xoxo xoxo xoxo xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox
This post is about the choices you make without knowing you are making them. Stop reading if you find the subject of loss and pain as a downer. It’s ok I won’t judge you. The rest of you, please continue reading ……
Minutes after the news of my daughter passing, I ripped the cross from my neck. I was angry at God. How could he not answer my prayers to keep my girls safe? How could this happen while I was on a mission doing what I thought was God’s work? As soon as I took it off my neck, my anger towards God left me, and I knew that this is an imperfect world and that the angels surely cried when she left me. I knew that even though God knew what was going to happen, it wasn’t His choice for her. There are things in this world that are working against us and I knew in my heart that I could not be angry at God and in fact, if He could just hold her until I got there I’d be mighty grateful. I would stay in, in my relationship with God. This turned out to be a good decision and the only way I stayed remotely sane over the next few months.
A month later I sat next to my husband. We had barely uttered more than a few sentences to each other in private. At some point, he leaned near me and I had to make the second decision of being in or out. I realized he needed me to be present for him. I could have gone on forever at that point alone, detached and lost in my own world. My joy for life had been sucked out of me. How was I to show love again? I made the actual choice at that moment, for the sake of him, not myself, to not check out and force myself to show affection. I would be in. I am guessing during deep loss we all have to decide where our relationships sit and sometimes physically and mentally choose to show love to the others around us, if we have the ability.
After I got home from my mission I was supposed to have a colonoscopy and endoscopy, an upper and lower scope to get a baseline for some autoimmune things. I was also supposed to have some suspicious moles looked and treated. I canceled all of these appointments. I could care less. My precious gift had been taken from me, I didn’t care if my freckles all joined together and took over my entire body. I didn’t take any of my medication, I didn’t take my vitamins. There seemed to be no point. I didn’t go to the gym and when I started eating regularly it was whatever random food I felt like eating. Who needed a diet. I was on the I don’t care what happens diet. Mine included wine, popcorn and a lot of soup. But I couldn’t sit on this fence forever, I knew I was going to have to choose was I in or out. Did I want to choose to live, (not that I would ever hurt myself,) but would I do the things I needed to do to stay in the game, to actually live a life worth living? I decided after 7 months to go back to the gym and maybe reschedule the colonoscopy. It took an active choice. I know those that have been down this road have been here, deciding if they truly cared or not about their personal health. At one point I had a nighttime bargain with God. If my daughter could be here with her sisters again, I would trade places and wake up in Heaven. In the morning, I obviously woke up here, no dice.
Then my oldest daughter brought over her boyfriend’s son for the first time. I was not sure if this little guy would someday become my grand-child, but I dis know that in the midst of my numb and emptiness he asked me if he could, “snuggle me.” He had put his PJs on when my daughter went out for frozen yogurt with her boyfriend. He curled up next to me and fell asleep. I felt my heart thaw a tiny bit. It reminded me that, though I have a piece of my heart missing, I have to be “in” enough to care about myself and this future that I didn’t see coming.
In this same time period, I kept finding myself distracted. The dangerous part is that this included while I was driving. I would just daze off. It was so bad I almost ran a red light through a busy intersection with my youngest in the car. A couple of days later I had a dream of my daughter that had passed telling me to “WAKE UP!” She said, “and you aren’t a good driver,” she added. It was so realistic that I took it to heart and I now try to force myself to at least pay very close attention when I am driving. I need to stay in not out.
My family medical leave sent me papers today asking how long my condition would go on for and how often? I don’t know how often I am going to be incapacitated from grief. I mean it seems less now that I have reached 7 months, but It’s like someone throwing bricks at me from the rooftop, I have no idea when one is going to make contact. I still have all the first holidays to navigate and the first anniversary of her passing, let alone the stress makes my autoimmune stuff flare up, (though I try not to let it affect my work,) and the additional fact that I still have two kids at home that also are dealing with complicated grief. How am I supposed to guess how often this will affect my daily life? Let’s just say forever, though I am not sure family medical leave will accept that answer.
Writing this post I wanted to share some of these personal decisions, that I have made that no one was really aware including myself at the time. Talking intimately with others walking this path only a few years earlier, I find they have had to make similar choices. Do they care about their health, can they stay in their relationships, where do they sit spiritually? Wouldn’t it be interesting if Hallmark made greeting cards that actually talked about what a grieving person was really going through? Instead of Sorry for your loss…. the card said, “I know it was hard to get out of bed this morning….” or something like that. It’s probably good I am not a greeting card writer. Brutal honesty hasn’t really become a niche yet.