Everyone says, grief is a process, and there are many stages of grief and you have to move through them. Unfortunately for the goal oriented person, you can’t just move through each step like, “check, got through anger. That one was a doozie” I kept thinking if I made it to a year, everything would be so much better.
If you look at our society, we are all about instant gratification. I could go on and on about how this has a small part to play in depression of our young people, but that’s a blog for another day. So it is no wonder that even my surviving girls feel like they must be better by now. There friend’s don’t understand their moments of angry outbursts, the unknown triggers that cause tears to flow, their lack of control in their world causing their need to try and control anything else they can. Friends move away from that, its too hard of a concept. They find themselves in and out of friend groups. Still trying to sort through their own feelings in an ever changing and moving world.
I don’t know what I was expecting at a year, maybe magically able to function through my day to day life without triggers? The shock as worn off. I have manages through one year of holidays and birthdays. I feel like that is a small milestone. But i still feel like I am running on reserved fuel so to speak. Daily, I have multiple times I have to duck into a restroom to dry my eyes or stop a second to keep my watering eyes from spilling over, even in the happiest of moments. I have finally learned not to apologize for it. Just carry extra tissues and invest in some waterproof make-up. I’ve yet to add a full face of make-up back into my routine.
Depression has a way of hoping onto the back of grief. I remember reading in my Psychology undergrad that when your brain has a difficult time with coping, depression can find it’s way in. Loss comes with its complications. It takes, well, as long as it takes, to wrap your mind around it. To accept it I guess. I’m guessing my brain is just not ready to accept the loss fully. I’m ok with that. So I found myself having to step up and talk about it. I told a couple of my closest friends, my counselor, and husband. I had a lot of awkward moments. I wondered about how young people would feel like, having conversations about being depressed. I realized just how difficult that conversation can feel like. Never-the-less, I am not ashamed to say I restarted an anti-depressant I had been avoiding taking anything.
To back track a bit. I went to wonderful retreat. The speaker was amazing. Uncanny was the fact he talked about his daughter, going into nursing and getting married and she was the same age and name of my daughter. the morning finished praying. In that personal moment, I prayed for the deepest concern in my heart and for a sign for the answer. I asked for a sign that my daughter was ok there in heaven. It was a working church retreat, so I set about my assigned task of painting the welcome sign.
A couple hours went by and a volunteer at the camp came by to help paint the letters. She was a retired women, who wanted to help in any way, so she braved the ladder and climbed up next to me. We chatted a bit but mostly painted quietly. There are only three songs in the world I would consider a sign, I Will Always Love You, by Whiney Houston, Blackbirds, by the Beatles, or You are my Sunshine. Out of the blue, the volunteer next to me started signing, You are my sunshine. I kind of casually say, “That was my daughter’s song.” She didn’t say much in response and almost didn’t even seem to notice she had sung the song. I had forgotten my prayer two hours earlier, as I heard the song sitting up high on that ladder, I knew I was getting what I had asked for.
When I came home from the retreat, my week became impossible. My husband, injured his knee and was unable to move or walk. At the same time, one of my daughters discovered they had lice. Anyone who has ever dealt with lice knows how it can really throw you over the edge. You have to wash everything, treat everything and then do it again multiple times until you are absolutely certain the pesky creatures have been destroyed. Forget the glitter bombs, if you have enemies try sending lice. Actually don’t, I just thought there’s a reason plaques included insects.
Trying to work and deal with it all I found myself done. I was angry at everyone and frustrated. My last straw was stepped on. A light bulb went on in my head. I needed a little more help. Depression had set in. In world that doesn’t understand it, I feel like it’s important to admit it’s something I am dealing with. I think this is how it sometimes works, we have all our balls in the air, and the world keeps throwing in new ones, until you reach a point where you just can’t juggle any longer. That feeling is a good time to seek help.
I like to add lots of projects to my plate, distraction always being one of my coping mechanisms. I decided to start an elimination diet, to help with inflammation. I had a friend at work doing it also so I decided I was going to try and give it my full girl scout try. Sitting in the kitchen, I was talking on the phone with my sister. I was telling her things I was doing to try and help with the depression and grief. At this point, she was the only person I had told about how I was truly feeling. We moved on from that part of our conversation to the elimination diet. I was reading her recipes in my book. I stumbled on one about Ratatouille. Neither of us had ever had it.
We talked about our lack of using kitchen utensils purchased from Pampered Chef. I actually heard myself laugh. We both had grown up in the midwest and struggle with making ethnic dishes, or anything besides the basics. It just doesn’t come to mind to add my own rosemary to a dish or make my own sauces. I have to write myself a menu or plan ahead for anything like that. So we discussed Ratatouille and what it was. I then got off the phone and headed to the shower. I had a head full of mayo because I have a bug phobia, nothing on my head, but I was treating it just the same.
Not five minutes into the shower I hear my phone go off sitting on the counter. I reach out and look at the text. It’s from my sister. Her 12 year old son and just come home from school. He walks in the door and says, “Hey mom, why don’t you ever make Ratatouille?” She about lost it. “what made you think of that?, she said. “I don’t know,” he said. She then asked him if he even knew what it was. “He said, “yeah it’s got squash in it.” Remind you, my sister has never mad it, or has even talked about it. I chalked it up as unusually odd and went off to a book group.
I was just getting to my book group and my sister sends me another text. She was just sitting down to snuggle with her seven year old and she turns on the t.v. scrolling through the movies on regular cable. She texts me, “I just can’t make this stuff up.
Playing on the Christian channel was, you guessed it, Ratatouille. Memories came flooding back of my daughter, then 13 years old. Rescuing her rat from becoming snake food. We had rats for a few years. My daughter being such a lover of creatures, she was even a vegan for a while. I could hear my mother-in-law calling them Ratatouille. It was a Disney movie from when my older girls were about 8 and 10 years old. I was thankful for the memory. I came home and checked my t.v. guide. Yep, there is was on our channel called “Free,” also a Christian channel here. I looked to see if it was played again later in the week and I didn’t see it.
What are the odds that I would discuss ratatouille after discussing difficulties with my sister, then on the same day her son would ask about the dish, one he has never had, and the same night have it playing on both our televisions on the Christian station? I am not a statistics wiz, but I would say incredibly low. All I know id that we are promised to be comforted and I have been in need of it. Maybe when we ask and reach out, we get the type of comfort each of us needs. Mine just happened to come in the form of soft fuzzy rats.