"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hanging out

It’s Tuesday, which just happens to be 4 days and a wake up until Drew & I leave for Florida.  In case you are counting down with me. 

Alex and I are hanging out this morning and she has therapy at noon.  I don’t suppose I need to mention that I will be hitting the gym during that hour. 

I took Alex out for a jog yesterday.  I didn’t even ask her, I just pulled out the stroller and we went.  She did well and I got in a mile.  Since therapy wasn’t until 3:15, I put her in the truck and we went to Wal-Mart.  That’s a first… the first trip to Wal-Mart in many months.  We weren’t actually going for Wal-Mart loot, but instead we were looking for a specific nail polish and the Smart Style salon was the only place I could think to look for it in Siloam.  We hit the jackpot and I found the OPI polish I wanted.  It’s called ‘I eat Mainely Lobster”.  They have such funny names, but the colors are great.  The polishes were buy one get one 50% off, so I let Alex pick a new purple.  Score! 

Since we were already out and about, I just took Alex to the chiropractor with me.  Since I did that before she had therapy, I was able to go to the gym for half an hour while she was doing PT. 

This morning I’ve done the normal… coffee drinking and giving Alex her first feeding and medications of the day.  I’ve also stripped her wet bed, changed her wet clothes (twice) and now I’m staring at quite a pile of laundry.  Bummer. 

I’m questioning my decision to take Alex out for a jog yesterday.  There was so much pollen flying around that it almost looked like it was snowing.  Snowing allergies.  Good job, Mom.  Alex’s eyes looks fairly normal this morning, but her breathing is awfully raspy and wet.  I need to be more mindful that just because the weather is warmer and the sun is shining, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe to have Alex out.  If you get allergies then you can blow your nose, cough and spit.  Alex cannot. 

I’ve been thinking about Emma a lot over the last few days.  I’m not sure why, I just am.  Mental health professionals have 5 general stages of grief that many people experience.  Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  The funny thing about those stages is that not everyone experiences them all, not everyone experiences them in the same order and not everyone takes the same amount of time to reach acceptance. 
Wouldn’t it be easier if you could mark one off the list and be done with it?  In the last year I have experienced different phases in my own way, though I’m not sure I’ve ever been in denial.  I think that phase came three years ago when the girls were first diagnosed and I had to come to terms with what would eventually happen.  In the last year, I don’t think I ever said to myself, “This isn’t happening.”  On the contrary, I was painfully aware that it was happening. Had happened.  I don’t think I did much bargaining either.  Again, maybe when they were diagnosed, but not after Emma was gone.  What is there left to bargain when death is involved?  It can’t be reversed.  It just is. 

Anyway, the only reason I’m even talking about this is because I’ve noticed that there are many reasons to grieve.  Death is an obvious one, but it isn’t the only one.  Just in the last year, I have seen numerous friends and family grieve.  Grief, what a strange emotion.  It’s an emotion that encompasses so many, many other emotions.  We mourn the loss of what was, but we also mourn for the loss of what could have/would have been.  Not easy.  Not fun. 

For me, the most dominant phase of grief has likely been anger.  At the time I didn’t identify it as anger, though.  I would have called it the “I don’t give a crap” stage of grief. 

Yes, you read that right.  For months I found myself looking at pretty much everything and thinking, “I don’t give a crap.”  Everything from menial tasks to other people’s problems. 

“Yes, I see that the sink is overflowing with dirty dishes and that there are no clean spoons.  I don’t really give a crap.” 

“Oh, you think you have problems?  You are being ridiculous and I don’t really give a crap.” 

Sounds cruel, right?  Well, it’s the truth.  I think that when a person experiences a loss of any type, it is fairly natural to feel like everyone else has no idea.  Even more than that, it is sometimes (often) irritating when a person tries to tell you that they know how you feel.  “Oh yeah?  You know what this is like?  NO.  You do not, so quit talking.” 

Yes, I would definitely say that the “I don’t give a crap” stage of grief is/was anger.  There were times when I felt angry about being angry.  There were also times that I needed and wanted to be angry.  “This is absurd.  This is stupid.  I can’t think of anything more ridiculous than this situation and I hate it.  Hate it.”  Hate isn’t a word that I use often.  It’s a very strong word and doesn’t leave room for wiggling.  At the time, I didn’t care.  I was angry and I found a large majority of the world to be completely absurd and misdirected.  In short, I didn’t give a crap. 

Wow, that’s a lot of crap.  Literally, I must have used that word a hundred times in the post.  It’s just the most sincere and honest word I could use to describe those feelings. 

In retrospect, I would say that there were several things that helped me to move past the anger stage.  Time, prayer and patience from my loved ones helped.  I also think that exercise played (plays) a major role.  It doesn’t make anything go away, but it surely does burn some excess energy.  It even makes sense that I prefer to run on the treadmill than outside.  When I’m outside I have to be aware… aware of other runners, the trail, the weather, etc.  When I’m on the treadmill I am in my own little world.  Ear buds in and everyone else in the world disappears.  It’s just me and my mind isn’t thinking about anything.  Literally, I think about nothing.  I find is incredibly ironic that my mind is most still when my body is moving.  Hey, whatever works. 

I’m not sure where I’m going with all of this talk of grief.  Maybe I’m just reviewing it for my own benefit.  Maybe this is part of my own acceptance.  Maybe I’m just talking to hear myself talk.  Who knows?  Maybe my own messy assessment of grief can help someone else sort our or work through their own grief. 

Whatever the reasoning for all of my babble, it’s out of my system for now.  I’m not angry right now.  Maybe someday I will look back and think about how strange this entire process of grief has been.  Maybe it’s never really over.  I guess only time will tell. 

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