The push and pull of grief

Which is scarier
the grieving?
Years ago, I called a friend of mine after I miscarried. One of the teachers in the center needed to talk about how she was pregnant and didn’t know what to do. I remained calm throughout the meeting but after that, I was a wreck. My friend was great. I was blubbering the whole time and she wasn’t understanding anything I was saying but in my breaks of talking she would say “Breathe, breathe breathe” and I would…because I wasn’t breathing. I couldn’t. She didn’t have any advice. During my breakdown, she just listened and was there, telling me to breathe. A few months later I called and thanked her for giving me the best advice.
Grief is with me always. It’s there when I wake up, when I am driving, when I am ordering my mocha at Starbucks. Grief is with me when I am playing with my kids, laughing, grocery shopping or having a conversation with someone. It’s with me when I am brushing my teeth, giving my girls a bath and going to bed. The other day, I was putting away the dishes and I touched my cheek. It was wet. I was crying and didn’t realize it. I guess grief can be silent and sneaky like that.
Some days, grief lays low and I am ok. Other days, it envelopes me and there is a knot in my chest that hurts. I can’t function and I cry. My cry is different and one I have never experienced before. It’s deep. I can’t breathe. I feel hollow.
Death is not new to me but grieving is. One of my friends said to me “Just remember to take care of yourself. Think about the emergency on the plane when the oxygen masks come down-they tell the mothers to put their masks on first before their children” and for some reason, it’s become my mantra for our grieving-that I can’t forget I am grieving too and I need to put myself ahead of Izzy and KitKat sometimes.
These past couple of weeks have been the hardest and this is just the beginning.
Death is final. Grief is not.
Here is my advice if I call you or I see you and I am a complete mess.
Let me cry. Don’t ask me if I am ok or if I will be ok. I am not in the moment and I can’t think, but that is ok for right now. I can only feel sorrow. I am not going to hurt you or myself. Please don’t panic. Don’t ask me what my goals are for the day or the week. Don’t tell me things will get better or I am strong or  try to change the mood by telling me a funny story. Don’t tell me it gets easier everyday. Don’t ask me if I am in therapy and how therapy would be really good for me. I know this but in my sorrow, I can’t apologize or explain why I am not in therapy just yet. I only want to cry. It will pass. Just be with me, if I need you. Most times, you don’t need to say anything. That is ok. Don’t ask me about my support system BE the support right then and there. That is going to matter. If you can’t, that is ok but go and let me grieve. I won’t be mad. I will be relieved too. I know it’s hard. I know it’s awkward. I know it’s not where you want to be and you are uncomfortable. That’s ok. Grief isolates and it’s lonely. Sometimes-most times, that is ok too.
Grief pushes and pulls. I don’t know what I want. Dinners, gift cards, come over and clean a room, take the girls for a couple of hours, yes, all of those. Sometimes I want it and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I just need an adult voice on the other end. My days are with the kids and I miss having an adult to talk to. Don’t come on too strong. I will push you away. Don’t disappear after you come on too strong, I want you back. I know you might not understand grief and that’s ok but understand the push and pull and be ok with that.
Don’t expect anything in return. A thank you or a nod is all I can give. I can’t send cards or call.  Just know that I am thankful and let that be enough.
Ring Ring…it’s your phone and it might be me…are you going to get it?

2 thoughts on “The push and pull of grief”

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