Grief weighs on me. When I finally lie down at the end of the day, my body feels leaden as it sinks deep into my mattress.
Sometimes it feels like a battering ram to the chest. I spend entire days struggling to catch my breath, yawning, wondering if my inability to breathe is physical or psychological.
I’d like to maintain that I’ve always had a healthy emotional range, experiencing the rich ups and downs of a life fully embraced. But the intensity of my emotions lately is such that I wonder if I’ve ever felt anything before. Unfortunately, these emotions have been predominantly negative, difficult and hard — a real slog. The rage, sadness and deep hurt have been overwhelming at times. I’ve spent entire days at my desk on the verge of sobbing convulsively, only to go home, get on the lake and wonder why on earth I’d been so emotional earlier.
Meanwhile, I think I’m managing the work reasonably well, but it’s difficult to ask for recognition when your emotional bandwidth and, possibly, self awareness has been reduced to a minimum.
I recognize all of this as grief, all part of the process. And I am feeling my way, wading through it, as I know there are no other options. Do I wish it were easier, shorter, over? Hell yeah! Do I hope processing through it heals me deeply, permanently? Yes.
A good friend is full of aphorisms about grief:
Grief doesn’t give credit for time served.
There is no way around grief; only through it.
Grief is cumulative.
My ex’s death, the end of my relationship with Lee, the more recent passing of my last living grandparent, a tough school year, a doubled workload…add it up. It’s been a lot. Overwhelming, even. Somedays I wonder how it is that I’ve kept going, kept on getting out of bed, running, showering, feeding myself and my children, going to work… I won’t claim to have been doing any of it well. Every so often, I have a good, strong moment… a period during which I clear some clutter or plan ahead instead of just getting through.
I’m a throw-everything-at-it kind of person: I’m going to acupuncture, seeing my chiropractor, spending time with friends, confiding in colleagues, eating healthy, taking supplements, exercising, meditating, getting lots of rest…
It has, for the past week or so, gotten easier. My perspective is shifting. I hope that’s a lasting trend.
And, after all of this, I’m actually looking forward to the grief counseling that starts in a couple of weeks.