Friday, October 21, 2011

medication of mourning

Photo from here...

Written 13 months after Jeff died....

When someone asks me casually, "How are you?" I often feel that I am being honest when I say "fine", "okay" or even "good". The truth is that many times, I don't give it much thought, not even out of negligence, but out of a need to cope. I am doing SO much better than I was a year ago. Somedays, I think I'm a bloody master of grief. But I am always, always too cocky for my own good.
The waves of grief and shock still smack me upside the head unexpectedly. I am always surprised when I am forced to my knees by sadness again. I am always missing him. I am always aware that he is gone. That I will never feel his love again. That I have lost him forever. It's always there in the background, running like the far-off sound of the fridge in the kitchen. But now, I am getting somewhat better at muffling it. So when that 'appliance noise' gets loud again and drowns out everything else, I've always put my ear plugs away and am left reeling with surprise when the caucophenous noise erupts within my patchwork heart.
Why am I surprised that it is hitting me again?
I have told others how I think that these waves are our way of coping with grief. We can't take it in full-force. We need small sips or the strength of it will destroy us. Like a horrible tasting medication that you loathe, it is necessary to heal. But, I always wonder if I've taken my last dose. That I am 'better'. That maybe I can be whole now. I'll have to keep reminding myself that this medication needs to be administered again and again until I no longer need it...So I must need it now. I must relish that this pain and sadness is in someway healing this broken heart. I can't turn my head away. I have to take it or I will become even more ill.
I have a sneaky suspicion that this medication is now a lifetime prescription, but at least it doesn't need to be administered as often as it was initially. Right?


  1. I thought I was crazy....having this pangs of sadness after periods of strength. Good to know I am not alone....that this is normal. I love your description of it - that the full sadness at once would kill us. I am 7 years out from my spouses passing and I still get those waves of sadness. I suspect I always will....but easier now when I think of it in the fashion you've described.

  2. That casual "how are you?" question I have learned to dread being asked. Yes, the waves of grief do subside on some days, but I, too, find myself trying to heal, only to be washed over by the sadness again and again. I am sad for what was, what should be now and what was supposed to be in the future. Guess I will be taking another dose for awhile, too.

  3. That's such a good analogy, because it's awful to take the medication. I dread it. It tastes horrible. But if I don't take it, I won't ever get better. The worst part is, it won't cure me of this. It's chronic. I'll just live with it, but will need the medication less frequently (please?!).

  4. I too get surprised at how accute the pain is after 15 months.It's hard for me to let friends/family know i'm down on one elbow...ONCE AGAIN after being O.K. it's an unwanted but needful companion at times AND it's a medication I hope they will not need for a long, long time!