Monday, March 26, 2012

Grief is HEAVY

from here

I woke up yesterday with dread and sadness hovering around me like a damp, gray cloud even as a sunny blue sky emerged from the sunrise. Maybe I dreamed of something that got me going, I don't know. It was probably just the good old grief monster moving in for the morning. Every moment of every day is tinged with grief, but some days the grief takes over completely.

It feels so heavy. I actually feel a physical weight on my shoulders, pinning me to the earth. It forces me down until I feel like pasting myself to the floor to brace for the onslaught.

Once the tears started, I couldn't stop them and just writing about the way that feels makes my eyes fill up again. I cried for hours and began to mentally cancel plans. Yoga would have to wait. I was crying too hard to get dressed. And besides, I would've been too embarrassed to go in that condition. No amount of makeup could conceal the state I was in.

Suddenly, though, two women I'd forgotten I'd promised to go to yoga with simultaneously texted me and my dear widowed friend called me. As I talked to her and continued to sob, I got dressed. Once I hung up with her, the tears finally stopped. Once I was fully dressed, hair done and makeup on, I felt stronger and though the tears threatened a few times during yoga, I had a wonderful session and was left with the lovely exhaustion and peace that yoga practice brings me.

I realized that while it would have been completely understandable to stay curled in a ball on the floor of my place all day, I didn't because of those women. Three women who don't all know each other contacted me at the exact same time and without knowing it, pulled me from the sucking blackness of that morning.

I know that it is healthy to feel the grief and that numbing myself and avoiding the pain will only put it off till later, but sometimes what I need is someone else expecting me to show up. I need the pull of the outside world to counteract the pull of the sadness. I need to be outside, among others, moving, interacting, pushing, pushing, pushing myself through the fear of living.

Though I needed a nap later to counteract the crying headache I'd earned from that morning, I didn't cancel my plans for the evening, either, and thank God I didn't. I went with a dear friend to Mt. Hood and had the most fun I've had in a long while, barreling down a snowy hill on an inner tube with her.
I laughed until I peed a little.

Grief is exhausting. It's terrifying. While it has to be experienced, it takes its toll on me and I need to feel the opposing pull of life. Sometimes I still need someone to literally or figuratively pull me off the floor, wipe my tears, hug me close and push me out the door, reminding me that there's still life to be lived and people to love. All of it risks more loss, but the bigger loss would be missing out on all of it, pinned to my floor with the weight of my losses.

Writing this has started the tears again. The weight of my sadness is pressing down on me and curling up on the floor sounds good, but I'll pick myself up in a few minutes and get dressed because someone expects me to show up later this morning, and I have life to live.


  1. Thank you.

    And thanks to all who do call, who care, who remind us we are more than our loss, who do expect us to show up.

    Such persons are to be treasured.

    Your experience mirrors some I have had--times so sad and heavy that they seem impossible to bear--yet times made bearable because someone cares.

    It's not easy greeting each day alone. For those persons who care and making it each day through I am thankful.

    And also the kindness of strangers.

    Plus this place--it helps so much letting us know we are not alone.

    Hugs, and thank you!

  2. You are soooo lucky, Cassie, to have such caring friends. I would not be where I am today without my friends, they, too, get me up, prod me out the door, even tho I'd much rather stay in that ball on the floor. Over time (2+ years for me) I have learned that you do feel better when you get out there, it takes your mind off the situation you have been thrown into, even if for only a few minutes here and there, and you learn that the world still goes on, even if you are not in it actively.

    Early on in my grief, I was amazed that life went on without me in it...didn't everyone else pause, too? How could they not do so? I couldn't fathom how I could be an active part of the world again, but here I am, still going, with a little less prodding from friends. I now know who my true friends are too, and will be there in a second should they need my support. And I will have a greater empathy for others who have no idea what this other life is like until they, too, experience a loss. Keep on keeping on.

    1. I hear you, loud and clear. It's very heavy and literally brought me to my knees at times. Felt like I couldn't breathe. I'm at two and a half years, still think of him every day and every night. But the really heavy stuff gets lighter. I recall going through one very difficult period of realizing that I had to SUSTAIN this feeling...when the reality hit and he wasn't going to show up and say "hey, it was all a big joke." That was a scary place. I still have occasional times when my brain says.."did that really happen? Really? This is it for the long haul?" It is particularly hard when you are left living alone (in my case, grown kids, empty nest) and you have no distractions to stop the constant silence and thinking. That's where friends come in, it's good to hear the phone ring, and hear a human voice on the other end. I have been the opposite of you in terms of wanting to isolate, because my efforts to go out always resulted in magnifying my loss, and it made me feel worse, but having a full time career fills most of my people needs. Just not the right ones. Hang in there, it sounds trite but time truly is a healer. It gets better as time goes on, even though you can't see it at first.

    2. Thank you so much for your words of hope and reassurance.

  3. I hear you, Cassie! Ditto what the previous poster says. "Time heals all wounds and it ain't pretty," Chris Smither.

  4. Thank you! This helps so much.