Sunday, February 24, 2013
While at Camp Widow West 2012 I bought I Wasn't Ready To Say Goodbye by Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, PHD.
I must admit, I have started and stopped reading this book multiple times.
I found that I couldn't get into the book because I can’t relate to a lot of it.
I can’t relate because I should have started reading this book immediately after my husband died instead of 30 months after the fact.
Last week I felt like I was going to to have a nervous breakdown so I started reading it, yet again.
I flipped through a few of the chapters, skipping subjects that I have already been through like wills and financial problems, until I found a subject that I felt I needed help on - understanding the emotional and physical effects of grief (chapter three).
I thought “I’m exhausted, feel like I’m going to completely lose my mind, BUT I should already understand the effects of grief”.
As I was reading I found an analogy that really hit home for me. It says “What has happened here has the same effect on you as if you had gone through major surgery. Consider yourself in intensive care and treat yourself as if you are in intensive care.” Wow!
I closed the book when I read that, snuggled up in bed and thought "I have gone through major surgery. I have gone through major surgery over and over."
I laid in bed and said it to myself for hours.
What surgery have I gone through?
Well, in theory, I have gone through open heart surgery and brain surgery.
But the doctors messed up the surgeries.
They cut my heart out, then dropped it on the floor. They fumbled around with it, dropping it multiple times, before sticking it back in my chest. They didn't even wash off the dirt and grime. When they put it back in my chest, it went back upside down and backwards. The doctors thought “Eh, good enough. She will survive.”
Instead of having another open heart surgery I accepted that my heart was never going to be the same.
Brain surgery came next.
I had a large portion of my brain removed. Not due to disease, but simply because my husband died.
The doctors took out the most important parts of my brain. The part of my brain that makes me think rationally, collectively and calm. They also removed a lot of my memories of Seth, and completely removed my memory of the first year of widowhood. They removed much of my short term and long term memory, as well as the part of my brain that gives me balance. I find I have days that I am off balance. I can’t walk straight most days. I fall down a lot. In fact, I fell twice this week for no good reason, other than part of my brain is gone, and with it, my balance. They removed my patience and understanding for people, and acceptance of people that “don’t get it.”
Once again, the doctors shrugged it off. “She will be fine.”
Yes this is all in theory, but this is what I thought about when I asked myself “what kind of surgery have I been through?”
When I started thinking about my grief this way, it all made sense.
It made me realize I need to start taking better care of my grief. I need to listen to my body and grief a lot closer.
I can’t believe I am 30 months out and am still learning to live with my grief and forever changed body.
Maybe one day I will be able to accept my forever altered heart and brain.
Until then I will continue to treat myself as if I am in intensive care.