Saturday, 31 August 2013

Grief, you shall not pass.... well okay so, just for today...

It's a slow and tiring day and another one that has caught me by surprise. I regularly decide to knock grief on the head - it's been 19 months after all. Yeah, I know grief has no timeline, it's different for everyone, it can't be rushed yada yada yada......

But on a regular basis I say "I'm done. Grief, listen up, you do *not* define me, you will *not* hold me back, I am better now, I am healed, I will *not* be a martyr to you." I mean it when I say it. Who wants to be in a permanent state of sadness and bewilderment? There has to be some light after 19 months. So I shake myself and say "to hell with it". What if I just accept that I am single and this is my life? Yes it's sad that he's gone and I'll never forget him. But what if I start here? Right now. Start fresh.

So I try. I briefly get excited by the notion that I can fix my financial problems by starting my own business again, working my ass off, taking the kids on holiday. The excitement lasts a while, I feel good, I feel Diarmuid would smile his approval. And then BANG. Out of the blue, no warning, no build up, grief comes back uninvited and throws me back down again, spinning me around violently not too unlike Gandalf doing 360s in Saruman's gaff. Grief is a sneaky bastard.

I'm tired. Tired of being tired, tired of being knocked back down, tired of being positive and having it fail fast, tired of constantly trying to re-invent myself. Tired of wading through molasses. I'll just have a quick lie down in it.

Grief won't win. I know that. But for now I'm just a bit too tired to tackle that monster again. The score for this particular battle, here and now, today: Me 0, Grief 1. Grief won this battle but I intend to win the war.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Great Expectations...

I don't really understand the co-relation between grief and social problems, but it's there and it's bothering me. A lot. I'm going to write it out and figure it out if I can.

There are people who I've known for many years who now fill me with anxiety and dread. When they text or ring me my whole body goes rigid with stress and I get a knot in my stomach. Most days I don't even bother answering the phone. I just want them to go away. The anxiety has different levels - low level for some people and through the roof for others.

My discomfort with those friends doesn't feel logical. It's not something I consciously choose. In some instances it's because they simply weren't there for me when I needed them last year. So am I bitter? Angry? I don't know. I try not to be. Anyway, there's more to it than that and not all of them were distant last year.

I'm starting to think it all comes down to the fact that these people were part of my former life - the life where I was married and we were a 'complete' family of 2 adults and 3 children. Most of them were friends of Diarmuid's too. Is there room for them in this life? I don't think so. Not yet. It's too hard. Too painful. Does the friend they had back then still exist? My life was shattered into a million pieces. Those friends were there, on the parameter. They were affected too but to a limited degree. Their day to day lives remained the same. Can I bear talking to them in the same way, about the same things we always talked about before he died? That's part of it. When I try to slip back into those old ways it hurts because I've slipped back to the old me and then it's like a fresh bolt of pain because he's not there. Yet I cannot constantly say to them "stop, this hurts too much".

Part of it too is simply tiredness - long chats, extended phone calls, meeting up... it's all exhausting.

Mostly though, I *think* it's all about their expectations. They expect me to be the same person I was before... but I'm not. I can't be. Not their fault. Not mine either.

Funnily enough, there are others from my old life who I really do want to stay in contact with. I think it's because they have adjusted their expectations of me. They aren't surprised when I'm tired or struggling; when I'm confused or stressed. They might not have lost a loved one but they have enough empathy to imagine that it has changed me without asking "hey, what's wrong?". With the others, every time I see them we revert back to those old days, *they* revert back to the old jokes, the old anecdotes, the old habits, with no allowance made for how much I've been forced to change; no time given to my new feelings and my new status as a single parent. It stabs me in the heart. I simply don't have it in me to force myself to 'fit' that old structure any more.

Should they change their expectations? Should I tell them to do that? Or should I suck it up and just 'be' that person I used to be? I don't think that's possible actually.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Building something new...

Something just recently struck me. I've been trying to 'fix' the situation and get through this grieving so I can go back to being the person I was before I lost him - that's normal, it's human nature to try to solve it, fix it, get through it, repair it, whatever you want to call it. I'm not rushing it. I know grieving takes a long time. But, all the same, my goal has been to 'repair' the broken me. The end goal being - get 'it' back to the way it was before. But I just realised that's not going to work. Not at all. Now I see the reason why it's so damn hard to heal after this huge loss. We presume we can eventually go back to being the person we were before this life-changing devastating event. We can't. We are changed forever.

We were once single. Then we fell in love and were part of a couple with all that that entails - love, companionship, friendship, laughter, intimacy, a shared history. Does removing one half of that couple leave the surviving half single again - a whole individual, complete but single? No, definitely not.

We are now half a broken entity. But that's okay. Or, it *will* be okay. We can take the broken pieces and make something new, something just as good, if not better, than it was before. We have new raw materials to work with, some are very familiar, some individual pieces are even the same, some are brand new, some are faded a bit on the outside, vulnerable but strong, some seem broken but are actually just different.

I'm going to start working on building the new me - a person I never met before, not a single person, and not a person who's one half of a couple, just a whole new different me.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Out of Synch

The most intense loneliness is the kind that happens when you're surrounded by joy, sunshine and positivity. Dark days, pouring rain, seriously stressed neighbours/colleagues/friends sort of give us a licence to feel lonely - we feel it already but now we have a logical excuse for feeling it. The inner despair is perfectly in synch with the outer grimness.

Throughout July we had a heatwave here - so unusual for Ireland. So for about 3 to 4 weeks there was a holiday vibe - barbeques, beach trips, ice creams, daddys and daughters, daddys and sons, husbands and wives............. and I have never ever felt such black loneliness in my entire life. My Lonely Licence expired, the rules changed, I was now supposed to join in the banter about late night barbeques, last minute hotel deals, sun lotion and how we're finally getting to use it, the "it's like being abroad" comments, the hysteria, the fun.

Surely only a surly, mad, grouchy fool would feel anything but elation when the sun shines for 16 hours and the whole country grinds to a halt to enjoy the summer we waited for for years? Well I guess that's me then - a grouchy ol' biddy, 44 but old before my time, a negative moaning Minnie. Pffft. Summer Scrooge (but without the redemption).

To be fair, for the most part, I played along - 'played' being the operative word. I kept my mask on, agreed that it was great - yes the sunshine's fabulous; yep, nothing like it; enjoying it? Of course. Happy? Jeez, why wouldn't I be? I smiled, faked it. But inside I was dying. I felt completely dissociated from society. Just as our inner despair is perfectly in synch with those lonely winter rainy days, my inner turmoil could not have been more out of synch with the 'shiny happy people' all around me throughout July.

Roll on winter time - it suits me better. Bah humbug.