My grief today
On April 11, 2016, I wrote the following:
I haven't written in a while. In many ways that's a good thing. Sometimes I feel so desperate to write and organize my thoughts and feelings. It's nice that things have slowed down and that I have had some time to just enjoy my life and my family rather than process all the grief and change. Obviously, that doesn't stop but it doesn't feel as urgent or pressing. I was able to go visit my sister and her family and my mom and step-dad also came. Vacations are different after Isaac's death. Before he died, vacations were exciting because we would have so much time together as a couple and family in addition to getting a break from work and everyday life. Now, I still get the break from work and everyday life, but that break also opens up space to feel Isaac's absence and think about how much I miss him. On this particular vacation, I noticed that although there were nights that I still cried myself to sleep, I didn't feel like I was drowning in my grief. A lot of times previously, the more intense the pain, the more I lost hope that I would ever feel better. It feels good to be able to feel the loss in this way. It feels more like love than pain. It makes me more willing to feel it. Even though I wasn't trying to numb myself or distract myself, I realize now that to some degree I needed to avoid some of the pain. At that point, I couldn't go to dark places and come back easily. Now, I find myself crying more often, and it is strange that this feels like progress. I think it feels better because even though I cry more, it feels like I'm present and tending to the feelings as they come rather than letting them build up in me until they take over.
I didn't finish the post because I was tired and didn't feel like it was finished.
It was not finished.
Little did I know that over the next week I would feel this storm settle in. I've felt the desperation and the pain before, but now it feels like depression is trying to beat down my door. I found myself angry at why this happened to me. Why me? I was lonely long enough before I met Isaac. I was grateful to be with Isaac. I didn't need a life lesson to value what I had. There was nothing I did to bring this on. There is no way I could have prevented it. These are questions I had thought that I had settled in my mind but the unfairness of it all started to disturb the peace I had previously thought I enjoyed. As I went about my life this week, I would feel jealous of other couples. Ugh, I hate feeling jealous. It makes me feel petty and immature. I hate feeling like a victim. I hate feeling all this negativity in my head and failing to convince myself that I can feel happy about any of this. I hate feeling like I don't want to do life. I hate feeling selfish and disinterested when other people talk. I hate feeling like I'm always checking Facebook looking for something to fill the space where there used to be conversation and laughter. I hate that things that I used to enjoy now feel like something to distract myself from the pain rather than hobbies that add to my happiness. Ugh, it's awful. It just doesn't feel like living.
It sucks. And as hard as I try to convince myself that I should be grateful and that my life isn't as hard as others', I'm so horribly unfulfilled. As much as I want my job, my children, and my friends and family to be enough, they aren't. Everything reminds me of how alone I am. I wonder how I seemed to do so much better when I was single before I found Isaac. I mean, I know it was different, but the disconnection? I can't stand it.
It's hard to want to talk about how awful I feel. It's hard because honestly, most people don't want to hear it. Most of us want to be happy and laughing. We love when our loved ones are doing great. When our loved ones are distressed, we feel distressed. One thing that is difficult about grieving is that often you hear that the answer is God. While I do believe that God is definitely a part of healing, there is nothing worse than hearing that on top of your suffering that you would feel better if you were better with God. I just don't think it works like that. Grief can't be changed. No amount of faith nullifies the pain of disconnection. I think faith gives you hope that the pain will lessen and change overtime, but it doesn't stop you from feeling.
It's been a little over 7 months since Isaac died. Wyatt asks about Isaac daily. I've always told him that Isaac is up in heaven with Jesus. So one day when we were leaving church Wyatt asked to go to the top of the temple because he thought the gold angel Moroni on the top of the temple was Jesus. He thought Isaac was at the top of the temple. He really thought we could go see Isaac there. I felt so bad because I didn't mean to confuse him. I hate that Wyatt can't understand that I'm not keeping him from Isaac the same way I say no to other things. It's torture to see your little boy put his hands together and plead to go see Jesus so he can see his daddy. And then, when it makes me cry, Wyatt always looks at me with this concerned but smiling face telling me, "No sad. Be happy!" He seems so scared when I cry. I don't want to scare him but I also want him to know that I get it. I'm sad too. I miss Isaac.
It's difficult to always have the support I need. First, because I never know when stuff is gonna hit me. I had felt so good two weeks ago and then, BAM! This week. And because I've never done this before, I don't always know exactly what I need. Second, because people move on with their lives. I remember when my friend's sister was murdered, I told myself, "Don't forget. Everyone will forget. Don't you forget." But I think that I did forget! I may have followed up a couple of times, but not like I should have. And third, because I seem to project that I'm doing great. I'm not being false, but I have a hard time showing who I am as a whole. When I'm with my friends or family or even at work, I want to enjoy that moment with the people that I'm with. And, I am enjoying it. I am genuinely drinking in that moment because I need that connection, especially now that I don't get it at home. I don't want the grief to rob me of that moment. However, after 8pm when the kids are down, I know the grief will come sweeping in the way it does each night reminding me that I lost the very best friend I ever had.
It's hard for me to share this part of my experience because I don't want to look as pitiful as I am sometimes. However, if I'm going to share my experience then I need to be authentic. This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. It's scary, it's lonely. It's draining. It takes everything that I have and everything that I don't.