Friday, October 30, 2009

looking backwards in order to look forward

Grief is funny in how uncomfortable it makes people. Sometimes people think that you should move on from your grief when a certain amount of time has passed. Sometimes people think they are being helpful by urging you to move on, to stop looking back at what was, and look forward to what will be. The problem with all of that is for someone dealing with grief (especially from the loss of a child or spouse) you can't always stop looking backwards, and looking forward hurts too much.

You can't help but grieve what you don't have anymore. Everyday without Keith gets harder, not easier. Everyday is another day that I have lived without him as an active part of my life. In the last couple of weeks, I have been faced with an overwhelming amount of emotions. My counselor and doctor both agree that this emotional "cave in" is likely because I didn't have the time, energy, or strength to address all of these emotions while Keith was sick. That's 5 1/2 years of emotions! They are even going out on a limb to say that some of these emotions go all the way back to when Nick was sick as a baby. That's 14 years!

So for me, I have to look backwards in order to look forward. I have to address all of these feelings that are coming to the surface and demanding to be acknowledged. I have to look back at what happened to cause these feelings. I have to let myself feel them. I have to talk about them. I have to hurt, and that's hard for those that love and care about me.

I also have to address and accept the weight of the burdens I've carried for so many years. Many of you have known me long enough to have heard me say at least once in response to the statement, "I just don't see how you have done this." My response being,"I just do what anyone else would do and keep putting one foot in front of the other." While that response is wholly and completely true, it didn't help me to accept the credit for what I've actually done. So much has been focused on Keith and Nick, because it had to be. That isn't wrong. I don't think that I would do anything any differently. Now, in the midst of my grief, the enormity of my life as a wife and mother is demanding to be addressed.

I have to stop operating as if nothing has changed, because everything has changed. I have a lot of emotional baggage to wade through in order to heal. I have to accept that the way I've always done things isn't going to work anymore. I have to work really hard at healing this grief and everything that comes with it. I have to treat myself gently and kindly for awhile. I'm fragile and that's hard for me to accept.

I'm grieving as fast as I can. I cry a lot and at odd times. I look back, because I have to. I can't look forward yet, but I will one day. Have patience with me. I've never done this before and there is no road map.

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