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Monday, June 7, 2010

Control...the illusion?

I wanted to write a bit on a good day and today I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve been using this blog to get out whatever negative, sadness or grief/guilt I’m feeling (which was my intent) but I don’t feel that those things are all that encompass my life now.

It used to be. For months and months, grief weighed me down. My first thought (and the one I’m more apt to speak out loud) is that I have more control over my grief than I did. That’s not exactly the case, but the feeling of being in control is something that grief robs you of, so it feels right to say I have control over it now – meaning I don’t randomly break down in public or cry privately in the shower a few times a day (my family thought I’d taken a new love for cleanliness, I bet).

What’s happened is that my grief has ebbed away, not gone, but become a secondary thing to living. The “ups” and “downs” we experience slowly change to more “ups” than “downs”, so it’s easier to recognize when the “downs” are coming. I’ll wake up one morning not quite feeling like I did the day before – I just feel kind of subdued. That’s a first indication. Subdued changes to semi-lethargic, and even as I wonder where my energy might have gone, I know. A break down is coming – I feel it, but I can put it off just a little until I’m ready to deal with it.

By “ready to deal with it”, I mean I can make sure I am in the position to have the house to myself. Send my husband to work. Get my son to school, and now that it’s summer send him to a friend’s house for an afternoon. Sad music is usually in order, and yes, I have a playlist for just that on iTunes. It helps set the mood, so to speak.

I have a few grief avenues I pursue when having these days. Sometimes I catch up on loss friends blogs. Sometimes I start things off by writing in my own. Usually, though, the best thing I can do for myself is go into the nursery and shut the door. There, surrounded by things meant for my son, I can let go and be truly sad.

I usually cry for a while. That’s okay, because I allow myself that time…I give myself that time. It’s necessary. After I get it all out, I feel drained. After a few hours, I’m functioning again. After that, I’m good until the next round.

I don’t have these days every other day or, I’m happy to say, even every week. I’m not on a schedule, it happens when it happens. I don’t know if other loss moms deal with grief the same way I do, but I actually feel fortunate that I can feel these “down” days approaching and can prepare somewhat. I feel fortunate that they are getting less frequent.

I also feel fortunate to know that the lessening of grief does not mean I don’t miss and mourn my son. It doesn’t mean he didn’t happen, or that I don’t remember (how could I forget?). It hurts like hell to think that it means I’m letting go, but I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a part of it.

I’m not letting go of him…he’ll always be a part of me, and my family. He’s my little man, and always will be. What I’m letting go of is the guilt, anger and resentment attached to his death. Not all at once, and maybe not entirely. But, it’s slowly going.

And, before I leave the wrong impression about compartmentalizing my grief into those “down” days, I can still cry pretty easily if I let myself think about it. Those “down” days aren’t just brought on by a build up of grief – sometimes it’s meeting someone with a new baby, seeing a pregnant woman or – worse – seeing a baby exactly the age my son should have been. Where, months ago, I would barely make it to the car before the tears were flowing, now I think, “Oh, man. I might be taking a looooong shower when I get home.”

Maybe that’s where the control thought comes in. I have just enough of that control over grief to say, “Not here, not right now” and it listens. Not gone, just put off for enough time until I have privacy. Some don’t feel the need to hide their grief, but I don’t really feel that’s what I’m doing. For me, grief is private (LOL as I blog about it…I know).

I acknowledge that my husband doesn’t feel grief the same way I do and even when he has sad days, they are nothing compared to mine. We grieved together, but at this time and stage in the grief process, I prefer to have my break down’s alone. I don’t want to talk it out, I don’t want comfort. I just want to be sad, cry for a while and know in the back of my mind that I’m not worrying my husband. I don’t need more guilt. As painful as it can be sometimes, I feel like it’s MY time to grieve…I don’t have to share it. It’s my pain and I’m dealing with it the way I want to, the way that works best for me and no one else. It’s also a little time that I feel I get to spend with Brayden. Just the two of us, and my grief that he isn’t here. Does that make sense?


  1. If I really need a good cry too, I can't do that around anyone else either. I need to focus, think of me and my baby girl and just let it out without anyone else feeling pity for me or trying to give me hugs. I just want to be alone. Even when I am with my husband the tears don't come as freely. I used to think that I should have him around as support, but now (esp after reading your post) I realize that it is okay and I know I can't ever feel as deeply and intimately as when I am alone and focused only on Julia. Thank you! Hugs!

  2. Andrea,
    I have breached the subject of how I handle my grief with a few of my friends...the consensus was that it was unhealthy for me to cry alone and I shouldn't feel the need to hide my grief. I think only those of use who have lost can truly understand that sometimes we do need that alone time with our grief...even without our spouses. You got it exactly right - it's about focus and intimacy. Sometimes, I know what I want to say but not quite how to say it. Thanks!!

  3. I'm so, so sorry for the loss of your precious baby. Thinking of you today... Hannah Rose from roseandherlily.blogspot.com