Monday, January 11, 2016

Processing Grief

Like so many things in life, one cannot separate grief from the rest of life, and just "get over it."  The thought that you can or do is a very limited perspective, and it is damaging when people try to say this to someone who is in the middle of grieving.

Because I have lost 7 people relatively close to me in the past three months, grieving has been a part of my life for the last while, and will probably continue to affect me for a while to come.

Today, I spent some time with my counselor, working my way through some of the things that have become attached to my current grief.

I realized that I am not only sad about lives ended far too early...
...I am also dealing with regrets about time not spent with them...
...and anger that the Navy moved us so far away that we were unable to visit or attend memorial services...
...and frustration about income levels that prevent visits...
...and frustration about being unable to find a job...
...and feelings of my own mortality...
...and anxiety around my parents' relative health/inhealth/unhealth (making up words again!).

One of the things I have seen over the past few months is that grief is like a web.  There is a connection between the person or event I am grieving, and almost every other piece of my life.  The web connects them, and triggers emotional responses from seemingly unrelated events.

Another realization is how exhausting it is to grieve.  So many memories are retrieved, and so many responses happen, and I come out at the end of a day feeling as if I have run a marathon.

I know that grief is going to happen.
We move.
Friends move.
People we care about die.
Events happen that affect us in negative ways.
Grief happens.
I don't want to rush through this.
I also don't want to get stuck.

So, I am taking a word for myself for this year.
I am showing myself grace.
Allowing myself the time I need to heal and process and grieve.

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