When you are in the depths of grief it is very hard to do much more of anything but grieve. At least that has been my personal experience. I am coming out of the cave I have been in as I've tried to deal with the loss of my home. It has not been unlike the grief I had to travel with when my husband and Mom died and then going through the divorce.
The pain and intensity sometimes doesn't hit you until well after the fact. I was so busy cleaning the house and had to concentrate on selling it over the summer. Then there was having to find an apartment, the actual sale, closing and then physical move of my possessions, which turned out to be far more difficult than I'd anticipated. Doing all of these things on my own was another challenge.
I'm not looking for a pity party here - just stating facts. The move ended up being physically and emotionally draining for me and it wasn't until the dust had settled that I could comprehend how much. No doubt, that was some of the reason the idea of having to relocate with Sam to another state just ended up not being feasible right now.
I think that there was much grieving this holiday season about the loss of the house. It was there underneath everything without really being acknowledged. I was terribly depressed. Having to move was the icing on the cake, topping so many losses before it. It was another huge goodbye made even more difficult because the previous ones had depleted and weakened my soul and spirit. It has involved another identity change - from wife to widow to wife to divorcee; from homeowner to renter.
But I have started to take stock again as we all must at some point. A new year and all that comes into play too. When we are grieving people can point their fingers all they want with advice and solutions. But until we are ready, willing and able we won't be able to climb up out of the cave. The same thing goes for our own advice. At some level we all know what we should be doing to cope and function better. But again, until we are able to act accordingly we won't be able to do so. When our grief is that intense we need to stand strong and tall and make no apologies to anyone. Our job is to tend to the grief, pure and simple.
Whether enough time has passed or not, I'm not sure. I just have reached the point for me where I need to move past such active and intense grief. I am focusing on mindfulness, attentiveness, order and reframing.
Mindfulness/Attentiveness - I just need to be more aware of my surroundings and interactions with life and others. I need to be more of an active participant and less of a passive observer.
Order - I have always found and believed that when life is most chaotic, as long as we can exert some bit of control, we will be the better for it. I think that we need to feel we have some control over our destinies, especially when our lives seem particularly out of balance.
Reframing - I need to remember that it is not always what it appears and that there are more options.
This week I made an effort to get a bit organized to start the year out on a good foot. I changed purses, cleaned out my wallet and balanced my checkbook. I felt better just knowing that my purse was tidy. After grocery shopping, I reviewed the receipts for accuracy noticing one had incorrectly run up a purchase. The next day I returned to the store and received a $3.50 refund. I went to the dollar store needing to pick up some baking pans as mine are "lost" from the recent move. I am trying to make do with some cheap replacements knowing I already own decent bake ware, pots and pans. The pans were not marked but the sign underneath said all items not tagged cost $1.00. When I was at the cashier I nicely complained when they charged me $3.00 and was given the pans for $1.00.
At the bookstore I noticed a woman my age sipping a Venti Starbuck's while reading leisurely. My immediate reaction was to feel resentful and bitter. Why does she get to loll away the morning at a bookstore? Why can't I do that? Why is my life so harder...? But then I got off my high horse to reframe. Maybe this was a busy woman just like me and she had planned for this morning and then implemented it. Who says I can't do the same thing in the future? Plan a morning off where I sit and read at Border's. And then someone gazing at me might even have the same reaction as I first did - that I am a privileged, suburban mom with excess time on my hands!
I rented the small storage locker available in our laundry room and moved out the still unpacked boxes from the apartment. Enough is enough. I'll try and get through as many as I can (and the boys can help too) as quickly as I can but in the meantime, all of us deserve to live in an uncluttered and welcoming environment. At the same time, I am going through everything and donating whatever we no longer use or have use for. Eventually I will have to face the real job of emptying out the storage sheds.
These are small attempts I know but are helping me feel as though I am back in the game of life and doing more than just letting it run past me. In addition, I am trying to observe other strategies that work for me such as reading before bed, watching a half-hour of "The Office" everyday because it makes me laugh and devoting 15 minutes to my knitting hobby. I have forced myself to get up early and not hunker back down under the covers because it is winter, cold and I am depressed.
All in all, some progress.
Today I am grateful for:
1. "The Office."
2. Grapefruit in season.
3. Having too many possessions, hence the need for storage backup in the first place.
4. The winter sun making an appearance.
5. Crock pots.