What Does Grief Look Like ~ 24 Weeks Out

I’ve had 2 therapy sessions so far for grief counseling and I’m so thankful for them. The first week I pretty much did a verbal vomit all over the room. Jumped all over subject to subject as it all came pouring out in that safe place. This week was similar in that we continued to pour out more stuff onto the floor, but it was a bit more organized. Next week we will start getting down to addressing some things.

One question really unveiled a lot to me, what were some pivotal points in my life, emotional ones? These came out:

  1. Moving just before high school – a positive one that was a fresh start, new house, neighbors and school.
  2. Getting pregnant and giving up a baby for adoption in high school. My first seriously emotional event in life.
  3. Getting divorced at 21 with a toddler and becoming a single mom. I had such wonderful dreams of being a wife and mom that shattered beyond hope at that point.
  4. My parents separating the same day I got engaged to my second husband, and the divorce that followed.
  5. My beloved grandfather passing away.
  6. Finding out mom had breast cancer, though she later beat it.
  7. Getting let go from a job I had for 26 years.
  8. Mom being diagnosed with a terminal cancer and given 3-5 years to live.
  9. My marriage of 22 years to a man I will love to my grave coming to an end, for me, out of no where. (we will get to that grief eventually in counseling)
  10. Moving out of our wonderful house, the Diva Den.
  11. Mom passing away in the new place less than 24 hours later (9 years after diagnosis of the terminal cancer), the memorial.
  12. Selling the Diva Den and dealing with all of that fiasco.

Yep I’ve been through a lot, not to mention some smaller, less impacting but painful events in between these listed. My therapist looked at me and remarked that I had really been through a lot of pain in life and yet look at me and where I am today. I never caved in mentally, worked through it all each time and stood back up and moved on.

broken heart love sad
Photo by burak kostak on Pexels.com

She then asked me what does grief look like for me right now. Hmm…I thought back to  a post I had written at 4 weeks after mom died about what my grief looked like and realized the picture looks very different now. Grief is another snap shot and has evolved. So, what does it look like now?

  • 14 pounds heavier than when mom passed. I no longer eat to feel alive, I just fell back on old habits of emotional eating, bored eating etc.
  • The mailbox is no longer an anxiety attack, just a small, pin prick of sadness that quickly becomes annoyance that there is mail for mom from companies I’ve contacted and alerted to the fact that she has passed.
  • Keeping that one video, just 15 seconds or so long, that she is talking to my daughter and grandson, and I get to hear her voice when I miss her and see her alive.
  • Adding many photos of her to my screen saver on my laptop so in between the grandkids and kids, I see her smile too.
  • Still thinking on the way home from work, “Mom will love hearing this one…” and then realizing she is gone. 😦
  • Frustrated over a situation I would have gone to her with, involving work, and not being sure what to do with it or how to address it.
  • Months now without the thoughts as I use the bathroom, only to have it creep back suddenly that she died, right there.
  • Able to comprehend again when reading, but the joy had gone out of that favorite leisure activity.
  • Same with crocheting, losing the joy in the making of things.
  • Avoiding social situations. This is tricky because I am drained in them and usually did anyway but having to figure out if it is that I want to be alone, or feel like I cannot cope if I go out. It is a fine line.
  • Watching new episodes of TV shows we watched together and thinking, “mom would have loved that” or “mom would not have liked that twist one bit”.

The good news is that the joy is coming back to reading and crocheting. And while I know she cannot hear me, as far as I know, sometimes I still talk to her anyway out loud. Mostly I talk out loud to God though. I don’t reach for a bottle of wine all that often anymore, and when I do it isn’t to cover grief but to have a glass just because I like it. Given that we have alcoholism in the family that one is important.

Waves of emotion don’t come as often, and when they do hit it isn’t quite as crippling as they were before. It hurts so much still, but that raw edge is finally healing on the wound her death tore through my heart.