Perfectly Normal

Good news! According to the literature I keep receiving in the mail (exactly how did I get on all those lists?) I am just another run-of-the-mill, standard-issue, typical, textbook-case, grieving human being.  Which I suppose should be of some comfort, but mostly it makes me feel like a weak-minded, emotional, overwrought, spineless wimp. Ugh.  As a rule, I don't have much patience for those people  and suddenly I find myself one of them.  Very disconcerting.  Rest assured I'm working on trying to rise above it  it certainly seems feasible.  If Dad were here he'd know how to do it. Did I mention Dad?  Oh oh.  Here I go ...............................................

It's like the movie Somewhere in Time when Christopher Reeve reaches into his pocket in 1912, finds the penny from 1979 and is thrust, kicking and screaming, back into the reality he does not want.  I can only pretend to be unaffected for so long before the facade cracks and it's all right there again.  I'm up to about 30 straight minutes of successful faking at this point.  If I continue at this breakneck pace I'll be able to make it through a whole day in... let's see... approximately... crap, I have no idea.  I'm no accountant.  If Dad were here he'd know. Did I just mention Dad?  Oh oh.  Here I go again ............................................

  • Feel tightness in the throat or heaviness in the chest.
  • Feel unexpected emotional swings.
  • Feel restless and look for activity but find it difficult to concentrate.
  • Wander aimlessly forgetting to finish things you've started to do around the house.
  • Have difficulty sleeping.
  • Experience an intense preoccupation with the life of the deceased.
  • Need to tell and retell and remember things about the loved one and the experience of their death.
  • Feel mood changes over the slightest things.
  • Cry at unexpected times and in unexpected places. (My apologies to the staff at Walgreens and P.F. Chang's and Holiday.)
  • You are no longer the person you once were. Loss has changed you.
  • Grief is a long, time-consuming process; a roller coaster ride full of ups and downs, highs and lows. The ride tends to be rougher in the beginning; the lows deeper and longer. Gradually though, over time, the highs and lows become less intense.
  • It takes time to resolve grief. Be gentle with yourself. Do what you feel is necessary when you are comfortable doing it. What other people did, when they did it, does not mean you will operate on the same schedule or do the same things. Follow your instincts. It is critical not to increase the level of stress you are already experiencing. Avoid making significant changes such as moving or a new job for at least six months. (If past experience is any indication, that shouldn't be a  problem.)
  • The end of grief is not the end of memory, but the end of memory with pain.
  • You can find life beyond loss - a changed life, but life nevertheless. Slowly over time, you will find joy again.


Oh good.  I'm told I will find joy again.  Far be it from me to question the authorities on this sort of thing, but I wish they had specified precisely where one might expect to find the aforementioned joy.  Maybe that'll be in tomorrow's mail.


What it's Like

My whole life I knew my father loved me unconditionally. I knew I mattered to him. He made me feel worthwhile and important. It wasn't something I sat around thinking about on a daily basis, "Oh boy! I am soooo loved!" It was just this intangible thing that was part of my life - and there was no better feeling in the world than being special to my dad.  That feeling was always there; so familiar and constant it often went unnoticed - like background music.

When he died, the music stopped. Now that, I noticed.

The silence is deafening.

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