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Grieving Deeper

I really needed this weekend.

Last week I was hit by one of the hardest waves of grief I've had in a while. This whole change of seasons thing and the holidays looming has really thrown me for a loop. If only there was a way to fast-forward to February...but that's not how life works.

In just a few days it will be September 28th. I hate September 28th.

September 28th is the day things began to really fall apart. I remember waking up that day to a chill in the air. It was a beautiful fall day. The kind of day I would normally love, except that every part of it was so terrible.

I can barely even let myself think about it, much less write about it. But there was an ambulance and frantic phone calls and a moment when I kissed Greg and told him I loved him and then stepped back and watched the room fill with doctors and wondered if the procedure they were about to attempt would kill him. I remember almost fainting and Greg trying to be strong for me and telling me it was going to be okay - even though he was terrified.

He survived that day and we went home to our boy who had gone through his own trauma and was not okay. We comforted him and got him to bed and woke up the next morning and just kept going. Work, homeschool... life never stops even when you're in the middle of a crisis.

I don't think Greg and I ever even discussed what happened in the hospital that day. It was too much to process. Too reminiscent of where we'd been 10 years prior.

Things just kept falling apart from there, all the way until December 19.

Grief this year feels different than last year. I was still in such survival mode last fall that these memories were locked away deep and just beginning to surface. I had just joined GriefShare and was at the very beginning of learning how to cope with and healthily process grief. Thanks to GriefShare, Crowned for Ashes, Corp, and my amazing counselor, I've spent the last year doing "grief work". It's helped me to get out of survival mode and start taking steps toward really living again. But part of grief work is learning to actually feel and remember instead of numb and suppress. Which means that this fall, the memories are coming back, strong.

Friends, I hate the memories. I can barely even let myself go there. Revisiting the pain is overwhelming and honestly, I feel tremendous pressure sometimes to just be okay, even when I'm not.

My widow group mentor recently told us that sometimes in grief it feels like we are going backward, but what's actually happening is that we are going deeper. That's exactly how this feels. I feel like I'm going backward, but it's just because I'm finally ready to process all that happened at a deeper level.

So as much as I hate the memories, I'm trying to face them head-on as much as I can. I know that I can't really heal if I don't let myself hurt.

But it just might be a rough few months.

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