Wednesday, December 19, 2012

O me O my.

Woke up this morning from a dream about Jim.
Started crying. "Come on", I say to myself, "That doesn't help".

The rest of the family arrived last night. Their plane was late so by the time they arrived I was asleep.

Today our Christmas Holiday really begins.

If Jim were here he would tell me its important for me to join in - to be part of the celebration.

We are here together - because he isn't here.

All our family is grieving too. I am the mother - but - - -
I don't know whether I can play "let's pretend" and join in. Or, be the mother.

At home, I live alone. Its a surprise to me that I have grown to like it. My grieving times are mostly very private. I get through them, pull myself together and then, face the world.

I had not thought about the fact that being in the family group in tight-knit surroundings I would feel very exposed - emotionally - often choking on my feelings.

In the books "on grief" they tell you that people say grieving makes people very selfish. People say people who are grieving think only of themselves. It must seem that way. But the truth is - at times you can't think beyond the ache in your heart . I think that's what some people don't understand.

I am sure I did not understand the aching loneliness of grief and how it colors the world before I started to feel and live with it.

A wise friend advised me to look at this situation as a "workshop". What have I come to learn from being here - in these circumstances?  Curious idea - not sure it will work for me - -

You mean this is another F-ing learning experience?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A for Effort

Let me tell you how I experience some aspects of grief. ** Yesterday I was sitting in a Starbucks on a busy street corner in Lafayette, CA. Christmas music filled the air. Despite my best efforts to hold them off tears started pouring from my eyes and rolling down my cheeks.  I could not control it. ** I am out-of-my-home-area on my sentimental journey to California. For one week I have been "strong" - holding all feelings back. Acting like a "big girl". No crying. ** Now sitting in this very nice small Starbucks where Jim and I have had coffee in past years something has knocked down my defenses and I am crying.  Just a bit at first - and I work hard to push feelings down - because if the tears start I won't be able to stop them until they have dried out. ** I feel incredibly alone - and there is nothing to do but to face it. ** I miss Jim. Its that simple. ** When the realization that he is gone forces itself to the surface - it is absolutely too much. That sounds dramatic doesn't it. Well that is how it is with grief. It is dramatic and you work really hard to hide it. If you are grieving you get "credit" for not showing it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Some Helpful Suggestions

Dealing with "FIRSTS" is hard. I expected Christmas to one of the toughest. Without too much thought I suggested that our immediate family gather at a neutral spot in California for the holiday. They agreed. At first it seemed a really good solution to a difficult problem. As my departure for my Christmas trip to California came nearer and nearer I found myself very nervous about visiting with Jim's family in his hometown. I was scared I would be overwhelmed by grief and sadness when I visited his home town which I knew well. I would also be seeing his sister and brother who had not been able to attend his funeral for the first time since Jim died. One day I decided to post a question on Facebook and ask advice on what to take with me on this "sentimental journey." People were generous with their suggestions. I am sharing them here in the hopes they will be helpful to anyone else going through a tricky or difficult situation. They have been for me.