You all haven’t heard from me for quite a while, since April 7 to be exact. I do apologize for that. I have been strangely going through something I can’t quite explain except to say that it must be a new season of grief.
For the past couple of years I have been immersed in grief, consumed by grief and living out feelings of grief every day. I had expected my Mom would pass away sooner rather than later and I was going through what is called anticipatory grief. Every day I thought it would be the last day with my Mom. I cried often, I couldn’t sleep, I was anxious, I thought of little else except of getting through the grief I felt. I read every book I could find on caregiving, grief, stress, death, loss, I had a grief counsellor, I went to a care-giving group,. As I said, I immersed myself in grief thinking any day I would experience the ultimate grief – the loss of my Mom.
It’s been a couple of years now of this intense descent into the world of grief. A person cannot keep this up indefinitely. It destroys you. And it was destroying me. I came to the point a few months ago where I couldn’t bear to think about grief issues any more. I know they are still there but I can’t deal with them anymore. So I have very nicely wrapped up all my grief in a lovely gift box and tied a ribbon tightly around it so nothing escapes. It sits on my shelf, waiting for the day when my Mom does actually pass away. Then I will get the box down, cut off the ribbon and once again start the process of grieving openly.
Mom might live for years still. She is doing not too badly in the nursing home. I still go see her almost every day. We spend our time chatting, reminiscing, laughing, crying, and of course every Saturday night watching Lawrence Welk on her TV. Must never forget that!
I couldn’t continue to live my life and grieve constantly. Grief and living don’t do well together. I could either stay stuck in a grieving stage that engulfed my whole life, or I could choose to put my grief on a back burner and try as best I can to go forward with my life. In the last couple of months I have chosen the latter.
Unfortunately, I am in the middle of writing a blog on myself as a grieving autistic adult. If I put my grief away in a box, how does that affect my blog? That is what stopped me in my tracks as to keeping up with my blog. I didn’t know what to write. My blog had come to a standstill. But I still want to write about this journey of Mom and me and about the grief. And if I can’t deal with writing about the grief then isn’t that really part of the journey, the process in grieving for someone you know is eventually going to die?? It’s all part of the big picture and I guess it needs to be written about because I know there must be others out there who start grieving the imminent loss of a loved one and then that loved one just keeps on living for who knows how long. You have to do something to preserve your sanity, to protect yourself, to inoculate yourself from burning out and turning bitter. You have to put the energy you put into grieving into something more positive, like taking care of yourself, doing daily normal tasks like grocery shopping and visiting with friends.
I have so much I want to do with my life besides grieving. I have a ton of crafts I want to do, I want to write a book, I want to exercise, I want to volunteer, I want to speak on autism to groups, I want to read and read, and read. I guess I am saying I want my life back. Grief sucked it away.
Unfortunately, I have to admit I am not there yet. Not when I am reminded every day I see Mom that a day is coming when she will be no longer with me. That tightly wrapped box of grief constantly has a leak in the box. It seeps out and hits you at unexpected moments, it seeps into your dreams, your anxiety and especially into my physical well-being.
I am so exhausted all the time. I have fibromyalgia that is in it’s worst flare up I have ever had. I forget to eat, I can’t sleep well most nights, I have no motivation to do those craft projects, no motivation to write, or exercise or read or do much of anything for that matter. So am I fooling myself with tucking away the grief? Is it a form of denial instead of a conscious, healthy decision to change? I’m not sure at this point. In fact I am very confused about all this. How does one navigate the long haul and survive intact? That’s where I will leave this blog tonight. But I will continue to write again. Perhaps more of the mundane things of being a caregiver to my elderly Mom. Perhaps exploring more of the questions a journey like this forces me to examine. And perhaps writing about how the grief never does leave you even if you attempt to banish it from your life. I think I am learning I have a constant companion despite my best efforts to shoo it away. Maybe I just need to exclaim at the top of my lungs GOOD GRIEF! and get on with my day.