Saturday, May 29, 2010

Things I'm Learning About Grief

I've experienced grief before in my life.  In 2005 I lost three relatives in a six month period, and then two year later I lost four relatives in a two month period.  So, yeah, I know from loss.  And nothing about those experiences can even touch the depth of this grief.  So the rest of my family and I are coping with pathetically insufficient patches for a huge, gaping wound.  Here is what works and doesn't work so far.


*Eating 2 macarons and a pint of ice cream in one sitting.  It seemed like such a good and comforting idea at the time, and instead it wound up prompting some massive Tums ingestion and quality bathroom time.  I don't recommend it.  Neither do I recommend my temporary hospital diet of ice cream and coffee.  Different means, same end.

*Staying in jammies and not showering.  Again, this seemed like a healing, cocooning, comforting thing to do, but mostly it just makes me feel dirty and slovenly.  Day-long jammies marathons are for happy occasions, like Boxing Day.  Sadness requires action to battle it.


*It's counterintuitive, but obsessively looking at pictures and videos of Kylie.  I felt like an overzealous grandmother with all the pictures and video I took of that sweet little girl, and I often felt self-conscious and held back with the camera.  Now I wish I had taped every moment I spent with her.  It's like the New Pornographers sing:  "A heart should always go one step too far."  I'm so grateful now for every shot of Kylie and every second of film, and looking at them is a comfort.

*Reading books in bed with Olivia.  Radical Homemakers for me, and Harold and the Purple Crayon for her.  We snuggle up on our tummies, sides smooshed together, and flip pages together.  Sometimes I read from her book, and sometimes from mine.  We're both happy.

* and  As much as I complain about consumption and its ills, my soul cries out in grief for shopping.  It's shocking how many times during the last week I've had the following thought process:  "I need something to eat.  No, I don't.  Well then, I need to buy something," as if any snack or bauble could fill the hole.  Still, the distraction is good for a while.

*SLB.  He is a gentleman, a scholar, and the most compassionate partner I could imagine.  Also, he knows exactly the right insults to shout at Torii Hunter during the baseball game.  Amazing.

*All the support we've received from our family and friends.  Thank you, everyone, for your prayers, kind words, and offers of help.  We really appreciate it.


LuciMama said...

I'm so sorry I missed this news of yours until now (being nosy after seeing your lovely new haircut).

I don't know if you'd care to share this way here on your blog, but one of the very best ways I've always found to deal with grief (and all of its emotions) is to tell stories. Story after story after story, about all sorts of details about the one I'm missing. To me, telling these stories is one way of honoring them, of spreading a bit more of their liveliness to others who didn't know them.

I send you virtual hugs, my friend. Such a grief is deep, the unknowingness of so many future hopes and dreams.

Christina said...

my friend caroline (not one-armed pushup caroline, but social worker caroline) said that one of the big complaints of parents who've lost a child is that people stop talking about that child because it makes them feel uncomfortable. it's like the child never existed. so i'm committed to remembering kylie as much as possible, but i can't quite decide if it's maudlin or exploitative to do so on this blog. i have some video i'd like to post, but i'm conflicted about doing so. thank you for your kind comment, friend.