Monday, March 3, 2008

An update

It's been a long time since I've added anything here, mostly because I haven't wanted to. January was a very difficult month for me. February was a little better. I have a good feeling about March.

Since my last posting I have stopped reading grief books, stopped crying on a nightly basis, and have gotten back to what others would call "life as normal". I've also started weekly grief counseling with a therapist and joined a bereavement group with my mom (Grief Share). And last (and pretty much least) I've ordered wedding invitations and hired a photographer.

I've settled much more into my grief and care much less about the wedding, so I expect the tone here will be more about grief in general. I've also really been enjoying my Grief Share workbook, so I'll also probably be sharing some of the exercises from it.

Overall, life hasn't changed much over the last six weeks so there hasn't been much to inspire me. Hopefully through my new programs I'll find more inspiration.

Living with grief

At the end of the week, my Grief Share workbook has a list of suggested topics to write about. Here's one from Week 1:

From the moment you wake up until you crawl into bed at night, what it is like to live with grief?

From the outside, it looks pretty much the same as life did before. I get up, I go to work, I come home, I watch TV, and I go to bed. Internally, though, it's all a little different. I wake up absurdly late and get ready for work in a fog. Most mornings I don't feel like showering. During the week I make a somewhat effort to look nice. On the weekends I simply don't. When I go to work (also absurdly late), I spend the day completely focused on the work around me. I love my work because it keeps me distracted all day long. I take a long lunch and don't care, because it's all about escaping. Then I leave (again absurdly late), go home and heat up whatever leftovers there are from my sister's dinner. I shower, I get in pajamas, and I spend the next several hours watching TV. There's never anything good on, but I watch it anyways, because I don't want to do anything else. Finally when I'm so exhausted that I believe I'll fall asleep as soon as I get in bed, I turn off the TV and go to bed. Then, suprise!, I'm no longer tired. Instead my heads fills with random stuff (work, dad, family, etc.) and I lie away in bed for an hour or two until I can actually sleep. If it was a hard day or if the wrong memory drifts into my mind, I cry. Sometimes I think about how much I miss Dad. Sometimes I think about how certain things wouldn't be happening or would be happening differently if only Dad was around. Sometimes I think about how I cruise through my workday and everything thinks I'm fine, but the reality is that everything is different. So basically, for me, living with grief means a day of distraction, pretending, disappointment, sadness, loneliness, and frustration.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ups and Downs

It's been a week of ups and downs for me. Some days are good. Most days are tolerable. And some days are downright bad. But hands down, this month has been tougher than last. I'm not sure why, but from people that I talk to, it seems to be getting harder instead of easier. There's been a lot of "if Dad were here..." moments, which are usually followed by "why the hell isn't Dad here?" moments. There's been a lot more stress and a lot more tears.

And somehow, in the midst of what have easily been 2 of the worst weeks of my life, I seem to have decided to start wedding planning again. Why? I have no clue. Thinking about it now, it seems just wrong. I've been a tortured soul most days, so it just doesn't seem right that I've also allowed myself to be genuinely excited about planning the happiest stupidest day of my life. I'm guessing that most people feel this type of contradictory happy/sad feeling. At least, it seems to make sense that people would feel contradictory about it. After all, weddings are supposed to be happy things. But how can it be a happy thing when there are no happy things right now? And when I'm experiencing a seemingly happy moment, isn't that wrong? No, I know it's not wrong... but it sure does feel like it ought to be.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

On hating the world...

Pearls Before Swine, Jan. 11, 2008

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Fatherless brides

Today I had the pleasure of getting encouragement from two other women who both lost their fathers shortly before their weddings also. The one I have known for a short while and we got the chance to sit and talk for a while tonight. The other is an old friend of my sister's who I haven't seen since I was just a little girl. It was funny, tonight J and I were talking about how we haven't heard of anyone else who has had this happen to them, and then when I got home I had an email from this long-lost family friend. So now I know of 3 (including myself). I'm sure there are more out there, but it's not the type of thing that comes up in general conversation. Unfortunately, it is also not the type of thing that there are many internet resources for. When I type "fatherless brides" into Google, I get a few results of etiquette. If I add the term "grief" to the search I get a bunch of useless nonsense. Hopefully this blog can help change that and make it so future grieving fatherless brides can easily find some comfort in the thoughts and ramblings of another who has gone through the same thing.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Book Review: A Grief Observed

I got C.S. Lewis's book, A Grief Observed, on CD and listened to it on Sunday. It was a quick listen and only took about an hour and a half. It's essentially his journal of the time after his wife passed away, documenting his thoughts and feelings on grief, loss, and religion. The book was a little difficult to listen to, but I'm not sure if that was because of the content or because it was my first time listening to a book on CD. Ultimately though, he hit on some great points:

  • The general sadness and anguish of losing someone
  • The desire to hold onto that person, or the idea of that person
  • Frustration with the religious community's reaction to death
  • Frustration with God. Is God really as good as we're told? If so, why would this happen?
He touched on a lot of the same things that I have been feeling and have yet been able to reconcile. For me, there were not a lot of answers in this book at this time; it was more helpful to hear the same things that I'm feeling. I expect that once I'm further along in this process though I may find some answers if I listen to the book again.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Denial & distraction

There's a lot of different guides to the phases of grief out there. One commonality between all of them is a phase of denial. This doesn't make much sense to me. Of course I know my dad is not around anymore, I don't deny that. I'm starting to realize though, that maybe my form of denial is avoiding steps that support the fact that he's gone. For instance:

  • Removing his number from my cell phone. This is even more peculiar since my sister from out of the country is still here and using his cell phone now, so every time she calls me my cell phone says "Dad calling" & I think "I ought to change that sometime soon", but then I try & I just can't yet. I mentioned this to my other sisters and they haven't changed theirs yet either - at least I'm not the only one.
  • Sending comic strips. Dad enjoyed emailing comic strips that he found funny. I would occasionally find a good one and send it to him too. In the last month I keep finding good ones. So I send them to other people. It's not the same but at least it's close enough.
  • Deciding who will walk me down the aisle at the wedding. I shouldn't have to make this decision, so therefore I'll put it off and hope it goes away. After all, picking someone for the job would make it real.
Even more than denial, I'm enjoying a good dose of distraction as well. I watch TV & read until all hours of the night. I blog. And ironically, I think about wedding details. Mostly I think about things like what the invitations should say, how to avoid the "giving me away" part, what exactly to do about photos, and which flights we should take for the honeymoon. I think about wedding details, I talk about wedding details, but I don't actually do anything about wedding details. As soon as I do something about the details they won't be a distraction anymore, and then what will I do? Most girls enjoy planning their wedding; I use it to numb my day to day.