There’s No Escaping This Day: Four Years of Grief

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You think after so long of grieving one would become an expert but sadly it doesn’t ever work that way. There never becomes a point in the process where you say to yourself this is over, now I can move on. The shift is gradual but there’s never a defining moment, and it never goes away. Life get’s easier but you can never put yourself back together the way it was before the loved one died.

It’s been four years since my Mom died and it still feels like it just happened. Lately I’ve been catching myself wanting to call her. I have these moments of I should call Mom and tell her about this… then when it dawns on me that I can’t I get to relive the grief all over. I’m dreading the 9th, that’s the day she died. I know that day exists but my heart can suffer anymore. It about killed me.

As hard as I try there’s no way of escaping the 9th. I honestly wish I could just sleep the whole day away but that’s not reality. I’ve gotten to the stage of grief that I don’t want to be reminded of the grief. I went through a long period where that’s all I wanted to talk about but now it’s just too painful to relive it all. There was even a time where just seeing her picture caused me a great amount of pain. Thankfully that’s mostly passed.

You cope with loss the best way YOU can. There is no roadmap and everyone does it differently. There is no timetable or schedule to follow. Take as long as you need to heal. I’m at year four and it’s still really difficult for me. The first two years were the most difficult. Those were times I constantly felt like the air was escaping my world. Every day was a danger will robinson moment. I wasn’t sure I was ever going to escape it but I did and you will too.

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I sometimes get caught up in the why’s. The other night I was swimming alone and feeling so lonely. I just looked up in the clear blue sky and asked why… to both my Mom and God… No one answered back. Though if someone did I think that would really scare the living daylights out of me. The why’s are natural, they’re all part of the process. You try to bargain with the loss, you’ll even argue with it. You might even scream and yell at the person or even god. I know I’ve screamed, well not at my Mom but just in general. Though I’ve gotten angry at her. Then I realize that I’m being selfish.

If my Mom were to have survived the surgery she would have been miserable and I would never want that for her. She gave so much in her lifetime it was her time for peace. She earned it.

I still struggle with the whole process and I still don’t have a firm grasp of the afterlife. I just hope that I get to see her one day. Earlier (again while in the pool. it’s where I do all my thinking.) I had this thought that I might not ever see her again and thought to myself that would suck. A few years ago that thought would have sent me spiralling out of control. I guess I’ve come to terms with the possibility. I don’t have anything figured out with this world. I barely can control my own emotions, thoughts and behaviors let alone think about the answers to all the worldly questions. All I can do is hope. I’m not sure what that will mean, while we be friends in the next life? siblings? I don’t know… I really hope she’s my Mom again. I can’t imagine a world where she isn’t my Mom.

I look in the world and I see a lot of grieving. As you get older it unfortunately becomes part of the process. Now that Facebook has connected us all it’s much easier to find the grief. It breaks my heart, especially when I see it’s a new loss. To think that someone else is hurting just as much as I did or more, feels unbearable. I would do anything to take away their pain. Sadly loss is the type of pain that you can’t fix. It’s not a cold or a broken bone. Grief is this whole that’s been carved out of your heart and no amount of patching will cover it.

The 9th reminds me of all that. For someone with PTSD getting away from the event that caused you such pain is a very troublesome and tough task. Every door you open leads you back to that room. You constantly feel like the floor is going to collapse underneath you. You relive each moment like you’re watching a movie on the big screen. For the first year I couldn’t leave the hospital room where my Mom died. Everything reminded me of that day. Even closing my eyes didn’t give me any peace as it didn’t take me to a different place. Closing my eyes was just like opening a door back into that room.

I wish I had some great advice to give about how to overcome grief, especially PTSD but all I can do is give my perspective. Many people won’t understand you or what you’re enduring. Try not to listen to or believe them. They’re not you and they don’t live in your shoes. I’ve heard that the amount of pain/grief that you feel for the loss of a person is equal to the amount you suffer. Well I loved my Mom very deeply and I suffered more than I ever have.

I just kept opening doors. There were times I was so exhausted that I could only peek through a window. I think the key is repetition. Never give up. Go at a snail’s pace if you have to, that’s still moving forward. You know your progress, no one else does. Many times I would have to remind myself that I was no longer in that room. I had to do that the other day. It’s four years and I still am having to do that. It sucks, I won’t lie but you gotta do what you need to do to survive.

Sometimes surviving is all you can do. Surviving is much like grief. There is no roadmaps, nor are there levels of experience. It’s not like a videogame where you level up and hit your max. If only it were that easy but life isn’t. I’ve survived for the past four years. I have jumped hurdles and I’ve hide in caves. I’ve done it all. There were days so dark that I couldn’t even feel my way out of it.

I did most of the grieving all on my own. I use to think that was a negative but thankfully these days I see that as a strength. I was single (still am) and had no one to turn to. I had very few people to talk to and the ones I did weren’t able to give me what I needed. So I went inward and shut myself off to the world. I thought to myself I can never be hurt like this again so to protect myself I shut everything out and I mean everything.

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I’ve always let other people reach my heart and it’s affected me deeply. My Mom dying was the final blow. I lost the one person who loved me for who I was one and even my relationship with her was flawed at times but through it all she was always there. She was the person I turned to when I felt most lost and scared. So during the most difficult time in my life I had no one to reach out to. The calls stopped and the people offering support went on to their busy lives. I mean that’s to be expected it’s apart of life. Grief pauses your world but the rest of the world keeps turning. It’s really hard to adjust to that. You just want to scream bloody murder until someone hears you but no matter how hard you try they keep moving past you.

I have always taken things too personal and I’ve never been able to figure out why. At a very early age my feelings, want and wishes were given away not by my choosing. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to overcome this and I’m not even close to figuring it out. While I still things personal there is one thing that’s changed. I finally give a fuck enough about myself that I can say hey that’s fucked up. I’ve tolerated less for too long. Finally I’m at the point in my life where I can say that. I know I deserve better. I might feel like I’m unloveable but that doesn’t make that true.

I’m getting a little off point but what I’m trying to say don’t take it personal if the people in your life can’t give you what you need. It has nothing to do with you and all to do with where they’re at. That doesn’t make the bad always it’s just a reality of life. I learned a long time ago when I started to get help for the sexual abuse and the depression that some people can’t handle other people’s pain and suffering. When I was first hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and depression I saw good friends disappear. People get uncomfortable and don’t know what to say. So they distance themselves not even realizing it.

You might not know what to say always but sometimes just saying hey that sucks can do a world of good. Everyone knows what heartbreak is like in some way or another. It’s basically rejection. Death is the ultimate rejection. While not everyone has had their heartbroken with love, most have faced rejection in their professional life or even with friends. So you might not know what it’s like to lose a parent but that doesn’t mean you have to know the answers. No one who grieves ever expects anyone to fix the problem. No solution or math equation will fix this problem.

If someone you love and care for is in pain reach out to them. Not everyone has the strength to reach out for support. I know I didn’t. With grief it’s so easy to get caught up in the fear, especially if you’ve lived your life that way. Push through your uncomfortableness. You could make a difference in that person’s life by just saying something as simple as I’m thinking about you. Empathizing doesn’t cost anything nor does it take any effort or skill. Sadly not everyone knows they have that tool in their toolbox.

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Do whatever necessary to ask for help. If you have to scream it upon the rooftop, do it! It might scare some people but if it gets you the help you need then it did the trick. Three years ago I was there in so much pain that it became unbearable. When pain gets so unmanageable with no release in sight, you become desperate for a solution. In many cases that means suicide. I don’t think I ever wanted to die I just wanted the pain to end. I think that’s a very common and dangerous misconception about anyone who goes down that road. Often times they’re seen as weak. I know when I had my breakdown there were some who judged me, especially the fact that I went so public with my help.

In April of 2013, six months after my Mom had passed, I tried to kill myself. Thankfully during my desperation I posted a suicide note on facebook which prompted a friend I met during my Mom died to call me. My dear friend talked me off the ledge and I got the help I needed. Yes it scared a lot of people and I wished I had the strength to do things differently but in the end it kept me alive. Who would want to take that away from someone over the fear of having something be so public. It’s the keeping things hidden and a secret that does more damage than good. Society needs to talk about the difficult stuff including suicide.

My depression and PTSD spiralled out of control and I was floating into outer space. I needed something to hold onto but as hard I fought I continued to spiral further out into the black abysses. I was trying to do everything alone and I was failing miserably. Everything was upside down. Therapy and medicine has helped me turn things backside up. I’ve even ventured out of the basement into a new place. Life still isn’t easy by any means and I’m still having to overcome obstacles but I see now that I have always had this strength.

I’ve always found it funny when someone says you’re stronger than you think. I think it’s funny because for me that’s never been the question of my strength. Obviously if we weren’t strong we wouldn’t have been to endure the pain but you just get tired of jumping hurdles. Even the greatest sprinters and hurdlers get tired every once in awhile. Relief is really all that’s needed. Just keep working at it. It might not be as quick as some might would like you to move but as long as you see progress that’s all that matters.

Sometimes you just have to admit when life sucks and sometimes it really does. The key is not to get caught up in that. I have and it’s not easy to dig yourself out of that hole. After all I’ve endured I’m still here. There’s great strength in that, knowing something didn’t kill you. No matter how long you rest just get back up. That’s what matters. Keep weathering the storm. The scars don’t weigh you down they become apart of your armor. Think of it like rain gear to help you battle future storms. The change in my life has brought new hurdles for me to jump and my scars are helping me get through it. I’m determined to build a happy life for myself built on a solid foundation this time. A home that is my own and no others. A place that I can do or say whatever I want and no one can say a word to me.

Independence and stability are often times taken for granted. For someone with a mental illness they become a lifeline. I’m done with the bottom always falling out from under me. I’m tired of suffering. I’m tired of hurting. So I will keep on fighting until I get what I deserve and can live my life the way I want… and the way Mama always wanted for me.

I hope I can make her proud and honor her legacy, while creating one of my own. So if you’re dealing with grief hang in there. Sometimes you’ve just have to hold on and ride out the storm. I can do this and so can you!

I Love you Mama. Huggs

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When Somebody Loved Me

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When somebody loved me,

Everything was beautiful

Every hour we spent together lives within my heart

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And when I was sad,

She was there to dry my tears

And when I was happy,

So was she

When she loved me

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Through the summer and the fall

We had each other, that was all

Just she and I together,

Like it was meant to be

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And when I was lonely,

She was there to comfort me

And I knew that she loved me

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So the years went by

I stayed the same

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She began to drift away

I felt alone

Still I wait for the day

When she’ll say I will always love you

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Lonely and forgotten,

I’d never thought she’d go away

Wishing she would smile at me and hold me just like she used to do

Like she loved me

When she loved me

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When somebody loved me

Everything was beautiful

Every hour we spent together lives within my heart

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Upcoming 1yr Anniversary of My Mom’s Death

I just realized today that it’s been almost a year since we drove down to Nashville for my Mom’s surgery to remove her carcinoid tumor. Since my birthday (July 3rd) I have been in this depressive fog and I had no clue as to what was causing it, until today.

I didn’t realize that the one year anniversary was fast approaching. It’s really unfathomable that it’s already been a year since my Mom died??? It feels like she just died. Where has the time gone? Have I been sleeping all this time???

Your mind can trick you into believing that a person hasn’t really died. It’s easy to put things out of your mind by telling yourself it can’t be true. They are just on vacation but as time goes by it forces you to face the reality that they are dead. My birthday was a slap in my face because it forced me to come to terms with my Mom’s death. There was no way for me to come up with a reasonable explanation for my Mom not being with me on my birthday.

As more time goes by the truth sinks deeper and I realize she’s not coming back.

This year has been hell. I’m learning to cope with living in this life without my Mother. It’s the toughest lesson I will ever learn. My Mom was the closest person in my life and one of the few bright spots. She was my biggest champion and was there for me during a time when I had no one. It’s been difficult because I can’t reach out to her for comfort like before. She was my best friend, we were very much like Dorothy and Sophia from The Golden Girls. I had envisioned us growing old together like Dorothy and Sophia but that wasn’t in the cards.

I feel very alone.

My life hasn’t unfolded like I had envisioned and I am learning to adjust to it the best I can. As painful as this year has been I wouldn’t want want the alternative for my Mom to be here in pain and if she would have survived she would have been miserable. There is comfort in knowing that she is no longer in any pain and in a better place.

I always wanted the best for her and now she has it. She also wanted the best for me and I am working on building a life I deserve… it just takes time.

My Mom was the strongest person I have ever known. She had a heart of gold. Her family was very important to her. I miss her so very deeply… and I hope I get to see her again.

Love you Mama, thanks for giving me life and your love. Huggs

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Getting Back On Track

So today I came to the conclusion that I need to look at my recovery and depression as I do with my dieting journey, that a set back isn’t final… it is just a step back… or as my friend calls it doing the cha-cha. As long as I keep moving forward that is what’s important. Each step back is an opportunity for me to grow.

The last month my train got off track and now I am working on getting my cars back on that healthy recovery track. Sometimes you get stuck and you need a push to get you back to where you need to go. That is where I was, stuck majorly.

I have learned that everything is connected from my depression to my eating habits to how I socialize with others. When one of those areas starts to falter, all the others will soon follow. Looking back my diet habits were a warning sign. Taking care of myself has been a up hill battle and as I continue to hike up that mountain, I have to expect an occasional fall. The key is to get back up and continue up that mountain.

So back on track I go. I am in the process of getting back to therapy. I have an appointment with the Michigan Rehabilitation Center which will help me get back into the workforce. I even got signed up with the state insurance. I am on a new anti-depressant. I am still on my diet (I still dislike that word) and plan to work on incorporating phsyical activities again aka Just Dance!

I also hope to become more social. When Mama died, I gave up on everything including having fun. I miss having friends to hang out with. I thrive having a group of friends.

The key with me is that I haven’t been thriving. I have been a wilted flower that has been pulled up out of the earth. As frightening as it may be I need to plant my roots back into this earth, that will be the only way I can be happy. Hiding in my cave just snowballs my depression to the point where I just want to die. Mama wouldn’t want that life for me.

This is the first time being away from my family for this long. I won’t lie it has been very difficult being away from them. After Mama died, I attached myself to them and held on for dear life. So much that I wouldn’t let go. Losing them has been my biggest fear of all, especially after Mama passed away. When your Mom dies anything is possible. You go into this intense state of panic. I think in a way I believe if I stay around all the time I can prevent bad stuff from happening but I know that isn’t the case. I couldn’t stop what happened to Mama and that made me feel completely helpless. I had to stand back and watch as my beautiful Mama faded away. Watch as she was surrounded my doctors, nurses, etc. I just wanted to scream and make her better but I couldn’t. I felt so alone and scared.

I think part of what caused this week’s depression episode was my mind and body coming to terms with her death. Even saying the words die, death, etc have been hard for me to verbalize. This is the first time I have really typed out those words. To accept her death was just too painful and real… but as time goes by it has a natural way of making you accept it, regardless how hard you fight it. By not seeing or hearing from her for a period of time it has made me come to terms with it.

It is still hard for me to believe that she has died but I am working on getting my life together again, that is what Mama wants. She always wanted the best for me.

So as tough as this will be I am going to do it for her and me. I deserve it. I also must remember as tough as it will be, it won’t be any harder than the experience of Mama being in the hospital and ultimately dying from complications of her surgery.

As my beautiful four year old niece says, Mama is always in my heart… and right beside me…

My Worst Nightmare Came True!!!

So it has been a while since I have wrote in my blog. I haven’t really been in a writing mood lately. I had to force myself to write this post, as it is something I felt I needed to do. Tonight I am feeling very sad over the death of my Mom.

Deep sorrow. The kind that you can feel through out ever fiber of your being. I still find myself in shock that she really died. I still have it in my head there is a chance she will come home. I mean it has been six months and it still doesn’t seem real. It feels like she went on an extended vacation.

My nieces and nephew have been talking about her more lately. Asking questions that I struggle to answer, like why did “Bih” (that is what they called her) die? why couldn’t she get better? I mean these are all questions that I still want to know!!!

It is so very painful to hear these sweet children talk about her, as it breaks my heart to know the pain they go through… Knowing the years they missed out on this beautiful wonderful woman! That is the real tragedy.

I want her to come home. I need her but I am not going to get what I want…

I am trying to adjust to this new life without her. Trying to cope with living life with a gigantic hole in the middle of my chest hasn’t been easy. I am doing the best I can. That is all I can say.

At the moment I am feeling very angry. I even posted on Facebook that this fucking sucks… and it does!!!

I think back to the month Mama was in the hospital and I think what was all of that for? My sister and I believed all the way til the end in our Mother, even when many doubted her… including her own family. We never gave up on her…

and to have her die anyway, felt like a kick in the gut. I wanted Mama to show them all her strength and will to fight. I needed her to prove them wrong. I’ve felt all my life I have had to do that, prove people wrong and it always sucks when you can’t!!!

Someone posted the other day a picture that said something about God knowing all the wrongs and bad deeds others have done to you, and that one day he would pay you back… and I really struggled with that one… I really doubted that message…

It feels like God took away one of the few good things in my life and that doesn’t seem fair. Life was frightening with Mama in it, imagine how I feel now that she’s gone…

I can’t shake these beliefs that my suffering is a punishment from God. My brain knows that is false but my heart doubts it. These are my inner demons that I am dealing with…

I miss her so very much. I have been struggling lately because I can’t remember the sound of her voice… I so desperately need to her voice again, her laugh…

On September 9th my worst nightmare came true and it am still living in it… I so desperately want to wake up…

Deep Sorrow

So I have been working really hard with becoming more healthy not just with my food choices but in all areas of my life. As I stop turning to unhealthy methods to cope with my feelings the more the feelings hit me. I have ran and hid from my feelings most of my life. Escape was a quick and easy way to cope with pain. I first learned it when I was sexually abused at the age of ten.

I am no longer trying to soothe my pain with food, sex or anything else. I am feeling my emotions as they hit me. It isn’t easy. It is raw and painful. Trust me I want to drown out my sorrow and pain with junk food but I know that will only cause me more heartache down the road. I just can’t do it anymore.

I deserve more that that. The only way I will truly heal is if I go through the emotions, feelings and pain of it all. Covering up all the bad feelings doesn’t make them go away it only adds to your pile of turmoil and trouble, making it even more painful on you in the long run.

Tonight I’ve had to deal with the fact that my Mother died over five months ago. I have been hiding from that fact but it always catches up to me. There is a lot you can hide from, a lot that you can avoid but missing someone isn’t one of them. Time is not on your side when it comes to that.

Tonight I feel deep sorrow. The kind that makes you ache with every fiber of your being.  I have to face the fact that I will never get to see my Mom again in this lifetime. It doesn’t mean that she isn’t with me, it just means it will be different.

No amount of heart ache I have felt over the various breakups I have had in my lifetime comes even close to the amount of pain, grief and sadness I have felt (and feel) from the death of my Mama. Actually no other hurt for that matter.

I also feel anger. I am angry at God for taking her. I am angry that he didn’t heal her body! I am angry. Down right angry!!! I am angry at the hospital. I am angry at my father for treating my Mama so poorly for so many years. I want answers, that I know I will never get. I am pissed off that not everyone embraces the light and feels the need to tear others down. I want justice, that I know I will never see in my lifetime… I want people to pay for the bad deeds they do to others.

I am angry at myself for putting up with less for so many years. But those days are over! Fucking over! Life is a choice, too many people find it easier to turn their backs than to do the right thing. Well fuck that. I am going to use this to fuel my flame to make sure that justice is served, that those who are abused… belittled… put down… are able to see the light of day.

My Mama was strong. People tried to knock her down all her life and she kept on fighting. Me and my sister are just like our Mama. No matter how many times we get knocked down, we always get back up. It might not always be pretty but we do…

So I am going to battle through all these horrible gut wrenching feelings. When you are going through hell, they say to keep on going… and that is what I am going to do… But the fact of the matter I am no longer in that hell… Now it is just time for me to heal.

My strength is my shield and my love is my sword. There is not any amount of war, weapons or opponents that will defeat me for I am not alone in this fight. I have my Mama, sister and so many others on my side…

Unraveled Heart

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Unraveled Heart

by Derek Stephens

 

my heart’s come undone

unraveled pile of yarn

leaving a hole in my chest

open and exposed

raw ripping pain

there I lie unraveled I’ve become

gasping for air

choking on grief

holding on for dear life

as I dangle from the edge

hanging from a thread

with no needle in sight

my hands become weak

my body sore

no where to go but down

I give in and let go

falling I tumble

drowning in mid air

I reach out for help

but no one is there

flashes of memories

all seems like history now

free falling plummet

straight to the ground

crash burn fish out of water

tangled in my own yarn

cutting like barbed wire

strangling and piercing

covered in blood

numb with no feeling

desperate for comfort

to soothe my horror

begging to be awoken

eyes wide open

consumed with anger

questions unanswered

wondering why

if. if. if.

only

left unraveled

million puzzle pieces

miles of yarn

no needles in sight

gather I must

string back together

my big ball of yarn

the last pieces of my unraveled heart…

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