10-12-2015, Capture Your Grief - Day 12, Normalizing Grief
"Because grief is so distressing to endure, many people believe that grieving is something bad, and it's to be avoided or gotten over as quickly as possible. But it isn't a problem to be solved - it's a process that unfolds over time. As you move through your emotions, you gradually let go of what might have been and adjust to what is." - Deborah L. Davis from "Stillbirth, Yet Still Born"
I am trying to regain a sense of normal. It takes a great deal of energy to project normal when i don't feel it. I'm not good at showing emotions, some people seem to fall apart in public so gracefully, but not me. I try to keep that very real, and very scary sight just around the house, particularly under the covers when the lights are out. But the truth is that grief is normal. I mean "hello, Danielle you just lost a child here."
For me grief has primarily been manifested two ways. 1) Incredible depression and sadness. It is so hard to function when you feel this insanely heavy burden all day. It's like trying to clean the entire house in only an hour with a 50 lb weight strapped to each foot. And the mental is worse than the physical. All the time, whether it's the forefront or just the back burner, my mind is thinking of her, what is she doing right now, what would she have been like, what does she look like, what does her laugh sound like, would she have liked the song "Happy Land" as much as the other kids, why did this happen, how can I prevent this from happening again, how can I find a doctor that really cares and takes me seriously, what if this happens again, why am I having to lose baby weight all over again but get no baby. It's a constant stream of thoughts. We've always joked that Gary's brain doesn't have an on switch, but mine doesn't have an off switch. He can stop a thought process and his sleep is never disturbed. I haven't mastered that, and am often lying awake in bed for more than an hour after he begins snoring. I find that I'm mostly exhausted within a few hours of getting up, just from my mental acrobatics.
The second way that I have been affected goes hand and hand with the first, and it is dealing with anxiety. I'm trying terribly hard to not change the way I parent, to let the kids have all the freedom they are accustomed to, without me hovering, or really, with out me insisting they be in my vision at all times. The worst of it though is when Gary and/or the kids are out of the house. On afternoon he left with Ruth I think it was that day. I expected them to be back within 2 or 3 hours, about 4 hours later, I was convinced they had been in a car wreak and because he had the phone not me, no one could call to tell me they had been killed. I have designed Britt's tombstone in my mind. I'm convinced that we will go through this again, it feels so hopeless, and there is absolutely no logical feeling for this. I don't want them away from me, and I don't like not being able to be in touch with them when they are away.
I read, and re-read the grief books, to remind myself this is normal, this is a stage, this will not last, and I should remain calm and find our new normal.