As Dad and I enter into this Christmas season we are once again confronted with our ability to successfully deal with our grief over Mom’s passing last May.
We spent Thanksgiving with my sister. There is strength in numbers. We lovingly and successfully got through the experience with a great deal of joy and thankfulness.
After Thanksgiving dinner I set out to decorate the cabin. Nanny’s cabin. The family always spends Thanksgiving at the cabin. We have for many years. I was so afraid it would be too sad, but it wasn’t. I found a great deal of peace and contentment being in that place that Nanny loved.
I have planned ever since that day to spend this weekend decorating the house in town. When I went down stairs to get the decorations, I pulled the decorations out of the closet only to find myself sinking into a devistating mood of not just melancholy, but remorse.
Due to this sense of terminal loss, I feel it necessary to walk through these stages of grief. I need to make sure that I am doing this right. I need to make sure that my journey to acceptance and understanding isn’t blocked from my own doing.
denial – As the reality of loss is hard to face, one of the first reactions to follow the loss is Denial. The person is trying to shut out the reality or magnitude of his/her situation, and begins to develop a false, preferable reality.
I am all too aware of my loss. Living with Dad has helped me get through this state.
anger – Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. The person in question can be angry with himself, or with others, or at a higher power, and especially those who are close to them.
******* This is it! I am angry! I am sad! I am mad at God! My mothers grandmother lived to be 111 years old. My grandmother lived to be 99. I spent my entire life thinking that Mom would live this long too. How dare God take her away from me before at least 99. How dare him!
“I want her back!”
Of course I am an adult. I know, I am all too aware that getting her back is impossible. I guess that is where some of the anger I feel comes from.
Can I do this Christmas thing without her. I’m not naive enough to think that it will stop. I know that somehow we will muddle through. And, I believe that if there is a way. If it is at all possible, Mom will be there with us. She is with us now! She never wanted to leave. There was just nothing that anyone could do to stop it.
bargaining – The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow undo or avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle.
Well, maybe I’m here too. Can you be in a number of stages all at the same time. This, I will have to discuss with my therapist.
depression – “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon so what’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?”
Ok, well I’m moving into this one too! That’s it! I’ll just move through all three of these together. I won’t have to deal with them one at a time. I can look forward to a time when I’m ok with all this.
Mom had a life well lived! She was an exemplary roll model for a whole lot of people. Her life and mission made others lives and missions more possible.
She had this overwhelming ability to cause all that were with her to feel better. She brought hope, where there was none. She caused love and joy where it had not existed before.
And, the most important of all…. she did it very humbly. Never wanting anything for herself, only for those whose lives she touched. And, there were many that were touched.
She would not have me suffering, so I will do all in my power to work through all these steps faithfully and wholly.
You see, there was a time in my life when I suffered great devistation. I chose to deny what I had been through. I did what the definition fully implies. ” The person is trying to shut out the reality or magnitude of his/her situation, and begins to develop a false, preferable reality.” This nearly cost me my life, it did cause my loss of happiness and joy. It cost so many years of my life, that I dare not think about them all. Mom helped me through all of it and helped me to get to the other side. I will honor her life and her presence in mine by not allowing that to happen again.
This Christmas! This time of Christmas that Mom and I loved and cherished will be spent in remembrance of her love, her life and all that she did. Not just for me but for so many others.
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”