Thursday, September 29, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dealing With Grief - Part 3

I look forward to the last stages because I know I will have come through my storms.  I will admit that I haven’t been going to church, not because I’m angry at God but because what church reminds me.

My relationship with God has grown as I walk through these stages.  Being able to talk with him has truly help tremendously.  He rocked me as I cried in the car or at my desk.  He listened when I asked why, Lord, why?  He let me know that I’m not alone in this craziness.

So I highly recommend a relationship with God, turn to him when you have no other way to turn.  He will pick you up and carry you along the way.  I’m so grateful for him holding me because there were many day, my legs refused to carry me.

I will tell you that there is no pain like losing a love one and there is no timeframe when you get over it.  I don’t think you ever get over it.  You just learn to live with it.  I’m on the journey of living with it. 

My mother’s mother died when she was 9.  She always wondered how she could be a good mother when she didn’t have one to learn from.  How wrong she was, I believe her mother gave her all the knowledge she needed in those nine year and the stuff she didn’t know she winged it well.

Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and I hope they were helpful for you.

I’m thankful for the relationship I had with my mother.  She was a good mother but I believe she was an excellent friend.  She taught me the meaning of a good friend and I’m grateful for having her in my life for 44 years. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dealing With Grief - Part 2

MY STAGES:

I wish I could say you go through the stages in order, but you don’t.  They hit you in different ways.

My first stage was SHOCK & DENIAL.  Yes mama was sick; no I didn’t think she would die.  We had been through this a couple of times, she goes in a coma and she comes out.  This time she wasn’t coming out and they didn’t know why.

I honestly wanted her to wake up so we could stop all this pain and tears.  My little soul couldn’t take another day at the hospital wonder what was going on with my mother.

The last time I saw her, she was being her feisty self trying to pull the mask off of her face.  I thought she’s in there fighting as usual, she’ll come out.  When my sister called to tell me she died, I already knew.  Mama spoke to me in my dreams, saying her brother would be OK. When I woke up, I thought what was that all about?  Then my daughter stepped in my room and said my sister was on the phone.  My heart dropped because I knew it was the call I’d been dreading.

I moved to the second stage PAIN & GUILT and I think I’m still in there because it still hurts to think about her or Mae.  I’ve never experienced this type of pain.  I wanted it to go away, but its still lingering in my heart.  My younger sister said it perfect, "I feel like some one punched a hole in my heart." 

I’m telling you every time I got in the car, I cried.  I couldn’t figure out why I cried in the car.  Was it because I was alone and I could cried with no one looking at me?  No it was because I usually talked to my mother during my drives home.  We’d catch up on the day and share family news.  Who would I do that with now?  My pain was hard.

I'm slolwy moving to DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS stage.  I think this will be the hardest for me, because I’ve never experienced depression and at first I didn’t know how to handle it, which is why I started googling.  I didn’t like feeling like this and wanted to know how to snap out of it.

Wrong words for someone who is grieving, they can’t snap out of it.  They have to flow through the stages at their own pace.  However they have to recognize or have a love one recognize, when they have slipped too deep and maybe need help from someone.

Know that it is OK to seek therapy because sometimes you need to let it all out.  I decided to let it all out by writing about it.  My hope is that it helps me and it helps you or someone you love who is experiencing this.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dealing With Grief

I decided to write a series on dealing with grief.  Hopefully it will help others dealing with grief or help someone understand what we’re going through.

My mother died June 16th and my life turn upside down.  Yes mother had been sick, but I honestly didn’t think she would die for a very long time.  Yes I was in denial a stage of grief I was to find out in my research.  Research you ask, why would I research grief, because when I don’t understand something or need help in something, I google it. 

WOW I was surprised by how much you can find out about grief.

My first lesson was actually something I learned many years ago, but since I hadn’t experience grief, I put it in my might need later part of my brain. I'd learned about the stages of death, which are similar to the stages of grief. It popped back up when I realized I was grieving.  No I didn’t realize I was grieving.  Nobody talks about grieving so you don’t know what to expect. 

To my surprise in my research I found I’d been grieving for the past three years.  Three years you’re wondering, didn’t you say your mother died in June?  Yes, but three years ago a dear person in my life also died, Willie Mae Johnson.  Mae as we called her died in September of 2008.  She was my mother’s best friend since they were 14, so she was my God Aunt.  I loved that lady and was devastated when she died.  I didn’t realize how devastated, until I started doing my research.

For the past three years I’ve been in a funk, just living.   I think I wrote about it here a few times.  I didn’t understand it, thought I was just tired.  NOPE, that’s grief.  I was missing Mae.  I kind of went into a LaShaunda shell; I didn’t want to go to church any more, I didn’t want to do things that reminded me of my pain. 

You see Mae sat behind me in church and I always looked back to see her every Sunday morning.  I didn’t realize this until a few weeks ago when I tried to figure out why I didn’t like going to church anymore.  My mother and I went to church together.  I picked her up from my sister's, every Sunday and we usually spent a few hours together after church.  Sunday was the day with my mother.  Now that she was gone, Sunday became my sad day.  I couldn’t face church because I knew my mother and Mae weren’t there and I didn’t want to be sad, so I just avoided it.

As I write these words I see I was going through the stages of grief, so before I move forward.  I will share with you the stages of grief, just in case you don’t know them.

7 Stages of Grief

1. SHOCK & DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

2. PAIN & GUILT-
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn't do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.

3. ANGER & BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.

You may rail against fate, questioning "Why me?" You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair ("I will never drink again if you just bring him back")

4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

5. THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your "depression" begins to lift slightly.

6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

7 stages of grief...

You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.


Reading over those words, I see I’m still going through a few of the stages.  I’m telling you this grief is something else. 

Please feel free to share your experiences with grief, sometimes just writing about it helps get the feelings out. If you’re experiencing grief right now, here’s a big hug to you.  I know it’s hard, but we will get through it.