Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Dealing with grief


What helps?

1. To recognize and express emotions
2. To acknowledge changes
3. To understand grief and know others experience similar responses

So, I'm not dealing with my grief very well.
Yes, it's been going for over a year now. Of course there has been guilt. Why didn't I visit more often? Why didn't I call more often? But not too much guilt, cos I did visit, cos I did call, cos I did email, cos I was a support in those ways closer family could not have been, except for the time when I was a mess from the multiple pregnancy losses. I forgive me that time.

So the guilt is not a huge factor. In fact, the "not visiting often enough" feels more like an "I lost out on something wonderful" rather than "I let them down". Every single time I visited, I came away with a feeling of being understood, of sharing and empathising, of being in the same place. And with invitations to come and stay longer next time. That we were almost exactly the same age and went through many of the same experiences (Uni, first child, miscarriages) at the same times probably helped build that bond. The envy I had for her was not an evil, green monster. It was more of a delight that she was living the life that she wanted to live, which was more what I wanted than what I've got. But only in aspects like living in the open country, multiple children, being strongly and confidently who she wanted to be. I didn't envy her what she had so much as admit that I had chosen other things because of love for my husband.

She enhanced our lives. She probably enhanced the lives of everyone she knew.

The first time I met her, I was definitely out to dislike her. Who did she think she was, thinking she was good enough to date MY adored cousin? I sat down next to her, at my cousin's suggestion (bit smart, he is) and it took less than ten minutes before I understood how perfect she was for him, how awesome she was and how much I could personally learn from her. Since then, I have been a fan.

I had become accustomed to being "inspired" by her after every visit. I may have teased her about her obsessive organisational tendencies, but after every visit, I would come home and sort things out according to a system she had devised and explained to me.

I was aware and am even more aware now that the two of them being happy made me feel happier. I LOVED knowing that they were happy. That they were living their ideal life. I even liked going up to their house to watch the Grand Final, which I have absolutely no interest in. I just liked being with them. Seeing how happy, right things were there.

The last time I visited, we were sitting down, her two youngest climbing all over her. She called to my cousin to take at least one of them, and he called the child over. Said child grinned at him and settled more comfortably upon her lap. He gave her that slow, lazy smile of his and let it go. She gave a mildly frustrated smile and settled herself and the pair more comfortably. Then she told me of how she was looking forward to when the children were old and she and my cousin were grey haired, sitting around their solid wood kitchen table with not just the children, but their girlfriends/boyfriends and seeing the family move into that stage. When she could converse with them as adults as well as enjoy their childish games. She wanted that large family and was thinking of the joy in their tininess as well as the hoped for joy in their future. Halfway through this, my cousin had gotten up, found some way to entice one of the twins over to him and done it all without fuss. Such a good pair.

She would have been an amazing matriarch.

And my cousin has taken on the role of Mother and Father with amazing strength and capability.

And it sucks that it happened.

And I am not dealing with it very well.

I have wonderful friends *Thank you! You know who you are! C & R* who are supportive. I have never lost anyone who wasn't over 88 and had enjoyed their life, before. Someone so close. Someone the same age as me. Someone I loved.

I wake every morning and sometimes I get a few minutes before I remember why things feel all wrong.

I hate that my cousin is now alone. I hate that their children are motherless. I hate that she is not getting to live all her wonderful dreams. I hate the injustice of a world that can take the life from someone who was good. I hate waking up and feeling listless.

So, drive carefully. DRIVE CAREFULLY. A moments inattention, or being an idiot who drives on a suspended licence and doesn't obey give way signs, can have MASSIVE consequences.

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