Tag Archives: grief

Introspection…The 6th Stage of Grief?

These are my grandparents. My grandfather passed in 1978 and my grandmother passed just this July.

I’m pretty sure most folks are familiar with the 5 accepted stages of grief. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and finally Acceptance.

I seem to have found a 6th one…introspection.

Actually I am not sure I’ve even gone through 5 stages. I didn’t feel denial when my grandma’s condition was deemed terminal. I accepted quite quickly that this is what she expected us to do for her. I did have some anger but it was directed at the right people. I didn’t bargain with anyone other than my grandma to please pass as peacefully as possible in between spending time reading “cook Britain”.

I’ll admit to depression…that one I’m am dealing with still but I’m winning against it more than it is winning against me. I still weep when I think of things that I know sooner rather than later will be able to make me smile. I can hear her in my head a lot though and it becomes more comforting with each passing day.

So it would seem that I should be happily at acceptance or at least most of the way there.

I’ve been stuck in a place of introspection for about a month now and what I am coming to find is that as a mother I’m pretty sure I’m not as bad as I want to think I am, that I did truly marry well to the man that doesn’t just love me but accepts me for everything I am, that I deeply value being seen as a person with integrity and honesty, I balance family and career with more finesse than I expected I could and taking stock of the people in my life.

I’m realizing that I deeply want to be happy with everything I do and that I would love to use the skills that make me feel like I am helping people and making a difference no matter how small. I’m good at small details, connecting people in ways that benefit them, tackling problems and finding solutions. In discussions with my dad I’ve come to realize I’d be one hell of a Crisis Manager esp when it comes to customer relations/care/problem resolutions.

I’ve learned I want to live in the U.K. for a time and run a pub. I’ve added this one to my dream list.

I also want to start surrounding myself with more people who say what they mean and mean what they say because I believe in doing that myself.

Now let me preface where I am about to go by saying I’m not expecting the world to stop because I’ve lost someone. It is completely unrealistic to expect everyone to dawn mourning black and stop breathing because you have pain in your heart. This isn’t about folks not putting on large displays of grief about my loss what this was is about is discovering that maybe the deadwood relationships in your life aren’t the ones you think they are.

In my opinion simple words at times of loss mean more than large opulent displays. I often think of Charlotte in Sex in the City where at the funeral of Miranda’s mother she says of the flowers “They were supposed to say, “I’m sorry for your loss,” not “You’re dead, let’s disco…”

In the weeks following my loss I’ve gotten a really great idea about who walks their talk. I think I’m more surprised by the results as I have seen compassion from people I’ve know for years but never met face to face, people I am just beginning to build friendships with, folks I only know through Twitter, and folks I’ve only really known from a political environment all take a moment to offer me their thoughts and for that I thank them.

With all the support I got though I’ve found that I have never felt more friendless in my whole life. Where were the folks that said they loved me and would be there for me always? Where were the folks that told me we were a family? Where were these people that said we were going to be tight together?

If you know please do enlighten me because I’m still trying to figure it out.

I’ve realized I’ve tired of investing in relationships, both personal and professional, where folks think that the secret of life is to say things you have absolutely no intention of following up with. It isn’t something you can’t avoid, however, it is something that you don’t have to let history repeat itself about.

Fool me once shame on you (in one case to the tune of $12,000….yup that number still makes me ill).

Fool me twice shame on me for being a spineless twit who didn’t inform you this wouldn’t happen a second time.

Finally I’ve realized that I better stop and smell the roses and stop worrying so much about things that don’t matter. Watching Nathaniel at football, getting excited about Ashleigh’s first dance recital next month, and hoping Nicholas will cross over soon to being a potty trained human are the moments life is about. It had gotten to the point where I didn’t see the moments that make a life amazing until I looked back at them and I’m tired of having to look back to see the great things that make my life great.

 

 

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Putting One Foot in Front of The Other

Pretty sure this could rate as one of the shittest weeks on the record of my life. What makes me laugh is I have made more than one in the span of my 37 years and this week probably makes top 10.

On the 21st I lost my grandma. Someone I loved very fiercely who was the centre of my developing life. I learned a lot about life, love, marriage and child raising in the confines of her Snow Lake home. I’ve taken the loss very deeply. I won’t lie as I have processed it a lot over the last two weeks but moment where I weep still come.

I remember all the really great and interesting stuff about her. I am happy she had a life she loved and I embrace those memories. Just not quite where they don’t cause me pain.

Tuesday I had to return to work. Alas mortgage, food and other payments don’t hold for our grief and my grandma was someone that would say that being busy was good for you. So back to work I went dealing with customers and projects.

Tuesday Nathaniel had his first football practice. He was so very excited to be on the field working towards learning what position he will be playing. I watched him work hard, proud that he was listening and trying hard to learn from his coached and put in a strong effort. I know part of him is in football because I, personally, love the sport and he’s trying to connect with me on that level. What he hasn’t realized that I hope he gets more out of it than my approval. Deep down Nathaniel has to learn how to function as a cog in an overall team dynamic. If he gets that from this season I’ll call it a great investment.

Thursday I stayed home from the Bombers home opener because I intended to be at Nathaniel’s practice. He asked me to be there and while I am a rabid fan of the Bombers, I know that he asked me because he needed me to be there for him. It was one of those times when being a mom mattered more than being a fan. Ashleigh went and spent the evening with her grandpa. They had an amazing time together.

More amazing than my Thursday turned out to be.

Thursday afternoon Nathaniel developed a fever. Nothing serious to start off with but as the night wore on it became more of a concern. At about 1 am we noticed he had a lump at the side of neck. In 2008 Nathaniel had this happen and when I took him to Children’s he was diagnosed with an infected lymph node. Upon discussion with Kevin I decide we’ll head to Children’s to be safe rather than wait to go to the walk in clinic first thing in the morning.

Get to Children’s, get checked, confirm that Nathaniel has an underlying virus and what the Dr is pretty sure is an infected lymph node again, get prescription and the requisite talk about what to watch for (Or as I am now dubbing it…This is When You Should Panic). Head off into the pre-dawn night and need to locate a bank machine so I can pay for parking so we can get the car out of the William Parkade and stop for small nervous breakdown.

I think the worst part of what I’m about to put here is that my pretty sick 9 year old had to deal with his mother weeping and having a small panic attack. Honestly, I’m pretty sure that is in the list of globally recognized mommy fails. I have no real defense other than extreme emotional distress.

The last place I really wanted to be was back at HSC not even a week after having lost someone I love dearly there. It’s not a reflection of the staff or the care as much as it is somewhere I lost someone I loved very much. Having to take Nathaniel there to deal with his health as emotionally raw as I am, as tired as I have been, pushed me very close the emotional edge. Having to enter the building through the same doors I entered for almost a week to keep vigil with my passing grandma, walk past the elevators that I entered more than once, knowing the space was so close, was more than I could bear. So I cried, so I tried to get my sick 9 year old to go as fast as possible to a bank machine and back out when he was tired, sore, feverish and sick. I was so distressed that he stopped me to hug me and tell he was sorry for being sick.

Shit.

Mommy fail on so many levels.

I don’t even think I could say I just have a history of having mental moments in hospitals where major life events happen. While I’ve broken down in Concordia (see post Phantoms Feb 2010) where I had my hips replaced I’ve never lost control of myself in St. Boniface, which frankly probably has more personal trauma attached to it than any other hospital in the Winnipeg City Limits, and I’ve been there often.

I’m sure someone would tell me that it was just too soon to deal with things, or that I hadn’t dealt with it enough it doesn’t make me feel better than I caused trauma to my 9 year old when he least needed it. I’m the mom I should have my shit together in these times.

Looking back at it Kevin would probably have been the better choice for this mission.

Hindsight really is a bitch.

After going to the bank machine and getting the car out of the William Street Parkade we head to the 24 hours Shoppers where I learn that while they are 24 hours Blue Cross direct bill is not. Come back in a hour and a half so home we go.

As Friday goes along we get medications going, children’s Advil keeps flowing and Nathaniel has good moments when the medication is keeping things under control.

My dad sits the kids Friday evening so Kevin and I can go out to a networking event. We go, we meet folks, we have dinner and head home. Check Nathaniel and he’s warm but good. We’ve got time to Advil so we relax and settle in for some t.v. watching. At 10 I go back to check and he’s spiked a good level fever.

Back to Children’s, back to HSC and the William Street Parkade for the second time in 24 hours we go. I was the DD for the evening so I get him in the car and we go. Much to Nathaniel’s anxiety (see mommy fail).

Turns out the virus he has likes to screw with us. As long as he responds to Advil we just ride it out.

I need to ride it out too.