Thursday, August 17, 2017

to grieve or not to grieve, that is the question

so many thoughts swirling in my head of late, especially as i listen to podcasts, which i do constantly. i don't always know if the podcasts provoke the thoughts or reflect them. a growing suspicion that i suck at grieving has been crossing my mind of late. and then a couple of podcasts i listened to on the way home today covered the topic of grief - this week's death, sex & money and malcolm gladwell's revisionist history touched upon it as well.  i don't know if they helped me work through my own struggles or not.

it comes down to that i don't think i've properly grieved for my father. i shed tears on the plane on the way there, as he lay dying in a hospital, nearly three years ago, but i don't think i've really, truly cried about his death. and i am not sure that i know how. there are times when i miss him acutely. most often when i'm in the garden, which is also where i talk to him. he's come to my sister on two occasions, reassuring her, but i've not even heard a whisper from him. i'm not envious exactly, more puzzled. is it because i lack the ability to open that portal to him? am i less open to it? or am i at another stage of my grief than she is? have i even started it properly? can i even recognize it? these are the thoughts that have me convinced that i suck at grief.

but it's also mom's decline. alzheimer's is so cruel and strange. she's still here, but it feels like we already need to grieve her. i don't even know this strange fabulist she has become...telling lies, or perhaps fractured fairy tales, to explain the world around her in a way that makes sense to her, as her brain fills with holes and erases the old ways of making sense. i worry that my good memories of her are being similarly erased, but i'm not sure that what i feel at this stage is grief. i find it hard to even summon pity, which sounds horrible, i know and then i feel guilty for that. but it remains that it's how i feel at the moment. 

and then i can't help but wonder if i ever properly grieved for sophia. when it happened, i was so sick and we had sabin to focus on, so did i properly grieve her passing and the passing of the specialness of being a mother of twins? i don't know. it seems like maybe it got pushed under somehow and never really dealt with, though i have always been able to speak of it, so it's not like that. but is glibly being able to mention it the same as dealing with it? i suspect not.

but how are you supposed to know how to grieve? i think our culture today places so much pressure on us to get back into the saddle immediately that we maybe don't give ourselves time. maybe grief takes years. maybe it doesn't look a certain way. maybe i don't wailingly grieve my father because i think he lived a long, amazing, worthy life and died the way he would have wished, so i can have nothing but respect for him and and be grateful for the time we had and how he shaped who i am. maybe i don't wail because it was his time and i feel that in my heart and while i am sad for me and for us and for mom that he's not here, i'm not sad for him per se. or maybe i just suck at grief.

with mom, it's more complicated, due to the disease and that she's still here, strangely more physically fit than ever, even as her personality changes so radically that she seems like someone i don't know. maybe grief doesn't come because the time isn't right. maybe i will learn to grieve when it's needed, or find my own way to do so. maybe our grief is singular, individual, so unique that i don't even recognize it because it's so much a part of me.

oddly, i think i've grieved harder for lost jobs than for lost loved ones. what does that say about me or about the times in which we live? what we do is so important to identity that we feel it as a loss of self when we leave a job, whether it's by choice or not. and so a period of mourning follows.

and then i wonder if grief is really about missing who we once were? do we lose that? or do we contain it within us, so there's no sense grieving it...

as you can see, i have more questions than answers. and rather a lack of grief. or at least the ability to grieve in a definable way...

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daily affirmations from lenny.
"fucking up is how you go pro." - words to live by, i tell you.

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i want to be e. jean when i grow up.

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