Monday, March 16, 2015

Sometimes Grief is Never-Ending

This is an appropriate picture of our late sister Kim, because that is how I think of her - happy, bubbly, enjoying life.  I wish I could be like that.  I hope to be able to be that way someday again.  I used to be more like that, at times, before we had to deal with so much of this grieving.

It's also fitting that there is an angel in this photo (on Juli and Kevin's Christmas tree), because I think of Kim as being an angel now.  Many people who loved her thought of her as an angel even when she was here and alive.  She had so many friends and was so outgoing and fun and friendly.

I've probably said this before, but don't ever let anyone tell you that you are grieving wrong.  Everyone is different.  Some people may distract themselves or seem to move on quickly, or possibly even wish that you were doing the same.  Other people might want to think or talk about the person, or talk about feelings.  Whatever way you grieve is whatever is best for you at the time.

I worry so much about Kim's son Ethan.  Some of us adults are not coping well with this loss, more than two years after her passing, so how can a child understand and cope with it?  We talk about his mom when he wants to, and bring her up when memories occur, and we look at the beautiful book that my sister Juli made with photos and memories of Kim.  Most of the time, Ethan is trying to distract himself with video games and things, probably trying to not feel most of his pain.  I do the same things, too.

In my younger days, I experienced some losses that didn't feel very difficult, like the loss of grandparents I wasn't very close to, or other people I didn't have a strong connection to.  In recent years, though, there have been important and serious losses, like my sister very quickly passing away from cancer.  Other big losses have been my in-laws, and my husband's aunt, all of whom felt like real parents to me.  Plus, we all lived in the same house.  I feel that the grief over these recent, big losses will never really go away.  It seems to stay and stay, and continue to cause a lot of pain for my husband and for me (as Kim's loss also does for Mom and Ethan and Juli and others).

Grief isn't limited to just people, either.  My husband and I still feel grief over some of the most special cats we've had, too.  As anyone who has truly loved a pet knows, they are like little, furry people.  We love them and care for them and miss them a lot when they are gone.

I guess this is what getting older is like - dealing with loss after loss, if you are lucky enough to be someone who remains alive yourself.  It's a very hard thing.  Like I said in my previous post, I keep calling this compound grief.  It's as if each loss opens the previous wounds again, or as if the crack in your broken heart gets bigger each time.  Then you try to heal a bit, and experience another loss and it rips back open.  Each loss seems to remind us more and more of all of the others who are gone, and we aren't coping too well with it, at times.

We keep trying.  We keep setting goals, making plans, trying to live our lives, but as any grieving person knows, there are constant reminders that make you think of the people over and over.  Sometimes we have funny or happy thoughts or memories, but other times it's just painful.

It's not like I'm enjoying this continued blogging about grief, but I have these thoughts and they need to get out.  Writing these things makes me cry and it feels very hard, but maybe someone can relate to something that I say, and it might make them feel less alone, less odd.

Please be kind and gentle with yourself if you are experiencing grief.  Take care of yourself and give yourself credit for just getting through each day and doing the best you can.  It's such a difficult thing, especially for extremely sensitive and caring people.  Loving and caring about people brings us much happiness, but also pain.

I wish you peace and comfort and joy in the future.