Grief: When You Wake Up and Just Can’t. . .

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For most days of my life, I’ve managed to wake up, get up, and do what I need to do. . . finding some forward momentum to face the day without too much trouble. I never realized what a gift that forward trajectory was, until my dad passed away and I had this tricky bedfellow called grief to contend with every day.

Even now, after dealing with grief over the past 18 months, some mornings, I wake up and feel like I just can’t:

  • Get out of bed without hitting snooze a few times, even though I know that my morning exercise brings only positive impact into my life
  • Decide on an outfit to wear, even though I am fortunate to have nice items in my closet
  • Think of a pleasant way to respond to a jerky email, even though I know I want to be positive
  • Deal with a social slight because it seriously takes me right back to middle school
  • See a Father’s Day advertisement without getting emotional, because my own father is gone
  • Pretend it’s ok that other people have forgotten about my grief
  • Write a blog post

The thing is, I’m not a CAN’T person. I don’t want to be a CAN’T person. But for now, I am admitting that sometimes, I just CAN’T, and those all-capital letters indicate how far beyond a typical lack of motivation this grief thing can go.

Have you all seen the lovely analogy Lauren Herschel shared on Twitter about grief as a ball in a box with a pain button? If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend following the link to see the drawings that go along with it. Imagine a box with a pain button on one side, and a ball (grief) is inside the box. In a nutshell, Herschel shares that when we are first experiencing grief, it is a ball that barely fits inside the box. . . so any time the ball moves, it hits the pain button. In the first stages of grief, the ball hits the pain button so consistently that pain is almost constant. As time passes, the size of the grief ball shrinks, but it is still moving around in the box and when it hits the pain button, the pain is just as acute. There’s also the uncertainty of never knowing when the grief pain will appear. I have cried at the most absolutely random things in the past 18 months. . . at some point maybe I’ll find it amusing what all has managed to set off my pain button.

So while some of those examples are pretty specific to me and the loss I’ve been dealing with, I know that those sentiments can translate easily into whomever or whatever you have lost and are grieving. So, to all our readers who wake up some mornings and feel like you CAN’T. . . you have a friend here. Whether you wake up feeling you CAN’T, or if the CAN’T hits you later in the day, I wish you a moment with a peaceful deep breath, tears if you need to shed them, a warm embrace, and a loving thought for what you so deeply miss. The love never ends.

sunlight in bedroom