During our last grief group, the question was asked, "how are you managing your grief?". These questions don't always yield a cookie cutter answer, I suppose that is the exact point of why they are asked. Some people volunteered to share their responses, I had been thinking about my response wondering how exactly to frame it. I wondered if my answer was going to be right. Knowing that whatever my answer would be, is the only right, but yet not convinced. Then it became my turn. I mentioned how I blog, I had forgotten or rather at the time didn't realize that me posting my daily throwbacks was also something I had been doing as a method, and then I said what I consider the biggest way I have been managing my grief...by avoidance.
I can think back to all of the amazing grief support books I engulfed myself in immediately after she passed. I can see the words written stating how letting yourself fall into the grief eventually gets easier. How it is better to allow yourself to allow the grief to happen when it presents itself because if not it can eventually be more challenging to push it down, and then you are hit by a tsunami rather than 6 foot waves. I remember thinking about how I will make sure to feel it always and to deal with it as it comes. It is comparable to all of those things you tell yourself you either will or won't do when you first become a parent. If I had said openly to anyone on this journey that my intention was to never let grief suck me in I am sure they would smile and nod and think to themselves, "ya okay". I can now remember every time I have reminded myself over the last 7.5 months of these facts when I force myself to swallow the grief up and close my eyes in my best attempts to squash it. I can see the words written on the page every time I tell myself nope, not now, don't cry, later, now isn't the time. Avoiding has become my "management". It is honestly so much easier to act like everything is fine than acknowledging the reality. Trust me when I say, the pain is far too horrible to let it take over at any point. No, I don't want to deal with it. Yes, it is easier to lie and pretend everything is fine.
It becomes this endless grief version of "if I give myself a cookie". If I admit that she is gone, then I have to admit that it hurts. If I admit it hurts that means I have to allow myself to cry. If I allow myself to cry that means I have to admit that this pain and the reality is real. If I admit that this pain and the reality of it all is real, then I had to admit that she isn't coming back and that this is going to be forever. If I admit this is forever, it is too much so she can't be gone, there is nothing to mourn because she isn't not here and therefore I don't have to cry and I don't have to feel this horrible pain. To admit to myself at only 7.5 months into this journey that it is going to be like this forever is way too much to accept. So for now, I acknowledge we are no longer a physical party of 7, and I acknowledge that I am not an active member of the special needs party, but as far as really managing my grief...avoidance of the realness of the situation feels much much easier.