A friend posted this quote to their FB wall and it’s had me thinking since. Since Benny’s death I’m not a big fan of platitudes. The last thing that you want to hear in your moment of grief is someone spouting off a canned phrase that makes them feel better and you feel even more alone.
This one got me though. It made me think. It made me wonder what, if anything have I learned in the 4 years since Benny’s death? Is this something that I even want to admit to or explore? Should I consider Benny’s death as a learning experience or is that too vulgar? God, grief is complicated.
Maybe instead of asking myself ‘what I learned from Benny’s death?’ I should ask myself ‘how have I grown/shrank in my grief?’ It’s just semantics, but I’m definitely more comfortable with these terms.
Four years seems like a long time to evaluate. It’s longer than my son’s lifetime. I could spend days going back and reading all of my posts to look at where I was then relative to where I am now. But let’s be real here, I have a baby that doesn’t sleep, a toddler pushing the limits, a 9 year old on school vacation and a mountain of moving boxes to still unpack. So off the top of my head…
Embracing My Crazy
I’m not really sure that admitting that you take on too many things while knowing fully well that you shouldn’t is growth here. This last year has been beyond anything imaginable. My God there have been so many moments when I just wanted to quit. I wanted to get in my car and start driving and leave everything behind. I have never had so many days (months) in a row where things just kept piling up.
Overwhelming does not even begin to describe what has been going on. Some of it was our doing, other things were out of our control. This is the first time since we lost Benny that I have had to dig so deep to try and hold it all together. This is not to compare this year to 2013 or the accident. This was a whole different type of stress coming at me from every direction. It was time to embrace it or lose my mind trying.
Now I don’t know if I can even pinpoint coping mechanisms here. A lot of it was changing my mind set to just accept that this was how things were and to go with it. I had to stop trying to fight the circumstances and try to figure out how to make them work instead. Obviosuly much easier than accepting the loss of my child. It still sucked.
Saying no came first. Telling people I just couldn’t continue to be a part of things was hard for me. Taking a break from some of the fundraising and charity work was absolutely heartbreaking. I’m a people pleaser and I hate to think that I’m letting someone down or that I’m not doing my part to give back. I just keep reminding myself that just because I said no today, doesn’t mean that I can’t say yes tomorrow. It doesn’t have to be an end, just a hiatus.
Asking For Help
There’s nothing more that I hate more than asking for help. I am fiercely independent and to me asking for help is a sign of weakness. It’s me it’s admitting that I cannot do it all on my own. It literally kills me.
After Benny died it was so easy. I didn’t have to ask for help, it was just offered (thank goodness because of my afforementioned issues with help). There are times that I miss that. Especially with the craziness of last year.
Sometimes you just have to suck it up though. Find those people that you know that you can depend on, and hope they still take your calls when you ask them for help moving. For the fourth time. In less than a year.
Knowing when to seek help for yourself and your family is also a big deal. Grief never ends. It’s shifts and it changes, but it never fully disappears. You may be feeling great and then the world comes crashing down. Sometimes it’s more than you can handle on your own and you need help from a professional. Knowing when to call them back and check in is key. We are working through that with Darcy right now. Growing up grieving is tricky.
If I’m being brutally honest here, the only thing I hate more than asking for help is apologizing. Then I would be admitting I did something wrong, which no one wants to do.
I have my father’s temper and my mother’s remorse, a tough genetic cocktail. It’s exhausting being in my head. But I’ve found it’s easier for me to live with myself if I let people know that I’m sorry for my actions.
I could write a whole blog about the many ways that I’ve shrank since Benny’s death. I wanted to keep tonight’s positive though. Another ponder for another day.