Another six-week session of bereavement support group is nearly done. As before, I want to assess how I have progressed. My improvement is not as apparent this time. I feel more broken than before.
Today we talked about grief in a way that is different from the stages presented by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Instead of a linear progression through stages, it was presented as a multidimensional process that waxes and wanes through time. “How much time?” that’s what I want to know.
I don’t recall at what point I quit counting the day, weeks, or months since my husband’s death. One day I realized that the 21st had slipped past without me falling deeper into my grief as I normally would each month. The thing that I miss about my monthly exacerbation of grief is the predictability of my falling apart. Although I am still able to cross off another month survived, there is no longer any roadmap to the path. This whole idea of a multi-dimensional (emotional, mental, health, spiritual, etc.) process that has ups and downs without any linear path is pretty unsettling.
I am trying to conquer the many dimensions of grief and mourning that manifest as depression, scattered thoughts, despair, anorexia, insomnia, and ill faith. It takes a lot of effort to do this and there are times when I wonder if it is worth it. Then I look at my sons and realize that if I gave up, they might too. I can’t let that happen.
I try to convey myself as a woman who has it pretty together. I take care of my appearance and go about my business as usual (or so it seems). My children arrive at school on time, clean and fed. Our house is better kept than it was before my husband died. The yard is kept up, thanks to the gardener. It would seem that all is well.
However, things aren’t always, as they seem. What people don’t know is that sometimes I barely get out of bed on time to get everyone out the door on schedule. Thankfully, since I never wore much make-up, it doesn’t take a lot of time to get ready. It’s a big enough struggle just to pick out something to wear. Then there are the boys.
My eldest takes care of his own grooming. He’s a teen, so sleep is precious and grooming is mandatory. At least I don’t have to pick his clothes out too. I must only be sure to wake him on time, which is easier said than done. He is going through his own issues moving on without a father. I think that he would like to sleep the days away as well.
The darkness of winter mornings isn’t helping any of us to rise out of bed. The youngest is the worst. He sleeps so soundly and wakes so painfully. I hate to wake him up. If he doesn’t wake up right, the whole morning routine is shot.
Still, whether it starts out good or bad, the day must go on. I must pick up the pieces and rebuild our lives again. Then, one of these days we won’t have to eat our breakfast in the van on the way to school. One of these days, we will feel like a whole family again rather than a broken one.