I thought I knew a lot about grief. I thought I was pretty good at it actually. As nurses we study grief. I’ve taken continuing education courses on it. I’ve supported parents when their baby died. Sometimes that was a very personal experience, when I took care of their baby every day for months. And sometimes it was more professional, when I had just been assigned to their baby for the first time that day. And goodness knows I have deeply grieved the loss of so many of my beloved dogs over the years.
But this grief is different. It is not the heart-breaking, gut-wrenching grief that I have experienced in the past. For goodness sake, I hardly cried at all for a couple of weeks. Hmmm, I thought to myself, I got off easy on this one. WRONG!
This time I have had days where I felt a little down. Days where I just wasn’t motivated to do much. LOTS of days where I didn’t want to talk to people, and where, frankly, I just was a wee bit irritated at them. And then, of course, there is the guilt and confusion that comes along. Am I just indulging my naturally lazy tendencies? Am I just giving in to my usual irritation at people’s shortcomings? Am I finally as depressed as the rest of the world is? And worst of all, IS IT MANDATORY THAT YOU GAIN TWENTY POUNDS WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR FATHER?
My pastor sent me a little book on grief. It was so helpful. The best chapter was the one that compared grief to fog. I know about fog. I’ve been driving through fog to and from work for over twenty years. It just made so much sense to me. How I would be going along fine, have a nice plan for the day–a little work, a little fun–and then I would stand up, and realize nope, that’s not gonna happen today. Other days its clear sailing, no fog rolling in at all.
Sometimes I think I’m just acting out–not doing so much housework, and not going back to the gym. I think that’s why I’m so particularly pleased with how I’ve been eating this past week. I’m not going off the deep end and “acting out” with my food choices. I AM allowing myself to have a few more treats than normal without the guilt. mostly. Yes, I wish I could get with the program and get this extra weight off. But for now, I will try to be content to maintain or lose tiny bits. The day will come when I will get the house cleaned, get to the gym, and lose the weight. For now I’m determined to treat myself with as much kindness as I have always encouraged other people to do when they lost a loved one.