Thursday, August 02, 2007

Thoughts on grieving

I'm fine.

No, really, I'm fine.

Oh, thank you. But I'm fine.

Yes, fine.

Well, I'm okay. But don't worry about me. I'm fine.


That's what you're supposed to say when someone you love dies, right? Sure, you get a grace period, an undetermined number of days to mourn, but after that you pick yourself up by the bootstraps and get on with your life. Life is for the living and all that. But how many days do you get to wallow in your own self pity because yet another person who was close to you goes toes up?

I may sound flippant about the whole ordeal, but this is me being serious. I've had too many people die on me in the past few years - my Mom, two grandfathers and now my maternal grandmother - and I'm tired. I'm so very tired. My protective armor comes out whenever the subject of death comes up, shielding me from the pain, pushing it back so I can see the pain waving to me but far enough away so it can't touch me. I was like this after Mom died. I gave myself, what, a week? Two? And then I went on with business as usual. Except it was business unusual. But to see me you never would have known, because I was fine.


But there seems to be a chink in my armor. Since my Gram passed every morning has been a battle to get out of bed, and then the day lingers before me with its promise of sunshine but all I see is another opportunity for someone to leave me. I get jumpy when Chicky gets too close to our pool, I get anxious when Mr. C comes home later than expected. You'd never know it by looking at my face because I'm really good at hiding it, but it's there.

I'm having a bad week, as you can tell. Having to come off the extreme frenetic high of Blogher and straight to a loved one's death bed is not an easy transition and it seems to have thrown me all out of whack. I might feel stronger next week after the service is over and all the receiving lines and sermons and luncheons are over, but today I'm fragile.

I told myself at Blogher that I was going to start getting real with my blog posts (please save your Real World jokes for a later date) as a way of therapy. So here goes nothin'... Hi, I'm Mrs. Chicky and I have a problem with avoidance. I come from a long line of avoiders, most of whom are dead now, and it's time to break that cycle. There's a little piece of me playing with blue Play-Doh at my feet and she doesn't deserve to live like this. Pretending she's a butterfly or a monkey or a purple fairy - that's fine. Pretending that life is fine even when it's not? Not fine. As a matter of fact, I'd like to work on removing that word from her vocabulary.

Next week will be better. I hope. As a kind woman just said to me in an email (and I really hope she doesn't mind me quoting her), "I don't like the netherworld between death and funeral. There's something about having the ceremony that puts the stamp on death that I actually find very helpful in that it allows me to start grieving." I concur. Next week I should be fine.

Bloody hell.

This is going to be tougher than I thought.


Kyla said...

Oh Mrs. Chicky. We are here. This is your space, use it. Be real.

I wish there was something I could do for you. Meeting someone face to face makes such a difference. Beforehand, I could feel for you through your words, but now I can picture your face behind the computer screen and I don't like that you are hurting and there's nothing to be done to ease it. But anything that I can do, I'd be willing. A drunken BlogHer photo emailed to you daily, maybe? Not much, but it might make you smile.

Anonymous said...

It's okay to be not fine.

You are grieving.

That's not fine.

The word 'fine' is like the word 'normal'. What is that anyway?

I understand you are not fine and you shouldn't have to pretend.

We love you either way.

karengreeners said...

It's horrible, the feeling you describe. Don't bother pretending - nobody expects you to, and there is no wrong way to grieve.
That panic will fade, the hopelessness lasts a bit longer, and well, the sadness will always be there, but that's because you lost people that you LOVED so much.

Growing up sucks, doesn't it? (((hugs)))

Anonymous said...

Having a hard time commenting with any sort of rationality or coherency.

I find reading this I start to swim in my own pools of grief and I can't find the fucking preserver.

It will be tough. No doubt. But you will get through it. You have a cute little chicky loving you, pulling you through.

Virtual hugs my dear. And I promise to keep my hands to myself.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I am so sorry for you. You have had a lot thrown your way in the past few years. I do hope you will use this space as a sort of therapy. Allow yourself to feel and to express. We are here and will not allow you to avoid us. ;)

Jane, Pinks & Blues Girls

Her Bad Mother said...

GODDAMN IT how did I miss that last post?

I AM SO SORRY. And I so wish that I could give you the biggest, biggest, fiercest hugs right now.

Kara said...

Sending you brackets. Heaps and heaps and loads of them. So many brackets that, in six months time, you'll still be finding them in the sofa cushions and in the pockets of jeans you haven't worn in a really long time.

That many.

Major Bedhead said...

Are you trying to be "fine" for yourself or for other people? Because if it's for other people, fuck 'em. You are entitled to fall apart, cry, holler, scream at the fates, whatever you need to do to get thru this bad time. And you need to take however long you need to take. There's no set period for grieving. It waxes and wanes and the people who care about you will understand that.

Avalon said...

Its cumulative. The grieving. You really do think you are fine for a while, but then wham! it gets you.

You have to cut yourself some slack Mrs C. You have suffered a lot of losses in a short time. Give yourself some time, without expectations for when you should feel better. You need to heal.

Magpie said...

Oh honey - I wish I could do something for you. Thinking of you, and of brighter times in the future.

motherbumper said...

Can I hold your hand because I'm a major avoider and we love company. I (we) will always be here to support and give the virtual hugs that I so wish could be real. Here's to make that pledge of reality (((hugs))).

Lawyer Mama said...

I am the Queen of the Planet Avoid. And now you're leaving me on my planet alone?

Seriously though, Mrs. Chicky. A week? Two? For your mom? You're human babe and grieving is a process with no deadline or set ending. Wallow in it as much as you need. You won't scare us away.

I have to say, if BlogHer inspired me to do one thing, it's to try to be more *me* on my blog. And it helps to work through stuff I think. ((HUGS))

kittenpie said...

Oh, honey, it's all catching up to you now, isn't it? Because you're giht - it can't be avoided forever. It took me years to even talk about my mom, years for it to become less immediate, so I could handle it. With my grandma, I kept poking at it in little bits whenever I had a moment available, until it became a bit numb, and then I could handle it. But in both cases, writing it out, whether you post it or not, really helped me. I hope it gives you some outlet, too. I hope that talking to Chicky about her helps, that sharing her stories helps, that whatever you can find to help is good for you. And meanwhile, we are holding you in the softest place of our hearts. Still more hugs to you, my dear, and you know I don't minding cuddling you. ;^)

kittenpie said...

I meant "you're right." Crap. Am totally incoherent worrying about you, apparently.

flutter said...

Let it be what it is, grieve, she was special and wondeful. So are you.

Crazed Nitwit said...

Grief has no time table. Don't allow anyone to tell you it does. I still miss my mom after 10 years. I will grieve the loss of the son forever. Time helps, but the hole in your life from that lost may never be totally gone. It's OK feel whatever you feel.

Rusti said...

Hi - I haven't commented on your blog before, I found you by way of Jenny's post last week, and I'm so sorry to meet you while you're grieving. I understand what you are dealing with as I've lost quite a few close family members myself, and have been in a similar situation. I hope that the "in-between" time passes quickly and that you can soon grieve and heal at your own pace without having to pretend to be fine. I'll be keeping you in my prayers...

Whirlwind said...

It's okay not to be fine. Even as the years go by, you'll still have that special place in your heart for her.

Take Chicky give her some extra hugs and ice cream. You'll feel better for a bit.

Creative-Type Dad said...

I'm one of those "avoiders" you mentioned.

It's tough. Hang in there-

Mom101 said...

I am the queen of "I'm fine I'm fine I'm fine" so I hear you. You are cordially welcome not to be fine for as long as you'd like.

Julie Marsh said...

If you figure it out, please help out a fellow avoider. I've not been through nearly as much as you have, but I'm re-e-eal good at pretending I'm fine.

Why can't we all have group therapy *together*?

Everydaytreats said...

Mrs. Chicky - I'm another one that says "I'm fine" all the time as well.

We understand.

Hol said...

Sending hugs, thoughts, and prayers your way.

I too say "I'm fine" when really I'm not.

It's our way of dealing with it, and that's okay.

Anonymous said...

hugs, hugs, and more hugs coming your way.

Blog Antagonist said...

You know, for some people, avoidance is just a coping mechanism. I tend to do that when a thing is too new and raw for me to deal with. Then later, when I the emotional wound is not so fresh, I can face it and work through it. I don't think that's necessarily wrong.

I'm truly sorry that you've had so much thrown at you lately. You've every reason to feel out of sorts. And if you can't use a blog for therapy, then what the hell good is it????

Anonymous said...

On Becoming More Vulnerable...
Look at all the support you have! Amazing. It's like finally finding a group of girls who are willing to love you for who you are.

On a personal note, I've always enjoyed your site. I think the first post I read was a few month back when your daughter and you were sitting at the table and she refused to talk with you until you got up and made yourself coffee... I was hooked.

But this more vulnerable you is so nice to read. I totally think I get you and connect. Keep it up, I enjoy reading.

And hang in there. I'm sorry about your Gram. It's just not right.

Lara said...

what i hate the most is that i think i know very well how you're feeling, because it's how i felt when dad died and when michael died and i think maybe that it's close enough that i know mostly what you're going through. but because of that, i'm pretty sure that there is not a damn thing i can do to really help you. that's what i hate the most.

but i'm here, reading, listening, sending love. it's all i can do for you, but i hope it does some good.

Anonymous said...

I think grief works at it's own pace. There's no set number of days that you get, there's no magic formula to make it go away.

You just take the time you need, no questions asked. If someone disagrees, they aren't being very understanding.

I don't have a clue what your going through because it's been a year and a half since my own grandmother passed away, but we're all different when it comes to grief.

Please just know we're here for you. And you may be fine, but we still care.

Jen said...

I'm so sorry. You can be fine, or not fine.

Take your time.

Motherhood Uncensored said...

Sorry. I missed the whole not real part of you.

You're amazing when you're fine and when you're not.

NotAMeanGirl said...

My grandfather passed away and was burried on Dec 21 of last year. I have a 7 year old. My cousin has a 6 year old and a 10 year old. Christmas had to happen for the kids. We made Reindeer Dust, to lead and feed the reindeer once they arrived. We shopped. We wrapped. We opened gifts. But none of our adult hearts were in it. Usually after the funeral services, everyone goes their own way and greives in their own way... none of us got the chance to do that and 7 months later we're all still trying to cope with it. DO NOT DO THAT TO YOURSELF. You don't have to be fine for yourself or anyone else. Grieve for the person you loved when the need comes to you. Otherwise, you may have to deal with bottled up grief for a long time to come... its not... healthy.

NotAMeanGirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NotAMeanGirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bobita said...

I have *that* knot in my stomach, the knot that replaces the words I'd like to say, but can't seem to string together in any kind of way that could possible express the sadness I feel for you. I'm so very sorry.

Kevin Charnas said...

((((((((((((((Mrs. Chicky))))))))))

Know that I'm thinking of you...and sending you and your Gran wonderful, peaceful, loving thoughts.


mamatulip said...

One day at a time, Mrs. C.

One minute at a time, if that's what it takes.


Anonymous said...

I tend to be an avoider, too -- I can bitch about the mundane, but the really tough stuff stays inside.

I think it's great that you're using the blog as a way to get real. But do just as much as you're comfortable with. And take care of yourself.

moosh in indy. said...

I'm so fine with you not being fine that I'm even more fine that you can admit to not being fine and I hope you're fine with being honest about when you're not fine because I love you, whether you're fine or not.

Jenifer said...

Oh Chicky...

I will say again I know how you feel. We have lost not only my grandmother but her great-grandson who dies in a car accident at 19 years old this year. My son bears his name.

Tomorrow will be the 1 year anniversary of her death. I am sure I will post about it, however I have no idea yet how to put into words what a year without Gram has been like.

Hard. Really Hard. All the happy things that happened this year, especially the birth of my son, have been shadowed by the fact that she is not there.

And I'm still not fine.

Sarahviz said...

It's so totally fine that you're not fine.
Take as long as you need.
We'll be here.

Julie Pippert said...

First, a (HUG)

Second, did you read my Hump Day post this week? About how long we get?

I think at some point there is this crossover moment. I think you hit it.

You get as long as you want. You don't have to pretend. We shouldn't need you to.

IMHO? Grief is lifelong.

At some point, you remember more of the joy and gain, and less of the loss and pain, but oh those moments when you *need* that person in some way and you feel that loss again? it's keen, it's always. For those we loved and were close.

And this? Is okay. As long as it doesn't tether us too much from the living and happy sides of things.

Big (hugs). Get real. or prevaricate, as you need. And time is all yours, as long as you want.


Ravin' Picture Maven

SUEB0B said...

Not fine, not fine. This grieving thing is a big bad bitch, and I am just starting to admit that my ass is officially kicked. I guess that is okay.

I feel for you. I wish I could give you a hug.

Anonymous said...

Not to get all religious on you, but one of the greatest things about Judaism is that they allow long term mourning. Not only allow it, encourage it. First for the days of sitting shiva, then for the 30 days past that where you still actively mourn, then for the full year the death where you work through every personal anniversary. By the time the year is passed, mourning dissapates and life does go on more normally. But being allowed a full year instead of a few days or a few weeks is a marvelous gift, I think.

You're mourning. Not just your gram, but all the other deaths you've had to deal with. The compilation of mourning one after another is kicking your butt to the wall. It should. You shouldn't be fine. You should be whatever you feel, sad, angry, or just plain exhausted by all the trauma. It's OK to feel whatever you feel, and if fine comes in too, than that's OK as well.

But you don't have to pretend. Not with us, anyhow. Take as long as you want to work through your grief.

I understand.

Girlplustwo said...

someone once told me that we use a defense mechanism until it doesn't serve us any longer. this may be that for you. that doesn't mean it's not scary as hell, but it does mean you are onto something.

and sorry you are hurting, dear sweet chicky.

wayabetty said...

I'm so sorry for your lost Mrs. Chicky! It's been tough around here as we were dealing with a crisis of our own, so I do feel your pain.

Hang in there!

Suburban Turmoil said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this right now. Thinking of you and your family. xoxo

Namito said...

That's a whole lot of loss in a very short period of time. No wonder you're reeling from it.

Hang in there till your next fine moment. After that, the spaces in between fine moments may be easier to get through.


Anonymous said...

We have had our fill here too...
It took my dh a year to get over his dad dying.
I don't know how he will survive his mom going....which will probably be sometime soon.

We are so stretched thin...we can barely speak to other people..sympathy is nice and all..but you start wondering HOW you are supposed to act vs how you really feel.

And does get in the way and carry on...and especially for the kids.

Hugs.....hang in time limit

Phoenix said...

I just found your blog today and I'm trilled I did. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm with you on the, I'm fines. I've lost two grandparents in the past year and another one is...well hanging on. I guess the thing about humans is that we keep going even when we just want to hide our heads and give up. It does get easier, but you deserve to grieve...for as long as it takes. Hugs, Phoenix.

ps.cute freaking kiddo.

Karianna said...

Just live.
Just react.
Just be.

And know that we are here if you need us, without judgment. And that the journey back to feeling "fine" is your own to determine.

Many thoughts of love, light, and comfort.

Lisa said...

I know this isn't original (cause you seem to be getting alot of this but...) Its ok to not be fine.

Sending you hugs and thinking of you lots.

Bon said...

i think it takes a lot of courage to start being real. to take the word "fine" out of your vocabulary and really grieve, on whatever your own terms end up being.

i honour you for that, and i think it honours your grandmother - and the others you've had to let go of too soon, and in too short a window - to do it.

Slackermommy said...

I know exactly how you feel especially right now since like you I came from the high of BlogHer to the low of burying a family member. My body is tired, my heart feels heavy, and life feels difficult. I'm also worrying that someone else dear to me will die and nightmares are a nightly occurrence. I know it will pass but for now I'm letting myself wallow in it because my mind and body need it before I can move on. Grieving sucks, doesn't it?

Ruth Dynamite said...

Allow yourself to be sad for as long as you want. This is healthy and normal and it's a process. It takes time.

We're all here for you.

S said...

I'm so sorry. And yes, none of us is budging from this space, whatever words you choose to fill it.

Di said...

Fine. Lovely word, means so much. Really after we lose a loved one, are we ever fine? I know I am not. It will be three years in Sept that my father passed away. I still feel like I haven't dealt with it yet. I say I am fine but I am anything but.

My thoughts are with you. I share your pain. I wish to God I could do something to take even a small sliver of it away.

mo-wo said...

That's what blogs are for. A strange realm of virtual realness can bring the emergent realness. Odd.

My heart goes our on this one Mrs. C.

For the Love... said...

When my Grandmother was murdered 14 years ago I was not fine, I did not look fine, and I did not act fine. After a few weeks I finally was able to put my finger on my greatest need-peace. I desperatly need some peace-a break from the fear and pain. When those bad feelings started swelling up, threatening to wash over me-slamming me back to the ground-I closed my eyes and whipered "please God, peace, please peace..."

It took 13 years for them to find her killer. When they did it brought back feelings I had tried so hard to forget. I don't remember how I responded to people's condolences when she died, but 13 years later I did not put up with "At least now you have some closure." Closure is a stupid word.

I hope that you can find what it is that you need to begin to feel better. Peace helped me.

OhTheJoys said...

Hey there, friend.

I've been out of town and away from the internet and missed all that has been going on for you.

Still, I wanted you to know that I am here now, reading and thinking of you. Worrying about you. Sending you lots of love.

My best,

Anonymous said...

I wish I knew what to say. All I can say is that I've been there and that it took me a long time to find out what made it easier to deal with.

For me it was a class on Death and Dying and a liberal dose of lexapro to stop me from worrying about everyone else dying.

It's a terrible thing to care so much you want to be numb to it all...but it's worse to be to numb to have ever felt it. That probably doesn't make sense, does it?

I'm sending you such love and hope. If you need me, I'm here. (

Julie said...

I'm thinking about you and your grief. Sending some strength your way.....

Take care.


CPA Mom said...

thank you for this. for articulating my own thoughts as I never could (i lost a husband and my best friend to death and I am NOT FINE). you have helped me and I thank you.

Trenting said...

I say fine too and I normally never mean it.. Fine=not fine and is totally acceptable.. Hang in there..

HUGS.. tons of them..

Unknown said...

Winston Churchill said that IF YOU ARE GOING THROUGH HELL...KEEP GOING.
I'm sorry that you've been hit hard the last few years, it really sucks. Write about it, do what you are doing. It gets just takes TIME (which is of no comfort to you, I know). I had a couple of years like that, dad died, divorce, mom died....I felt exactly like you do right now. Hang in there because you have peeps that want to hear.
Stalking you always,

The Estrogen Files said...

Yeah, death sucks. My baby passed on before he was even born in July and the "I'm Fine" line isn't quite right. What is the right answer? Hard to know.

Hoping this week is better for you.

Suzie said...

Hang in there Mrs. C. I lost both paternal grandparents (whom I was very clsoe to) and my Mom all in about 6 months. It is hard, and there's not much more you can do then let yourself feel. It really sucks some days, but then the little Miss C smile sup at you and you know that it's all worth it (I have three little Mr.'s that do the trick for me!

Rachael said...

I just read this post (as I am hugely addicted to your blog and am now almost done reading the archives). I am totally with you- my niece was killed in a car accident six years ago, and I still fear car accidents more than anything.
Hugs. :)