The last time that I wrote a post called "The Ugly Truth," I ended up saying that the post wasn't as "ugly" as I originally thought it would be. In my head, I was still comparing it to the fiercely honest ones I read on Ronan's mom's blog, and in comparison, mine were still pretty tame. But now that I am mid-way into the second month since my mom's passing, it's definitely about to get uglier. Five days ago, I started feeling a little melancholy on the way to the chiropractor's office but since the sadness is always there anyway, just lying right underneath the surface, I kept going on about my business. I made it through the consultation part of my appointment (although I was on the verge of an anxiety attack), but by the time the assistant came in to go over the financials, I started to get choked up and by the time she brought back my paperwork, the tears had started flowing. From that point on, every day has been tough. Not that every day before that wasn't tough, but these last five days have reached a different level somehow. I keep replaying the last week and what she said while she was in the hospital. Then I think about did she know what was coming or not? Then I picture her laying there on that hospital bed in my sister's basement. Then I picture her face taking her last breath right in front of me. And my stomach drops out. Then I go back and picture us at the beach again and I try, try, try to get my brain to comprehend the fact that it went from that to the picture of her in the hospital bed in just 2 weeks. Then I go over and over the fact that she's not just up in VA and that she's not here at all anymore. And then it all goes round and round again. The feeling in the pit of my stomach is like I'm standing on the very edge of a cliff over a canyon combined with being chased by a monster. It's panic and fear and it all feels like too much for your body to physically handle. It makes you want to unzip your skin, jump out of it and throw it across the room because you just want to get away from that feeling. But you can't. So you just sort of ride the waves and do as many "normal" activities in between as you can.
And then there's the part that people don't talk about... the anger and the loneliness you feel right about this time. My aunt said to me that people kept telling her she was so strong when her father (my grandfather) died but that after the funeral and everything was over, she fell apart because "that's when everyone went away." Now I know what she meant. When it first happens, people are surrounding you with love... calling, sending texts and emails, posting on Facebook, sending cards, checking in with you and sending their prayers and best wishes. But by the time a month passes, they're all so busy again with their normal lives, that they've forgotten all about you. Or at least that's how it feels. No one is checking in with you anymore, there are no more calls or texts, no emails or Facebook wishes, no one stopping by. It's just me, sitting in my house alone, still feeling all the same emotions but now feeling horribly alone on top of them all. I try once in awhile to reach out by posting my feelings on Facebook (since that's the only way people communicate these days), but I feel like I am "bothering" people with my "negative" posts and feel like the silence is their way of telling me either 1) to move on already or 2) that they're uncomfortable with what I'm saying. And I understand that to a certain extent, it's hard to know what to say. Especially if you've never been through it. Death is a hard topic to broach with anyone so sometimes the easiest thing to say is nothing at all. But I can say that from the inside, you honestly just want someone to say ANYTHING to you... it doesn't matter if it's not perfect or flowery. You just want people to remember that you're here and you're in pain. That just because it's been a couple weeks (or even months), does not mean that things are all better and life is back to normal. I have had a couple people tell me once I reached out to them (for something unrelated) that I had been on their mind and/or they didn't know what to say, and just that meant THE WORLD to me! It's a feeling that you can't really describe entirely to anyone that hasn't been through it. It's just something that we all will experience for ourselves at some point unfortunately. And then maybe we can think back and remember someone else that we knew that lost someone and realize what they must've felt like at the time.
It's times like this that I do wish I was already married or at least had a roommate because at least there'd be someone else around. Just enough of a distraction to not feel so alone. Or maybe wish I lived in another country. I already feel like we're too all about technology and staying "busy" in our society and this only magnifies that attitude. Everyone is sooooo busy with their "active" lives that they hardly have time for one another anymore. Think about it, when you ask your friends to get together, it's usually a long and complicated balancing act of sports schedules, school schedules, work schedules, church schedules, etc, etc, etc. It's amazing that we see one another at all! Most people stay in touch by text, social media or email... handwritten letters are almost extinct, phone calls are a rarity and in-person get-togethers are an occasional treat. I had a friend mention to me that she feels like she's in a rush when she's eating out at a restaurant even she's not in a hurry. And I knew what she meant... there's just a general feeling of "hurry" everywhere. That's one of the things that I noticed almost immediately (and LOVED) about Honduras when I went on a mission trip there... everyone took their time, they stood outside of their homes and talked to their neighbors, their children played in the front yards. They weren't caught up in televisions, iPads and cell phones. And guess what? They looked pretty darn happy! I felt a certain freedom myself just because I had to turn my phone off while I was there! There's no substitute for real, sincere, loving human contact. Especially when you're in the middle of terrible pain.
Grief is messy. It's sad, it's depressing, it's infuriating, it's unpredictable, it's unrelenting and it's reality. It's one of the only things that we all will experience at some point in our lives. And although I may feel very alone in my pain right now, I know just like in the song I woke up with in my head this morning, "He is with us... He is with us... always, ALWAYS."