When grief sneeks up on you….

They kept telling me there would come a day I wouldn’t want to get out of bed.

I thought I’d escaped that prospect.  I thought in five months of grieving and focusing on life after terminal cancer, I had put some of this behind me.

I thought wrong.

I am constantly amazed how grief can catch me unaware.  I was mired the chaos of the end of school year activities.  I was even in the midst of writing a post of how all this felt like I was caught up in a horse race with the current intensity of activity and the prospect of everything coming to a screeching halt after the last day of school.

Now I feel like I’ve been knocked off my horse.  Nothing particular caused it.  There have been little things, like the approach of the burial after months of frozen ground and my first time picking up the phone to call my mother with news only to remember she wasn’t there, but overall I’ve been feeling like this spring has helped me moved past all of this.

I think it boils down to this perpetual struggle between wanting to be the grown up and wanting some to take care of you.  It’s something we’ve battled with endlessly with The Girl.  She wants to make her own decisions about studying and spending but doesn’t want to wash the dishes or her clothes.

Now that I’ve achieved what The Girl sees as the Holy Grail of freedom (but who feels free with three kids hanging off me?), all I want is a Mommy to take care of me… or at least make some of these endless decisions.  I feel this intensely as I prepare for the visitors coming for Mom’s burial.  Planning  menus, allocating beds, organizing the reception; these are all things my mother would have done, and would have done well.  However, I just feel like throwing myself down on the floor in a tantrum.

I guess that’s the problem with growing up.  Once we get this so-called freedom we so desperately want, we find it comes attached to a heavy load of responsibility, and the older we get the fewer people we have to carry the load.

I started to conclude this rather maudlin post with a wish that The Girl was able to see the freedom she does have is freedom for which many adults can only wish, but I’m not sure that’s the only lesson this household needs today.

The reality is I have people to take care of me and I don’t have to do it all alone.  It just feels like it when I’m caught up in my grief.  Even today a dear friend caught wind of my doldrums and offered to make some muffins or sweets to help with the service.  I gratefully brushed her off… too caught up in my own self-pity to see that what she was offering was just what I needed.

I preached to a good friend this week about gratitude.  She was having a tough time and, while it wouldn’t solve her current struggles, I reminded her of the positive side of her family feud.

I need to take my own advice.  I am grateful for the family I have left and I am grateful for generous friends.  I’m grateful for great kids, even if they don’t always behave perfectly, and a wonderful husband.

I miss my parents… but that’s okay.  They were taken too young but I couldn’t have them forever.  I need to let myself say goodbye and need to let in the people I have left.

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One Response to When grief sneeks up on you….

  1. Barbara says:

    You have described it perfectly: grief sneaks up. I am getting better at dealing with those terrible sneak attacks but it is the element of surprise that is hard to deal with. It has been almost 10 months since my husband died and I am only now starting to feel that I can deal with these bouts of sadness at odd moments. And, yes, it is comforting to know that those who are here are trying their best to help you through. It takes time and no one has the same timeline. Thanks for this post.Barbara

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