nitty gritty

I got a lot of prep the first day on what grief would be like. Major points being: to let yourself feel it, be careful not to do anything drastic, and that you’re not alone. Hearing from other people who have gone through and understand grief was a huge help. I’m the type who knows what a huge help it is when you know something you’re going through and feeling is normal.

The easy one was to let myself feel it. I’m not very good at suppressing emotions… well that’s mostly because I’ve long ago created a habit of not suppressing them. I need to write about them, sit with them, go through them carefully like sifting through papers. Over the last few years, I’ve been learning how to process them and break them down. So it’s no wonder that after my mom died, I have been going through this process. I never want to bottle up my emotions for them to one day come out in an unhealthy manner.

The part about being careful not to do anything drastic… This is something that is different for everyone (hell, all grief is experienced differently). Some people can truly ruin their lives in a moment of grief. Or lose their life. Now, that’s worst case scenario, but it is very real. I’ve heard about it before and knew to be extra cautious, to be extra mindful of any signs that are abnormal to my usual behavior. I’m nervous to talk about this next part, but in the spirit of being honest, transparent, and hopefully help another person by talking about it… I’ll stop stalling and just get to it.

The thing that was most alarming to me was that I had these very strong urges to cut myself. Everywhere. I have never been one for self harm, I have never tried it and have never wanted to before. This was definitely abnormal and it was scary to me. I didn’t do it, but the thoughts generally went as such: You’ll feel better if you do this. That’s a lie. I know I will not feel better after. I know it’s a quick fix for some, but it’s not healthy and I am actually one who avoids most things that could possibly end in physical injury or physical pain.

The mind will do strange things. This was no different and I’m glad I had the foresight to expect abnormal thoughts and the foresight to abstain from acting on them. It was for about a week that I felt those urges. I was honestly horrified. I never would have expected those thoughts to pop into my mind. But why? I’m still processing that part. I don’t know why, from the death of my mom, my mind would think that the only way to feel better about it would be to defile, harm, mutilate every part of my body.

I have a guess that it’s because this grief is biological, that I am experiencing it because she is half of my genetic makeup, half of me. She is inside me and to not feel the grief would mean to cut my body up. I don’t know… that’s the best answer I could come up with. Bringing ourselves back to the topic of drastic measures, this would be one for me. This is one I feel very strongly against doing and always have.

If I could say any word of advice about the grieving process, I would definitely pass on to look out for abnormal thoughts and to not act on them. Be careful not to do anything drastic. Those scars would be on me for quite possibly the rest of my life if I’d have acted on those urges. I’d have a permanent reminder and would most likely spiral more thereafter just because of that, of seeing them each and every day. Grief is temporary. It will pass. As a metaphor for the many alternative negative things someone could do, those scars would be forever, a permanent mark on your life. Please hold on. Just hold on and don’t act on those thoughts. You won’t regret it.

The reminder that you’re not alone in grief (or any feeling ever) is so completely true. Not everyone that you know may have gone through losing a parent, but there are so so so many out there that have. They’re the ones to reach out to, most importantly. They’re the ones who can tell you what you might feel and can tell you an honest story of what their experience was like. Their stories will help. It is definitely a hard process, but you will learn a lot and become stronger after. You will then be the one to help those friends of yours who lose a parent.

6 thoughts on “nitty gritty

  1. Yes yes yes I totally get what you are saying here! Every word! The crazy bizarre thoughts that can come into your head during grief, or any extreme stress, really, but especially grief. And you wonder where are those thoughts coming from? It can feel like the thoughts aren’t even coming from you.

    Although it certainly doesn’t feel normal at the time, according to my understanding and experience, it is perfectly normal. The best part is the way you reasoned through it. Very healthy. Very smart!

    I was a few years older than you when my dad died, and I just fell apart. The first thing I did after my mother’s phone call was get in my car, drive to the nearest store that sold alcohol, and buy a big bottle of booze. I came back home, locked myself in my room, and guzzled the whole thing down. And I wasn’t even a drinker before that time.

    I drank so much, so fast, that I stopped breathing. I had to keep telling myself, “breathe in, breathe out, now breathe in..” Thank God I did not pass out. I could have died that night from alcohol poisoning.

    After the funeral, I kept drinking. I ended up in an alcohol rehab a year and a half later. I haven’t had a drink of alcohol now since January 14, 1990, and I never want to drink again.Alcohol is fine in moderation if you can handle it. But I learned, after my father’s death, that I cannot handle it at all.

    I also learned that drinking to ease the pain of grief does not work. After my two hellish years of drinking, after I sobered up, I still had to go through all that grief again, as if he had just died. Meanwhile, my marriage ended and everything in my life fell apart due to alcohol.

    When my father died in 1988, I wrote this poem:

    Oh let me die
    and lie beside you in the grave
    together brave
    the dread unknown

    For sorrow shared
    is half the pain that sorrow gave —
    How could you die
    and leave me all alone?
    ….
    I’m so glad you are taking care of yourself. We have only just “met” through WordPress, but I can already tell that you are very special. You have so much living yet to do!

    • Wow! Thank you for sharing. I’ve been abstaining from drinking during this in case that would become the same result for me! My mom did that after her mom died even though she was already an alcoholic, but just went on a bender and ended up in rehab very quickly. Seeing that happen and hearing stories of what other people have done has helped me stay on track and not deviate from my normal path.

      Aww thank you! Glad we met!!

  2. Does the thoghts to cut come along with thought of not being able to control the situation or your feelings. I have not cut so I can’t relate to the thoughts however I was an alcoholic and when my grandparents died my drunkness went thru the roof. You are very wise to expect unusual thoughts. Hugs

  3. I don’t know what this is???
    I have no idea how I got here …Alex
    But, I’m sure glad I’m here to read all your writings
    So much pain yet so much beauty still comes from you
    You’re more than just amazing
    I will continue reading …learning so much from you and about you.
    Much love ❤️ 💕💕 from me to you

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