When you lose a loved one, coping with loss is something you do every day for the rest of your life. It is not a skill you put away and bring back out as you feel grief creep in. It becomes a part of your daily strategy to live. You identify your triggers and ways to deal with them so you can best manage the aftermath. The routine you follow is well thought out to avoid pitfalls. You even go so far as to script out normal conversations in your head. You leave nothing to chance.
Regardless of the amount of planning you do, you will experience a setback every now and then. There is no way to avoid it. They come out of nowhere. Grief is your constant, unexpected house guest and it is rude.
The last few days coping with loss has consumed me. This time there really weren’t any triggers. I felt sad and my emotions were off kilter. One would assume this creates the perfect conditions for grief writing. It does not. I was in need of a mental distraction so I tore my house apart and started painting. It didn’t really help, but it kept me busy.
What I have learned from my grief is that just when you think you’ve started to figure it out, grief throws a curve ball. One minute you’ve got this. The next minute you feel like you’ve been kicked in the gut.
My way of dealing with loss is to spend time (over) analyzing it. I like to try and understand why something happens or why I feel a certain way. The answers I find help me hone my coping mechanisms and improve the systems I have in place. I actually spend so much time over analyzing that I coined my own phrase for how I feel when grief takes over. I call it being grievy.
I like the idea of having a word for it. It makes communicating those days easier. Instead of trying to explain the why, I just give it a broad label so I can I simply say, “I’m all grievy today”. That lets everyone know that I’m feeling a bit emotional and out of sorts. Cameron is on my mind and it makes me sad. Most likely I am not up for doing much. On these days my normal routine is disrupted as I work through my grief.
Some of the ways I get by are to acknowledge my setback. I follow my gut and do what I believe my heart needs. Sometimes that means a good cry. Other times it means taking a break from new normal and focusing on self care. My last couple of nights were spent in front of the TV.
The most important thing is to be patient and kind with yourself. Don’t compare your grief with anyone else. Set your expectations to anticipate setbacks. It makes them easier to deal with. Regardless, keep moving forward. You will come out the other side when you are ready.