I’m conceptualizing the title of this post this morning and it’s coming across like a Netflix title…delightfully tacky with no real meaning! Hehe…I digress! So soon, K? 😊
So, let’s get into it, shall we?
Bereavement…grief…loss…such seemingly simple words, yet loaded with deep, emotional confusion, which is immensely personal to each and every one of us.
I’m not sure where the term “Good Grief” originated, but I remember it from the “Peanuts” comic strip in the Sunday paper as a kid.
So, when it comes to mourning, is there such a thing as good grief, as opposed to bad grief? Subjectivity doesn’t even begin to cover this, I know.
Bad grief might include suppressing our emotions around our grief, maybe? Or becoming self-destructive? Avoidance? Drinking about things…and then OVER drinking about things?
Good grief might include self-care, talking to a professional, leaning on friends, using healthy outlets to “process” or cope with your grief.
So, if bad grief and good grief fall on a continuum, then I think I’ve traveled that continuum all the way from one end to the other and back again, several times over this past year since Nick’s passing.
I’ve been unbelievably strong and zen and healthy at times. Other times, I’ve been suicidal and wasted to the point of passing out as my body and head fought the vertigo that tortures you right before you slip away into oblivion.
But, you know what? I don’t feel a shred of shame over any of it. As a particularly rare and brilliant shrink said to me just last night, “It’s all normal, Kara. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to grieve.”
I even went on a date about a month ago. That didn’t pan out. I told him I was in love with half the readers on my blog and, weirdly, I never heard from him again. 😇
There is something very strange about being in mourning…yet living this productive, efficient, contributing life of mine. I’m able to function like an adult…yet, there are entire days, sometimes, when I feel like a little girl again, vulnerable and in need of being held.
I spend a lot of time feeling incredibly physically healthy…but I carry this deep, emotional sadness, too.
On one hand, I breath well. I eat well. I live well. My body is fluid and my mind is alert and endorphins permeate my days. But, on the other hand, I also have this heavy pain in my heart and in my stomach when I dream about Nick or feel him near me or just miss him.
It is a very strange time inside my body right now.
Intense sadness mixed with endorphins? What is happening?
My doctor says I’m perfectly fine, though….so I will trust her.
Anyway, it’ll be one year since he died of a heart attack (at age 56) on August 13.
I’m nervous…but totally ready for that day.
I’ve prepared my head, my heart, and my planner for that day. I’m going to be with his family. We will go to his grave to visit him, bring him flowers. Then, we will head back to his mom’s house and gather for dinner and Nick stories. I have several that are acceptable for his family to hear.
After some reflection this past week, I’ve decided to make a few changes. Let’s see if they’ll help.
Here’s what I pledge moving forward:
I choose to look forward.
I choose to see this era in my life as the time I am learning more about loss than I ever have before. I know these lessons are difficult, but they will prepare me for the future when I might find myself losing more friends each passing year.
I choose to let go of the rage and anger I felt about losing Nick just as we were getting into our stride and making plans for our future.
I choose to remember him like a warm, wonderful book, chock full of love, laughter, kindness, surprise, romance, passion (omg, the passion!), intelligence, companionship, and even a little drama. It’s one of the best kinds of books. The chapters are well-written and comforting to read.
I choose to remember that I’m a lucky woman to have had the love we shared.
Sure, his death was unexpected, but as we all know, nothing in life is guaranteed, except for death and taxes! It can happen anytime, anywhere.
So, instead of staying in the dark, I want to come out into the light and embrace the love that is all around me from my friends and I will also embrace this next chapter of my life...after Nick.
In the wake of his death, I’m already beginning to see the blessings of his short time in my life. I knew I was blessed before, when he was alive and with me, but there are lessons and changes in me, now, that are meaningful in ways that just wouldn’t have happened if he was still around. We weren’t always mindful of the beauty of life when we were together…too damn focused on (and a little obsessed with!) each other.
It was our agreement, to lose ourselves completely in each other…do you know what I am talking about? The kind of connection that just naturally shuts the rest of the world out. We thrived off of each other’s energy, each other’s happiness, and other moods. 😉
Nick’s death is teaching me to look and love….outwardly.
I’ll take it.
Mad Love Beautiful Cronies,