Sometimes the Grief Comes Crashing Down- Post Holiday Blues

It’s a paradox really-that grieving hearts can be more anxious and more sorrowful BEFORE and AFTER a milestone day, birthday or holiday than on the day itself.

That’s not true for everyone, but it’s a frequent comment in our closed bereaved parent groups.

Read the rest here: Post Holiday Blues: When The Grief Comes Crashing Down

When Sleep Isn’t Enough: Soul Weary

In yesterday’s post I shared how adjusting my focus and speaking truth and hope to my heart makes such a difference!

But sometimes, no matter how hard I try to “keep my chin up” or “remind myself of redemption”, my soul gets weary.

I’ve recently come off of several months of activity along with emotionally charged interactions and I. am. worn. out.

There’s not really a good or easy way to describe this kind of bone-deep tiredness to someone who has not walked the path we’ve walked so I usually settle for, “I’m tired”. That’s when they typically suggest I get more rest or take a nap.

But I know that won’t really help.

❤ Melanie

When I say to someone, “I’m so very tired!” they nearly always suggest a nap.  Trust me, if a nap would erase this soul weariness, I’d take one every single day.

But it doesn’t, so I don’t.

Instead I go outside and breathe some fresh air, make a cup of hot tea and sit down with a good book, or just sit down and watch the Christmas lights or a candle with my cat in my lap.

Read the rest here: When Sleep Won’t Fix It

THIS is Why I’m Exhausted! Spoon Theory and Bereavement

We like to think we are invincible, full of infinite energy and able to handle anything life may throw at us. It’s understandable considering Western society places a premium on heroic endurance in the face of adversity or challenge.

Truth is, though, our emotional, physical and mental energy are not infinite. We ALL have an absolute rock bottom where we simply cannot do one. more. thing.

And living with child loss means I exhaust my resources sooner than many.

I love this concrete representation of my limitations. It has helped me understand that it’s OK to say, “no” and it’s human to have to.

I hope it gives you courage to do the same. Melanie

The basic idea is that everyone starts with a finite number of “spoons” representing the energy, attention and stamina that can be accessed for any given day. When you do something, you remove a spoon (or two or three) based on the effort required.  When you have used up all your spoons, you are operating at a deficit. 

Like a budget, you can only do that so long before you are in big trouble.

Read the rest here: Spoon Theory Applied to Bereavement

A Rough Week

Y’all! This morning marks seven days of exhausting emotional and physical effort that I absolutely, positively did not anticipate.

This time last week I was looking forward to being at home where I could finish up (way ahead, mind you!) prepping for the soon arrival of my grandjoys for a long visit.

I had nearly finished some major cleaning out and rearranging and figured I’d fiddle around the edges and do the exciting and much more rewarding tasks of gathering craft materials, organizing delicious snack recipes and rounding up fun bath time toys when I got an unexpected phone call.

My very dear friend (more like a sister) fell in her kitchen and broke her back (not her spinal cord, thank the Lord!).

Suddenly everything else was on hold, emergency protocol prevailed and I was swept up in a whirlwind of ambulance transports, emergency rooms and coordinating communication among friends and family members who couldn’t join us in the tiny cubicle while we waited for a doctor to diagnose her condition and determine her treatment.

[By the way, if you haven’t been in an emergency room lately can I just tell you they are overwhelmed, overrun and understaffed. Through no fault of their own, nurses and doctors are working with fewer resources and greater demands than ever before. So (as my Emergency RN daughter says), “Don’t do stupid things!”.]

It took multiple imaging scans and consults to determine that my friend would have to be admitted to the hospital at least for a few days but there were no available rooms. So the waiting continued.

By early Thursday morning she had a room and we began a new round of consultations and physical therapy to figure out the best way forward.

While she was there, I was back and forth.

Driving through rain and city traffic (not my favorite) an hour there and an hour back from my rural home was a real challenge. Getting up and dragging my behind out of bed while my autoimmune disease was acting up was another. Carrying bags and my friend’s prosthetic leg two and a half blocks downtown with my wonky and very painful wrist was yet one more. And can I admit I absolutely HATE face masks???

Let’s just say, it’s been an adventure.

I’m tired.

I’m once again reminded of the fact that I have far less reserve than I had before Dominic died.

Even though I’m stronger and better able to carry the load of grief and handle his absence I still experience a constant and unrelenting level of stress that means I simply do not have the ability to absorb extra demands on my emotions or physical strength like I used to.

And I am also reminded that people think because it’s been eight and a half years that I’m “back to normal”. They see me smiling, laughing, walking in the world like everyone else and assume it’s no big deal to take on additional responsibility.

But it is.

It is still very MUCH a big deal.

I can’t Spend the Same Energy Twice.

I’m not sharing to garner sympathy. I’m sharing because I hope that if you have also had a rough week you won’t feel so alone.

It’s OK to admit we don’t have the same energy or resources we once had.

It’s OK to ask for help.

It’s OK to not be OK.

Christmas 2021: I Already Need a Break

I’m writing this on the first of December although it won’t be published until tomorrow, the second. I’m already tired and I haven’t even taken down Thanksgiving much less put up Christmas.

This past week has been full of unexpected twists, turns and surprises. I’m just not very good at navigating those curves like I used to be. I can white knuckle through them but it takes a lot out of me.

Thankfully, none of the worst case scenarios played out and my family enjoyed some sweet times of fellowship and celebration.

But I’m pooped.

I’m often caught between what I wish I could be and what I actually am.

I want so much to be the mom that makes sparkling memories instead of the mom who muddles through. But I can’t quite bridge the gap.

I honestly don’t think it matters how long it’s been since your child has left this earth, it’s always hard and each year presents unique challenges. The one thing that remains the same is my need for grace-to extend it to others and to have them extend it to me.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

So for the next several days I’m going to repost some of what I’ve written in the past few years about surviving the holidays.

Here’s the first one: Grief and Post-Holiday Exhaustion

Not As Good As I Once Was

When Dominic first ran ahead to Heaven I resisted having any kind of calendar visible. I didn’t want to mark time passing without him to pass it with me.

I’ve since resumed my yearly ritual of hanging the big blank picture calendar in my kitchen-the only way I really know how to keep up with doctor appointments, family visits, birthdays and other important dates in spite of technology.

I don’t know about you, but days turn into weeks turn into months almost faster than I can count them. Even during this pandemic pause or craziness or whatever you want to call it, life goes on.

I’ve been busy but not overwhelmed (most of the time!). I’ve tried to tackle some home projects that had been neglected, organize things, take a few trips here and there to visit family and (did I mention?) get our ducks in a row for my husband’s retirement.

I’ve often written that grief doesn’t only change the way I think about the past but it also changes the way I experience the present.

And while I’ve gotten oh, so much better, at pacing myself, granting myself grace for milestone days and simply saying “no” to extra demands, I still find that having a hole in my heart shapes how I approach even the most mundane tasks.

I’ve had to make a lot of phone calls lately-tying up loose ends, getting new healthcare lined up, making yearly doctor appointments, getting dental work done (which I hate!). Long minutes on hold still-STILL!-make me feel trapped and out of control, even when I put the phone on speaker. Repeating myself over and over to the “next available representative” echoes the many times I had to tell of Dom’s demise when I made all the necessary calls to people with whom he did business.

It’s funny where your mind goes when forced to sit and wait.

Some days I’m just done by lunchtime. Even though there is a lot of day left in the day I am out of steam for taking advantage of it.

I’m learning to prioritize and knock out pressing tasks earlier rather than later and leave the rest until tomorrow.

Trouble is, the tomorrows are adding up and piling on.

I’m not sure there are enough days left in this year to get them all done.

I used to be a dynamo-regularly squeezing two days’ work into one. Now I don’t think I ever get a full days’ worth out of my waking hours. My writing has suffered since it’s something I only do well when I feel rested and caught up on other chores.

I’m not the person I was before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven. I’m slower, less organized and definitely undermotivated.

The calendar accuses me of how little progress I’ve made.

Maybe I’ll take it down again.

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: A Day in the Life

This incident happened a few years ago but it could have happened last week.

There are still days when grieving Dominic wraps itself around my heart like a vise and makes everyday chores and choices difficult.

❤ Melanie

If you get up every morning and go to work-I applaud you!

Most of my days start with work, but I don’t have to go farther than my own property to discharge my duties.

But today I had to get going extra early for a doctor’s appointment with a specialist about 50 miles away.  So I rushed through my morning chores, double-checked I had everything I needed and left home by 7:10.

I had to park in a parking garage-no easy feat when you drive a full-size pickup and the spaces are designed for mid-size cars.  The low roof, confined space and limited light make me feel trapped and uncomfortable.

Read the rest here: A Day in the Life

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: Seriously. Why Can’t I Keep My House Clean?

I freely admit I was never a housecleaning fanatic.

With a busy family, a small farm and mountains of paper, pencils and books scattered around I was content if the most obvious dirt was swept up and the sink free of dishes.

But, I DID have a routine.  I DID clean my bathrooms and wash clothes and make beds and vacuum the rugs on a regular basis.

Not anymore.

Even all this time after Dominic ran ahead to heaven, I have not reestablished any kind of rhythm.

Read the rest here: Why Can’t I Keep My House Clean? Grief and Everyday Responsiblities

Face Toward the Son

One of the magical aspects of sunflowers is how they move through the day to always face the sun.

Like other plants, they depend on light to make their food but unlike others, they seem intent on thanking the source.

I am always encouraged when I pass a patch of sunflowers standing stalwart, saluting in unison the life-giving rays. They remind me that I am just as dependent as they are.

I can’t draw breath without the light and life of Christ in me.

Praise: The Secret to Living Above Circumstances - FaithGateway

But I forget that sometimes.

Clouds of sadness and despair obscure my vision and I’m tempted to turn away. Life gets hard and I wonder why it has to be like that. Responsibility grows heavy and I can’t lift my head.

So I lose sight of the Son-who He is, what He’s done and how He continues to sustain me even when I can neither see it or feel it.

It’s just then I need to turn toward Him.

It’s that very moment I require extra grace to look up (which He supplies) and extra faith (which He endows) to see clearly.

When I do, He always renews my strength.

“Don’t you know? Haven’t you been listening?
    Yahweh is the one and only everlasting God,
    the Creator of all you can see and imagine!
    He never gets weary or worn out.
    His intelligence is unlimited;
    he is never puzzled over what to do!
 He empowers the feeble
    and infuses the powerless with increasing strength.
 Even young people faint and get exhausted;
    athletic ones may stumble and fall.
But those who wait for Yahweh’s grace
    will experience divine strength.
    They will rise up on soaring wings and fly like eagles,
    run their race without growing weary,
    and walk through life without giving up.”

Isaiah 40: 28-41 TPT

Holiday Hangover?

Sometimes the day or the week after a holiday seems extra hard.

Deflated. Exhausted. Weepy. Irritable. Discontented.

All words that can describe a heart once the dishes are washed and the celebration ended.

Some of y’all probably woke up thinking, “I did pretty good on Mother’s Day” only to be blindsided by the tears you managed to hide and the grief you managed to stuff.

Read the rest here: Holiday Hangover

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