A Keeping It Real Post
How is everyone holding up? Shit got real, fast, didn’t it? I’m on Day 13 of isolation and won’t lie; it’s getting to me. I’ve already survived the worst thing in the world, so this is just something else to get through. But that knowledge doesn’t make the isolation any easier.
Last week I shared tips for newbies. Today I want to talk to my fellow bereaved, including those of us that are a bit more seasoned in our grief journeys. This situation is unprecedented in our lifetimes. And we’re being forced to make decisions and survive, without our person. And it hurts the way ripping open an old scar does.
Flashbacks and Muscle Memory
My body has remembered this, like muscle memory. I’m back in my house, the one from which I ran away. Again. Trapped. Again. I’m sitting on my couch alone. Again. When the weather is pleasant, I’ll go out for walks or to bask in the Vitamin D, but it hasn’t been that way where I live for the last few days, and the lack of sunshine and activity has taken its toll. It is still March, after all.
Up until two days ago, I was more or less okay. Then the grief bomb hit. I couldn’t understand why I was suddenly emotional and crying all day. I was shocked and a bit afraid of how easy it was for me to go to the dark side, with dark thoughts. I haven’t felt this alone since D died. Stupid muscle memory and quarantine! I can’t even get a hug from my Mama. Re-grieving sucks, even when you recognize it for what it is.
If this sounds at all familiar to you, reach out and get some help. Our grief community encourages and helps hold each other’s heads above the water when we’re drowning. Don’t underestimate the power of connection with those who understand your pain, if not your journey.
Thank goodness for my guardian angel, my best friend who always knows when I’m on the edge of a cliff and grabs me by the hair and pulls me back until I can breathe through it and regain my footing. (I love you so much!) The same goes for the lovely people on Grief Twitter. More proof that even when we’re isolated, we aren’t alone.
When was the last time you spoke with your grief counselor? If the re-grief is getting to you, call them and schedule an appointment. Many are still seeing clients in person (including mine), and I would argue vehemently that this counts as an essential medical appointment.
If in-person appointments aren’t an option, ask them if Skype or Zoom is available. There are even apps where you can get counseling 24/7 if you need it. Whatever you need to do, do it. We’re in this for the long haul. Don’t wait and create a secondary crisis by neglecting your mental and emotional health at this time.
And the burden is on us to communicate with those we love. This is true on a good day, but especially in isolation. Don’t assume the Normals in your lives have a clue what you’re feeling. Since I’m a helper by nature, people believe I have my shit together and don’t need anything. (The three humans in my inner circle are laughing their asses off reading this right now.)
I put myself in a downward spiral when my family was asking everyone else if they needed help, but not once did they inquire about me. Don’t judge them; we have some seriously bad health stuff happening in our family right now (STAY THE F HOME). But that one tiny little oversight pushed me back to 2016 when I felt alone and irrelevant and questioned why I was still alive on this planet.
I know. Extreme. But it’s how I felt. Unlike in 2016, I was able to express how that made me feel. The genuine shock and comment that they thought I had it all together and didn’t need anything made me laugh. And I took it for the “you’ve come a long way, baby” compliment it was.
(Friends and Family, please check on your Widows right now. We feel all this so much more intensely.)
So here I am. When the swamp bubbles of 2016 make their way to the surface, I make time to feel the feelings, acknowledge them, and release them. Be kind to yourself in the weeks ahead. And if the ones closest to you forget to ask, I’ll do it. How are you feeling? Do you need anything? I love you, and you aren’t alone.
Live Now. Dream Big. Love Fierce.