Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Exhaustion of Grief



I can't remember when I have been so thoroughly exhausted.  For the last two
days I felt as though each move was almost impossible.  The tiniest of chores
sends me back to bed.  I don't remember feeling this way when my Daddy died.
I was so occupied looking after my newly widowed Mom that I did not have
time to grieve.  It has been as though I am grieving the loss of both of them
now at the same time.  

Early each morning David heads off to the gym before work.  The house
is dark and empty.  I wander into the kitchen, let Bentley out and make a
cup of tea.  Thank goodness for the instant hot tap because I have not had
the energy to heat up a kettle on the stove.  It takes me a couple of hours
to unload the dishwasher because I have to do it in stages.  First the plates,
and then sit down on the stool at the counter.  Then the flatware, another
break and on and on.  Who would think such a simple task could take such
effort.  

Normally I look forward to my workouts every day.  I pop in a Pilates
dvd and enjoy every moment.  I am trying to keep up the workouts
because it's good for me, but my heart is just not into it.  I break it up into
15 minute segments to simplify it, but it's still such an effort.  This 
morning I did some Tai Chi.  That was a bit easier for me.  I keep 
wondering what has happened.  Normally I am like a racehorse.  Give
me a bowl of oats and I am ready to run.  Now I am dragging.  

I found a few things of Mom's to add to her room.  A couple of
things I want to paint and fix up.  I would like to get busy with that
and show you pictures, but I just don't have the energy to do it.  It's as
though I have the flu without the virus and without the temperature.
My  headache has lasted for two days and I very rarely ever have one.
My shoulders and neck ache.  David suggested I go have a massage
but I am too tired to hop in the shower, get dressed and go over to the
spa which is really close by.  Too much effort.

Yesterday I spent most of the day in my jammies looking at old
photograph albums.  One album I had not seen for years.  It contains
pictures of my Daddy when he was a little boy.  Grandma and 
Grandpa at the little summer cabin on Lake Erie.  Daddy with his
little sister Ruth.  Daddy with his favorite Uncle John.  Grandma and
her sister Twila (who looks like me).  I always wondered where I got
my nose.  My nose is upturned.  Daddy's was straight and fine.  Mom's 
was too.  I got a "little girl" type nose.  From who ~ from Great Aunt
Twila that's who.  Daddy's family loved to have fun.  Picnics, antics
always laughing and smiling with lots of family.  Grandma's brothers
all so blond and Swedish looking.  My Grandpa came from a family of
five brothers and they were all fun loving.  They all lead such happy and
family oriented lives.  Knowing this gives me some peace.

The day before my Mom died, my Aunt Susan slipped and fell in her
bathroom and broke her hip.  I have been worried about her.  She came
through the surgery just fine but is hard to have much of a 
conversation with her because she is a bit loopy from the pain meds.
Sometimes things just seem to happen all at once. 

Well, I am getting tired again.  It is time for me to take a nap.
Now that I have Mom's ashes back and the copies of the death
certificates, I will have so much paperwork to do and so many
phone calls to make.  I will only be able to accomplish a small
bit at a time.  The process of grief is exhausting.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley




35 comments:

  1. Sweet Susan, my heart goes out to you. I know it is cliche, but with time, your heart will heal and your strength will be renewed. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, keeping to your routine. Cling to the One who loves you so much. Let Him carry you through this difficult time. I'm reminded of the "Footprints" poem where sometimes there are two sets of footprints through life and other times Jesus carries us leaving behind just one set of prints. Praying for comfort and healing.
    Blessings,
    Nici

    "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." ~ Isaiah 40:31

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  2. Hang in there, darlin', you'll get through. You're stronger than you think you are. At these times the Lord gives you what you need to go on each day. Since I've gone through this most recently please take care of yourself. It's so important as you don't want to break your health down. I know it's hard, I still have crying breakdowns even after four months but things are getting better. Cherish all of those memories of your little mother and your family. You're in my prayers, Susan.
    Blessings,
    Shelia ;)

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  3. Just take as much time as you need, Susan, and don't feel you must be as efficient as you like to be. Grieving is hard, hard work, and it's necessary work. Blessings!

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  4. its sounds like grief and despression sweetie. talk to your doc about it. there is help to get you thru this period .
    you are in my prayers and I send you healing light and much love.
    Sonny

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  5. Grief has no time table and no set of rules. Everyone deals with it differently. I imagine that, now that you are no longer taking care of your mother, there is a 'letting go' of sorts that couldn't happen before when your father died. And that letting go is affecting you physically and mentally and spiritually. It's okay. Don't question it. Just be. Do only what you have to do. Exercise can wait. Actually, most everything can wait. Don't push yourself.

    xo
    Claudia

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  6. I am no expert, but what you describe sounds like grief to me. I think looking through pictures and reliving precious memories, etc is exactly how you deal with grief in a positive way. Now if you are in this exact same place months and months from now, maybe there is an issue to worry about. Meanwhile it's not as if you have accomplished nothing--you wrote this blog post. Perhaps if you get joy writing then that is an avenue to pursue in regards to your parents' memories? I don't know if you have children, but either way your writing down some of your memories of them/your childhood, etc. or of your grieving process would be of value to either yourself or someone else or both? Meanwhile, make your Mom's room beautiful, and enjoy letting guests enjoying it later bring you more joy.

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  7. Susan - My heart aches for you. I have lost my Mom, my Dad and my youngest sister. They were all devastating but when our little four year old great grandson died, I just couldn't seem to recover. Then suddenly one day, my thoughts turned from the horrible life he had the last fifteen months to before he got sick and I suddenly started thinking about good times. It just changed overnight. I still think about some of the bad times, the chemo, etc. but remember more of the fun times we had. So, just give yourself whatever time it takes and take care of yourself. You are in my prayers daily.

    Judy

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  8. I just found your blog and I am charmed. But my heart aches for your suffering. And you are right, grief is exhausting.
    Take time for your soul to grieve. Just knowing that both your Mother and Dad are together in Heaven and more alive right now than they have ever been. You will see them again one day and spend eternity loving them. Oh the glories Heaven must hold. :)
    Bless you.

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  9. Oh, Susan. I wish I were there to give you a big hug. You are getting a lot of good advice in the comments. From experience, I know the pain doesn't last forever. It's a gradual decline. At some point you won't feel it anymore, but don't think that means you will have forgotten your sweet mom, you are now ready to enjoy the memories.

    XO,
    JAne

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  10. Ahh, dear Susan. Your entire life has just been dealt a huge blow. Losing your mom so suddenly and unexpectedly is an incredible loss. You had no opportunity to prepare yourself mentally for what might lie ahead. Losing our parents is an awful thing on so many different levels. You do not need to recover quickly. You do not need to accomplish anything while you are mourning the loss. This is a time for you to grieve in whatever way you need to. In earlier times mourning was expected to be the only activity after a death of a loved one. It was fully expected that it would take months and months before the mourner would be ready to resume "normal" life. We have gotten away from such a limited range of activities "allowed" while in mourning, but that does not mean that grieving is no longer necessary. We each grieve in the ways we need to. You do not need to feel guilty about what you do or do not have the energy for. Let yourself be, One day you will find your energy and interest in accomplishng things again. But in meanwhile, you are struggling with the loss of your mother. She who bore you, raised you, loved you, and cared for you every day of your life. It will take time for you to learn how to let her go. It is time you need to take. Hugs
    Mellodee

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  11. My dear, I feel all of your pain, At the moment we are going through the process of hospice and last days.. I'm totally beside myself wondering what and how and later and this and thats.. Just let your body do what it has to.. I feel basically the same way num .. the good thing is you have your hubby I don't have one.. So I really feel lost. My heart is with you even though we really don't know each other.. Blessings.. One day at a time.. with love Janice

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  12. Very sorry you are going through such a bad time. Things will get better with time as you know since you lost your father. Everyone deal with grief in different ways. There are several grief groups you should attend. I have been the one to handle all my family losses and it is not easy. I only have in my immediate family now, three sisters and one son.

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  13. So sorry to hear of your loss. Just take it slow and easy and don't make yourself do too much for a little while. Sending hugs.

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  14. I am soo sorry for your loss . You are going through the grieving process for sure it is normal and it will soon get easier . I went through the same thing when both my parents passed more so when my mum passed as she passed suddenly . One day at time my friend one day at a time . We are here for you to .

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  15. Oh my sweet Sister, grief is such an exhausting process. PLEASE eat eight small meals a day. It seems that when you are grieving, a big meal, just kicks the heck out of you. Try and stay quiet in the morning. Start your day, after your tea of course, with a little quiet time with the Lord, ask him for strength to carry you through the day. At times, you will have to ask for strength to carry you through an hour. But ask, he will be your strength. Be kind to yourself. I KNOW that you are I are both Type "A" personalities ;-), but there is a time and a season when we have to breathe, take care of ourselves and just know that God is with us. The days will get better, slow and steady ~ keep the slow and steady pace. and most of all remember to hug David and Bentley. You are strong, you are brilliant and soon your old self will awaken. You just need to grieve your great losses. I agree, you probably didn't have time to grieve your Daddy, now I guess it is time. Take care my dear sister, remember I am still praying and thinking about you ~ as always ~ (((Hugs))) xo

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  16. Susan, I can relate. I've had a difficult time getting my rhythm back since mom's passing. Grief takes a toll, and it's a process that takes time. Be gentle with yourself, and allow yourself time to grieve. I know David and Bentley are a huge comfort to you. Know that you are in my thoughts.

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  17. Oh Susan, you remind me of when my dad died right before Christmas a year ago. We didn't bury his ashes until April and that's the day I really remember. I save a little to plant by the white rose bush he gave me a few years ago. I didn't do it last year because I had my knee replaced but plan on doing it this spring. Take your time to grieve. Enjoy your family. My thoughts are with you.

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  18. give yourself lots of time to grieve. when your heart is heavy - it is so difficult to do every day things. just know others are praying for you and your family. cuddle up with Bentley when your hubby is at work and let your heart mend. hugs ox

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  19. Dear Susan....Just got caught up on your blog and oh my gosh, I was so shocked to read that your mother had died.

    You have soooo many good memories. And you will never regret having lived with her, even though there were difficult times, too. You were a good daughter and loving. Hang on to that thought.

    In time, the grief will lessen. For now, know that many people, myself included, keep you in thought and prayer.

    Please accept my very deepest condolences. May her heart and soul rest in eternal peace forever. Susan

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  20. Oh, Susan. I am so sorry to read this sad post - I did not realize that you had lost your mother. It is the most difficult thing in the world, but happy memories can keep her with you always. Many, many hugs from me - I have been there...

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  21. Susan,

    I am so very sorry. I can't fathom what you are feeling. I had a friend who'd lost a child tell me last week that she got through it by forcing herself to get up every morning, putting her makeup on and moving around even if it was just around the house. Please find the strength to do that. I also think it's important to allow yourself to feel whatever and however you are feeling. Wish I was closer - I am moving to Texas soon. In the Dallas area.

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  22. Oh dear Susan, it is so hard when we have lost both parents - it's a feeling of grief so deep no words can describe it. Give yourself time, lots of time, to walk through this. Know that your friends are lifting you up in prayer. Rest all you need.

    Love you, Mary

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  23. You are in mourning. So stay in your jammies and sleep and rest, yes / it is what you need. We are all behind you :)

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  24. Susan, I am so sorry for your loss. May God comfort you. In II Corinthians 12:9 He says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
    Hugs, Beth

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  25. My heart goes out to you in the loss of your mother. Grief is a strange and capricious thing. We lost our oldest son this past June; he was only 43 and had ill health for many years but his death came suddenly and unexpected at that time. I, too, felt like a huge weight settled on both my body and my mind. A friend who had experienced her grandson's death told me to be very sure I took very good care of myself and my health during this time because we are apt to let everything go. I've tried to follow her advice and am glad that I have. Treat yourself kindly; let the tears flow ... they will come at the most unexpected times; remember the good times and hold them close in your heart. It's been eight months now since my son passed away and it still hurts but it's more of a dull pain, not the sharp knife-like pain that I felt at first. I can breathe now; I thank God for walking with me through this "valley of the shadow of death" and bringing me out the other side to a more peaceful place. He will do the same for you. My prayers for your healing and blessing go with you.

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  26. I am so sorry for what you are going through at this time. Grief Is exhausting. Time will layer over the freshness of that grief. Cocoon yourself now and cry for your loss. Both my parents died years ago and I still burst into tears every once in a while. I've decided to write down my childhood memories for my children. It's something I should have done long ago and I think it may have healing qualities. Please take care.

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  27. I hope you take your time in this journey you are on. Your body is telling you when it is enough, and resting is the best medicine at this time. Somehow, in our world, we have decided that grief needs to be handled and done quickly and quietly and efficiently. If you look at most corporate handbooks, the death of a loved one can qualify you for usually one to five days of "bereavement" compensation. Anyone who has gone through this knows how totally ridiculous that is. When you thank them for that compensation, but tell them you will need more time than that to be away so you can heal, they look surprised and a bit annoyed in most cases. You tell them you understand that it is without pay, but they still tend to tap their foot waiting for you to come to your senses. Be SURE to take your time, and do this on your own terms. Each person's grieving process is different in both manner and time. You will know when you are ready to move on, and it truly happens a bit more quickly than you can even fathom at this point. Time is a great healer, and rest and reflection are the way to arrive at that place when YOU know you are ready to move on. Your Dad and your Mom will be with you forever in your heart and in your soul. Take the time you need.

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  28. I am so sorry that you are going through this pain, sweet friend. Grief is a terrible process, and each of us experience it differently. There are so many of us that love you and are praying for you. Wish we could do more to help. xo Laura

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  29. Dear Susan, the physical exhaustion and weakness you are going through is a natural result of the great loss you suffered with the passing of your mom. It happens to most of us but it is not something that is often written about. What has happened is that your heartbeat, which naturally attunes in synch with those who are physically closest to you day in and day out, has been thrown out of rhythm by the loss of your mom's heartbeat. So, you see, the emotional and mental pain that losing a loved one causes is also felt physically, in a very real way. This out of rhythm blow causes us to be short of breath (although we may not realize it at first), feeling weak and constantly tired, weary to our very bones. It is an extreme effort of will to do anything, even go to the bathroom. What you need to do is take it easy, and pay attention to what your body is telling you. You need to rest, NOT exercise and push your heart to a place where it cannot yet go physically. You may do more harm than good to your heart if you try to keep up your old routines at this time. Your heart will adjust, but it takes a little time, I would say at least 10 to 12 days if not longer. I know this from personal experience. I lost my dad in 1980 but as mom was now a widow, we (my siblings and I) all rallied around to take care of her - and being with so many people around I do believe mitigated the heart going out of synch for awhile, plus the fact that my dad was not in my household, he and mom lived in their own place, so I was not around them except for visits. I lost a much beloved special man in October, 2012, and I was on the couch for close to 2 weeks. I had to drag myself upstairs in the mornings to change clothes, wash up, and then get ready to go to work! (We were not married, and he was not a relative, so I did not receive mourning time off work - 2 days. But dragging myself to work each day actually helped because I was surrounded by people with hearts to which mine was attuned after working together for so long - at that time, more than 9 years.) I could not bring myself to sleep upstairs in the bed, I slept on the couch in the front room in my clothes, feeling like I was going to die myself, sometimes. My heart, literally, was "breaking" -- those people who wrote about such things thousands of years ago, they knew what they were talking about. Today we poo poo such concepts but just because we don't pay much attention to our real selves these days doesn't mean what those old wise ancients said is not true. That is what you are experiencing right now - an actual physical reaction to the death of someone physically (and of course, emotionally) close to you. Hang in there. Your heart will adjust to the new "rhythm" in your household, but it will take a little time. I felt I had to post this after I read your earlier post about your plans to finish the decorating of your mom's beautiful room. I came across your blog at Cozy Little House Tweak It Tuesday. Hang in there.

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  30. I just read Jan's comment about the heart rhythm disturbance -- now I know why my heart would go wacky when I lay down to try to sleep at night. My breathing was labored too and it was pretty disturbing. I knew it was stress because of my son's death but I didn't realize that our hearts could beat in sync with those close to us. Makes a lot of sense. My son had many health challenges and I was very close to him as we tried to deal with each one over a period of many years. My life was entwined with his even though I am married and also have a younger son with whom I also have a very good relationship. This is good information for all of us to have.

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  31. Susan - I have read the comments above and you have some wonderful blog friends that are giving you good advice. My daughter passed away 9 years ago after 15 years of NF2 (tumors the brain and spine). You never get over losing someone you love; it just becomes a part of who you are. I know some folks poo poo antidepressants but my doctor put me on one to get me through the rough times - all the things you are experiencing. It just got me over the hump and now I no longer take them. So, you might just visit with your family doctor and tell him how you are feeling. Love you and praying for you. . .

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  32. You're getting a lot of good advice from people who have experienced grief and who care about you. I am new to your blog, but want to tell you not to expect too much of yourself right now. Do what you body is telling you to do. And later when you're up to it, check into grief meetings at your local hospital. It's surprisingly helpful. Making an appointment with your doctor is also a good idea. I am not a "pill person" and consider myself pretty strong, but believe me they can be helpful. And the most important thing to remember to is "breathe" - deep cleansing breaths really help. All my best to you during this difficult journey. You're surrounded by friends and they will help you through this. Take care.

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  33. Not sure how I got here but I wanted to just say Hi and I am so sorry for your loss. Yes, grief is exhausting. I lost my brother back in November and I felt like I was in a total fog at Christmas. Blessings to you and prayers for your grieving heart.
    Katie
    http://katietreasures.blogspot.com

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  34. I truly feel your pain. Grief is exhausting and a process that has to be stepped thru. I lost my Dad in October. My brain has
    been scrambled eggs. Prayers are coming your way. I enjoy your blog and just recently found it. Talking really does help and
    just the plain old passage of time. <3 dalorson@gmail.com is where you can find me. Take care.

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  35. Hi Susan,

    Please take care of yourself. All the domestic duties of the household can surely wait until you feel up to getting them done. Right now, you need to do what your mind and body are telling you and that is to get plenty of rest, physically and spiritually. Tune out, recharge and relax in whatever way is helpful to you. You are experiencing grief, and this is what it is supposed to feel like. Listen to your inner being and just be.

    Thinking of you, take care.

    xo
    Poppy

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Bentley and I LOVE and read every comment.

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