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Gargantuan Grief

I have worked with folks who are dealing with grief for years. My sense of compassion pulls on me to hear the stories & share the sorrows. I don’t think our culture does a good job of handling loss. We want to stuff it, avoid it, & just make it go away. I became a Certified Grief Specialist in April of last year so that I could have more techniques to help clients work THROUGH their grief vs putting it on the back burner of their souls. “They” say that experience is the best teacher. Yet does that mean if one has more losses one is more able to deal with it? Not necessarily. Grief is a process, not a destination. Unfortunately I don’t think we get to a “done” place so much as an “I can smile today” place.

The last several months’ grief has become a permanent resident in my heart. After losing a friend, an uncle, and a mother-in-law in the past 18 months, I lost my own daddy after long years of illness in December, just days after I had moved both of my parents into Assisted Living. My mother is still there, though the person she once was isn’t always. I know my dad is resting at last & that gives me peace, though getting through the reams of paperwork associated with his death is just another rock on my spirit. I fought to be their caretakers and I got it, though there is a part of me that longs for the days when my dad would come running just to buy me lunch & put oil in my car, when they knew the answers to my questions. Now I’m supposed to be the one to at least TRY to figure it out - Have you read a VA form lately????- which seems like a gargantuan joke of the worst kind.

It’s a “normal” rhythm of life: one is born, one lives, & then ages & hopefully after a long age, passes beyond this life. We don’t get to determine what the endgames are until that particular game is over. My “game” is still ongoing, though the rocks I mentioned earlier weigh heavy. I miss both my parents, though my mom’s body & part of her mind remains. I’m proud that dad trusted enough in me to take care of her & at the same time I feel burdened beyond belief. I get angry, sad, depressed, though I think I have stopped bargaining (for now) & I have tiptoed across acceptance, all the stages of grief. As I tell my clients though, the ride isn’t linear, rather more like a pinball machine. And as much as I want to get off this particular merry go round, there’s no healthy way except for through. So I let my tears fall when I hang up the phone after a “weird” conversation with mom, or when I see a picture of my dad’s headstone. I have new flavors of grief added to my plate. I grab onto whatever I can to help me get through: friends, family, faith & of course counseling. Won’t you let me help you too?

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