Time Moves Differently in Grieving


Time Moves Differently in Grieving

I wish there was some way to explain to people not traveling this road of grief how time moves differently here.

Yes, it has been months since Mom passed/moved on/left/died. Believe me, I am well aware of that painful fact. And okay, sure you have had a loved one pass/move on/leave/die but your journey is different than mine, your grief is different than mine. And honestly you probably had family/spouse/parent to help you cope. I have cats. Not the same thing. So I really can't explain how my journey is different than theirs. I sometimes think they have their fingers in their ears going "la la la" whenever I attempt to talk to them.

Yet these people keep trying to tell me to "look on the bright side", "stop being so negative", "cheer up", "get over it already" and how they too have been through "tough times" but I "have" to see the glass as half full. Uh-huh. Not to get technical but the glass IS full, half of it just happens to be air. But that's a whole other story for a whole other blog about being a geek/nerd surrounded by non-geeks/nerds.

Having to constantly remind people that grief is a process and that I am still in it, working through it, trying to deal with it on my own five months later is exhausting. Just had to do it yesterday when I said that Saturday had been an awful day and right away got told that "as a friend" they needed to tell me to "be more positive". What? Exhausting is an understatement. Funny thing is the "awful" had nothing to do with Mom and everything to do with a snarky computer, cat vomit, and the cold weather.

Sitting on the couch staring at everything that needs done is exhausting. Knowing there is a basement full of stuff to go through is exhausting. Cleaning out her closet and taking umpteen bags of clothes to Goodwill was exhausting. And I'm supposed to "cheer up" and get in the "holiday spirit"?

Gotta say the only "spirit" I want right now is to either (a) talk to my Mom's "ghost" or (b) get chummy with that other "spirit" known as vodka. But again, another story for another blog or maybe a book.

Having to explain WHY going to the symphony without Mom and how I cried all the way through the last concert because it was all music she loved was exhausting. Having to point out that the holidays are upon us and that these are the first holidays without my mother is maddening. How the heck do they think I am SUPPOSED to feel right now? Can't they see how this smile is painfully drawn on my face as they start to gush about their upcoming family gatherings and then turn to me and ask "what are you doing for the holidays?"

Since polishing off a case of wine isn't acceptable answer, I shrug and say I don't know yet. Felt like yelling "what the bloody hell do you THINK!?" but I didn't. Tempted though, but no I didn't. A time or two I did let slip that it was weird not to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner. REAL fast change of topic occurred before the words had finished echoing in the air. About got whiplash the topic shifted so fast.

It took until last week before it occurred to anyone to ask me to join them for Thanksgiving. And these weren't the relatives who leave a mere 3 hours north. Or my late husband's family, also within a couple hours driving distance. Nope. Okay granted, Les has been gone for more than 20 years and they stopped asking Mom and I to join them about 8-ish years ago after Mom kept saying no and guilting me into not going because SHE wasn't comfortable with them. Family is SUCH fun.

A neighbor asked me to join her family. A little late really, probably hoping I'd say I have plans but I didn't. To be fair another friend did ask earlier but an emotional day combined with an hour drive home in November on Ohio roads was probably not a good idea. This way if (IF? Ha! Who am I kidding?) there is wine I can walk home should I have too much.

Then there are the people who tell me I ought to go to Texas to see my father and that side of the family and I have to explain... again... that I used up all of my time off caring for Mom this year AND that there's no available funding for last-minute ridiculously high airfare. Seriously, where do they think I'm going to get that kind of money? Caregiving is expensive in every way imaginable. Besides, I travelled once during the holidays NEVER again. Lost luggage, sleeping on the floor in an airport, closed food stations... just miserable. Sure, that is exactly what I need. Not.

The biggest thing though is that time moves differently. Five months to others is both an eternity and a heartbeat ago to me. Feels as though it will be forever before my vacation and sick leave reset in April. That long before I can think about going anywhere. Don't cry every single day now, but I want to. Another thing you can't explain to people who aren't on this path. So much you can't explain. Or even if you tried - and I gave up trying for the most part - they wouldn't get it. Even those who have been here don't always get it because - say it with me - everyone grieves differently.

Thanksgiving is bad enough and only a few days off. Christmas is a whole other story. All the Black Friday shopping ads are in full swing, the what-are-you-going-to-get-that-special-someone messaging. Sure I have a couple of packages to send to Texas to small children who either (a) don't remember me or (b) weren't born yet the last time I was there but that's pretty much it. Why put up a tree or decorate? The last two years were depressing enough with Mom not having an interest in the season.

She's also buried so far away I can't even bring flowers or something. My aunt ordered the wreath for the grave this year, which was nice but I won't be able to see it. That doesn't help.

It's all part of the grief journey and I remember bits of it from when Les died. I went to Mom's in Connecticut that first year and so the second year was worse because I didn't go anywhere (i.e. run away). Stuck here this year so BAM! fully expecting to get hit hard. Only potential upside is that there is a kitten who is having his first Christmas with me this year, which is usually pretty funny. And come to think of it that is a good reason NOT to put up a tree. Of course since I'd like to get that holiday over with time will no doubt crawl every so slowly to December 25th.

Because time moves differently here.

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I have been taking care of my mother for ten years now. She’s 95 and has advanced vascular dementia. Tonight she had a horrible diabetic low and I really though this might be it, that I was going to lose her. Had to give her an emergency glucose injection. So I read your message with great empathy because not that far up the road I anticipate I’ll be experiencing emotions very similar to what you’re going through. But who knows what it will be like for me? Right now it’s simply unthinkable. I don’t believe I’m going to be that prepared. Who is?