Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 and Grief

It is our nation's day of grieving for the destruction of the World Trade Center and for our belief that we couldn't be attack in our own country. For ten years we have watched people grieving on TV for those they loved.  We have watched them struggle to find meaning to their lives and to carry on after their loss.  

I now understand their grieving on a deeper level than I had before losing Tom.  I lost my beloved parents, but I had young children, a living to earn, and I had to carry on with my life with no questions and no time for grieving. 

Izzy and I lost our beautiful Katrinka in February and our beloved Tom in April.  We are still working our way out of loss.  Our hearts still ache with the need to have them back with us even though we know we can't.

Since I lost Tom I have become aware of how deeply grieving sends you into pain in your body and in your Soul.  I've learned that grieving is not only emotional pain, but grieving also affects your body and your mind.  Hospice writes, "Grieving affects the whole person.  There are physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and behavioral manifestations of the grieving process."  I have asked my doctor and my Hospice worker if I have had a stroke?  My mind doesn't work.  I can't find the words on the tip of my tongue or floating just out of reach in my mind.  I stutter.  I look at people with a blank expression as I have trouble comprehending what I hear or what I am suppose to do.  I really believe I must have had a stroke.  How could grief do this to me?  How could grief make it so hard to do my blog which is one of the joys of my life?  How could grief leave me staring out the window for hours on end?

I was stunned and am still stunned at how deeply grief affects a person.  I couldn't drive for the first week after I lost Tom.  My son had to drive me everywhere.  Then when I started going out on my own I had panic/anxiety attacks whenever I left the cottage.  Once I drove downtown with the back hatch of the van open.  Another time I asked Izzy what is that strange sound?  It was the side door of the van wide open.  

When grieving you question every conviction and belief you held dear.  How can they be true if Tom is gone?  The grief leaves you not only feeling overwhelming sadness but hopeless, your very sense of confidence and worth are questioned.

So on this day of remembering and grieving for those lost, remember those left behind to deal with the grief.  If you know someone who has lost a member of their family, talk to them about the one who has passed.  It helps so much to remember and talk about your loved one.  No matter how long it has been for a person grieving, never say, "Aren't you over that yet?"  You are never "over" it.  Each day you just go on, hoping that a zest for living will return.  With the help of family, friends, and a professional helper like my Deb, I am told that my life will go on and I will find peace.  I hope so.  Right now that looks a long way off, but Izzy and I continue to put one foot in front of the other and hold each other close.

Izzy during her vigil for her "Daddy" at Lack's Cancer Hospital.

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