It’s been just over 3 years now since I lost my amazing, wonderful dad, and at the time I was preoccupied with being strong even though I didn’t mean to be. I hadn’t realised I’d squashed feelings down that burst out every now and then, and that I was at the start of a really huge and difficult learning curve. I didn’t know how to be very emotionally open and lived defensively around other people. I still do, but far less.
Through bereavement counselling, I’m gradually learning how to be vulnerable to hurt and how to gradually let grief in. For someone who feels every tiny glimpse of an emotion like a tidal wave, this is really hard. I’m learning that grief isn’t a process that, once gone through, disappears, but that it comes and goes like the ebbs of a tide. It’s cyclical – just when you think it’s gone, it returns again. Counselling is helping me face the fact that my dad has gone, face the trauma I went through then and previously, and most of all it’s helping me be kind to myself and not try to rush through the intense and really, really painful feelings.
I’m not trying to ‘get better’ now, I’m just learning to live with the grief – I’m not sure it will really get better in the sense that I thought I’d just go back to normal after a certain length of time or a certain number of cries. Now I understand that grief strikes, hard, whenever it damn well wants to. It plus the PTSD I have from past events both take so much energy away from just living. So I’ve learnt to count my energy in ‘spoons’ (spoonfuls) which can be vastly depleted down to somewhere near 0 from 10 by such activities as socialising too much if with too many people, or revisiting the hospital where dad was treated.
Today, I have only a tiny bit of a spoon of energy left so I’m going to have a nap to build it back up again!
What do you find takes your energy supply near 0 when you’re grieving?