When you lose someone in your life that is close to you, there’s a part of you that dies as well. As I was entering my 20’s, I knew that there would come a day when my parents weren’t with me anymore. It still didn’t seem real. It felt like if I just pushed that notion to the back of my mind, I could make the whole concept disappear. It isn’t as if I had never had any friends or relatives pass before, but I think I shielded myself from the true pain of it all. As crazy as it may be, the first death in my life that brought me physically to my knees, was my dog Boscoe. That was in 2005. My mom died in 2008. I often look back and think to myself, what if I had known in 2005 that she only had barely 3 more years to live. Would I have called more? Come over more? Done anything, SOMETHING differently?
I cried for weeks when Boscoe died. Suddenly, every moment of every day I was talking to myself. “Oh my God, what if Mom dies?” “Oh my God, what will I do when Dad dies?” I was overcome with fear. In the past, death seemed distant and I felt untouchable. Now, it was right here, present in my life and I was terrified. I had nightmares, my depression became worse. Most days I was lucky to take a shower, and I could no longer work. My poor husband. Stuck by me through all of it. At one point, I had gone so long without leaving the house, that on the day that I finally decided to, the battery on my truck was dead.
I wouldn’t allow myself to enjoy birthdays. It meant getting older. It meant getting closer to dying. I worried every minute about my parents……my husband. Why is he late? Death now terrified me and there was no escaping it. The idea of dying consumed me.
Sometime in 2006, I can’t really recall when I began to feel like life was getting a little clearer. Like maybe things were going to work out OK for us. We had bought our first house, and things were really looking up. It was then that my mom started to get sick a lot. She always seemed to have the flu, trouble breathing. January of 2007 she really felt ill, and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have a vehicle at that time, and I really didn’t think I could help.
It was June of 2007 when my dad called me from the car. He had my mom with him and they were rushing her to the hospital. She had a doctor’s appointment, and was having so much trouble breathing, they put her on oxygen, and sent them straight to the ER. How did I not know it was this bad? Why didn’t we get her help sooner? Dear God, please don’t take her…..that was all I could say. Please don’t take her.
When I look back on losing my mom, and everyone else that has passed, it really scares me how little I am able to cope with grief. If I had one wish it would be to learn how to effectively process grief. I know I am always going to feel an overwhelming sense of grief due to those that I have lost and will lose. I just need to learn how to accept the fact that I am in pain, process it, and get through it.
What are some ways you process grief?