Grief – A Way of Self Help?

Ignoring Myself by Helping Others

It’s been four months since my mom passed away, four months…it feels like I’ve been in this sorrow for so long, but literally, it’s only been a few weeks.
I’ve not yet figured out the grieving process. I don’t know what I’m supposed to feel or when I’m supposed to feel it. There’s no playbook, no directions, no instruction manual giving you time-frames and deadlines. But who knew that? I sure didn’t.

I remember from psychology classes learning about the stages of grief. Okay, so you hit it stage by stage and come out on the other side. Right?!?
No one tells you that you will ascend and descend this grief staircase over and over again. Sometimes it feels like you’re stuck in an Escher painting where the stairs have no end, no beginning. You are just there, abandoned.

I worried because it took so long to mourn, to actually cry. Then I became worried because I couldn’t stop crying. The roller coaster of emotions then fueled by my loved ones around me mourning. Or worse, not mourning at all.

So now, I find myself in this weird dynamic where two people that I am incredibly close too are experiencing their own loss of a parent. Suddenly I have all the answers, and I know all the right things to say. I am, after all, a seasoned veteran of this. It was four months ago, ya know.

As a friend, I’m reaching out and just listening. I’m attentive to their pain in dealing with what I’ve learned to be the worst time of my life.

Here I go again. I am putting so much care into others to disregard myself and my own needs. My own self-care has taken a back seat to everyone around me. I think I do this on purpose because I genuinely don’t know how to care for myself.

My mom’s death has created rawness within me. I’ve lost patience for the little things that don’t matter. I have stripped away so much of what guarded me for so long. I’ve become brutally honest when it comes to sharing my feelings with those around me. I know at times it’s awkward for them to hear, but I feel it must be said. Is this self-care?

I am not candy coating grief to those around me like was done to me. Maybe that’s why I kept expecting to get over her death like getting over an illness.

In my honesty, I can only tell them that losing a parent is horrible and whatever they feel, and whenever they feel it, it’s normal for them. Don’t sit back and expect this sudden break in the clouds, and everything goes back to normal. Normal has transcended into something else. Something foreign and sometimes excruciating.

I don’t know anything about self-care or how to begin. But then again, I didn’t know anything about grief either.

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