Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Fountain of Time sculpture in Washington Park ...Image via Wikipedia
Webster's describes grief as sadness, sorrow.
No one tells you that grief has no timeline. Understanding grief is not an easy thing unless you have experienced it yourself. It never goes completely away. Three years in and I still feel it on a daily basis. A part of my spark for life is gone and I'll never find it again. That's just how it is.

About a year after Ben died I remember telling my boss that I was starting to feel like myself again. I was getting motivated and feeling things turning around. All he said was "It's about time"!  I hung up the phone thinking---It's about time, It's about time... I was so upset by those three little words. When he said that to me it made me mad. Madder than I had been in a long time. Who did he think he was? What right did he have to say that to me? Did he not know what I was going through? I sat on the couch the rest of the day. Just sat there watching mindless TV until it was time to go to bed. It's funny what words can do to us. He didn't motivate me or make me feel good about feeling better. He just pissed me off and it made me realize that I really wasn't getting better at all. Did he have a clue what I was going through? Of course he didn't, how could he. Life was moving at it's regular pace for him. I was stuck in a time warp. 

Everything is so immediate in our culture. We expect people to just pick themselves up and move forward.
But death gives you a different perspective on life. Things that once mattered are not really important any more. For awhile just surviving is what's important. That's it, just making it to the next day. AA says it best with their phrase "One day at a time". I kept that ever present in my mind. The next time someone said to me "it's about time" I quietly said a prayer for them that they weren't standing in my shoes. And then I repeated to myself  "One day at a time, one day at a time"...

Thanks to all my readers out there for joining me on this journey of healing. I realized this weekend that this is hard but it's good to be able to share with all of you. I'm moving forward. It's a slow process but it's happening. Remembering and feeling and getting it out of my mind and on a printed page is freeing.
Does that make sense to any of you? Has anyone experienced the same thing?

Peace and Luv to all,

Monday, July 19, 2010

Death and the zombie effect

Corvus corax This photo shows a pair of birds ...Image via Wikipedia
A zombie---that's what I became when I was told Ben shot himself. I was in a world of surrealism. I was a zombie going through the motions of life. Shocked, zoned out, so out of it I could not feel anything but the pain of knowing my only son was gone and my daughter was now an only child. Something I knew about was being an only child and I didn't want that for my children. That's why I had two, but now there was one. For some odd reason that was ever present in my mind. My zombie body was doing what was expected. We had a memorial and I stood there afterwards while friends and family told me how sorry they were. Looking back on it now I am extremely appreciative of everyone who came that day and I hope no one will be offended by this but all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and be left alone. I was going through my zombie motions and didn't want to talk about it, didn't want to have to be nice to people, didn't want to socialize, didn't want to see anyone, I wanted to be anywhere but there. The shock of death does that to you. It puts you in an entirely different zone.

The lesson here is to remember this next time you have to visit a grieving friend or relative. Remember that they are not all there. They have experienced a shock. The worst shock imaginable---The Death of a loved one. The first thing you want to ask is how are you doing. How do you think they are doing? How would you be doing? I wanted to scream at the people who asked me that. Oh I knew they meant well. But really, think about it. Deep down you know how they are doing..

So what should you say. I've given this plenty of thought and I think the best thing you can do is let them know you are there if they need you. I'm here if you need me. That's it, just that. And then be there. Being in zombie mode makes it hard to tell you what we need because basically we don't have a clue, we can't comprehend much of anything. My friends---God bless them---they gave me my space but didn't give up on me. I should clarify that---my good friends gave me my space and didn't give up on me. This is when you find out who your true friends are. When you find out what relatives really care. There were many people at Ben's memorial and I'm not talking about each and every one of them. I'm talking about people who I thought were close to me, people who I thought mattered. Before Ben's memorial my phone just kept ringing and ringing, after---not so much. That alone taught me who cared and I truly value that today. I realized my energy is best spent on the people who matter, the people who cared enough to just check on me, just a phone call or an invite to coffee. I am forever grateful for the ones who stopped what they were doing and took the time to care. So if you are on the other side just make the call, not a daily call, once a week will do. No matter how small the gesture it matters more than you will ever imagine.

The zombie state is temporary and when your friend returns to consciousness he/she will remember and be forever grateful you took the time to care.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A little about me finding my New Normal

I don't really remember where I heard the phrase---A New Normal. I just remember thinking how am I ever going to feel normal again. I soon found out, the normal I once experienced would never again be a part of my life.

My life was forever changed on October 1, 2006. That was the day my son shot himself. He was 24 years old. He had been suffering from depression, a depression that started when he was 13, around the time his dad and I were divorced. Through his teens I took him to different doctors and psychologists. They spent time listening to him, put him on various medicines for the depression and said he was coming along. He took the medicine sporadically, told them what they wanted to hear and suffered silently in his mind. Until that fateful day when it all became to much and he found permanent relief the only way he knew how. He lost all hope, all hope that tomorrow would be a better day.

His last note to me was short---"This is my way. I love you mom". Not much more than that.

It was his way to find peace and it plunged me into my own private hell.
I went into my own depression that lasted three years and only recently have I been able to find my New Normal. With this blog I will be sharing more about my journey to find my new normal. 

Can I help you find your New Normal?

If you have been affected by the loss of a loved one, if you have seen your world come to a crashing halt because of death, if you have had a hard time relating to friends that have lost a loved one---then this blog might be what you need. Join me on a journey to a better understanding of grief, death and how you can survive the loss of a loved one.