Not that there’s anything wonderful let alone stylish about grieving, no. There can’t possibly be. Grieving is a sad time, drains all your energy and makes you want to do absolutely nothing but think about and cry for your loved one.
The first month is usually busy – you can’t really grieve in the first week. You are in shock, you are numb, and you don’t believe it happened. Then as the burial day draws closer, it begins to hit home that this could actually be final. The burial day is tough, very tough. But again the numbness is a shield, a protection of sorts.
People are around you all the time, they are there attending to your every need. They do the dishes, they wash the clothes, the house, they cook, and most of all, they mind the children. Life seems to still be moving on.
There are visitors night and day. They want to be with you every moment. Those who didn’t make it during that first week come and spend time with you. It’s priceless, it’s awesome. They bring laughter and they bring sad stories. They cry with you and bring you gifts. This is continuous, so you don’t notice how much time is passing.
The second month rolls in, and ‘healing’ is expected to be happening. Life has to go on for everyone else. I must also brave myself and pick up from where I left off. I get ready and go back to work. That’s a story for another day. The family resumes it’s ‘normal’ routines. What is normal? I don’t know.
There’s lots of encouragement still, this time mostly virtual, long distance. People can even get angry at you during this phase. You should have moved on.
Then the third month kicks in, and cold harsh reality begins to unnerve you. There’s no going back. There’s no group of wonderful people to pass the time with. Everyone’s busy, and time is scarce. Responsibilities begin to pile up from what you were expected to do in the second month. You have to catch up.
And as all this is going on, you are still missing your beloved person. I am. I am still missing my son. I have to deal with the realities of the changing seasons, and with the fact that I must bear this alone – or with the people who are still there, whom God has allowed to stay.
So I engage in different activities, to pass the time. Time will come and go; days, weeks and months will. If I don’t take charge, I will be in a zombie state for a very long time. So what do I do?
- Unique grieving: I realize that I am grieving in my own unique style. I bonded with my baby boy from the time I started wanting to have him. I bonded with him through every trial, every pregnancy test, every cramp, every scan, every flutter and every kick before he actually appeared to everybody else. I bonded with him during the day and during the night, in my tummy and on my tummy once he arrived. That, I will never forget. My grief spans longer than the 10 physical months he was here on earth. I have much more to work through, I register, admit and accept that.
- Mum!!!: Then I call my mum. I call her and we talk. She prays and I cry. She says the sweetest things and I wet my pillow. We talk for hours about this and that, all revolving around my son. My grief. Her grief. Our grief. She worries for me. She loves me. And I love her. And that’s just about all I can bring myself to say about that for now.
- Cry-buddy: I go to the shower and take forever. I believe the shower’s crying with me too. Freely, warmly, with abandon. I punch the walls and sigh. Then I use sweet-smelling shower gel and tell myself that it’s going to be okay.
- God: I read the bible and meditate on what I know. God remains faithful and friendly, and He’s the one holding my son. He can see a much bigger picture than I can. I listen to nice music and I sleep.
- Music: Sometimes I go to sleep listening to music that I closely associated with my son. I cry and wake up at 2 a.m. to turn it off. Sometimes I listen to worship music, and I believe that God is holding me, and I slip into His arms as I sleep. I wake up in the morning, phone battery dead. That sort of music is better. It rests me completely.
- Friends: I thank God for great friends who want to do fun things with me – even when I am oh, so sad. We go out, we laugh, we share stories. And we cook. Interesting new things, and have fun. Then I go and try them out at home – and gladly, my family loves the outcome.
- Shopping: I go shopping. Window shopping, just to see. Oh well, and some real shopping too – though I’m trying to avoid overdoing this. It can never replace my loss. I avoid the kids section as much as I can, and simply stroll through the rest. There must still be some beauty in life, surely. There must be hope of better things. I walk around the city, let my mind wander, then I go home. At least I varied my reception of the sad reality.
- Media: I freshen up again and then begin to watch movies and series. I watch at double-speed, sometimes faster. I watch as many as I can, till as late as I can. Even 4 a.m. God knows I need the distraction. Bless my friend who gave me a full paperbag of these things to watch. Bless her beautiful soul.
- Bucket-list: I think of new things to try out. I create a bucket-list and begin to do those things one at a time. I must have an accountability person, else I will not accomplish anything. I enlist some 2 friends. I hope they’ll keep me in check. But just in case, I consult my to-do list every day.
- Stable routines: I create routines and timetables for the things that must be done, and delegate those. I may not be able to think about them daily, so I set rules and ask for them to be followed – the menu and the time planner. They are saviors! I don’t have to think of that now. Even when I’m away – mentally or otherwise, I know that the home is running well. I hope I won’t fail as a wife and mother as I try to get a grip on myself. God help me.
(That’s just some of the ways in which I’m coping during this period. I am not writing about my husband and my daughter, no, not now. I don’t think I will, I don’t feel that they would like to be on this platform right now. But pray for us all, thanks.)