Only 6 months, yet already 6 months. I keep telling myself that with each day passed I'm not one day further from Brandon, but one day closer to him. Some days that is comforting and some days it isn't.
Why is 6 months so much more "significant" then 5 months or 7 months? Because it's an easier way for our brain to categorize a length of time? Half a year?
I have found that, especially being Type-A, I want to figure out my grief. I want to check the boxes. Denial - check! Anger - not checked? Bargaining - check! Depression - double check! Acceptance - check. Ok - so, let's work on anger... I have some plans to go Gallagher on some watermelons soon. (For you youngins' click here to understand.)
But these are just 'normal' stages in grief. They are far from the only stages, and just because we can check the box next to it doesn't mean we have completed that step once and for all. Hardly. I feel like I have to accept this loss all over every day, often in different ways.
At my GriefShare group this week I stared at the carpet and for the first time it actually sank in that I have to raise a child on my own. ON MY OWN. That is a huge undertaking! And I am not prepared, at all. I have no experience with kids. I was counting on having the help of my husband. But I don't. It's just me raising Aria. Alone.
6 whole months, and I still woke up disoriented the other day. "Uhhh, why do I always have to get up to get the baby?" Oh, right - because I'm the only parent. This nightmare is still real...
So halfway through the first year, what should I expect in my grief? How can I categorize where I am? Well, for some the fog is just starting to lift and the pain is setting in. For others, the demands of responsibilities or dependents allow that fog to hang around longer. And yet many involved with "expectant death" or "terminal illness" started grieving long ago, and it may be 6 months - but it's also much longer then 6 months. "Everyone grieves differently." Gosh, if I have to hear that again my brain may explode.
But it's true. That's why it is repeated so often.
So I have no "how to" to reference. And I want one. I feel so numb. I robotically go about my days. I feel guilty that I am not crying over every "trigger". Shouldn't I?!? This bag of skittles should have leveled me. Why can't I cry about it? Ok, let's sit in the moment and journal about it. "They" say to lean into your grief. Don't run from it. Feeling it brings healing. But, don't chase after it either, because it will find you when the time is right. So what the hell do I do? Journaling brought me nothing. Am I still in shock? Is this acceptance? Am I avoiding the pain? Where do I go from here?
When we are somewhere we don't want to be, what do we do? Look for a way out. But the problem is, there isn't really a way "out" of this. You have to go through it. And you don't know how to do it other then trial and error.
In reflecting on all of this the other day I feel like God gave me a little gift of a memory from those horrific three months. Right now my brain has sort of blocked out that time unless I intentionally go digging through it. But I got flashes of the numerous times Brandon made a point to say, "I'm so proud of how you are handling this, hunnie. You are an amazing and strong woman."
During that time I was just trying to be his strength. Trying to handle myself with dignity. Find the joy among the pain. Cling to God, not run from Him in anger. I just wasn't going to let reality take me down and keep me from being the wife I needed to be.
And that's what I seem to be doing now, except substitute "wife" with "mother". I think this is exactly how Brandon would want me to be grieving. Seeking support, going about my days and bringing Aria joy and laughter. I think he would be proud of me. I don't need to be doing these things I think I "should" be doing to grieve.
Maybe that day will come where I am overcome with pain to the point of delirium. But maybe it won't. Or maybe it will just look different for me.
I'm working on finding peace in the way I'm grieving. Give myself the grace to just go where it takes me. Good days and bad days. Numbness or not. If I feel I am robotically getting through, maybe that's exactly what I need to do to survive as a single mother right now. Maybe that is simply the grace of God in my life? Maybe I am incredibly blessed that God is truly carrying the weight of this for me right now?
So where am I in my grief 6 months later? I guess just where I need to be....
*Note: As I quickly edit what I wrote late last night I am finding peace and truth in it. Today is our 9 year wedding anniversary - and by the grace of God I am getting through so far...