Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Grieving.. on a spectrum

Even though we are still in that uncomfortable space of time between a death and a funeral (the funeral and burial for my grandmother is this afternoon) the range of grief is vast.  Some moments you are completely okay, others you burst into tears and still others your heart aches so much your chest literally hurts. 

And then you factor in children.  You may feel like your world just fell apart, but a little person with a very stinky diaper just wandered by and you have to change it.  You have to make the macaroni and cheese.  You have to brush their teeth.  And read a story.  Even though these tasks may feel all but impossible to do, you have to because live goes on.  The dog needs to pee.  The library books need to be returned.  The empty milk carton needs to be replaced.

I made about four trips to the grocery store over the weekend - just so I could grieve.  I could be alone with my thoughts as I circled the aisles.  I wouldn't have to talk to anybody and could process.  Mull things over.  I had to wait until I went to bed to really think and do my best to recall old memories.  What did she call me when I was little?  (I can hear her voice, but I honestly don't know... I insert a lot of different options, but none of them sound right.)  What did she smell like?  (A mix of black coffee, bleach and talcum powder).  What stories did she tell?  (She complained about her overly chatty sister Mildred a lot).  That is how I have gone to sleep every night since Friday, when I heard the news... I just think and try to remember.

I write.  This helps the most.  My posts were either started early in the morning or late, late at night, when kids were asleep.  But invariably life would intervene... Someone would get up or enter the room and the soundtrack changed from total silence to Dinosaur Train or Jimmy Fallon.  Depending on who it was.  I can't write about sad things (or anything for that matter) when life is going on.  I need to find my headphones.

Life goes on.  This is a school week for us - and school we must.  In the midst of a science discussion with Jordan - as we watched short video on Discovery Education (streaming videos) about temperature and thermometers, and my mom calls in complete tears.  She had just read another blog post of mine.  I'm on one end of the spectrum - discussing the boiling point with Jordan (the point at which water, in it's liquid form, reaches the maximum temperature it can before it changes from a liquid state into a gas - and that it doesn't just boil at the surface - the entire volume of water molecules is reacting to the heat *fascinating*!), and my mom is completely on the other.  I vacillated rather quickly.

The hardest has been looking at pictures.  A video of various pictures of grandma throughout the years will play during the wake after the burial.  I sifted through seven years of pictures - that is as long as I have had a digital camera, looking for pictures.  Not only did I find pictures of grandma Bobbie, but grandma Betty and grandmother Liles.  Three grandmas in ten months...hard to believe.  It's like continually salting an old wound.

One of the things I like about the social mediums we have at our disposal today is that we can all help each other through the process.  Brothers, sisters, aunts, cousins... we all share openly how we are struggling and grieving, and there is an instant support system.  I don't believe for a second that social media is destroying the social fabric or making communication impersonal.  Quite the opposite, in my opinion.

Today will be difficult.  Life goes on.  Jordan has an archery lesson this morning.  The kids need to go to Park Day and run in the sunshine for a little bit.  I need to collect $$ for scout popcorn.  And then we can all go home from our busy morning, change our clothes, and then head down for the funeral.  Somewhere in there I have to fit in lunch and a kiddie catnap... sigh.  Life goes on.  Don't forget the box of  kleenex.  And to breathe.

Now where's my list....

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