Category Archives: Sadness

How do you teach grief?

I am sad … and then I feel selfish, and helpless.  My Goddaughter lost her baby girl only a few weeks old due to contracting Group B Strep bacterial infection, GBS.  I had never heard of this insidious infection.  It has robbed my niece of her happy self.  Joy so quickly turned to sorrow.  And I don’t know how to help her through any of this.  I have dealt with my own grief so many times yet these days I am lost as to how to help my own Goddaughter.

I wish I could hug her and tell her things will get better, lighter with time.  But I know from my own personal experiences that is a lie.  Time doesn’t diminish grief.  Time doesn’t make it better.  Bad things happen to good people.  Things sometimes don’t happen for a good reason.

Logically, I understand and accept that grief is indeed an inevitable part of life; but knowing this doesn’t make getting through the day any easier.  Everyone grieves differently and I just wish I could spare my niece this unbearable pain.  I don’t know how to make her empty arms not ache to hold her baby girl.  I don’t know how to fill the wounded hole in her heart. I don’t know how to lessen the ache she must be feeling each and every minute.

How do I help her heal by letting her know that grieving is more than acceptable?  How can I begin to explain to her that loss has taught me to love more and appreciate life even more?  How do I show her that by writing, by sharing my own stories, reaching out to others has been my saving grace?  How do I teach her that love nor the pain goes away, it doesn’t diminish but when love grows I know there is life with loss, slow part of healing.  How do I let her know that she will always have a forever hole in her heart?

How do I show her my very own social face of grief?  I worry so much for her since I know how much grief can isolate one.  Depression and PTSD have isolated me too much in the past.  It has taken me a long time, and much effort to keep getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other … and now knowing what I deal with, I wish I could somehow spare my niece even the tiniest bit of this darkness.  I pray that she finds the strength to get up, move each day.  I know she will stumble and wonder how she can move when her spirits are so weighed down.

How do I let her know that my own grief still paralyzes me at times, that tears still surprise me?   How I do I let her know that choosing to live is a choice I make each and every day?  How do I express to her that although it has taken me a long time, and I still work at it every day, but I have learned how to live with loss.  I wish I could hug her and absorb some of her pain.  How do I tell her that it is okay to be happy and let joy in?  How do I show her that life changes and you grow from the deepest parts of your soul?  How can I show her how to claw from the bottom of despair and such unimaginable sorrow and pain over and over again?  How can I explain how grief teaches us to love more and reach deeper in our souls for acceptance for living?

I feel so much more deeply now because of my grief – its a cursing and a blessing.  I don’t know how to make things better for my Goddaughter.

I will never stop letting her know I am here … for whatever, whenever.  As I continue to work through my own grief, accepting that healing doesn’t mean I am never sad or that my memories fade … instead I try to relive certain memories, smiling through the tears, forever grateful for having those memories … learning how to embrace all of my feelings …. the love, the grief, the pain, the sorrow, the smiles, the joy … with grace in my step and hope in my heart.

 

 


Glimpse of a Genuine Smile

I am so tired of plastering a fake smile on my face, crying in the inside, keeping my tears at bay.  I just need a few hours with someone who I think understands me, my life, who cares enough to ask me about my day.  I am so lost most of the time, so alone … especially when surrounded by people.

But last night, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with some childhood, neighborhood friends and I found myself smiling, a genuine, sincere smile that starts at my heart and ends on my face.

Social media can be a good thing if used wisely.  I reconnected with a beautiful brother and sister who will forever be my step bother and sister.  Their Mom and my Dad dated while both were were separated.  Fast forward 30 years …we met for dinner, laughter, reminisced, laughed some more.  I went home with a genuine smile.  It felt so nice.  Even if fleeting.  I get lucky and appreciate those rare moments when I feel connected, loved, cared for and my smile makes an appearance.

I have always suffered from smiling depression.  Just put on a smile, brace myself, and get through the day.  It wears me out though.  Its exhausting.  Constantly hiding my sadness, my palpable misery behind a happy mask just keeps me at arms length from most people.  I get near but never fully close enough to someone. Always find myself on the periphery of their lives and even of my own.

The pain of getting close, of losing someone again, of struggling to get out of bed, the anxiety of learning how to breathe each minute of each day is too overwhelming most days.  So I smile, lean in, and pretend just about every day.

I go to work, to the doctors, out to dinner … I take tons of photos …of my food, desserts … I dress up, put make up on, get my hair, nails done, take selfies.  I am sure 90% of the time to the outside world, no one can see my struggle. How can they when I paint such a pretty picture?!  I hold down a part-time job, run a family, stay active but that frayed tethering line of rope just barely visible to me at times – somehow keeps me going – all the while I suffer for the most part in silence with panic attacks, insomnia, crushing low self-esteem and even suicidal thoughts.  I do share my story more these days, not like 10 years ago when I was too depressed to get out of bed, too weak to allow anyone in, before social media, before my blog.  Now I vent, share, open myself up more.  I work hard each and every day on trying to put myself out there.  Even if depletes me by the end of the day.

I have learned to keep negative, self serving people at arm’s length and I find myself being more appreciative of the smaller, less tangible things.  Gratitude really changed my life.

Sincerity, honesty, acceptance, sharing all have changed my life … so with tears in my eyes, smile on my face, hope in my heart, grace in my step … I move forward.  Looking forward to reconnecting, finding my genuine smile.

 

 


In My Veins

Watching episodes of Sons of Anarchy and all I can say about Jax and Tara’s relationship is WOW.

“We don’t know who we are until we’re connected to someone else. We’re just better human beings when we’re with the person we’re supposed to be with. I wasn’t supposed to leave. I belong here.”
―Tara to Jax

Nothing goes as planned
Everything will break
People say goodbye
In their own special way
All that you rely on
And all that you can fake
Will leave you in the morning
But find you in the day

Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out
Oh, you’re all I taste
At night inside of my mouth
Oh, you run away
‘Cause I am not what you found
Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out

Everything will change
Nothing stays the same
Nobody here’s perfect
Oh, but everyone’s to blame
Oh, all that you rely on
And all that you can save
Will leave you in the morning
And find you in the day

Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out
Oh, you’re all I taste
At night inside of my mouth
Oh, you run away
‘Cause I am not what you found
Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out

(No, I cannot get you out)
(No, I cannot get you)
(Oh no, I cannot get you out)
(No, I cannot get you)

Everything is dark
It’s more than you can take
But you catch a glimpse of sun light
Shining, shining down on your face
Your face
Oh your face

Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out
Oh, you’re all I taste
At night inside of my mouth
Oh, you run away
‘Cause I am not what you found
Oh, you’re in my veins
And I cannot get you out
(No)

No, I cannot get you out
(Oh, you’re in my veins)
No, I cannot get you out
Oh no, I cannot get you


Giving myself permission …

I feel like an orphan but it beats being the black sheep, the victim, the scapegoat, the whipping boy – well girl. Giving myself permission to walk away, stay away, limit my interaction with my dysfunctional family.

Today was my niece’s wedding and she looked beautiful. I used to think it was a shame that I didn’t really have a real, warm nor loving relationship with her. But she is 30 years old. Not a child. And she has made no real attempt at being connected with me. I have three older sisters who have always made me feel excluded, different, unloved. And sadly that just spilled into their children.

I debated for months to attend the wedding or not. But I chose to attend. But after learning where my assigned seat was, and being there for an hour and no one really spoke to me, cared if I was there or not – I left. I have also decided I am done. I no longer feel the need to attend any more family gatherings out of obligation, guilt, etc. I am done being ostracized, ignored, blamed for their own lack of awareness and insecurities.

For the past 40 years, it has been extremely painful for me trying so hard to fit into this dysfunctional family I was born into. I have always been the sickly, nerdy, introverted one. I feel like I have spent a lifetime trying to win their love and approval, but my efforts have consistently been met with indifference, coldness and even disapproval. I have spent years sacrificing my physical, mental and emotional health in toxic relationships under the notion that we have to because these people were my family – but no more. Yes, it’s time to terminate these relationships when the only contact I have with them is really just negative, strained. This contact only serves to bring me down, makes me feel I am not good enough, or I haven’t done enough for them. No more.

I am learning to accept that when my family members exclude me, it has very little to do with me personally. It’s all about them, who they are, their past experiences, their unmet needs, their inability to communicate in healthy ways, their fears, etc.

Rationally, logically – I get it. But I am so sad, hurt, lost, alone … yet I know I have to just find a way to calmly let it roll off my back. It hurts a lot to disengage fully but I know I need to. I have tried repeatedly in the past, but I am done. I need to be done. I deserve to be happy. My pain and wounds run deep. But my wanting, trying and failing at having a real relationship with my family leaves me feeling more alone. And then if I tried anymore, it would just bring out the worst in me, regardless of how evolved and self-aware I know I am. And the stress wreaks havoc on my health – which right now is too precarious to further compromise.

As I got older, I couldn’t understand why there was such a disconnect between us and why our relationships were so superficial. They have rarely shown me any willingness or ability to improve the relationship and all my past efforts to improve it, left me feeling worse. I used to sit, think, make myself sicker with anxiety and question all. Was it low emotional intelligence, poor self-esteem, bad upbringing, jealousy, or narcissistic personality … I am beginning to accept I will never fully know. I am so tired of my confusion, my grief and angst. Tired of my expectations not being met.

My heart is forever broken – I wholeheartedly thought my family was supposed to love me unconditionally and support, encourage me in good times and bad. But throughout most of my lows and highs in my life, they have not been there, they have shown very little interest in me, and sadly I don’t think they even know who I am. I know they don’t know who I am – impatient, sensitive, thoughtful, wistful, quirky, quick-tempered, brutally honest, super smart, socially awkward, brave, scared, lonely, tired, dying slow death…I know they don’t know how I feel too much, think too much and wish too much to be normal, physically healthy, and just fit in.

It’s my time again to be selfish, keep to myself. I will forever love them, but from a distance. I can no longer put myself in situations where I feel more estranged, alone. I don’t deserve it. I will continue to keep my heart open, with understanding even compassion but for myself as well. We will all have to learn how to cope with our own bitterness and regret, and continue to find the emotional strength and motivation to create positive change in our lives.

Today was hard. But it will prove to be beneficial to me in the long run, since it makes me aware of my deepest fears, wounds, and longings. I have the courage to look in the mirror and use what I see to work on my own growth … with grace in my step and hope in my heart.


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