Thursday, August 6, 2009

Moving Through

(Please forgive the lack of links; I'm writing from my b.berry.)

Thank you all for your comments from my last post. They really do help. I'm feeling a lot better, if a little shaken.

As Tash and others suggested, I think I hit a bump in this pot-holed road of grief. God, does it suck. I knew I had been doing better, overall, but that I kept getting hit by twinges, and unexpected triggers of moments of sadness. I guess I mistook them for the bigger bumps in the road.

A few months after my mom died, I participated in a support group held at one of the area hospice offices. It was a decent group, run by a couple of social workers. One of the things I remember best was the concept of the STUG: a (seemingly) spontaneous, temporary upsurge in grief. These would happen forever, though less and less frequently, as we grieved and moved farther away from the loss.

I suppose I could say that this may be evidence of my progress, as -- even with all the stuff going on in my life right now -- I have not felt so bad in some time. Longer than I thought.

It was horrifying to go back to those feelings. The deep grief, the severe depression.

It was not spontaneous, though. Several bloggers had anniversaries reecently, or just shared their own feelings of continued grief, the process of moving on. Some wrote about triggers. (Tash, I had actually read the post you mentioned in my comments. I found myself affected more than I would have thought.)

So, all of that; the arrival of my niece and my visit to meet her, family stuff; my TAC and all that it implies/brings with it; school starting; memories of August 2007, and of the very long road since August 2008; the prospect of starting all that again. What else? You name it.

One huge trigger. Or a bunch of small, but potent ones.

A few weeks ago, C and I talked about the possibility of spending Christmas at his folks. We both thought we should make a point to try. Maybe a half an hour later, we were wastching a rerun of Bo.nes, the one where they are all stuck in the lab over Christmas because they might have been exposed to a communicable disease. At one point, all the characters' families/loved ones come to see them (through a glass, of course) and playing over the montage is some song about having a merry Christmas or being home for Christmas. You get the point. I started to cry. I asked C to turn the channel, I was so upset. Out of nowhere. Wasn't I just saying I was okay with Christmas? STUG, said C.

Yeah. So. Not as aware as I'd like to be.

Once I made it out of the initial grief over losing my mom, it was hard for me to really let go and cry. Not just tears, but *really* cry. Too hard to go to that place again. I was reminded of that in the last few days. Gof, does that hurt.

So, I think you all are right, and that this is a part of grieving. Another step in the process. I just need to go through it. No way out but through.

In those dark moments, it's hard to remember that. The STUGs. The triggers. It's hard to remember in the good moments, too.

Progress is not linear. Or maybe it is, and these dark, hard times are just more dark, hard times to endure in the process. No such thing as smooth sailing.

I'm sorry that you are here, but I'm so glad that I have you to light a match, lend a shoulder or a strong arm to lean on. I hope I can do the same for you.



Michele said...

It's such a circle, isnt it? The way we move through grief? Some days at the top of the circle, some days at the bottom. God only knows what makes us move on it and how we get from one point to another... What takes us there so quickly or so slowly...

Sending hugs...

Ya Chun said...

STUG, luv it.

and of course we are here for you hun. It's great to share the good and the bad with those who get it.

And you wouldn't believe how happy I am now that I am pregnant, I can think of projects around the house - even tho I am worried and we don't even know now if *anything* is going. I know you will feel this same buoying overall uplift when it happens for you now that you've had your surgery. I wasn't sure I was ready to handle it, but there has been a big relief too.

Tash said...

S, you nailed it. Lost of triggers. This isn't a wrong thing, this isn't a bad thing. (Granted, it's not a cheery fun thing, but you get my point.) It's just something that you need to feel. Strangely, the triggers may change, or hit you differently depending on what else is going on. And that's ok too. It's all valid, this.

You've already done so much by sharing the boys with us.

Mirne said...

You're right. Grief is not a linear thing. There are times when you think you're doing really well and it builds up your confidence, but then you are even more surprised when suddenly it feels like the floor is being ripped out from under you. It's shocking all over again and you don't know what to do. But it is just grief. Just grief that hasn't finished with you yet.
I've been grieving for over three years now. It hasn't gone yet. I've come to realise that it will probably never be gone. But I'll become more used to it. It forms a part of my life. It's not shocking any more. I can let it be, and let it run its course.

erica said...

Thanks for sharing these reflections. I find the idea of STUG to be very helpful. Thinking of you - the bumps may be a necessary part of grief, but hitting them hurts like hell.

loribeth said...

We have a regular topic in our support group called "The Grief Spiral" in which we discuss the fact that grief is not linear, it circles around & sometimes moves back & forth. I actually googled "grief spiral" once & was surprised to find that C.S. Lewis wrote about grief as a spiral (after the death of his wife). I thought it was a pretty good description. Here's what he said:

"In grief, nothing 'stays put.' One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral? But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?"

The thing with a spiral is that even if you're travelling down, sooner or later, you start circling back up again. (((hugs)))