Monday, February 02, 2015

So far

So far, third day after death, I am really tired all the time. And unmotivated. I stare at things and try to remember what I was about to do with them- does the milk go in the cupboard or the fridge?- and then put them back on the counter and give up. I don't feel actively sad more than ten times a day, but it's almost exactly like having a pain or illness that you're learning to cope with, a constant, back-of-the-mind sensation that I am borderline ignoring, but is still there, dragging me down. C. S. Lewis compared the death of his wife to amputation- you may heal and manage to get around, but the limb is still missing, and it will always be missing. So I wonder a lot why I'm so tired, and then I remember that Oh yes, this is probably grief. Again.

And in bad moments I get very irritated at myself for not soldiering through and cheering up through force of will.

My desire is to sit on the couch reading or watching something stupid, and being immobile. The children are preventing me from doing it. I am working on being grateful to them, and not brittley cheerful with a tearful or angry reaction waiting just underneath for when they don't immediately accede to my commands, which is pretty much always. So far I'm mostly resisting telling them they have to be nice to me because I'm so sad, which is an unreasonable thing to ask a three-year-old for, and an unreasonable burden to place on them. Mommy is sad. I can't make my sadness their responsibility. I can let them know that I am sad, but I can't make them change to accommodate me. I can just lower my expectations for myself, and give them lots of hugs and manage a reasonable proportion of read-aloud time, and then send them off to play a lot so I can go back to staring at a wall. Thank God they have so many siblings, and thank God they run in a tribe now and sometimes I don't have to break up fights more than twice an hour.

1 comment:

bearing said...

I think you have to treat yourself, when grieving, with similar gentleness to when you are ill. Yes, mothers of small children have to stay being mothers all the time, even when ill or grieving; but there are many ways that you can be gentle to yourself.

In my experience, grieving needs extra sleep, and grieving needs space to be without having to make decisions. So it's good if friends can bring you some food, and it's good if you can cut back on things that will make you physically or mentally tired. It's not an illness, but it is draining like an illness. Give yourself permission to rest and drink fluids and get help from friends for a little while.