Wednesday, February 13, 2013


“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.” ~ C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Let me start by saying I have experienced grief in my life. My grandfather died when I was 8, my guidance counselor died when I was 12 (he was a wonderful man that helped me greatly during my awkward middle school years), and my grandmother died when I was 22 within a week of my ex-boyfriend dying (his sister was one of my best friends and I was pretty close with their family). 

When my grandmother and Justin died within a week of each other, I handled their deaths a little differently. My grandmother had been sick for awhile and I was able to be there in the hospital and say my good-byes. She had lived a long and good life, and although I was devastated by her loss, I knew that it was just her time. Justin's death was a freak accident and happened so quickly we were all left wondering how and why. That type of loss is extreme and hard core. 

When my brother died without warning, I experienced for the first time the absolute worst pain. I remember my other brother telling me that Jason was no longer with us, that he had passed away. I remember screaming no and throwing the phone away from me like that would make it not true. And truly the rest is a fog. I cannot remember the drive to Olympia. I don't remember the dozens of phone calls coming from family and friends. I have the memory of seeing Jason at the coroners for the last time, holding his hand, kissing it, and crying over him, telling him I loved him. I remember my husband pulling me from the room. And then the fog came back. 

For the weeks and months that followed, it took everything I had to get up, get the kids ready and delivered to school and then picked up in the afternoon. I would lay on the couch or bed and cry. I cried everywhere. The grocery store, the bank, the pharmacy, the doctors office, etc., etc. I cried in the shower and after everyone went to bed I would go to the bathroom and cry silently for hours.

I do remember seeing people going about their business and thinking "Why is that person here and not Jason?" or "I would rather that person be dead than my brother.". I know it sounds horrible, and I truly don't want anyone else to feel this way, but in those dark days, there is no sensor to your thoughts. Reality is skewed. Life is in limbo. I have never in my life felt as close to physical violence as I did when people would tell me "God has a plan." or "These things happen for a reason." I wanted to shout at them "Fuck your reason" and then punch them in the face. To be honest, that feeling has yet to go away and I highly doubt it will. Because there is absolutely no reasoning with my brothers death, there is no justification God or anyone can give me that can ever make his death right. 

There was a time I sat outside of New Seasons Market and cried for an hour. I kept telling myself I needed to calm down and get in there to get the things I needed to get but I could absolutely not get myself out of the car. When I finally did get into the store, I walked through with tears running down my face and huddled into a bathroom stall until I could calm down. 

It will be a year next month, and it still does not seem real. I play games with myself that he is just away for awhile. Or that I am really just in an obscene nightmare and I will eventually wake up. I can't find it in myself to believe that he is never ever going to call me or give me his huge bear hugs again. I just cannot believe that such a wonderful and loving person can be forever torn from my life. Where is the fairness in that? He was 31 years old and a happy guy. He loved his family and friends and in turn we all loved him back. He spoke his mind and was honest. 

In dealing with my grief, I have come to realize what I am willing to deal with outside of it. I have changed as a person. I don't laugh as quickly or as easily as I used to. My ability to handle other people or their drama is quite low. Instead of preferring large crowds and places, I prefer being alone with my family or to just deal with small groups of close friends. I detest talking on the phone and avoid it as much as possible. I prefer light-hearted books, simple easy reads like a Nora Roberts story or even those teeny bopper type books. Same with movies. Nothing too serious or that has me thinking. In general, everything in my life is being kept as simple as possible. 

I have talked with some people that have experienced this type of loss. They have been a great help to me and helped me realize that though the pain will never go completely away, it will some day be at a much more bearable level. I have hopes that there will come a time that I can say his name without my heart breaking or relive some memories without feeling like my chest in caving in. Until then, I take one step at a time and pray that I can get through the day. That is all, at this point, I can expect from myself.

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