The Path to Healing: My Grief Journal

I am continuing this journal in blog format so from this point forward the NEWEST entries will be at the TOP.

Use the links at left for the older entries:
Month 21 = May 2004,
Month 22 = June 2004, etc.

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Friday, December 31, 2004

I think I've been starting to feel sorry for myself lately. I think I am getting an attitude that people owe me something because my baby died. It's like it's this "ace in the hole" that I am using as an excuse to be irritable or selfish when I choose.

My heart is not so sensitive and fragile as it was at first so the tears don't come nearly as often now. I don't feel the intense sadness, but more of a vaguely uncomfortable feeling around pregnancies and newborns and even just happy family things. I think it's still the sadness, but it's harder to identify. And I guess I hate the feeling so I get angry - and jealous that I've lost what those around me have.

So I get irritable and angry at those around me. In a strange way I think I'm punishing myself by not letting myself enjoy things fully. I know early on, when I was the most depressed, I would forget to eat and I would think to myself that I didn't deserve to eat. It was strange, but I wonder if I'm doing the same thing now.

The more I think about it, the more I realize I am getting a victim mentality. The thing that makes it hard for me to express this is that to so many people, if we don't "get over it" in a few weeks or months, they think that's what we're doing: playing the victim. And so I don't want to support that way of thinking at all, nor do I want those early in their grief to fall prey to that thought, either. So let me make this clear:

Grieving is not feeling sorry for yourself or playing the victim.

However, where I am now, I have to guard against starting to go that way. It's been over 2 years; but that's still a very short time with the grief still relatively fresh. And I can tell that because of the discomfort I still feel in many situations. So I'm certainly not saying I should be "over it" (I don't think I ever should). But I am saying that I need to watch my attitude. I have learned so much and been so blessed through this - I am forgetting that.

So I am deciding to focus on the blessings and stop "qualifying" everything good with "but my baby died", even if I only do it mentally.

And most people still don't know what to say or do for those who are grieving. There was a time in which I had realized that, and I had learned not to resent that. But now, after all my pleas for people to have patience with those who are grieving, I am losing patience with their lack of understanding. Maybe some of it is hearing from others who are earlier in the grief process and wanting to protect them from the mistakes of those around them. But I need to redirect my emotions. Instead of getting angry at those who don't know what to do, I need to focus on supporting those who need support.

So I am resolving to change my outlook on things. God has brought me a long, long way, and I have not been giving Him credit for that, and that's going to change.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

We rode the Polar Express train! It was really neat and the kids had a lot of fun. There were two moms and their little boys across the aisle from us. I really enjoyed watching them; they looked to be about 2 or so and were really into the singing and seeing Santa. Seeing their excitement as well as our kids' made it a really enjoyable evening.

I didn't realize until the next morning that I hadn't felt any pangs of sadness watching those little boys. What a gift God gave me that night: enjoying a wonderful evening with my kids without that thread of sadness. I thank Him for that magical evening.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I had to laugh. I had been so stressed about this week at work - so much left to do before my vacation starts. I have a lot of end of the year loose ends to tie up and we have this new computer system we are supposed to kick off this week and I need to be training everyone in the factory on it. I don't know how I'll get it all done.

Then I got laryngitis. Totally. No voice at all.

And I had to laugh - obviously I can't do the training now! So, without guilt, I delegated the training to others and worked on the other things I didn't think I would get to.

God is amazing! I've been praying about my stress level and I never imagined he would use laryngitis to relieve my stress. And I hear Him saying again, "just trust me, Mindy."

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

I am depressed. No question about it. I am missing Abigail greatly - I should have a two-year-old who should be totally excited about Christmas. Instead I just miss her. One thing I realized is that even though she died 2 years ago, she's still dead! I still miss her this year because she's still not here this year and she would have been doing different things this Christmas, and I'm missing that.

Add to it that I am just hating my job. I don't enjoy it at all anymore, and a big reason is that we don't have any fun anymore. We used to laugh a lot and now there is hardly anyone left and we are so overwhelmed and frustrated that we don't laugh. Having fun made it bearable, and now it isn't. And my sadness at home isn't giving me anything to "carry over" into work so I'm just down.

We're going to the grandparents for Christmas, and I don't want to go. But when I started thinking about what I'd like to do for Christmas, I don't especially want to stay home either. I'm just not looking forward to Christmas or anything for that matter.

Yesterday my girlfriend asked me what I would like to do, what would be fun, anything at all. And I really couldn't think of anything - nothing sounds fun.

Yes, I'm definitely depressed.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Even the births of my other children are hard for me to think about. Today is Nathan's birthday and on the way to school we were talking about when he was born. And I could barely do it! For a long, long time after Abigail's birth I couldn't even look at my other kids' baby pictures at all, and now I can, but it's still hard.

I can't figure out why that's so hard - they're my kids who are the joy of my life! But I guess any birth just still connects me to Abigail's birth. And maybe in some subconscious way I'm afraid that if I remember too much about their births I will forget too much about Abigail's??

We won't be having any more kids, but I wonder if this is similar to what it's like to have a healthy baby after losing one? The joy is still there but is bittersweet because of the connection to the one who died?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

This year seems harder than last year! I am so weepy lately - mainly when I am alone in the car. The other day I was shopping for gifts for the kids and I was into it - thinking about how much Sarah will enjoy it. Then when I got back into the car, the sadness just washed over me. I haven't been this up and down for quite a while.

Lately I am once again feeling more of a need to connect with others who are grieving. Is that because my grief has come to the surface or has my grief come to the surface because of the connecting with those whose grief is fresher?

This year Abigail would have been the right age to really get into Christmas and enjoy it, and that is tearing me up. But it feels like Abigail is "old news" now, especially when I see the intensity and crisis of the grief of those who are going through their first holidays since their loss.

Relative to the fresh grief, my needs pale in comparison, so I don't bring it up. But I need an outlet to talk about what I am feeling - and it is hard to do so when I am the "senior" person in the group. But where is my senior person who has been there before me? I have friends on the board, but no one in person here.

My dilemma is that the friends who have supported me all along by listening don't have any real advice to give me because they haven't been through it. But I just need to tell them anyway. But I feel, and maybe it's just me again, that they will really think it's old news and they will really feel like "fixing" me. After all, I've been functioning more or less normally for a while now and won't this "setback" require some fixing?

I don't think I'm being fair - putting words in their mouths. But I feel so strangely needy again and I guess I feel that I've failed or something. And I know how hard it was to support me all along and I don't want to put them back through it again, especially right now before the holidays.

I don't know. I can't figure this out. I thought I was in the foothills (The Journey) but they seem to be getting a little steeper instead of smoother.

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