I can safely say that I work harder at avoiding my grief than I do working through it. Avoidance is a coping mechanism that many use, including myself, to push thoughts and feelings back to a place where it won’t “hurt” so much. After 10 years at this grief thing, I can tell you that the pain still hurts and I don’t like it much.
For example, I avoid dusting a particular area in my living room where family photos and where many of my photos of Brittany and her ashes are. The act of dusting causes me to slow down and look for more than a second at her pictures or her ashes box. Picking up items that have such meaning, that carry memories that remind me she is no longer alive. With each item I pick up and carefully dust and place back on the shelf, the pain swells up inside me. By the time I’m done with the entire shelf, I am consumed with grief. I don’t think that will ever go away.
I also have a chest full of her things including her American Girl Doll that was created to look similar to her. The glasses she was wearing when she died, I still cannot touch without weeping. There is even a hand mold that the Life Team talked me into doing after she had just passed away. I slowly place my hand on her hand and it’s so painful I just put it all away and close the chest. I am consumed with grief.
Avoidance works for me because it helps me live through each day so that I can live somewhat of a normal life. It is actually important to me and those around me to be as normal as I can for them. It helps me work and do the things I need to do to care for my family. But there is a cost to avoidance. It is exhausting. It is painful.
I have to figure out this small space in my grief where I can privately grieve for my loss and live in my current life that I am forever grateful for. It’s a narrow space where I don’t always navigate well. Even after 10 years I still get it wrong. It is an evolution that I feel I’ll always be working through.
Until next time,