Sunday, March 17, 2013

Relapse Into Sadness, and Out Again

The article I read about stages of grief said they don't go in linear order (I already worked that out) and not to think there's anything wrong if you get weepy again after eight months.

Well, it was six months for me. I pretty much dropped my bundle at last. Got a heavy cold, spent days in bed, cried and wailed, recovered, two weeks later repeated the whole process all over again. I am now in the getting-better period of the second heavy cold. This time I eventually saw the doctor, who confirmed it's just a cold, not flu, and agreed with me that it has everything to do with grief and needing a rest.

Earlier on, I cried about Andrew 's physical suffering towards the end; this time it has been more about his mental confusion and everything that went with that. (Detailed in my Shifting Fog blog.) This time I spent hours and days weeping. It wasn't like that straight after he died. I certainly cried a lot then, but for only short periods at a time. Then my mind would wander and I'd find I had stopped. I'm sure, now, that it was a defence mechanism; subconsciously I was regulating myself to experience only what I could cope with. And of course, I had so much to do just after he died: practical things. I needed to keep functioning, not take to my bed.

I still have much to do, but the pressure has eased. I have slowed right down: not running on adrenaline any more, not racing to get everything — chores and extras — done, not having to maintain 100% vigilance about his wellbeing. I doubt that I could pick up that kind of speed again now! I told the doctor that I have become a lot slower and less efficient. He said, 'Good!'

I said to my friend James — Andrew's best friend, who still phones up every so often to see how I'm doing — 'I've been feeling sorry for myself.' He too said, 'Good.' When I asked why, he said, 'Because it means you're releasing the sorrow.'

The heavy colds have been a form of release too, I know — not to mention all the tears. I've lain in bed and cried until my eyes were sore. Then, after a couple of weeks of it (this last time) I stopped. That was after I got up and dressed and went to see the doctor.

He of all people knows what it was like for both me and Andrew over the last two years of Andrew's life. He understood, without me having to say so, how much in need of rest I am. He knew how close we were too, and would be well able to guess the extent of my grief without my having to explain. It's good to be gotten, and know that you are. It was very validating. Also he confirmed that I was doing all the right things already for the cold.

I don't know if all that was why I stopped crying; I only know that that visit marked a turning point. Since then I have enjoyed the memories of Andrew — not of him being ill and frail, but more the ordinary moments of our lives together over all the years. The familiarity of this home we shared has taken on a comforting warmth instead of bitter emptiness. There are some things I mustn't dwell on or I feel tearful again, but mostly it's good; I feel emotionally supported at last. (I have been emotionally supported all along, by many, but didn't always feel it inwardly.) I can feel his presence here, in all sorts of little memories, in a good way.

I am now able to open his office door again, sort out more of his stuff, and think about ways of turning it into a nice little sitting room for myself. I was fine with that at first, then went through some weeks where I couldn't face it. I'm glad to have come out the other side.

I dare say there'll be future crying jags, but I'm glad to have a rest from this last one, and glad that it's moved me a bit further on in the whole process.

P S. I suddenly find I have moved quite a way. See next post!


  1. Oh Rosemary, this tugs at the heart so! I'm truly glad you're starting to see light in the world again. It's been a long, hard journey and not over yet.

    1. It's kind of you to read and allow your heart to be tugged at!

      I am just taking it a step at a time. :)

  2. My heart goes out to you, it truly does.

  3. Around every corner, is a new day! Sending you hugs and hoping that spring is bursting to bring us all more joy for sure too! Enjoy your week ahead !


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