Grief Sucks!! There is no other way to say it. I DON’T like it! I DON’T want to do this! I just DON’T! Alas, I have no choice. I MUST do this – this being grieve, take care of my mom’s estate, make decisions I just don’t want to make. This will take longer than I want and be harder than I want it to be. Last summer after the miscarriage, I developed a mantra for myself for the first 4 – 6 weeks afterward. It was simple: Get up, Get Dressed and Show up. If one begins to do that enough, things do eventually fall into place and begin to feel somewhat normal. It worked for me last year to the point I began to encourage my clients to use the mantra. “Don’t expect too much from yourself” I would tell them. “You are accomplishing more than you think.” “Be kind to yourself.” It always made me smile when my clients would come into the office and state they heard my voice in their head in regards to what they should need to consider. I’m striking out the should here because it is the one word I asked my clients to eliminate from their vocabulary when they grieve. “Who says you should?.” I would ask. “Should is self criticism. It automatically makes you feel bad and puts yourself down.” So many individuals do put themselves down when they are grieving. “I should be further along in my grief.” “I shouldn’t feel like this.” “I should have all of these things accomplished.” I am not immune to these thoughts. The benefit is I have walked this walk before- with countless individuals in this community. However, it doesn’t mean that I am not constantly checking myself and hearing the voice that so many of my clients have heard. Here are some of the things I am dealing with which I know are normal but nonetheless, they drive me crazy. Grief physically hurts. I’m exhausted and I feel like I’ve been hit by multiple semi-trucks. It’s a combination of the flu and feeling like I’ve just ran a marathon – wait, I did just complete a marathon of my Mom’s illness. There are days I feel like I’m just lying on the ground after crossing the finish line. And now I’m expected to complete another marathon with my grief???? My sleep is crazy – there are nights that I do well and fall to sleep easily and get 8 hours – and then there are nights when I wake up at 4 in the morning after having weird dreams. Last night I dreamed I had cut my hair. The dream was so real that I woke up feeling my hair. I’m going to go with the thought that I was, of course, dreaming of my grief. In some cultures it is a part of the grief process to cut their hair. I WILL NOT be doing that. 🙂 I alternately want to be with people and I want to be alone – I am an extrovert my nature who has developed an introvert side. I believe I previously stated that I do have problems with crowds right now – an issue I never had before. I’ve had some anxious moments when I was out at times and have had to walk out of a store or find someplace to take some deep breaths. Good thing I’ve developed good skills of working with individuals with anxiety disorders! I’m overwhelmed! My To Do list keeps getting longer and longer. In every area of my life there is something I need to be doing. Please note, I did not use the should word. (Practicing what I preach) This week has been full of accomplishing many tasks of my Mom’s estate. I went to probate last week where I was named Executrix (it sounds so fancy) of the estate. I had to go to the bank to create the estate account (time consuming), tomorrow I must do her taxes. In between I’ve started cleaning out some of the things in the house which are not emotional (who knew my mother had so many hair products). I began to develop grief brain last week. I’ve lost my phone when it was right in front of me. I forget what I’m doing when I walk into a room. I forget what I was going to say. I handed a piece of paper to my attorney and wouldn’t let it go until he said to me “You can let it go now, Sheryl” All of these things are normal. I don’t need to pull out my sheet of normal grief emotions. I know I”m not crazy. However, I also know if it weren’t for my training. I would likely beat myself up more. Use the should word more often and ask “What’s wrong with me?” Grief is normal but we don’t normally grieve every day. The exception for me is that I did sit with individuals who were grieving every day. These emotions are not foreign to me but they feel different because they are my own. So each day, I try. I try to take care of myself in the best way possible. There are days when I am better at it than others. Each day, I try…. – To stretch, if not do a yoga workout – at least a few poses. I make myself stretch every morning when I wake up – Take deep breaths – I find myself sighing a lot, which means I’m holding my breath – Drink water – I’m trying for 8 – 9 glasses a day. It helps to keep my body hydrated – Take a walk – this doesn’t happen every day but I try. Movement is another way for the body to release tension -Take time for brain candy – this is where I allow myself fluff – E! News, People Magazine, In Style Magazine. I can’t have everything be serious – I listen to my favorite playlist – well right now that happens to be Justin Timberlake’s new CD (which I highly recommend). I told my husband that Justin was going to get me through my grief. He asked if Justin knew that – I may just write and let him know. Grief can often be like going down the Rabbit Hole as Alice did in Alice in Wonderland. As I used to tell my clients, you have to find things to keep you from falling further down the hole. This blog helps me to hold myself accountable – to those of you reading and to myself it is outward proof that each day – I’m trying!