It’s like I’m constantly getting blind-sided. I was telling a friend the other day that I can’t deviate from a plan, once I establish one. It’s not that I’m narrow minded, it’s that it’s already taken so much mental energy that I don’t have, to come up with the plan, that I don’t consider other ways of doing things, so I put my blinkers on and assume all will be fine.
This is where you can come in! If you see me doing something the hard way, or you think there might be a different/easier way of doing it, please don’t be scared to say something. I know you’ll be kind. I know sometimes people are scared to suggest changes, so as to protect me, but I really am open to it. I just sometimes don’t realise it until someone speaks up. I may not take your advice or suggestion, but I will appreciate it.
So yesterday afternoon and evening I was in the Prince Charles ED with Julius, who has a post-viral cough and an associated wheeze. I’m so annoyed that any time I have a medical “partial-emergency” (like this time and this time) I have a mild panic attack and nearly lose the plot. And then I push those feelings down nice and far, because that’s the healthy way to deal with emotions, right?? RIGHT????
The inner dialogue that goes on inside my brain is phenominal! “What would Frith do in this situation? What would he say? Will there be any doctors in ED that will recognise my name, and know who Frith is? How long until I’m asked if I have a husband/partner/father of the children? How could I let this happen?? I should know better by now!”
It just goes on and on until it breaks me a little, I have a little cry, the paramedic/nurse/doctor assumes it’s to do with the injury/illness I’m presenting with, and gives me a pat on the back and a tissue, all the while I’m inside screaming “don’t you know that my husband was a doctor and he died last year and I don’t know how I’m supposed to do this on my own for the rest of my life???”
Sooooo yeah therapy is a journey, and I may or may not be going through the stages of grief all over again. Hard to say where I’m at, at this stage, but it could be Anger. I’ll keep you posted, as always 🙂
Hi Renae, do you think besides the stress of having a sick child, which is hard as a parent little lone a solo parent, it’s the fact that the staff will ask about the child’s Father. Then this means you will have to relive and then explained your loss of Frith and that he was also a Dr. once again.
My thoughts are that your a top Mum, the best. Yours & the Kids loss has been very public, raw & open and honest but do you @ times need your privacy, your time to keep Friths memory for you & only you, in your heart, in your mind. So when ppl ask about the Dad, you have right to say nothing, no explanation given because at stressful time you may not have the strength to go into it again & you don’t have to. Your a Mum doing your very best for your beautiful babies, their your pirority and yourself . You don’t owe anyone any explanations if you don’t feel like it. Self care , music , company of trusted family & friends ?
Thanks Aunty Mon. I actually really like them to know he was a doctor, but I don’t want to have to go through the explanation I guess. Regardless, we were given the best care and Julius is definitely so much better xxxxx
Hi Renee, I’m writing as an always admiring, often amazed and inspired and occasionally nail-biting reader. Apologies in advance for the length of this comment. And for commenting without knowing you. Please accept my best of intentions.
My admiration is equal for the things that you get done in spite of your grief and for your honesty and authenticity about the times when it gets in the way.
I was reflecting the other day about what it would be like to have a huge ‘changing every aspect of your life’ loss as opposed to the more peripheral although significant losses of grandparents and in-laws that I have experienced. I was wondering if any loss is a bit like a physical wound. How it heals depends on how big an area and how many layers and types of tissue are affected, and where on the body it is. Healing requires careful attention to good hygiene and may or may not involve restriction of certain activities for a period of time. And no matter what you do you’re going to have a dirty big scar which you might be able to hide from others but might pull or feel itchy at different times, long after the searing pain has passed. Anyway like I said, my own musings, and not evidence-based (or perhaps helpful!) at all.
I did find my notes though from an evidence-based presentation that I attended a few years ago that were really formative in my understanding of how people live with loss and grief. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Liz Crowe but I have loaned her Little book of Loss and Grief to a number of people since who have really appreciated it. https://lizcrowe.org/
Things that stood out from my notes which I wondered if you had heard/explored before or might be interesting for those supporting you were:
Loss – the absence of a cherished something or someone and we can have great loss amongst great joy. Loss can be experienced in every facet of life.
On grief: Grief is natural, normal and inevitable response to loss and both the emotional and physical experiences vary significantly between people – comfort eating vs rapid weight loss, constipation vs diarrhoea; “Nobody told me grief was so like fear” TS Elliot; Grief is hard work because it’s a dual process – dealing with past and future (and the very demanding present in your case!); “Grief doesn’t change but reveals you” John Green; We grieve as families, communities, a world; Everything you do in grief as long as you are not hurting yourself or others is AOK; There is no such thing as normal; Grief can be a very lonely and frightening experience.
On crying: Crying doesn’t = grief; “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love” Washington Irving; Tears wash internally and externally; crying is not the hurting, but rather, crying is the process of becoming unhurt.
On stages: Elizabeth Kubler Ross wrote in 1962 about stages, BUT grief that doesn’t happen in stages but that grief is cyclical, it comes back; Liz says that acceptance doesn’t happen… that families can make meaning eg Morcombes, but this doesn’t equal acceptance; stages don’t describe how exhausting and financially draining grief is.
On grief in children: From the earliest of ages, children are learning to live with loss and grief, eg comforters, change, bullying, failure, illness, disability, poverty, parental illness, death, loneliness. Instead of saying ‘you’ll be right’, ask how they’re feeling and what skills do they have to help deal with challenges. The more information you try to hide the worse for them.
At different ages, children ‘make sense’ in different ways: At 2yo ‘my dad died on a motorbike’; at 5yo ‘why can’t dad be undead and come to prep day?’, at 10yo ‘why can’t you be dead instead of Dad (because no good at catching ball)’, at 15yo ‘angry, risk-taking’, at 28 and the birth of 1st child, experience grief for the first time.
3yos – are very concrete thinkers and explore concepts while trying to make sense of them. If you don’t tell children exactly what has happened, they will make up their own reality and put themselves in the middle of it. If a well-meaning person tells a 3 year old someone who has died has gone to sleep… they might not ever want to go to sleep! Everything children read or watch contains or is about loss and grief eg Harry Potter, the lion who wanted to love, Finding Nemo. We are surrounded by it, we live it. Heroes kids love die (Steve Irwin) or become disabled. Use everyday opportunities to teach that horrible things happen and people survive = adversity.
On supporting people who are grieving: Say I don’t know what to do but… and then do stuff. And keep doing it – put a note in the diary to catch up again in 9 weeks, and 19 and 29 weeks etc.
I think I have heard you say many of these things in your own words in different ways, your knowledge through experience is your power, and with your excellent goals for the next 10 years, you are many steps along the way to being able to do whatever you most desire!
Thank you for your very insightful and kind words Sarah 🙂