Thursday, May 1, 2014

Day 27: Grief Causes You To Wish For Death- It's Normal!

March 27, 2014

I want to write about all of it. I want to chronicle this process because I need to. For my well-being. And also because I suspect I'll need these pieces of writing at a later date. Perhaps to help someone else. Either way, I'm drawn to write it all down right now.

And what I want to write about now may be difficult to read. It's about a moment of despondency that lasted for about 12 hours. It is because it has passed that I feel I can write about it with softness and with an understanding that it does pass.

First, let me say that in no way am I considering harming myself. I am not suicidal. I have experienced that feeling many years ago, and this is not the same. Reading about my thinking during those 12 hours may cause you to feel panic or concern that I may be in harm's way, and I can assure you I am not. I couldn't have told you several hours ago that I'd be ok again, or that it would pass, but it has, indeed. So now I know. I know this must be part of it all.

I'm used to the waves by now. My coworkers who share an office with me are used to it, as are the people who sit in a room with me every Monday and Thursday evening for 2 hours for Korean class. Great waves wash over me and cause me to cry and cry hard. I'm exhausted after each one, but I'm sure they're necessary and normal. I don't fight them.

Today I had two classes in the morning and then like many mornings, after classes have been taught, I fall into momentary deep grief. But this morning's didn't pass in 10-30 minutes. The tears eventually did, but what was left was a feeling of utter defeat. A thought that I could not possibly maintain this kind of pain day in and day out and how-long-will-this-last?

The muscles in my face seemed incapable of forming friendly smiles and I dropped down to the earth. My spirit dropped down to the earth.

After work, I made the 15 minute drive to the end of the subway line which would take me into downtown for my Korean class. This is where I noticed what I now believe was my brain's way of trying to escape the pain. Again I stress that I am not suicidal. I am not thinking of or planning anything of the sort. I've seen first hand the painful after-effects of suicide after losing my sweet cousin Jessica last year, and the thought of my family enduring such a loss, another great loss, is completely out of the question for me.

With that said, my brain was on active duty with escape routes. Testing scenarios out. Allowing me to feel the sweet relief after visualizing a car crash. I'd never cause it. I'd never hurt someone. But if accidents happen every day, can't someone make it so a car crashes into mine at this very moment? I visualized crash after crash. I made it to the subway at stood, waiting for the train. I visualized jumping on the tracks. Something else I'd never do. But here it was, playing out in my head. Sweet relief. I sat on the subway and I visualized a blood clot making its way to my brain. If it has to happen to someone, why can't it be me? I walked to my class and picked up something to eat. I saw taxi after taxi swerving and running me over. Running me down. A cocky young driver sped down the street. "Do it," I thought. "I dare you. "

I even found myself fantasizing about dying in the same way Gareth did. In the same place. Same apartment. Same window. Same street. I took myself through everything as I imagined he did. I imagined it. I imagined it all.

I knew these weren't suicidal thoughts in the same sense that put me in danger. I also knew I needed to talk about them, but with who? Who can I speak of this with where I wouldn't be causing them anxiety and worry? I called a friend and talked it out. "You've been honoring Gareth in amazing ways. It's time to honor him in a different way," he said. Honor him by allowing myself to crack the door open for joy. Honor him by finding something that I feel connected with. A dog, maybe. Honor him by realizing these feelings of despair are normal and will pass.

For the first time during this 12 hours, I didn't think they would. I find myself waking up throughout the night, waking up in the morning, sickened by the fact that this is all really happening. I find myself bargaining- wanting to take back time and have a do-over. Questioning my actions the weeks before he died. Begging to have him back- even back to a time when he was troubled and not himself and saying things out of hurt. Hurt me, I want to say. Yell at me. Scream at me. Just be here. Be alive for me.

Like all well-timed things which will continue to happen, no doubt, I received a message from an old friend who lost his longtime girlfriend to cancer in 2011. He describes feeling shattered. He describes becoming untethered. He describes not feeling lost or depressed anymore. He promises me, through his experience, that this feeling won't last. I believe him.

By the time I made it home, it was lifting. As I write this now, I have every faith that things will be ok. That I will move through this. That I will feel genuine joy again.

I also know to love myself through the feelings of despair. I know to share about it. To let others in. I know now that some waves will be longer, more turbulent, leave me numb. But I also know that even these waves pass.

I know this to be true. I feel loved. I feel cared for. I feel prayed over and wrapped in the comfort that is all things holy and good about one human loving another human. I will get through this. And I will be ok.

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