Suddenly I See

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My cat hugged me the whole time I wrote this post. Because we are symbiotic. And so that is the title of this post.

Back from Hawaii.

Back to my thoughts.

It's easy to escape when you are vacation. And that's what I needed. My Grandma died on August 17th and I could get through two weeks with sadness and with my mind on vacation. It kept me away from my thoughts. And then I was on vacation and it was surprisingly easy to dismiss my thoughts. There were nights that I just thought "I miss my grandma". And it was sad that I would come home and she still wouldn't be here.

And I feel I can accept the sadness. Because she is at peace. And she lived a life where her mind never gave her peace. 

It's the guilt I can't deal with, the feeling of not enough said, not enough done. Why couldn't I just listen more? Why couldn't I have gone to see her more? And on the most basic level, why couldn't I just accepted who she was? Why couldn't I just have understood that she felt she couldn't come to my wedding? These are the thoughts that I feel I may never have peace with. And the one thought that makes me feel better, the last conversation we had with each other, when she called me KatieKat and we told each other we loved each other is just too hard to think about. Yet it is something I will always cherish.

And I live right now straddling reality and a fuzzy line where I know she won't be calling me yet I am always thinking I need to call Grandma.

It's hard for me to give full acceptance to the idea of all of this because I feel as if I will slip into a deep abyss of sadness, an abyss which is not foreign territory to me. And I know it's a place that I let myself go too easily and I too quickly loose my grasp on anything that will pull me out of it.

When my parents separated last year I lost myself to it. The shock turned to anger turned to sadness, dwelled there for a very long time, turned to understanding. All the while all of this hedged on acceptance. My therapist told me over and over, "you don't have to like it, but you have to work on accepting it".

With the shock and the anger I would counter  every bad thing to come from it with a good thing that came from it also (to myself and to anyone who would listen). "I don't see my dad as much but I get to spend a lot more time with my mom, which is amazing." "We won't all go on family trips all together anymore but my mom and I flew to D.C. together which never would have happened before. And we can do that anytime we want now." "And my relationships changed but I have never loved my mom and my sister more. "

And then when the shock and anger turned to the inevitable sadness that comes with accepting things there were days when I couldn't stop crying. And I didn't know how to move forward. In a way I didn't want to because it was admitting I had no control over what was happening. And then my best friend, Jenn, told me "you have to stop thinking that every time the phone rings something bad is going to happen. you have to move forward". And it's funny because I always think people don't really need advice, they already know what they should do. But I needed to hear that. And I needed to hear what other people told me as well. Because you can't put a price on advice from people who love you.

And I did move on. I saw that things are better. They are different but better. My relationships are stronger.

And I feel stronger now , but I encounter a problem in that I don't know that I can fully accept my Grandma being gone, that I can accept the guilt and the sadness that comes with the human existence because I know I may go back to that place where I can't pull myself out of the gray.

Do I trust my previous experience that I can feel deeply and come back? How do I know what is sadness and what is depression? And is there anything wrong with being depressed? I am so scared to go back to that tunnel but also know that avoiding thinking about my Grandma and her being gone and the memories isn't fair to her or myself or anyone. 

So that's where I live right now. Wanting to feel all these things but being scared to.  I think I will give myself time. Be patient with myself. I have learned in the last year or so to try and let things "marinate". Sometimes they will work out in time, that I don't have to squeeze everything into a jar so that I can handle it. Maybe I will apply that to this.

And as much as every part of me wants to go racing back to therapy I think that I have to grow, I have to dip my toe into this new reality and see if I can handle it by myself but knowing that I am never by myself.


Pam said...

Katie, I have learned so many things these past few months. You truly are never by yourself. When you feel yourself slipping towards that dark place, reach out to someone. Everybody loves you and wants to help you. Grandma truly is in a better place. She had not been happy for a long time and all of her worry and pain are gone. I know that we grieve more for ourselves than for her. The hard part for me is to realize I will not have an opportunity to talk to her again, but so many of the things (good and bad) are still with me and I can retrieve them easily. Try to remember the good times and know that she knew what depression felt like and she certainly would not wish that on you. Be strong, love Rodger, and look ahead to the wonderful life you have. I love you so much!

Jenn said...

Katie, you are so loved. She loved you, and wouldn't want you to focus on things you wish you could change, but on the good memories. If it were reversed, would you want her being depressed over her regrets? Please reach out to me and everyone else. Handle the sadness on your own, but if you feel yourself slipping into the abyss, go back to your therapist. There's no shame in that. It can be hard to recognize when you've slipped over the line from sadness to depression, but Rodger will be able to tell. Jaime and I have an agreement that if I can tell its gotten bad, he turns over decisions about those things to me, and vise versa. Call me, and we'll make plan to walk. Love you!

Eliza said...

I am always hesitant to say "I know how you feel" because I think that can never _really_ be true and it's sort of arrogant to think I could really know how someone else feels. But I really do recognize some of the feelings you are expressing here so I can relate somewhat. One thing that is VERY important to remember is that Grief does not equal Depression. They look similar, but aren't the same. It's very common and even expected to feel depressed during and after a sad event or a loss (divorce, death, etc.) or even after a happy life event like marriage, because it is so major and life-altering. It's when that continues to a point you feel uncomfortable with it, when it is all-encompassing for days on end, that it might be labeled as something apart from Grief.

I think it's so interesting how you and I are going through different experiences yet feeling many of the same feelings. Please text or call or e-mail ANY time at all. We can trade stories and support each other. If it helps at all, I selfishly have to say that I have felt closer to you in the past year than ever. Maybe you didn't know it, but in reaching out to me in different ways you have improved my life immensely. You never know. And you are as loved as Pam and Jenn say you are. Everyone has ups and downs, big ones and small ones. Good thing you are so smart and so loved and have so many resources. When I am really feeling down on myself and wondering why I can't just GET IT TOGETHER ALREADY, I like to think that the world is so big, I can't possibly be the biggest idiot there is. Even when I feel like I am. :) Maybe that will help?!?! Love you!!