Iím not doing very well. Iíve withdrawn quite a bit lately, and wish I didnít have to leave the house at all. Being back at work is a mixed bag. Itís good in the sense that it keeps me busy, but, at the same time, itís making things more difficult for me. It would be easier if I worked in a small place where I could go back after bereavement leave and face everybody all at once. But I work with approximately 100 teachers, plus Teaching Assistants, secretaries, etc., so Iíve been dealing with condolences on a daily basis.
For the most part, the people I work with have been amazing, and I am deeply appreciative of their support, but I am emotionally wrung out. The hugs and kind words reduce me to tears. When people say, ďYou must be heartbroken,Ē I prove them right. I canít help it. I am not strong right now. I am a raw wound.
Besides the emotional aspects of my grief, I am experiencing physical effects, as well. Of course, the chronic pain has been off the charts. But, whatís really troubling me is the hair loss. Every morning I pull an alarming amount of hair out of the bathtub drain after my shower, and then again out of my brush after I blow-dry my hair. I looked it up on the Internet and found that hair loss can indeed be a symptom of grief. This is quite distressing.
Although most people are very compassionate and understanding, there are some who act like I should be over my grieving, and ďmoving on.Ē I did some research on grief, and found consolation in things like this:
The first year asks us to be gentle with ourselves. To remember that our core has been dismembered, torn apart, by loss.
"It's been more than a year now, aren't you OVER IT yet?" My answer to them is: "This isn't something you 'get over,' it's something you live with for the rest of your life. Would you 'get over' losing your arms or legs? No, you might adapt and move on, but you aren't going to forget they're missing. You'll miss them every day."
Society promotes many misconceptions about grief that may actually hinder the recovery and growth that follow loss. For example, many believe it necessary to try to change how a grieving friend is feeling and may do so by making statements such as, "You must be strong," "You have to get on with your life," or "It's good that he didn't have to suffer." Such cliches may help the one saying them, but are rarely helpful to the griever. Society also promotes the misconception that it is not appropriate to show emotions except at the funeral, and that recovery should be complete within six months.
The fact is Ė my life will never be the same. There were six siblings and now there are five. Yes, I will get THROUGH this, but no, I will never get OVER it.