A Damned Stupid, Blubbering Mess.

open journal

Excerpts from the first year.

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19 Oct 8:45pm. 
Saw the therapist today.  I hope this is all normal.  Sometimes I feel I’m going crazy.  She tells me I’m not.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe I’ll ever get through this.

20 Oct 9:30pm.
I wonder what my husband thinks?  I don’t want to bore him – if he asks me how I am, I guess I’m just the same.  Every day.  Nothing changes.  Will my marriage survive?  Will I?  He’s got to be tired of this.  I am.  And my kids probably wonder who I am anymore –  certainly not the Mommy they used to know.

22 Oct 10:10pm.
I always seem to do this before bed, don’t I?  What a nice way to go to sleep.  But it’s the only time I have to myself – and since I’m always thinking of it anyhow, I guess bedtime’s as good as any.  Any quiet time for me is painful.  Sometimes noise is easier – but I frustrate so easily now – I’m a real shrew.

25 Oct 9:15pm.
Going to bed early tonight.  Hope it helps.  I’m always so tired.  The therapist says grieving is hard work and wears you out.  I agree.  I could stay in bed all day most of the time if I had the chance.
Mom, I can hardly stand it without you.
Dad, I miss you so much — I try to hear your voice in my head so I don’t forget what it sounds like.  I am so terrified that I will.
Wendy, it feels so awful to lose you — you were so young and full of life — I wanted you to grow old with me and still be shuffling in the kitchen and ‘popping’ your cheek.

27 Oct Weds pm.
I didn’t work today.  Guess I tripped and fell.  I’m a mess.  A damned stupid, blubbering mess.  I’m so tired.  Maybe I’m coming down with something.  Isn’t it funny that my pen from the funeral chapel fits so nicely in my journal?  Why is that funny? Boy, if someone reads this someday they’ll probably have me committed.

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It feels strange reading these pages again.  Almost voyeuristic.  Can I be a voyeur of myself?

The Grief Journal

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Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.
~ William Shakespeare

 

I found my grief journal the other day.

You would not think much of it if you saw it: a nondescript brown book with a small illustration on the cover. It is not very big, but it holds a whole lot of me.

When I bought the book in happier times, its intended use was journaling, which is exactly like blogging, only different. 😉  I never got around to using it that way, and it sat, unopened, for a long time.

In a rare moment of lucidity during my worst times, I decided that I should find the book and use it. I eyed it warily for a long while, not sure if I was really ready to put pen to paper. It seemed like more of a commitment than I could handle. My head was so messed up that I was not sure what to do from one day to the next.

It was difficult at first to write what I felt. I never had had trouble doing that before, but this time was different. I tried to reserve for myself a few moments before I went to sleep to jot down the day’s events and feelings. I thought that would be sufficient. I did not expect entries to ramble for several pages, and I did not anticipate struggling to express myself, but both were common.

Sometimes I would skip weeks at a time because what I was feeling was the same — every hour, every day, every week. Why write it down?

‘Today I was miserable. Again. Cried. Again. I hate my life. Still.’

Other times, I filled the pages with my dreams and nightmares. I wrote about family dynamics and how they changed; I wrote about how I felt like an observer in my own life; I wrote about how helpless and hopeless I felt.

I also wrote about Mr. Stuck and about how his love and support kept me afloat when I was sure I was drowning. I wrote about how grateful I was to him for standing by me in the worst of times. I wrote that if I could get through this – if we could get through this – nothing could tear us apart. I know not everyone has someone like him in their lives, and that is a shame, because he was the one who kept me from stepping off into that abyss. I would not be where I am today without him.

Reading that journal brings many hard memories back. It is difficult to read both in content and because my handwriting is very sloppy in spots. I can only read so much before I need to do something else.

I have wanted to burn that book many times over the years, but I am glad I never did. It gives insight to my journey. It also fills in some of the blanks of my memory. I never finished filling the pages; I kept the journal for several months and then abandoned it. In a way, I wish I had continued. I think I stopped because I was in counseling and I had a safe place to open up.

I will post some excerpts in the future to help illustrate my thought processes back then. A grief journal is a good thing for many people; it sure was for me. There is therapy in being able to form your thoughts and feelings into some kind of narrative.  Like they say, the first step in fixing a problem is identifying it.  At first, it was hard to find my way.  I could not put words to what was in my head and my heart.  Being able to do that was progress for me; it meant that I could name it and own it.

I see plenty of blogs out there that read like a grief journal does, and I am glad that those bloggers can use this medium to help themselves heal.  A blog is so much more public than a little book tucked into a nightstand; but it brings with it a community of people who commiserate with you and help you along.  Everyone has his own story of loss, of pain, of struggle.

With a grief journal, you do not know about everyone else out there who has walked through the fire; with a blog, you can reach them.