Today was my first day back at work for the new year. It’s good to be back at work but it was tougher than I imagined. I worked between Christmas and New Years and I knew I was having concentration problems then, but today was off the charts. I’m glad I’m on the afternoon shift as that means I can be on the phones a bit more – that helps when I can’t concentrate.
Mind you I’m shit for helping people as I can’t focus on what they’re asking me, and I’m not really training as such but helping the guy who is on his second rotation through the After Hours roster, and I feel bad for him because I’m like ‘lolwut’ all the time.
(To explain, I’m currently working a shift where I work M – F 6am to 5pm; have 5 days off. Work Th – Sun – 8:30am to 7:30pm, have four days off. Work F – Tu 7:15pm to 6:15pm, have five days off – rinse, repeat. This is my last cycle though… I pulled myself off the roster to help out with the kids.)
I’ve also realized that when I’m alone is when the grief hits the worst. Today after everyone had left work and it was quiet, I just started sobbing like there was no tomorrow. I was talking to someone on Facebook and it was about the funeral and it’s like… after Tuesday, it’s going to be real. So real.
And then I’m like “But it’s real now. But it doesn’t feel that way. But it is. She wasn’t there to celebrate yesterday. It’s real. But it doesn’t feel that way.” I find I’m chasing my mind around in circles and then it’s like someone punches me in the heart and stomach and I double over sobbing my eyes out.
This only happens when I’m alone, funnily enough. I don’t sob here. I sob in the car, at work, etc. But inside the house, around people, I let my eyes well up with tears, and I wipe them away, and then I go about my business until the next time I’m alone and start those gut wrenching heart breaking sobs. I often apologize for the tears welling up in my eyes as well.
I’m nervous about working night shift next week after the funeral and the arraignment. I’ve come up with a couple battle plans for coping, but I’m not sure how they will work at this point yet.
I think one of the things I hate the most in general right now is people asking me “How are you?” It’s even just total strangers. I kinda look at them and I’m like “Uh, surviving!” because that’s all I can do. They laugh it off but probably most of them think I’m a really dour person. I try to remember to say “not bad” but honestly it’s not like I can answer “Good.” I know strangers don’t know what’s happening, so I can get that but I don’t know what to say. Honestly would be ‘pretty fucking terrible actually but thanks for asking’ and lying would be ‘I’m awesome!’. So I try to go through and at least give them something, anything. But I hate the question, hah.
There’s lots of inspirational quotes about how grief is. That it comes in waves, that it will hit you when you least expect it, that there’s no wrong way to deal with grief. And I take all those on board and I even parrot them back at others (most specifically my stepdaughter, actually) but inside I feel like I should be stronger somehow. I feel like as I’m ‘only the sister in law’ that I shouldn’t feel as sad and angry and upset as I do. I feel guilty because I’ve ‘only’ known Sarah for 12 years. And then people tell me that no, it’s ok to feel upset and sad and to not feel guilty and I’m like “Yeah but…”. I guess it’s all just combined with the fact that I feel sad not only for myself but also for the rest of the family, and for Sarah’s kids, and for her girlfriends. And I love her too, very much. And I miss her every day.
In the end, the fact that grief is here, and that we’re all having to deal with it (albeit in our own ways) is just another facet of life. There really isn’t a right or wrong way to deal with it. If you sob openly or alone, try to be stoic for friends and family or let yourself go – it’s all a way of coping. And as one of my more recent favourite expressions says (thanks to Sher for sharing it on Facebook…)
Grief I’ve learned is really just love
It’s love you want to give but cannot
All of that unspent love gathers up in the
corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat
and in that hollow part of your chest.
Grief is just love with no place to go.