Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Support Group

October 6, 2010

Well, I went to my first support group meeting last night, courtesy of my friend Heather. It was a small meeting with just a handful of us but I think that’s better. They were all parents who had lost children, but none of their children had been infants so we were kind of on different wavelengths. Still, there were some commonalities and it was good to talk to people who have “been there.”

What surprised me the most was that although mine was the most recent, with the other losses having happened years ago, it was still so fresh for everyone. That’s what I hate about putting a deadline on grief. You never really “get over” it. You just can’t. I learned that from Nana. Things get a little easier and you don’t find yourself breaking down and bawling in the middle of Wal-Mart as often, but it’s still there.

We also talked about “things people say” to be “helpful” and we all laughed because we have all heard the same things. My new favorite is “He’s in a better place.” Well, I don’t want him in a better place. I want him right here, in this crappy place, with me.  Or the Pizza Hut waitress who told us that it was okay because he was with Pete’s Mom. (We even got bits of this before she died.) Hey, what’s wrong with my dead relatives? My Uncle Junior might have drank a lot in his…erm…younger days and maybe he took off and lived on an Indian reservation for awhile and perhaps years would go by before anyone in the family would see or hear from him but he loved babies.

Anyway, that’s some of the crazy stuff that goes through your head sometimes.

I am now down to just a couple of anxiety pills at a time. I mean, in a day. Seriously, they only take the edge off. And the anxiety hits the hardest at the weirdest moments. I can go to his grave and stay there and put flowers on it and not cry at all. And then, driving home, we’ll drive past Cedar Village, I’ll remember eating there with him, and I will burst into tears.

I am finding that the happy memories of him are almost just as bad (and in many ways worse) the death-related ones. How weird is that? I have heard that it’s normal.

I wrote an e-mail to somebody that I barely know and have only met once, but we’ve exchanged emails from time to time and I wanted to let her know that Toby had passed away. It’s easier to do that than to see the person and have them be like, “Oh, how’s the baby?” which has happened a few times. Anyway, she very nicely gave me her number and said that I could call her if I wanted to talk to someone outside of the situation, more or less. Sometimes, I really want to do. Except I feel so screwy on even the best days that I’m afraid of what I might say.

To get a better feel for this, I have done what I should have done to start with- I have made an appointment for me and Pete….with my astrologer. We go there on Thursday. Updates to follow.


Melissa Allen said...

Its difficult because sometimes you want to say something encouraging or to help. But, in all honesty, nothing anyone CAN say will be encouraging or helpful regarding your tragic losses.
I've had instances, myself, where people say somethin...g like, "at least he isn't mentally retarded, or a vegitable." or, "I bet you wouldn't change a thing because it has tought you so much." REALLY?! If I could I would change EVERYTHING! My child would walk, talk, feed himself, and not have to be sad seeing all of the other kids doing the things he can't do!
But, I don't get mad at anyone. I see it as an oppritunity to educate someone. And, I know they all mean well. It would be completely different if I felt as though any of it was coming from a hurtful place. Which, that has happened once. I will enlighten you to that one another time, though. lol

Ashley Sexton Neff said...

I love it. You're going to have to update me on the astrologer.

Rebecca said...

Melissa, since this has happened to me, I have now learned that I have probably never ever been helpful to anyone in any bad situation. When I look back on some of the things that I said (and some of it learned through Foothills training) I... cringe. I think most people have their hearts in the right places and are sincerely trying to help and don't know what to say. Others, I think say things for their own benefit. Like when they say, "You need to move on" it's really because THEY are uncomfortable with the situation and how you are handling it. I learned that during my first pregnancy and all the "advice" I got. It was really about what worked for them and what happened in their situation. Didn't really have anything to do with me at all.

Melissa Allen said...

Wow. That's deep, Rebecca! I never thought of it that way, but that makes sense! My Mom, God love her, is ALWAYS projecting her feelings about Matthew onto me! When I told her he was going to move to Louisville she gave me 400 kinds of guilt over it, like I don't feel guilty enough!

Rebecca said...

I was thinking about that the other day. Just a scattered thought. About how we're not allowed to be sad, depressed, or to grieve anymore. We're instantly taken to counselors, psychiatrists, given pamphlets and self-help books, and medicati...on to make it all go away. Whose benefit is that really for? Ours? Or for the people around us who feel uncomfortable and don't know what to say or do and want things to return to normal again? Not so long ago, a grieving period was supposed to (by standard etiquette) last 1 year. Yet, a week after Toby died I was getting emails asking if things were "better now." And last week Pete's grandad called and asked if we were "getting over our mishaps." (But let me be clear here-meds are definitely needed. So are the other things. I just don't like being PUSHED into feeling something that I am not ready to feel or do.) The natural process of things have been thrown way off kilter by our culture. It's very strange.

Ashley Sexton Neff said...

The day people realize that they really have no room to even speculate what another person is going through, the world will be a much more genuine, and less judgmental, place. What someone else might do if faced with a similar situation has nothing to do with how we handle it in the here & now...lesson learned from Mom.

Ashley Sexton Neff said...

Becca, that was something we talked heavily about in massage school - that it seems that our bodies and minds are literally forced by society to conform to a state that is acceptably "functional" - rather than allowed to process the emotion...s it needs to process, in its own time with the support it needs. Since we had that class lesson, I've slowed down, a lot. I don't force myself or think, "Mom's been gone almost 4 years, I really shouldn't cry like this anymore" or whatnot. I just let it roll. I'm glad you're finding the support that helps you, every step of the way - and I'm glad you're allowing yourself to grieve and process things in your own way, regardless of how everyone else thinks you should be doing it. HUGE ^5 from me! Love you.
And Missy, heck yeah, we'll go! Let's save up some money and go see this guy. I think it would be awesome!