I feel like I don’t talk enough about how I am feeling. I focus on things that have happened, and how I react to them, but on such a basic level. I don’t talk enough about how I am really feeling, or what bothers me the most.
I did a quick Google search, and found these questions one should ask him/herself, to better understand their grief. I felt it would be interesting to see what I have to say (Gosh, I sound like a dork).
1. Are you always irritable, annoyed, intolerant or angry these days?
Each day is different. Some days I feel fine, like my old self. Other days, usually around the 17th of each month (before and after) I am very, very snappy. I have no patience for anything, and I get very angry, very quickly. I snap at family and friends, and don’t mean to be hurtful. I find myself apologizing for my sarcastic and sly remarks, and telling them I truly didn’t mean it (because I really don’t). I can be very irritable, and get fixated on one thing. I will get an idea in my head (say, going to dinner) and if it doesn’t go exactly the way I want, I get very annoyed. I want to control everything, and I can’t, and as a result, I get über frustrated.
2. Do you experience an ongoing sense of numbness or of being isolated from your own self or from others? Do you usually feel that you have no one to talk to about what’s happened?
I wouldn’t say I am numb; I am pretty well aware of what I am feeling. In the beginning, right after this all happened, I was numb. But I would think that numbness goes hand-in-hand with shock. You don’t know what happened, you don’t know how to react, so therefore, you don’t know what to feel. I don’t feel isolated as Jacqueline, but I do feel that as a group (siblings who lost a brother or sister) we are an isolated group. We are the “forgotten mourners” and sometimes I feel like our feelings aren’t heard (Duh, why I made a blog). We are told, “Take care of your parents,” which I do wholeheartedly, but does any one say, “Take care of your brother/niece/granddaughter/etc..?” I find the best people to talk to are my best friends, my Lobster, and other people from sibling bereavement groups. The sibling bond is too dynamic to discuss with someone who hasn’t been in the same situation.
3. Since your loved one died, are you highly anxious most of the time about your own death or the death of someone you love? Is it beginning to interfere with your relationships, your ability to concentrate or live as you would like to live?
Oh, sweet Jesus, yes. I was a HUGE worrier before this, and now, it is amplified to the umpth degree. I will not drive in the snow, and I don’t want others to either. If someone doesn’t answer my call, I worry. If someone texts me, “Hey. Call me” I worry that something terrible happened. My heart skip’s a beat if the house phone rings after 8:00PM. If I text my parents or Jim, and they don’t text right back, I call and call and call until they pick up. I know it must be annoying, but I need to hear their voice. I am worried that if one bad thing can happen to me, what is preventing other bad things from happening? I know I can’t live in a plastic bubble for the rest of my life, but it is very difficult to not want to. I don’t think it is interfering with my relationships, but I know it bothers my Lobster and my friends that I don’t leave my house if the weather is bad.
4. Do you feel that you are always and continually preoccupied with your loved one, his or her death or certain aspects of it even though it’s been several months since his or her death?
I don’t believe so. I think about Jen all the time, but I don’t obsess about it on a daily basis. I speak of her as I would if she was still here. I talk about her in stories, in funny situations she had, and how I would always talk about her. I don’t think I harp on the idea that she is gone. I miss her terribly, more then words could ever express, but I know that she wouldn’t want me to be a mess. She would be like, “Come on Jack, knock it off. Put on some makeup and take me to the mall. I need hair dye.”
5. Do you usually feel restless or in “high gear”? Do you feel the need to be constantly busy….beyond what’s normal for you?
When I am stressed, I make myself busy. I clean, I craft, or something else that is mindless work. I have always been this way, so I don’t think it is abnormal for me. Heck, in college, during finals, our suite was eat-off-the-floor clean. I feel like I need to do something productive, where I can see physical results. When you clean, you see a clean room. When you craft something, you have something to see and hold in your hands. I like to see progress. I was eager to get back to work so I could focus on projects, and see physical progress on their sites.
6. Are you afraid of becoming close to new people for fear of losing again?
Absolutely not. I never understood this mentality people have after they suffer a loss. If anything, I feel like I love people more. I tell them every day. I know I am going to loose people around me, so why push them away? I want everyone to know how much they mean to me, so after something like this happens, I will feel satisfied knowing that, “You know what, I hope Jen knew how much I loved her.” I don’t want doubts. The “what ifs” will drive you crazy.
7. Do you find yourself acting in ways that might prove harmful to you overtime: drinking more than you used to; using more prescription or non-prescription drugs; engaging in sexual activity that is unsafe or unwise; driving in an unsafe or reckless manner; or entertaining serious thoughts about suicide?
OMG no. I know I am not harmful. If anything, I drink less than I did. I had a sorority sister who lost her brother at a very young age, and not once during college did I ever see her drink. I asked her why, thinking it was based on religious beliefs, and she said the most profound thing ever. I don’t remember it verbatim, but it was somthing along the lines of, “Why would I want to alter my mental state while I’m alive, when my brother will never get to enjoy this life? I want to remember every part of my life.” I think I would feel guilty if I was drinking too much.
8. Are you taking on too much responsibility for surviving family members or close friends? Has your concern and compassion turned into obsession and caretaking?
I think I have a lot of responsibilities, but I don’t know what is considered normal. I feel like I do a lot for my family, but then again, I would do anything for them. Isn’t that what anyone would do?
9. Are you experiencing only a few of the reactions or emotions that usually come with grief? Are you unable to express your thoughts or feelings about your loved one and his or her death in words or in actions? Do you remember only certain aspects for your loved one or your relationship together, for example only the good parts as opposed to a more complete and balanced view of him or her?
Based on all the stuff I’ve read and been told, I feel that I am moving along in my grief stages. I don’t get stuck in one area, or focus on only one aspect of Jen. I’ve never been crazy about opening up about my feelings, no matter what they were, but I am trying to make a decent effort at it. I tell people how I am feeling, and find this blog has been a huge help. I may not be calling you up and telling you, but I do get it off my chest. In regards to Jen, I remember everything. Yes, we had screaming matches, and yes, we would fight over the blow dryer, but we never stop talking or anything like that. We would always get yelled at for laughing too much at night when everyone else was sleeping. She’s my little Niffator.
10. Is there some aspect of what you’re experiencing that makes you wonder about whether you’re normal or going crazy? Do you feel stuck in your grief in some way, unable to move on, even though it’s been quite some time since your loved one’s death?
I think I am crazy when I forget that Jen isn’t here any more, and I do it all the time. I will be doing something, like making breakfast, and think, “Does Jen want some eggs?” or when my Mom goes, “Everyone will be home for dinner,” I always look for 5 plates, not 4. I get mad at myself for forgetting, and then I get sad. But for that split second when I think that she is here, I feel normal. But then the guilt overwhelms me, and I get sad. Also, I feel like I put too much emphasis on music, and certain songs just make me bawl. Also, I think I’m crazy for avoiding Newburgh. I can’t bring myself to drive over there, because that is where the hospital is. I hope Torches will understand.
Well, there you have it. I felt like this was a good exercise for myself.