Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Grandpa's First Birthday In Heaven

Tonight was week 5 of GriefShare. Yes, I'm still going. There was some question about how helpful it was since a part of me felt like I was more of a helper/leader than I was a "participant". But I am getting some healing out of it, so I continue on.

Last Tuesday was Grandpa's birthday. The morning was a little rough and I listened to my "Grandpa" playlist on my way to work. One thing I noticed was that I can now listen to "How Great Thou Art" without breaking into tears. That has to be progress, right?

Work itself went okay. Kelly brought me flowers and a sweet card so that helped.

After work I had a staff meeting and the way it all worked out was really unfortunate. It was on a Tuesday which is when I have GriefShare, which I thought would be really good for me with it being Grandpa's birthday, but the meeting with mandatory. GriefShare is in Loveland at 7, and my meeting was in Greeley at 6:15. We got out a little after 7, so I booked it to GriefShare and made it there around 7:40, just in time to see the video and participate in the discussion afterwards. 

One thing in the video that stood out to me was that they talked about when you anticipate a death, a lot of the time you start the grief process while the person is still alive. This creates a "shorter" grieving period (to outsiders anyway), but I definitely feel like this does not hold true to me. Sure, his death was anticipated and I knew going into my trip that it was a possibility but I think I was still very much in denial about the reality of the situation. And I prayed so freaking hard for him to make it til I got home...

Which leads me to my other point. The movie talked about life events and how they can play a role in everything. For example, I was on my trip and didn't get the chance to grieve and how that can lead to regret. Specifically... "If only he'd lived 2 more weeks". This is something I've discussed at great length with my counselor. We've discussed that no matter what it's never enough time. :( 

At the end of the meeting, I was getting up to leave and one of the leaders approached me and asked me how I was. I said I was doing okay and then mentioned that it was Grandpa's birthday. He said that he had felt a tug on his heart to reach out to me, so maybe that was Grandpa. It was a sweet little moment. 

After GriefShare, I picked up some ice cream and headed home. As many of you know, I've been dating a WONDERFUL man for the last month. He has been so supportive in all of this and I cannot say enough great things about him. When I told him that Grandpa's birthday was coming up he told me he thought I should celebrate him on that day. The morning of Grandpa's birthday I posted a timehop on Facebook. It was from one year ago. The original caption was "Happy Birthday Grandpa! I'm so lucky to be in the same family as this guy! I had ice cream in your honor tonight. XOXO <3 div="">

Not long after I posted that, Mr Wonderful asked me what Grandpa's favorite ice cream was and mentioned that we should have an ice cream date to celebrate. Best boyfriend ever? Yea I think so.... 

He wasn't going to be home until late, so when I got home I got out my memory book that has been neglected for months and I put together 3 pages. No tears were shed and it felt nice to have that time to put it together and look through the pictures. 

Walking hand in hand with Grandpa, Grandpa being silly and him helping David with a crossword puzzle while wearing a shirt that says "Jessica's Grandfather"

We then had our ice cream date and it was just the perfect way to remember Grandpa. Happy Birthday Grandpa. I miss you.

Grandpa reading to David and me. Also a picture of Grandma and Grandpa and all the grandkids.

Spending time with Grandpa.

This weekend was especially rough. Things have been going fairly well lately and I think a big part of that is due to the fact that I have been just go-go-go for so long. I had zero plans on Saturday, plus it was snowy so I stayed in bed all day. I told myself to get a bunch of work done but I just had NO energy. So I laid in bed, watched Gilmore Girls and took a nap from 2-5. I typically don't like to nap that late because then I won't sleep but I was just wiped out. 

I tried to go to bed pretty early since I had to get up early the next morning to get to work.... And it was supposed to snow all night so I would have a gross commute in the morning. I woke up at 6 and was getting ready for work when I got a phone call to just stay home. And while I could have (and should have) spent the day being productive, getting cleaning done, etc I spent yet another day in bed. And took another nap from 3-5. And it's funny because I was told to stay home and still felt guilty and like I was slacking. (Workaholic? Yea, I think so) I so badly wanted to have some energy but I just didn't have any. And that has been the most frustrating part of going through my grief. During my 2 day relax-a-thon I also ate WAY MORE than I should have and a lot of comfort foods. Which led me to feeling not so great about myself and I gained a little weight and I told myself I had to get back to the gym. Our goal is twice a week and so I told myself I would go Monday and Wednesday. 

Well Monday rolled around and I was tired and had kind of a bad day at work and honestly, I wanted to do pretty much anything other than go to the gym. But I forced myself to. I walked a mile on the treadmill and did some strength training (calves, chest, some planks (yay!), triceps, wall sits and rainbow planks). It felt good to get back but when I was looking in the mirror I definitely did not like what I saw. And I think I was a little over ambitious when it came to the weights because there's a slight chance I may have injured myself. Stay tuned on that one. 

But I had kind of a revelation while I was there. For the past 8 months I've been waiting and waiting for my motivation to just appear. And guess what? It hasn't. (Big shock there) And with that I am slipping into my old habits and going back to my excuse making ways and so I realized that to get that motivation back, I have GOT to put some effort in. It's not just going to make an appearance all on it's own. I'm going to have to force myself to get to the gym and with time, I'm sure it will come back. It will probably take some time though. So that's going to be a challenge... 

This morning I was walking to my kitchen to make some breakfast and I noticed some mail sitting on the dining room table. I picked it up and inside it was this card. 

It was so unexpected and so touching. As I read it I cried. It really meant a lot to me that she would take the time to write it and tell me that Grandpa would be sad at me being sad, that he is with me always, and that he wants me to be happy. And being happy does not mean I am forgetting him. I think the most helpful thing about this is it came from someone who knew and loved him and was able to see my relationship with him. Very comforting. 

Tonight at GriefShare, at the very beginning she had us draw a picture of what we think our heart looks like right now. This is what I drew: 
My heart is broken and crying. I also drew silhouettes of both Grandpa and Cassandra because that Jewel song popped into my mind as I was drawing. "There's a hole in my heart in the shape of you"

The focus of tonight's GriefShare was Grief and Your Relationships. We talked about how some relationships can change when you go through Grief. Here are some notes I took during the video
  • Isolating Adds to loneliness
  • It's easier to sit on the couch than to go out. 
  • Sometimes I push people away so if something bad happens again, it won't hurt. 
  • "I will never be back to my old self. I'll be a new person, but I'll never be back to who I used to be."
At this point all I can do is keep trucking along and do my best to practice some self-care when I can. And keep going to the gym. And remembering that being happy does not mean forgetting Grandpa. 

To better days

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

GriefShare Week 2

Tonight was my second week of GriefShare which I'll be honest, I was less than thrilled about. I did my 5 daily exercises this week and it seemed like so much of it would have been helpful to do back in August when I was first diagnosed with depression and starting to go through things.

For the most part the last week was actually really good. Things seem to be falling back into place and going really well. In fact, they are going SO well I almost didn't call my doctor to increase my meds... But the last time I thought things were going great they came crashing down again, thus the need to increase the meds. So I did it anyway. I suppose it's better to stabilize my emotions, rather than deal with the roller coaster that has been my life.

Saturday I had to be at the church to make chili with the youth and it really put a lot of things into perspective for me. Last year I didn't make it there in time for chili making. Casey handled everything for me because I was still such a mess from Cassandra's death. I stayed in bed most of the morning and finally put make up on and curled my hair for the first time since she died. A year later I am functioning much better. I still have my days, but it was interesting to see how far I've come in a year.

Anyway, back to GriefShare...

I actually talked tonight. I feel like I can give people some advice on how to get through things, so I guess that's helpful.

Here are some things that came up for me while we watched the video:

  • I'm there physically, but I'm not there.
    • This was SO ME!!!! Sometimes I still feel like this. I get so wrapped up in what is going on, but I was mostly like this in Seattle. I know I've mentioned this before. I still just have a hard time accepting that's how I was on my first trip as youth director. 
  • I'm afraid. I shut myself off from people so as not to feel pain if you lose them too. 
    • I have definitely felt this. In fact, after the year I had in 2014, I definitely thought to myself that I was glad I wasn't in a relationship and possibly never wanted to be in one because I wouldn't want to have to go through that loss or have someone else go through the loss if I died first. 
  • I didn't want to deal with life so all I did was sleep
    • I feel like this has lightened up a bit in my life, but for a long time this was definitely me. Constantly tired ALL THE TIME. 
  • Looking for NEW pictures of Grandpa. Wanting to tell him about the good/bad things that happen in life.
    • I would love to see new pictures of Grandpa and me. Still working on my memory book (Well I haven't worked on it in months actually) makes me wish I had more recent pictures. There is a period of time where there are none and that makes me sad. I guess I regret that I didn't spend more time with him. The thing that makes me the saddest is that he can't see me working at the church and I know that would make him SO PROUD. It also makes me sad that he won't be able to officiate my wedding (if that ever does happen) and achieve great things. I am happy that he was able to see me graduate college, but if I ever go to grad school (something that keeps getting put off) it makes me sad that he won't be able to be there to see me do that. There are a lot of things that he's going to miss out on. And that makes me sad. 
  • To cope remember DEER (Drink, Eat, Exercise, Rest)
    • Okay so in the movie they talked about exercise but said this doesn't mean going to the gym. It means something as little as just going for a walk. Start with small steps and build up from there. This is something I've been trying to focus on. This last week was actually really good for me in the gym department. I went to Hip Hop on Wednseday and took it pretty easy.... And even got called up to the front to help lead "Treasure". I was pretty shy and not super happy but it was a good experience. I was feeling pretty alone and that helped. Thursday I went to the gym again with the goal of walking on the treadmill for 1 mile. At the end of 1 mile I wasn't really ready to stop so I kept going and made it to 2 miles! Part of it was I was definitely fueled by a few songs that played on my Ipod during my walk. Sometimes when I play my Ipod I pray for songs to be played that I need to hear. I think maybe that happened. The songs that helped me were: My Angel by Kellie Pickler, Materpiece by Andy Grammer, and Shut It Down by Pitbull. 
  • My Faith Isn't Working
    • Before the video we had a conversation about our prayers not being answered and it wasn't until this portion in the video that I was brought back to Seattle. I went into the trip knowing that Grandpa dying was a possibility but I prayed and prayed that it wouldn't happen. Every tunnel we went through, when I held my breath I wished and wished that he would live until I got back from the trip. And as we all know, that didn't happen. And I guess it took tonight to make me realize I still harbor some anger at that. I'm angry that I wasn't able to be fully present on the trip. I'm angry that I didn't come home to be with my family. I am just angry at the ONE THING I prayed for for so long didn't happen. I don't know how I am going to get through this anger because what's done is done and there really is no changing it. 
One thing that also came up for me tonight is my impending happiness. Yes, things have gotten better but a part of me is still afraid to be happy. Being happy means I'm not sad. And if I'm not sad does that mean I've forgotten him? I know he wants me to be happy, but I just don't want to forget him.

To Better Days