it's only a shadow of grief

I have been staring on and off at a blank page for several days now, wondering what to say. I have a lot going on in my life right now, between things with friends and family and the economy and the decision on whether to move and the fact that I slammed my finger in a file drawer yesterday and the list goes on. Not to mention the fact that this time of year is my worst - the month between my brother's birthday and the anniversary of his death is not a good time for me. It overshadows everything and just slightly discolors it. Just enough to make me feel a little off, not quite myself. I haven't sunk into a black hole this year, not like the past couple of years. I'm not depressed, I'm not crying daily. Mostly I'm living my life. Just with an extra invisible burden always hovering there.

This is harder in some ways than the outright overwhelming grief. At least when it hurts so much, it's visible. People around me can see that I'm having a hard time, and they can either help me or not, be there for me or not, but at least it's clearly defined.

I'm having a hard time, but it's only a shadow of grief. I will always miss my brother, I will always be sad that he is no longer on this earth. That will never change. But this time of year, this shadow hanging over me, it's hard. On the surface I am functioning as usual, though I may be distracted, I may not show quite the enthusiasm you hoped, I may take a few extra seconds to get my act together and respond to a question.

I don't know how to describe this very well, and I can't quite pinpoint what's bothering me most of the time. I'm just not myself. It's hard for me to deal with that, and it's hard for those around me to deal with that.

Of course, typing that phrase, "I'm just not myself," I almost laughed out loud. The me that I consider "myself" these days is not the same me I was three years ago. I am discovering only very recently that I am not the same person I was before my brother died. And I'm not sure I know who I actually am anymore. But that's a long post for another day.

My point is, in all this, be patient with us. With all of us who have lost siblings. We travel a unique and unpredictable path. Sometimes we need space and sometimes we need to be crowded with love. Sometimes we don't know what we need and are bumbling through life trying to find our places. We are trying. Be patient with us.

7 comments:

Meredith said...

Hugs from me to you! :) Wish I could give you one in person...

Thais said...

"Sometimes we need space and sometimes we need to be crowded with love"


this is exactly how i feel in november......thanks for putting it into words.....know that my thoughts are always with you!!

Anonymous said...

Very well said. Ditto.

Katherine said...

I too wish I could give you a hug in person... and Julia does too - she would have loved to meet her cousin Greg. We are keeping you in our thoughts every day :)

Fizzgig said...

aw, that is sad. I cant say I know what its like but it is hard to lose a family member.

hope the sun comes out for you soon!

Elena said...

I think you described how you're feeling very well. I think, at least, that I have a small sense of what it must be like to be done with outright grief, and moving into a stage for which the pain is less obvious to others.

If it helps any, I am constantly amazed by how you've dealt with your grief (a grief that I can't even imagine feeling), and I'm still amazed. In your writing, you confront so many things head on - and you make it easy for those of us who haven't experienced this type of tragedy to sense it, just a little. I really hope that it's as therapeutic for you as it is educational and eye-opening for us.

I guess my point in saying all that is, you've changed, and will continue to change, but there's nothing wrong with that. You're on a journey, and I think this Amy is wonderful, too.

I hope all that rambling made sense. You and Greg are in my thoughts. Virtual hugs to you.

mo*reezy said...

Everyone else has already said it all. I love you!

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