Posted by: Wagons Ho | March 9, 2016

Saved by the book

Normally when I’m interested in something, or just need some information, I become a research queen. I Google like crazy. I find websites and books about the subject. I spend hours searching, reading, learning. When mom was first diagnosed I spent countless hours looking for information about her cancer, treatment options, diets, outcomes, etc. I had more information than I would ever need.

But when it came to grief I didn’t do a thing. Not one Google search, not one book, not one question. I didn’t need to look for information, I was living it. What could I possibly learn that I wasn’t already feeling, thinking, doing. I just needed to get through it.

But as the weeks went by I realized I wasn’t getting through it. I wasn’t feeling better, I wasn’t crying less. I talked to my doctor, thinking maybe I needed “something” to get me through. She assured me that what I was experiencing was normal and she didn’t want to prescribe me anything just yet. She said it was important for me to experience this. I wasn’t convinced so I decided maybe I needed to do some research on grief. I couldn’t bring myself to Google, knowing that the amount of information I would get would be overwhelming, so I headed for the library.

I looked though dozens of books on grief and finally settled on I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping, and Healing After the Sudden Death of A Loved One by Brook Noel . It wasn’t an easy book to read. And, of course, I cried. It was eye opening though. To be able to say “YES! That’s me!”. To have someone completely impartial tell me that what I have been thinking, and feeling, is normal. To hear that I don’t have to “get through it” and that no matter what I’m going through now I will, eventually, be able to move forward. That the doctor was right and medications aren’t necessarily the answer right now.

Next I read The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Jodie’s friend had recommended it, saying it had helped her a lot. It too wasn’t an easy read but again I found myself saying “Yes! I’ve been doing that too!”. Reading that it’s normal that I’m freezing cold all the time, when I’m normally burning up in below zero weather. That spending hours thinking about what I might have missed, what I should have done differently, what I should have known, all normal.

I felt such a sense of relief reading them. Maybe it was just the process of doing something that I would normally do when faced with a subject I need to know more about. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t have to see, and hear, pity in the face and voice of the person telling me I’ll feel better one day. Maybe it’s none of those things. I just know they made me feel a little more normal. And while I’m not ready to do more searching and reading, and I sill don’t want to listen to people tell me it will be ok, I feel better knowing that I’m as ok as I should be right now. I’m not great, but I am ok. And that’s enough for today.




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