28 July 2009

Losing My Child: Living In and Through Grief (Pt 6)

OK, I have been negligent in finishing this up, so let me go ahead and cruise through the remaining sections of the Good Grief booklet. It has now been ten weeks since my son passed away, and I must say, it seems like it has been much longer than it sounds. It some ways it seems an eternity since I last saw him, or talked to him, or just saw him sitting on the computer. Yet, the pain is still very fresh in many ways.

We did, as mentioned in the last post, get the finalized death certificate. All of the insurance has been filed, and so some of that closure is in the process; but the grieving, at least for me, still goes on.

Stage four of the booklet, describes that physical symptoms of distress can occur when grieving. People who have had a major life loss or change, can become so depressed that it can actually begin to give them physical ailments and sickness. I did not connect as much with this section, I guess because I have not remained in a stage of grieving to the point of causing these ailments yet, as it mentions this may happen after a longer period of time. I am hopeful that my grieving and current depression level will not lead to a long enough time to cause this to be a problem (I am hopeful).

Stage five discusses how one may become panicky, concentrating and pondering over the loss to the point of disruption of living. Losing focus, not paying attention, asking people to repeat themselves when they speak with you...always kind of being "out of it" would be descriptive of this stage. Fortunately, I do not feel that I have experienced this phase, and pray to God I never cross over into this. I feel I have maintained a focus on work and my extra curricular activities.

I must admit, my motivation...my creative desire has become more slack or (more) lazy. Not so much in my 8-5 job, but more related to my extra side projects. I tend to spend less time accomplishing things at and around the house, and more time just "vegging out," reading and hanging with the family. Musically, one of my bands has been much more active the past few months, so that has greatly helped keep me going in that area; but the other band is kind of in a creative phase, and honestly, I just am not all there or feeling it. I am hopeful it will pass, but I guess it is a side effect of the depression I still am prone to.

I do not have the panic that this sections starts off with, but I definitely relate practically word-for-word with the last paragraph of this chapter, which states:
To help ourselves through such a period when we can think of nothing but our loss, we must be open to new and different human relationships. At a time like this all we want to do is run away from life. The last thing we care to do is to try anything new. We can think of a hundred different reasons why we prefer to stay at home and be gloomy rather than go out and be forced to be nice to people and think new thoughts. Such an attitude is natural; it is to be expected.
This I feel is me right now. I may not necessarily just sit around being gloomy, but I definitely do not have the motivation to go out and do anything, or meet anyone "new" like this. Actually, on top of the grief issue, other recent experiences with a close "friend" have made me even more desirous to not make any new friends or relationships. At this time, I am content to be with my family and my book "friends." I have no desire to open up to, get close to, or confide in anyone else outside of my current direct circle. Call it depression, or lack of trust in so called "friends," either way, for right now at least, I have no desire for new friends or relationships. So, I guess I may be stuck in a portion of this stage at present.

Stage six discusses the guilt we may feel over the loss. There are two types of guilt, the normal guilt we feel over time not well spent, words not said, etc. We always wish we had a chance to do things over, to do things better, to say "I Love You" more, to spend more quality time with them. This I do feel, and is said to be normal.

The second set of guilt discussed is called neurotic guilt. It states every person will have some of this, and it may be hard to separate which guilt is which when dealing with it. I do admit I have some of this, but feel I have come to terms with it. The example of neurotic guilt that is given is a story of a daughter who spends day and night for a long period of time, by her aged mother's bedside. Finally, the doctors order the girl to go home and get some rest, and she does, and that same night the mother dies.

In my case, it is the "what if" question of why, upon arriving home early that morning (3AM), did I not put the pulse oximeter on my son's finger just to see how his levels were doing? My wife said he had recently stirred and was fine, and I did not want to wake him, so I was simply satisfied with holding his hand and seeing his head move. If I had put the meter on, and had noticed something was wrong (if there was anything wrong at that time of the night, that is) then I would have had him rushed to the hospital, where I am sure he would have been tubed, poked, prodded, stuck, etc. and who knows what other "torture" in the attempt to preserve him. If after all of that he were to still have died, it would have been a most horrible way to go...conscious, fighting, and in discomfort. I am thankful that the Lord directed me to not take steps to further check him and possibly lead to that; but instead my son went very, very peacefully, without a word, without pain, and just slept away.

OK, I will stop for now, and try to cover the last four sections in the next post. I am glad to be re-reading parts of this now and being able to pour out my thoughts here, whether anyone reads them or not, it refreshes my mind on the subject and hopefully helps me make it through some of this time.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7