How Do You Manage Grief?
When Alex died I intuitively knew I had to go through this grieving process organically, in my own way. I didn’t want to read books about the phases of grief or talk to other mothers who had lost a child. I didn’t want to know what was ahead of me. But I learned that it was dangerous for me to drift without a rudder. I needed to manage my grief.
At first, the shock and grief were so overwhelming that “managing my grief” meant not being alone. Of course, at first there were always people around but after the wake and funeral were over, friends and family returned to their busy lives. The alone time was the most difficult time. So I would make a plan to have a visit with a friend, a sister, or a niece. I would make a plan to give me something to look forward to; some small reason to get out of bed in the morning.
I recognized the need to manage my grief very early on, while my daughter was still at home with us. Together we addressed some of the excruciating task of dealing with Alex’s affairs and we decided to follow up a “crappy” task with a “happy” one. For example, we would plan a small shopping trip to follow a visit to the lawyer. “Crappy and Happy” became our modus operandi.
Although it’s been over six months since Alex died, managing my grief is still a necessity. Today it takes different forms.
It takes the form of small projects like making crocheted hearts for the wall-hanging in the kitchen. (See photo.) It takes the form of clutter-clearing and creating peaceful rooms in my home. It takes the form of getting together with friends both in real life and here on the porch. It takes the form of a walk in nature. I manage my grief today by deliberately including in my day small things which make me feel good.
I remind myself that I will survive and choose to survive with grace even as I reach for acceptance that is still beyond my grasp. I find my small piece of solid ground. I ask for and wait for signs.
How do you manage grief? Do you find direction in books, solace in activities? What has helped you most?