It’s been twelve years since my first husband, Kris, died and it still hurts. Argh. I swear it is never easy this week of hell. Too many deaths and memorials in a week. Kris was killed on 10/27 and we had his memorial on 10/30. That alone is enough to make it a hard week.
My mom died this week too, 10/24, the day before my sister’s birthday. How crummy for her. Ironically, we had Moms memorial on 10/27. She’s been gone six years. Wow, time flies. I miss her and her spunky cheeky behavior.
Most years I move through this week quietly and privately. I’m not a public display of tears or sobbing. I may shed a few tears and take time to remember them in solitude. My way of dealing with hell week is to write, wander down memory lane, view photos, remembering fondly, and talking with family or friends.
I took what I call The Death Day, 10/27, off this year, the first time in years. It’s going to be a rough day – more so than in previous years. It's the day after my infusion (later this afternoon as I write this). I know I am going to feel crummy on a crummy day. Blah. Gloomy weather to go along with the gloomy feelings. Fitting.
Jeni and I have been doing a lot of tough writing on the subject of The First Moments after your loved one dies for Torn in Half. That writing has brought The Death Day back into focus and in the forefront. I keep remembering and feeling the loss when I write about it.
I’ve been looking at the week from afar and thinking OK, here it comes, you know this may be hard. Then I think nah, it’s been 12 years and my life is so good now. I’ll be OK.
I’ve taken moments to acknowledge I’m missing my mom and wishing I could talk to her. I typically don’t dwell on Kris much but, he’s there lingering in my thoughts this month. I’ve had some weird nightmarish dreams that he’s appeared in the last week. I find myself dreading this last week of October, vacillating between acknowledging and squashing the feelings down. Knowing that squashing them temporarily is OK but not forever. I know I’ll have to work through the feeling again. Sigh. Again, I’d rather not, thank you. I echo what so many clients wish - Can’t grief just go away and fade into the rearview mirror?
Chatting with my sister in law brings me to having all of the feelings and there’s no more squashing them down. Time to start allowing and leaning into them.
Having all the feels again I find intellectually annoying. My inner critic reminds, “it’s been years Teresa. You are a grief and loss coach. Get a grip girl.” My sage reminds me, “yes, you may be a so-called expert but you are human and feelings are. Acknowledge them and lean in. It’s perfectly normal and part of the journey. Quiet inner critic.”
Resiliency tip #1 – Allow your feelings to come.
If you need to push them down for a short period. That is OK. However, it is important to allow them to come and flow. Squashing your feelings down will result in them leaking out at the most inopportune times.
Resilience tip #2 - Acknowledge then and let them be.
Acknowledge you have these feelings. No judgement – just allow. Let the feelings just be.
Resiliency tip #3 - Writing and journaling can help process the intense feelings.
So, today I choose to write this blog. As I write to process my feelings and this poem is bubbling up. Here’s the raw feelings for today.
Grief Week Hell
I try to avoid and forget this week of grief.
Most of the year I am able to thrive.
I see this week when October is set to arrive.
Blaring remember – that last week on the calendar.
Bitter sweet October.
How could I ever suppress or forget?
Memories flood in of lives loved and lived.
Wacky dreams and nightmares begin anew.
You are both there so close in my dreams.
I push down the anxiety and feelings – I have to - I deliberate.
I cherish some days of October.
Decorating for Halloween – that’s fun.
Visiting with granddaughter – what a joy.
Seeing and visiting with my sons – a blessing.
First date with my love, Bill
Evie’s birthday - sweet granddaughter love.
Be happy and rejoice. Thrive!
Ignore that last week on the calendar.
Keep busy and work to focus elsewhere.
I see you last week of October - looming dark.
Feelings percolate as October winds to an end.
Let’s think about celebrating Halloween – be sure to schedule fun.
Consider how to process this last week of October again….
Argh - the week has begun – Mom’s death day arrives. I miss her.
My mom died on 10/24.
Oddly, it’s ironic – it’s Founder’s Day for our sorority Delta Zeta.
I pine for my mom and wish I could talk to her.
It’s coming - THAT day – emotions are bubbling to the surface.
Push them down, you have things to do. I’ll do the feeling thing later…
Acknowledge them you know it’s best.
OK, I’ll give myself some time to allow the feelings.
If I don’t they will leak out when I least expect.
Kris was killed on 10/27 – a horrible sudden tragedy.
It still hurts to remember that day and the following days.
12 years and there’s still pain – Why God?
He’s missing our boys lives and grandchildren.
He’d be so proud.
Lean in to the sorrow and anguish.
Floodgates open in a rush of salty tears.
Mom’s memorial service held on 10/27 – paradoxical.
Of course, we had to have it on his death day.
Thus ensures 10/27 will be a day of bereavement.
Take time to cry and vent. Wallow if you need to.
It’s the homestretch of grief week hell.
October is almost over.
How am I doing? Surviving?
Kris’s memorial service on 10/30.
The grief week of hell is ending.
Another year and I’ve survived.
Time to focus on thriving.
Thank God it’s over!
May they rest in peace.
Until next year …
Resiliency tip #4 - Process your feelings & emotions
Journal, write, paint, draw out your emotions and feelings about changes and loss. They are powerful tools than can support processing grief.
I hope you find this a support in your own grief journey. Know you can survive and thrive even through grief.
I would be honored to support to build your resiliency through grief, loss and change. Please reach out and contact me. I love supporting my clients to get up and bounce back and live boldly. I have space for new clients.
Click here to reach out to me or set up a 30min discovery call.
Peace, and blessings,
Teresa – Processing grief and working through this grief hell week.
Teresa Q. Bitner, M.Ed., PMP, ACC - Resiliency, Change and Loss Coach
Partnering with those who have been knocked down my life and want to build resiliency and move forward and live a bold life.
Author of Soul Love: How A Dog Taught Me to Breathe Again &
The First Days Widow Journey