Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Going to church is really, really hard now. I dread going every.single.week. And while I'm there, I am only counting the seconds until I can escape through those doors again. I don't know what other people think about this, but part of me wonders (and worries) if they think its the "religious" aspect, and its not.

The main reason why its so upsetting to me is because part of going to church is gathering your whole family, with everyone looking and acting their best, and sitting happily all together. This is all I see when I am at church: everyone else with their whole families...smiling...happy...together...whole. My friends' arms are full as they tend to their babies...walking in and out of the foyer, kissing little foreheads, trying to get them to smile and laugh, bouncing them on their hips around the edges of the chapel, digging through diaper bags to locate binkies and crackers, gazing into their eyes and nuzzling their noses, clasping their hands together and playing patty-cake, smiling lovingly at their pride and joys...

I sit.

I sit and I mourn my empty arms that have nothing to do any more but stay quietly folded. I sit and I try to keep my eyes down so I can't see anything. I sit and I try not to listen to anything so I can't hear any cooing or crying. I sit and I try not to let the tears fall into my aching, empty lap. It wounds me in ways I cannot possibly describe politely. Let's just say no one is my friend on Sunday.

Another reason it is so hard to sit through church is because being there makes me feel the Spirit, and that makes me *feel* in general, and when I feel, I feel sad and angry. And I don't want to feel sad and angry...I don't want to feel ANYTHING. I try to stay numb as long as I possibly can. I spend my days running and running and running from my emotions, distracting myself in whatever ways I can. And when I am at church just *sitting* with so many triggers around me, they catch up and swallow me whole.

It is pretty much all I can do to keep breathing until the service ends. Honestly, I hardly hear a word that is said during the talks because I am concentrating so hard on keeping my emotions in check. I don't want to see anyone. I don't want to make small talk with anyone. I don't want to smile. I don't want to act happy. I don't want to be there, PERIOD. All I really want to do is run out of there and scream my head off and kick the crap out of something. In fact, a large portion of my trying-to-ignore-everything thoughts consist of wondering how far I would actually have to go before no one in the chapel heard me. But instead, I sit. and wait. and ache. until I can go home and crash into my bed and finally let the waves drown me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


My good friend told me this little "scenario" and I think it captures what we're going through pretty well.

Sometimes its hard for people to see us suffering, and they want so badly to help us, but they have no idea how. A lot of times their attempts just pressure us to grieve the way others think we should be grieving, and that makes it even harder and more painful. I don't envy our friends and family in that aspect, I know it can't be easy. Another one of my friends described it as watching her friends being thrown into a pit of fire and being burned alive, and not being able to do anything about it. That seems pretty accurate from my end anyway.

But think of it this way...you know when you clean out a closet that is WAY past due? You have to pull every single item out of the closet and in the process, you end up making a HUGE mess. You have to sort through every item individually...decide whether its still useful, or if it doesnt fit anymore, if its trash or if it can be donated. You end being surrounded by mountainous piles of STUFF. And sometimes it gets so overwhelming that you have to leave the room, shut the door, and leave it be for awhile until you can muster up the motivation to tackle it again. And it ALWAYS ends up taking MUCH longer than you thought it would to finish it!

If anyone came into your house and happened to unsuspectingly open that bedroom door, they'd gasp, "What is going on in this room?!". No one would know that the piles have any meaning, or what method there is to your madness...to them it would just look like one HUGE, terrible mess. Even just looking at it would feel so awful to them that they would know you must feel a million times worse. And as they are your friend and care about you, they would probably offer to put everything away for you. But as TEMPTING as that is, you know no one else can do it for you, because no one else knows what is still useful, or what still fits, or what you haven't touched in 5 years and needs to be thrown away. And they don't know how to organize it and put it back in the closet in the way that is the most helpful to you. It might be a quick fix, but in the end YOU are the one who has to do it YOURSELF. So you have to decline their help. The only thing anyone can really do to help is to sit and talk with you while you trudge on.

That is exactly how this feels to me. I have to pull every single thought, idea, feeling, emotion, memory, belief, etc out of my head and look at them each individually. Only it takes a LOT longer to figure out if its still useful to me or needs to be trashed. I have to take them out and sort through them, again and again and again and again. And to everyone else on the outside looking in, I look like a HUGE mess! Through that process of trying to figure out whats still useful, I have to think and say a lot of things that worry people. But it is the ONLY way for me to truly sort through them. Sometimes it gets so exhausting that I have to just leave the mess and forget it for awhile.

That mess scares people, too. They feel how painful it is and they just want me to be happy. They want to tell me what I need and what I don't, so that I can quickly put it all away and be done with it and no one has to look at it anymore. And as TEMPTING as that is, (and trust me, I HAVE attempted to do that) it just DOESN'T work! Because the next time all these feelings and thoughts come up again, I realize that the way they were sorted doesn't work for me and is not helpful. So then I have to pull it all out again and start over. In the end, only *I* can figure out what I need to keep and what makes sense to ME.

The only thing anyone can really do to help is to come keep me company and sit and talk to me (but mostly LISTEN) while I try to sort through this HUGE mess. Sometimes suggestions can be helpful, but mostly understand that what seems helpful to you, may not be helpful for me to hear (at least right now), and in fact, can even hurt more than help. Its not even necessarily what is said, because sometimes what helps one day, doesn't help the next...and it really depends on the frame of mind I'm in at the time.

But the hardest part of all, is to not feel worried and concerned when I say or do things that don't seem "right" to you. It may seem like the kind thing to do when you express your worry to me, but it just makes me feel like I'm not grieving "the right way"...or that you don't have faith in me to work through it. And as soon as I start feeling that, I don't want to open up anymore because I get worried that they'll be even MORE "worried" about me, and then I'll have to worry myself with making them not worried...or I feel like they think less of me or are freaked out by me.

If this all seems really complicated and overwhelming and impossible to you, well, it IS. And we feel that frustration on TOP of everything else! (Welcome to "Life Sucks 101" and by the way, no one gets a study guide!) When in doubt, I guess its better to just say nothing and give us a hug instead. Or bring ice cream. Ice cream is always appreciated.