Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Onward through the Fog

I thought grief would be a spectacle. You know, breaking down in public, asking the missing one if everything is OK or if she has some wisdom to shed on some subject. I went through a grief similar to that when the Boy from Connecticut dumped me in Round I but this is different.

I don't get it, frankly. I always thought that when my parents died, I'd be headed for Payne Whitney. Up until last May, Mother was the person I was most consistently open with, the person I went to for advice about everything except men. It's not that I don't have a lump in my throat as I write those sentences, as well as the operative phrase "until last May," but this frame of mind I'm in is more like a fog than a fire.

My concentration is almost nonexistent except for stupid computer games. Sunday I slept 19 hours. I never really unpacked from my trip to Prague and came home with some of my mother's jewelry and scarves so the Bat Cave is like a jigsaw puzzle dumped out of the box.

I keep losing things. My checkbook went missing in Arizona but I found it at the last minute and packed it in my suitcase. It did not, however, come out of my suitcase. I've looked ineffectually for it everywhere. Then my ATM card went missing. I found it but only after I'd gotten a replacement. And those are just the important goners.

Nor can I remember things. I sat down, sans checkbook but with a notebook, and paid bills, writing them down. When I looked at my checking account a few days later, there were bills I wrote down that hadn't gone through and bills I'd paid that I hadn't written down. It took an hour to find check blanks and a new ledger and then I called all my credit cards because I had no idea what their balances were after traveling for four weeks out of five. I bought a gift for friends, along with a few other items, and discovered when I got home that the box was empty.

And let's not forget handing over my passport at the bank to get a new ATM card and being unable to remember my social security number for a good three minutes.

I feel haunted -- not by my mother but by a feeling that I've forgotten something important. When I'm out on the street I'm in a rush to get home and do something but as soon as I arrive, I stall out.

It's a miracle my animals are alive and that I haven't walked into an oncoming delivery truck.

All this forgetfulness and losing stuff makes me incredibly anxious. Add stomach problems to the mix. I would love to be able to sit down and cry my eyes out if only I needed to. I'd much rather be in paroxyms of grief than in this light-headed Alzheimer's state.

I'm clinging to accomplishing small things and to the hope of another day's abstinence. I was so wound up over the bank card and keys I needed to return yesterday that I couldn't decide what to do or in what order. But I managed both as well as groceries. I went through masses of papers last night. It took at least two hours when someone else could have done it in 30 minutes, but things are paid and National Public Radio is $25 richer. Today I've done one load of laundry and found a photo for my Lab Lady blog. I've brushed my teeth and taken my morning meds. I remembered that a hungry stomach means I should eat before getting into a new twitter of disorganized organizing.

For the time being I guess I'm going to have to slow w-a-y down, keep my lights on dim and the windows open.

But if anyone finds my brain, could you let me know? I'll gladly pay overnight shipping.


Unknown said...

Frances, this all sounds perfectly normal, albeit disorienting, given what you've been through this fall. The numbness or fog maybe be a protective response by your body/brain. Be watchful for signs of worsening depression. (I was Ms. Organized all through my mom's two-month dying process from cancer, then arranging the cremation, the funeral home reception, the funeral itself, entertaining the visiting relatives, etc. Later I realized how much of that was sheer adrenaline powering my forward through an emotional war zone. And I developed major depression. YMMV, and I sure hope it does!)

If you can identify one LITTLE thing every day and get it done, that's good enough for now. Be gentle and reasonable in your demands of yourself. Grief is not so much drama as an organic process. The manifestations change as time goes on.

Also: Kudos for maintaining your eating plan during this time of upheaval. *applause*

Anonymous said...

I experienced many of the things you are feeling when my mom died four years ago. Take one day at a time, and one thing at a time. Allow yourself to grieve, and be patient.

KayakMedia said...

Hugs and peace and gentleness to you. C/

Anonymous said...

Similar to the first commenter, I experienced the same brain fog after my mother died 6 weeks ago...but was razor sharp during during the illness preceding her death as well as the funeral and week after that. I chocked the brain fog up to jet lag but it wasn't just that.

All this is normal; please don't worry about it. Your world has been changed forever and that's no small thing.

Unknown said...

I still grieve for my father every time poppies bloom. It is a quiet little grief. The poppy shatters in the vase. The petals fall. He was a gardener, my father.