Mr Loco died three months ago. Where are we 3 months later? What do the stages of grief look like for us? How are we holding up? How are we “doing”? That is what people want to know. What happens when the meals stop and people assume you are finding your new normal?
There was a lot of denial. “How could this be happening?” There was the feeling that he would walk in the door any moment. It was a sad day when that feeling went away. It was almost easier living in denial. Thinking he was on a business trip. I remember the day when that feeling of him possibly coming through the door was just gone. It was a sad day. There were many tears for the loss of that feeling. I have needed lots of time to process and just be alone with my feelings. I am going to continue to need a lot of time to process. It is easy to put on a happy face for others but all of the feelings need to be felt. All of the emotions need to come to the surface. It sucks.
Well, I still cry every day. They aren’t the epic, snot-filled, BAWL your eyes out sessions they were to begin with. They are sudden bursts when looking at a picture or remembering the way his hand felt around my shoulder or as I tell a story to Baby Loco or as I sing her a lullaby at bedtime. I start to cry when I realize I haven’t cried for most of the drive to work. I cry after I do something that was Mr Loco’s household task. I cry when I come across something sweet he sent me. I just cry because I miss him so very much. The crying bursts are shorter. I can usually pull it together in a reasonable amount of time. Sometimes I have to suck it up and push through and other times I can just let it go. You usually can’t tell that I burst into tears three times on my way to your house and you don’t know if I burst into tears as soon as I left you. It happens. Crying sucks.
There has been a lot of anger. “Why did this happen to us?” “Why couldn’t this happen to someone who was an asshole?” “Why couldn’t it happen to someone who was not so in love?” You think these things and then feel horrible in the next breath because you really wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Even assholes would have people who miss them. Then in another moment you are back to BUT WHY? Logically, you know there is no why. There is no grand plan. There is no ultimate explanation. It really sucks. Accidents happen. People die. There is no lesson. There is no reason. My tolerance for bullshit has gone WAY DOWN. I could make a list of things that have really driven me up the wall over the last few months. It would be the ultimate vent- some silly and some very legitimate ridiculousness. If you know someone going through a loss, cut them some slack, be emotionally mature and don’t push their buttons and don’t bring drama. There is plenty of drama around loss. You should not add to it. Losing your best friend just sucks and dealing with some people left living sucks as well.
Life is completely up in the air. I seriously thought our financial life would be straightened out by now. In my head when people die, everything happens in quick succession. You get a death certificate, you get a check for life insurance, you handle all outstanding issues and you are done. That gives you the opportunity to focus on grieving. Well, I can tell you that is not the case. Every single step in this journey has been covered in bureaucratic red tape. It has involved phone calls and visits and more phone calls. The phone calls usually involve me bursting into tears while trying to explain what is happening because someone who is grieving is not ready to have these conversations over and over. There still isn’t any life insurance. There is only a pile of bills and the slight panic with the realization that insurance companies don’t actually want to give you any money and anger at the fact that this is not an easy process. There are more phone calls and paperwork in my future. I don’t wish this on my worst enemy. Financial uncertainty sucks.
What do you do when the meals stop coming? How do you just one day start making dinner? How do you pull yourself together to meal plan? There are some mommies who have been providing meals a few days a week. I must admit, it is hugely helpful. HUGELY HELPFUL. You wouldn’t think that 3 months later you would need support but on rough days after spending time trying to work things out on the phone or what have you, I am drained. Dinner is the last thing on my mind and I am often left scrambling when I am the one responsible. I am just starting to get into the habit of going to the grocery store. It took a while. They know us at the store. I was terrified that they would ask how Mr Loco was as I was checking out and I would burst into tears. I was living off from groceries people would bring over and things I could buy at the gas station. I finally tackled Trader Joe’s and Costco. On the days when we are in charge of our own dinner, we go with simple things. We go with quick meals. Trying new recipes and elaborate meal prep is for other moms. Making it to the grocery store is a huge success. Tackling your fears sucks.
There has been bargaining. The bargaining is so strange. I will make deals with myself like we are living in a sci fi novel and I can just put the pieces of Mr Loco back together. I would go a million dollars in debt to have him back. I would give my arms and legs. I would take care of Mr Loco for rest of his life if he were confined to a bed, if he were just here, I just want him to be here. I would take a Facetime version of Mr Loco…you know even a floating head. Then I think of all of the people he helped with organ donation and think that “to put him back together”, I would have to take from all of their families and how could you take away life from so many. That is usually the point where I start crying in my weird Humpty Dumpty version of putting Mr Loco back together. Of course I would give so many things up to have him back but there sits my good friend logic. The big party-pooper in the corner of the room. Logic ruins all of my good plans. Logic pulls my head out of the clouds and helps me deal with the reality. I can’t put Mr Loco together again but I can appreciate everything about Mr Loco that made him unique. I can celebrate him by remembering him, by talking about him and by surrounding myself with things that remind me of him. (stay tuned for another blog post to follow)
How am I “doing”? The big question. I am surviving. When people ask I feel like the only honest response is “alright”. We are trained to say good no matter what but I am NOT good. I am far from good. I am surviving. I am day-to-day. I am sad. I am nervous. I am doing my best. I am being real. Being real and being honest sucks.
Yes, I am surviving. I know doing things like grocery shopping will continue to get better over time. I know we will eventually find our new normal. I will never stop missing Mr Loco. Life will never be the same. It won’t even be as good. It will just be different. I will be different. I am different. I am forever changed. I am grateful for those that continue to support us with friendship, with meals, with financial contributions to the memorial fund. I don’t think I can ever express enough thanks. I truly know who my friends are and I must say, they are amazing. We are lucky to have so many wonderful people in our life who really know how to love on us and carry us through this sucky, sucky time. Some day it will still suck but maybe a little less.
If you know someone going through a loss, be kind to them or as Mr Loco would quote “Be excellent to each other”.