Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Grief Sucks No.1: My Recent Experience with Loss

  Welcome to the series "Grief Sucks." The word "sucks" in this context doesn't have the same meaning as in "Oh, that sucks". It's not the kind of "sucks" that's appropriate when you burn your toast, fail a test, or when Bob the Drag Queen wins RPDR (no shade). No, it's the kind of "sucks" that you use when a situation is so undeniably terrible, you just have to stand awestruck in the sheer shittiness of it. You have to acknowledge what a huge blow it is before you even attempt to go on with normal life. Yeah, it could've been worse. Yes, other people definitely have it worse. But this SUCKS. 
That's how I felt when I lost my mom this April. I can't say it was sudden, but it really did feel sudden. She had been terminally ill with Stage Four breast cancer for two and a half years. Just to summarize, after two years of seemingly successful chemotherapy, radiation, and a mastectomy, things took a turn for the worse. I learned over my Easter break that my mom had decided to stop chemotherapy and begin palliative home care. It was jarring and very unexpected. I felt completely in the dark. Angry, scared, confused, vulnerable. I went back to school after break with the promise that my family would keep me updated on my mom's condition. I came home the following weekend and learned she was transitioning to home hospice care, so I made the decision not to go back to school. Honestly, the next week is very blurry in my memory even though it was only six months ago. The weeks following that one are even more nebulous. I mostly remember feeling angry. I was angry that I didn't know what was going on. I was angry she was trying to protect me by not telling me about her condition. I was angry that I wasn't getting the closure I felt like I needed. I was angry that now that I had my depression under control, life was about to take away my mom. But under all this anger I was just scared of what I felt incredibly unprepared for: losing my mom. 
   I remember arguing and crying and then I admitted I was scared. She was scared too. It was a kind of catharsis at that point, not the closure I wanted but a closure I’ve come to accept. The next day she was having trouble communicating and a couple days later she was taken to an inpatient hospice facility where she died within 24 hours.
   I remember wanting it to be over at a certain point. I didn’t want her to be in pain and I wanted go home and cry in the shower. When it was over, the tears wouldn’t come. I was in a state of shock.
Since then, it’s been a far from linear process. The shock has mostly subsided, but my anger and general sorrow fluctuate day to day…really hour to hour. My world has changed, but to my own credit, it hasn't stopped. I went back to school after she died to finish the semester and here I am again, still on track and still on Dean's List. Mainly, I am trying to deal with this loss in the least self-destructive way possible while still honoring what a profound loss it is. Please join me in this messy, messy process. I'm far from figuring it out myself. 

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