Annemarie: Well, I am at least letting myself grieve…
Annemarie: I’ve been deleting X from every area of my life. texts, voicemail, as a contact; artwork, certain pictures. I hadn’t gotten around to email yet, so that’s what I’m doing. I found the thread where he told me he liked me and I lost it. But at least <grits teeth> I’m letting myself grieve.
I don’t want it to still feel like this. But I guess I know the only way it won’t someday is to feel it now.
Me: (badly bungles the conversation multiple times before…) You’re still in early grief … I didn’t recognize that.
Annemarie: I still have so much to process.
(I say this incredulously to myself, not so much to you.)
I stopped processing anything and everything with X almost as soon as I started. I had no idea that that was true until this week.
Realizing that I believe taking care of myself to be indulgent led me to realize that I am back to not wanting to feel or believe or grieve.
I stopped grieving for Pastor Speyer [who died 3 years ago] when X broke my heart. But before that could become my grief, I threw myself into school. I was new and I knew no one. So I determined to do well and make friends.
And I did, and I am grateful. Everything I have done since then has been meaningful and true. I was able to experience figure drawing class and Disneyland with my girlfriends and a solo show and graduation.
But not because I had moved on. Because I had moved forward. I stored all my pain in boxes labeled “I’m too busy now — will deal with it later.”
Which is why I haven’t started to grieve Nana. It’s one more thing.
I’ve been putting all of my grief feelings away in boxes in the back of my mind, hoping I was okay enough without having to deal with them.
And that’s not fair, to anyone who has a relationship to me.
But more than that, it’s not fair to me.
I need to understand that it is okay, that it is necessary to take care of myself.
I think one of the reasons I reached back out to X when he reached out to me three or four months ago is because it was almost a relief, an “Oh, good, I won’t have to grieve for this.”
Of course I still would have, but I didn’t understand that then.
I do now.
I have moved forward. But I have not moved on from so much that is still holding me back.
Which is difficult to acknowledge because I thought it had to be one or the other.
I had hoped that having a full time job, a mentor, all of these opportunities, friends and family that I meet with weekly or monthly, a healthy routine and a happy outlook on life and where I am — I had hoped that all this meant that I was well and truly past it all.
But no, I’m not.
Of course I’m not.
And what’s comforting is the fact that it works both ways.
The fact that I am still struggling and still grieving does not mean my life is sad or some sort of struggle to appear happy while I am in pain or that it is worth any less.
I have been moving forward. Now, working through my grief, I am moving on.
(Many thanks to my amazing daughter for permission to share her process!)