The experts say: It is difficult for the person experiencing grief to function 100%. Thus, this is not the time to make major decisions or changes in your life like selling your home, moving to another city, or taking a new job. If possible slow down and allow yourself time to adjust to your loss.
I say: It is difficult not to make major decisions. Like, organ donation? Cremation or viewing? Where is the funeral home? To pee or not to pee? This is stupid advice, “experts”.
The experts say: Don’t leave important things to memory. Develop a check list to review before leaving the house.
I say: Where did my checklist go? Where the fuck are my mittens? Why is the gas tank empty already? WHO DRANK ALL THE MILK?!
The experts say: You may find that it takes longer to finish a task. Time may not be managed as well.
I say: Good thing I don’t have children yet. It’s hard enough disappointing my adult brother when I say we aren’t going to go tubing today because I can’t find my mittens.
INABILITY TO CONCENTRATE AND RETAIN INFORMATION
The experts say: It may be impossible to stay focused on a task. Reading may take longer and it might help to read “out loud” rather than to yourself. This is a time when one’s mind wanders and it is hard to stay on a task
I say: I already talk to myself, sometimes to my Dad (so weird). Now I’m supposed to read legal documents out loud?
Also, for that second part about staying on task … that time I had to plan a funeral and write an obituary went something like this:
I’m going to write this thing for the newspaper. Ok, we loved him a lot and … I think I’ll have a nap.
Hey, Brother, its 9pm the day before the catholic mass church thing – did you confirm the music? Dad liked oldies.
Hey, Brother, shouldn’t we say something about Dad tomorrow?
Fast-forward to church …
Oh wait, is this an actual funeral isn’t it?
Omg, I think I’m giving a eulogy … yes, I am. Deep breaths.
Good thing I wrote something down mere hours before the catholic church thing.
Ok, focus and don’t throw up …
… shit, I’m sad again. How did I not realize this was a funeral and not just some “catholic church thing”?
PREOCCUPATION WITH THE LOSS
The experts say: Unplanned thoughts of the loss may enter your head at any time or at any place.
I say: Grocery store: Oh man! Dad loved those cookies! I think I might cry – hurry to the dairy section. Wait – remember how he loved vanilla ice cream? Bah! I need to get the hell out of this grocery store. Wait, all I bought was cheese and hummus?
LACK OF INTEREST OR MOTIVATION
The experts say: You may find that things just don’t matter as much now. It is difficult to be interested in anything.
I say: Ugggggghhhh Christmas; who even cares. Ugggghhhh those mini-Babybel’s are SO FAR AWAY. Do I even like mini-Babybels? I used to like them. I still like cheese right?! I think I’ll make some Jell-O. On second thought, maybe I’ll just watch this TV show. Do I still like TV?
LOWERED TOLERANCE LEVEL
The experts say: Your patience may not what it used to be. Your fuse may be shorter and you may lose patience more quickly.
I say: I’m sorry RBC guy, you don’t know what probate means? What do you know exactly? Why did you take this estate account meeting? Should I just go home and call the estate account people myself, instead of sitting here and watching you do it? I don’t have time for idiots with bad fashion sense.
And also, BROTHER, I can’t believe you drank all the milk. You can’t EVER do that again. Without milk, I can’t have coffee. Without coffee, YOU are in danger. Don’t screw with me right now.
The experts say: Grief is exhausting and in addition to that you may not be sleeping, eating or exercising as you should.
I say: Hells yes it is. December should have been renamed to “Fucking Tired”.
What time is it? 2am? I’m not tired.
What time is it? 8am? I’m sooooo tired.
11am: let’s go for a walk! Oh … this small hill is apparently monstrously huge. I can’t breathe. Omg, why did I leave the house? Someone will surely come for me if I just sit down for a while …
It’s 4pm, I’m going to have another nap. I did, after all, wash the coffee mug.
Later and throughout the day: Uggggghhhh the hummus and chips are SO FAR AWAY. I think I’ll just have a small snooze to muster the energy to get the hummus … must get the hummus …
Thank goodness I had all of Fucking Tired (formerly December) to go through these things. I’m looking forward to a much more tidy and more sane January, which features my first ever trip to Hawaii and my triumphant return to the working world! I’m excited to kick-butt at life again.
PS: The “experts” for this “grief 101” are found here. They, and others, are actually pretty wise. I have found a lot of reassurance in perusing websites about grief, if you are going through something similar, I would highly recommend a solid 1am Google search.