Today, I read a post from The Cat Widow that made me think about that numbness. First, she explained the difference between grief and mourning. I had never heard there was a difference.
Grief is an internal process. Lots of emotions come into play and the process is different for everyone. Mourning, however, is grief that is expressed to the world. Mourning is how a person works through her grief by outwardly expressing the things she is feeling inside.I have plenty of grief, but I avoid mourning. I work really hard to hide my sadness. I work hard to be cheerful and make sure others are comfortable around me. I don't want to cry in front of other people. I prefer to be alone with my sadness.
Then, her post went on to say this -
In grad school and during my time doing a graduate internship with hospice, I was taught that grief without mourning is frightening and destructive. Grief without mourning is how people become shells of their former selves. How people succumb to demons and emotional pain. How people get stuck and cannot move forward.That got my attention, especially because of the part about becoming shells of their former selves. That struck home because I often feel like a shell. All empty inside. I shut down often - just like I did with the racoon. The shutting down is scarier than feeling sad. I can't even explain it.
|This is not my drawing, but it |
sort of fit how I feel sometimes.
I'm not going to worry too much about being a shell. I don't think I'll get stuck in this state. I know I'm not going to succumb to demons or not be able to move forward. I don't know how long it will take to get a little real life back in me, but I feel sure it'll happen. I'll just continue faking it 'til I make it. Sometimes faking it feels real.
Anyway, maybe it's best to look at this shell thing another way - a shell is a protective covering. I'll use it as long as I need it.
By the way, grief is different for everyone. Even though I am not in total agreement with the point of view in The Cat Widow's aforementioned post, I really do like her blog. Her posts could be really helpful to other widows. Her husband committed suicide due to ongoing pain. I think that adds a whole extra level of pain to the grieving process. She's dealing with it gracefully.