Anticipatory Grief

I learned a new term today.

Anticipatory Grieving

Anticipatory grief is that feeling we get about what the future holds when we’re uncertain. Usually it centers on death. We feel it when someone gets a dire diagnosis or when we have the normal thought that we’ll lose a parent someday. Anticipatory grief is also more broadly imagined futures. There is a storm coming. There’s something bad out there. With a virus, this kind of grief is so confusing for people. Our primitive mind knows something bad is happening, but you can’t see it. This breaks our sense of safety. We’re feeling that loss of safety. I don’t think we’ve collectively lost our sense of general safety like this. Individually or as smaller groups, people have felt this. But all together, this is new. We are grieving on a micro and a macro level.

That came from Scott Berinato who quotes David Kessler in the Harvard Business Review‘s article, That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief.  Kessler is …”the world’s foremost expert on grief. He co-wrote with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss.”

COVID-19, coronavirus, pandemic

Stages of Grieving

The grieving process we are all familiar with are these 5 stages:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

anticipatory COVID-19, coronavirus, pandemic

The 6th stage, recently added, is:

  • Finding Meaning (I’m just starting this book by the above mentioned David Kessler.)

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No Direct Path Through

While it would be so helpful to be able to mark the stages off as I am in one, seeing progress forward towards acceptance and finding meaning in my life and death, sadly, there is no linear means to the relief of pain.

And what has been helpful for me, too, is to know I can feel more than one “stage” at a time. Who knew I could be in the Anger and Acceptance phase together? It has happened more than once since the Pandemic began.

I like this page on Symptoms of Grieving as an adjunct to the Stages. I relate to many of them.

anticipatory COVID-19, coronavirus, pandemic
Grief the Unspoken by Natalia Maroz

Resigning Myself…

…to going through all the stages, backwards and forwards, up, down and sideways… until the end.

I am sure my writing will reflect a lot of that.

Was a Morbid Kind of Day

I had a really tough day yesterday.

I See It Coming

I kept “seeing” me dying, could see it clear as day. Can see it clear as day.

I thought about my kids whom I love so much. My grandkids who will not know their Nanny (as they call me) except through anecdotes about how crazy I was. (In a good way.) The oldest might remember me a little bit, but I have had next to zero time with the baby. That breaks my heart. I think about what I want to say to them, but I want to tell them everything. How can I tell them everything without a lifetime together?

I want my kids and grandkids to know how very much I love them and how they will be my last thoughts as I fall into that deepest of sleep.

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Being Motherless

I think about my own kids who are really just beginning their lives and they will be motherless, unable to ask questions of me about this or that parenting situation. Who will not have a mother with them who says, “I love you,” with every exchange, who calls them at midnight on their birth day to sing “Happy Birth Day to Us.”

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Cliché…

…as it is, this life was so short. It really went by in a flash.

I was just starting school at 6-years old, then in band playing flute for 7 years, marching in the Florida heat.

I was partying at the gay bar, then had a baby and married at the same blip in time. Nursing, toddlers, school-aged kids all within a month of each other. Graduations and a marriage… a split second in time.

My life in birth, 32 years long, seems like a blink.

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Marriage to Zack, the two we had, hilarious fun, being in the news.

Owning a business that I hated… that time dragged on!

And then the kids were grown. When did that happen?

Writing. Always the writing. Meaning to write books that are now half written, like the rest of the world’s words, a silent bestseller in the drawer.

coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic
artist: Vidula Shinde

I can’t figure out why everything went so fast. The time was there… then gone.

Just. Gone.

And soon, I will be, too. Just gone.

What to Do with the Anger?!

I do not get angry often, but I think with all the stress, it has been building up and came out at my dear friend tonight. My dear friend whose COVID-19 test came back positive today. He has been sick for a week now, but getting better.

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What Are People Thinking?

There are older folks, one not in the best health, in the house and one of them went to the hospital to visit someone today. He wore a mask and gloves and I do not know if they let him in at all, but he still went out. LIVING WITH A KNOWN SICK PERSON! What the fuck was he thinking? My friend said the culture demands visits to sick people and somewhere along the way, he went to a funeral at their place of worship. I was apoplectic that he was out there spreading the virus among unsuspecting people. How “helpful” is spreading a virus that can KILL people in your community?! I just don’t get the logic.

coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic trump
Where is the logic?

Misplaced Anger

I am sure I am not just angry at him. I am filled with horrible evil feelings about that man that lives in our White House. He is so terrible, there really are no words. Lying, leading people to believe things are better than they are. He’s going to end up firing Dr. Fauci, the hero of the entire pandemic as far as I’m concerned.

coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic trump
My Hero

And that “person” who said old people would surely be willing to die to save the economy?!? Lt. Governor of Texas, Dan… (emphasis mine)

“…Patrick told Tucker Carlson, ‘No one reached out to me and said, “As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?“‘ But if they had? ‘If that is the exchange, I’m all in,’ Patrick said. He continued: ‘That doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that. I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country, like me, I have six grandchildren, that what we all care about and what we love more than anything are those children. And I want to live smart and see through this, but I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed…I’ve talked to hundreds of people, Tucker, and just in the last week, making calls all the time, and everyone says pretty much the same thing. That we can’t lose our whole country, we’re having an economic collapse. I’m also a small businessman, I understand it. And I talk with businesspeople all the time, Tucker. My heart is lifted tonight by what I heard the president say because we can do more than one thing at a time, we can do two things. So my message is let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living. Let’s be smart about it and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country, don’t do that, don’t ruin this great America.”

And he smiled the whole fucking interview!

Patrick told Tucker Carlson, “No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’” But if they had? “If that is the exchange, I’m all in,” Patrick said. He continued: “That doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that. I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country, like me, I have six grandchildren, that what we all care about and what we love more than anything are those children. And I want to live smart and see through this, but I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed…I’ve talked to hundreds of people, Tucker, and just in the last week, making calls all the time, and everyone says pretty much the same thing. That we can’t lose our whole country, we’re having an economic collapse. I’m also a small businessman, I understand it. And I talk with businesspeople all the time, Tucker. My heart is lifted tonight by what I heard the president say because we can do more than one thing at a time, we can do two things. So my message is let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living. Let’s be smart about it and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country, don’t do that, don’t ruin this great America.”
Smarmy Pigs

I Say…

“…LET HIM BE ‘SACRIFICED’ FIRST! Cough on him. Let him feel the fear the rest of us feel as we  live through this without his riches and unlimited toilet paper.”

White Christmas

I turned off the news and put on White Christmas. I think I am done crying for a few minutes.

white christmas

Still Here (Yay!)

I have been strangely upbeat the past few days. Even though one of my dear friends is sick and is waiting to see if it COVID-19. We are praying it is negative, but if he got it and that was it, that would be good, too, I guess? Hard to know what to think anymore.

Writing

pen Navelgazing Writer

I have not written on any of my books in ages. It’s odd, I thought if I knew I was going to die, I would not take my meds and become manic and write until I dropped dead from fatigue.

Instead, I am writing stuff for work, which is slower than slow, trying to get more clients. With everyone home (no privacy for many), being on lockdown, and the people out of work, paying a sex worker is pure luxury. I am now kicking myself HARD for not saving tons of money. But who could have known?

Living Wills

living-will-pen Navelgazing Writer

I read this article:

“As coronavirus spreads, more people thinking about end-of-life directives: Many are considering medical instructions, guardianship designations and other legal contingency plans.”

In the piece, they say:

“…recommends compiling beneficiary designations, life insurance policies, a list of passwords, key contacts, medical professionals and financial advisers in one place so someone who needs access to that information can find it easily.”

A quick search of “Living Will Coronavirus” came up with tons of sites for lawyers doing just that sort of thing.

It was relieving to see I am not alone in my paranoia about “getting my affairs in order.” I never really thought of others being just as scared as I am, but clearly, I am not alone.

Reading

I am reading (listening to Audible) at an astounding rate for not listening every waking moment. I try to listen even if only for a few minutes while I’m eating.

In the last couple of months, I have read:

straight lick Navelgazing Writer

Reading right now: Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance by Zora Neale Hurston (this JUST came out and I LOVE IT! Love Zora Neale Hurston anyway, but these newly found short stories are amazing)

That would take me back to the beginning of January.

eyes Navelgazing Writer
Best book I’ve ever read in my life.

Reading, Not Writing

So apparently, I am going to spend my last days reading instead of writing. Have I already put down everything I need to say?

Not quite sure yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Am Depressed (Again)

I am terribly depressed.

Life circumstances, work being really slow, being diagnosed with new issues that require care and attention and, worst of all, my weight has hit an all-time high… all have combined to submerge me into the waters of depression.

depression navelgazing writer

Fat is Weighing Me Down

I am distraught mostly about my weight. I had an RNY Gastric Bypass, for fuck’s sake. Granted it was 19 years ago, but still. You know it’s bad when the Pulmonologist, who has just diagnosed asthma and sleep apnea, then prescribed several inhalers and a CPAP machine, asks, “Can you do the gastric bypass again?”

hate my fat navelgazing writer

Bring on the Psych Meds

I see the psychiatrist on the 12th and it cannot come soon enough. He changed the meds slightly last time, but I have fallen deeper and I am in that place of just not caring if I get out of bed, if I work, if I write. I just don’t care.

And I hate that I don’t care because I know it is depression and not me.

Diabetes Crap, Too

While my Hemoglobin A1c is a not bad 6.4, it is up from 5.8 a few months ago. The Lantus was upped again, to 85u daily, but about 4 hours after I injected it into my fat belly this morning, my Blood Glucose went down to a 38, the lowest I have ever seen it. I thought I was going to have to call 911, and probably should have, but I kept slamming juice pouches until it hit 60 and I began feeling… feeling… again. I ate a PBJ with very little J and my BGs have been better this afternoon… around 100.

And yes, I do know insulin causes weight gain.

It’s just overwhelming sometimes.

Reading Good Books, Though!

I love Audible so much I could cry. I listen to books for several hours a day and am plowing through piles of them.

Newer books I love:

The Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant.

originals navelgazing writer

By far the best “self-help” book I have ever read. My entire mental process has shifted and when I write, am writing without the self-judgement I was giving myself. Many, many other incredibly valuable pieces of information are in the book, from parenthood to dying. It’s just beautiful.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

daisy jones navelgazing writer

Besides the intricate personalities between band members and their intertwined stories, I listened to this thinking what an amazing writer Reid is. She has multiple characters and speaks as them in first person and each character sounds exactly as they should and so so different from the others in the book. Listening, you get different people speaking the parts whereas reading, you “hear” them in your head. I believe this would be one time when Audible is far preferable to reading it.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett & Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Yes, I’m reading children’s books I missed growing up. My grandkids have read them, now it’s my turn.

I’ve seen several incarnations of The Secret Garden in movies (and a new one comes out April 10, 2020), but the book was so different than any of them and so filled with magic and the love of the earth, I was mesmerized with every syllable. Pure poetry.

secret garden navelgazing writer

Black Beauty is the horse’s autobiography, told by Black Beauty himself. Clever, wondrous idea! How did Ms. Sewell ever conceive of this is beyond me. And that this was the only book she every wrote! She began writing it when she was 51 and finished when she was 57, dying 5 months after its publication. I’ve not been into horses like a lot of my friends, but I can see why after reading this… a fantastic book.

black beauty navelgazing writer

Perk Me Up

Writing about the books helped. I don’t feel so desperate and alone with them.

I’ll go read now.

Holding the Space (for My Self)

I am going through a lot of life changes at the moment; feeling old, disconnected, left behind.

I’ve left Social Media for the second time and cannot anticipate being active in Facebook or Twitter again until I have a book deal. I just cannot concentrate on writing when I am active in writing groups helping others instead of myself.

When Sadness Hits

Holding the space Navelgazing Writer

My kids and grandkids are halfway across the country, busy busy with their own wonderful lives (and I am happy for it!), but I miss them all terribly. My own mom, 6 miles away is having a hard time with her memory and being physically slower. I visit her and my puppies as often as I can, but with working so much, it is a challenge. Plus it is about $32 round trip with Uber (which I LOVE).

I no longer have close friends with whom to talk about politics, books… life in general… because they have moved on with their lives, too.

Holding the Space Navelgazing Writer

Holding the Space

I know I sound pitiful and need to perk up, so I talked to my youngest, Aimee, who is a healer better than I ever was, and she said to hold myself as if I were holding her new baby girl. That image was a lovely one because I would hold the baby so lovingly, smiling at her, making her laugh and kissing her all over.

I’ve written about Holding the Space for others, but clearly, it is now my turn to do so for my Self.

Holding Space Navelgazing Writer

I’ve thought about looking for new friends, in Writer’s Groups or in Second Life, but I am in a sort of hibernation mode for now. I want to keep whatever energy I have close to me, foster my own writing, not working on anyone else’s.

My writing is going well and I think it’s one of the best things I can do for myself as far as Holding the Space goes. I am up early in the morning, writing while listening to Lindsey Stirling and then nap again before starting work around 11a or 12p. Work is going really well, too. My work writing is great, my work social media (required) is going really well. I love what I do so much. It’s really quite awesome.

So, here I am. Alone. Looking at myself in the proverbial mirror and evaluating what is left of my life and deciding what to do and where to (metaphorically) move next.

I can do it.

Holding the Space Navelgazing Writer

 

 

Forgiveness

I have a Rubik’s Cube in my hand… the hand in my mind… working it working it working it, trying to figure out how to change things I have done in my life, how to correct them, make better decisions, hurt fewer people. If I can just figure out the right way to get the colors lined up, my life would not be filled with so many regrets.

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I have apologized to those around me, including my children, many, many times, yet I still feel horribly guilty for my transgressions. I’ve confessed my sins in therapy for 30 years now, yet continue enduring the weight of guilt, it often weighing me down into depression.

And then I heard, in a book* I am listening to, “How long is the sentence for these crimes you committed in your 20s, 30s and 40s? What is a fair sentence for your crime?”

I am 58 and believe my sentence is now over.

In this decision, I thought, “Does carrying others’ pain lessen their own misery?” It does not. I also do not believe my children want me to suffer anymore.

Pain

I am here to answer the questions people in my life have. I am here to apologize for things I am responsible for, but I will not wear the yoke of guilt any longer. I release my Self from my shame, my pain, my sadness and my grief for the things not done or that I did wrong.

Therefore, I shall make amends… and forgive my Self.

* Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed

therapist