Grief Handbook, Part V

What no one tells you about grief is that during your grieving period, and I mean the intensive, hate everything and everyone and cry all the time period, is that you end up living by one simple rule: “Do No Harm (But Take No Shit).”  I have decided to purge people, items, ideas, and thoughts out of my life that are unnecessary, toxic, unneeded, cruel, and harmful.  Not in a “going to live in the wilderness” Walden sort of way, but in the “you can’t give me any sympathy, then I can give you nothing in return” sort of way.

You see, what no one tells you about when someone close to you dies is that some people in this world are just jerks.  They are.  They are selfish and mean and cruel and only care about themselves.  Even to you.  Even when your mother dies, they can only think about what it means to them, in this moment, in their life.

I am purging all of that from my system.

Pre-Grief Amy, the Amy I was on May 3, but changed irrevocably on May 4th when Mom passed, worried constantly what people thought of her.  But it takes a breakdown at a Delta counter, crying on an airplane, and several public panic attacks to put your actions and life in perspective.  You see, you have, literally, no control over your grief.  You cannot control when you cry or when you don’t, what your body does–how much cereal you can live on, for example, or Sonic Diet Cherry Limeades–or what it doesn’t do–sleep, eat, rest, turn off, shut down, fade out.  For someone who is, for all intents and purposes–and I mean this sincerely, not anecdotally–a Control Freak, documented OCD such as myself, this was one of the hardest side effects of grief: the lack of control.

I live my live by rhythms, by lists and loves and comforts, and all of that was stripped from me on May 4.  I am climbing, bit by bit, up the tattered wall, but it is tattered and scattered and stained for all of that.

Today, you understand, is the Four-Month Anniversary of my Mother’s death.


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