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Take two tylenol and go to bed

on October 20th, 2017 by Rebeccca

One thing that has surprised me through all this grieving is how much of the emotional pain is felt in the body. For the first couple of weeks it felt like my guts were being pulled out. Now the physical pain seems to move around more. . .to the pit of my stomach and sometimes to hover around my heart. Is that all in my head? Well, according to an online article in Psychology Today, emotional and physical pain activate similar pain regions in the brain. So if painkillers are actually just changing the way the brain feels the pain, then you would think that one could take some tylenol and ease the grieving process. I guess in the short term it could work (I haven’t tried it), but as with physical pain, if you don’t take care of the cause of the pain, it won’t go away.

I’ve started to compare grieving to a broken bone – it takes 6 weeks and a lot of patience to heal the break. One can’t hurry the process, but you can slow it down by not taking proper care of it. Is it the same with grieving?

Grieving is confusing. There aren’t good instructions on how to do it. Not like breaking a leg where all you have to do is keep it elevated and not put any weight on it. How are you actually supposed to go about healing this emotional pain?

When I’m not crying, I think that maybe I should be. Maybe I didn’t love him enough, that I am flawed somehow. And when the tears come flooding out and my gut turns over, I wonder if it is just self pity and I should suck it up and get on with things. Is it somehow important to keep opening the grief wound and letting the tears flow? Or is it like a physical wound – leave it alone and it will heal itself? At what point am I wallowing in self pity rather than honouring my grief? How will I know? Is there a time period where, after 1 month, 6 months, there should be no more tears?

One thing I can say, the pain is less, even without the tylenol. I have a wonderfully supportive community who check in on me and keep me rather busy. This past week included a 14-km hike along the river with friends and a Fowl Supper, a birthday party, an exercise class, aquasize class and lunch, concert at The Station, and today I volunteered at the front desk at The Station. Tomorrow is a baby shower and another dinner in the evening.

My brain is starting to function again. I can focus a little longer on one thing. I might even be able to read a book soon. And I can see a little farther into the future. So I am healing. And if I need some tylenol, Galen left me quite a stash.

| Posted in Grieving

8 Responses to “Take two tylenol and go to bed”

  1. Ann
    October 20th, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    There are many stages in the grieving process. You are going through one of them. Don’t beat up on yourself, you loved him enough, you couldn’t have done more or done differently, believe in yourself and know it’s all part of being human. Know you are surrounded by people who care and people who love you.

  2. Pamela
    October 20th, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Feel all the pain and the emotions. It is a long process and you can’t put a time line on it. Don’t let anyone tell you to just suck it up. Your lives were so intertwined for so many years, you may never be able to untangle, you will just be able to enjoy your life in whatever form it takes. Cherish your memories, cherish your feelings, I would be more concerned it you didn’t want to grieve. Just know that you are loved, not just by me but many others.

  3. Jill
    October 20th, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    The pain never goes away. We learn to deal with it. You need to feel and embrace the pain now. It is the healthy thing to do. Don’t ignore it nor try to push it away.

    My dad has been gone 40 years this year and this year is the first time I missed his death day. There are still times when I’ll go months without thinking about him, but there are times when every day for months he’s all I think about. I still cry and scream at the injustice.

    He meant a world to you. He will continue to form the world for you. Peace to you.

  4. Dina
    October 20th, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    I think it is amazing that you are able to put it into words and maybe that in itself is helping with healing. You are amazing and strong and open and maybe all that helps others heal as well.
    Thinking of you Rebecca. Hugs.

    By the way I did see the beautiful poem you have written but I don’t think my comment showed.

  5. Luana
    October 21st, 2017 at 6:26 am

    For me grief was like a huge dark cloud that floated just over me. I went to work, did my errands, and laughed at jokes, but it was always there. I wondered if that would now be my “new normal” and maybe I would be sad forever. Then one day it was like the sun poked thru that dark cloud. The sunshine was gradual at first but continued to get stronger and brighter. That’s when I knew that although nothing would ever be the same, but I could go on and be happy again.

  6. Pat
    October 21st, 2017 at 10:45 am

    You did it! The pen flowed-Thank you so much for taking us all on this journey with you. You may never know how much your words mean to us all, both those who are experiencing similar pain and those who may in the future. Take a Tylenol anyway for good measure❤️

  7. Rob
    October 21st, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    As a basketball coach, there were times we would get down by 12 points at halftime. After a bit of chewing out in the lockerroom, I’d remind my guys that there was no 12 point shot. It had taken time to get into this hole, it would take time to get back out. They needed patient, sustained, effort. But they could overcome this defficet. Same with life. No instant solutions, but patiently moving forward seems to work quite well. (Eventually…) You didn’t build a life together overnight, you aren’t going to unravel it instantly either. Give yourself permission to take your time doing it.

  8. Julie M
    October 23rd, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Rebecca,
    I enjoy reading your blog, you have such a way with words and how to express yourself. I think, this in itself, will be healing for you. It’s ok that in your thinking process, Galen will always be in your thoughts and it is only natural for you to include him in all you do.

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