Saturday, January 28, 2012

Denial in Grief: Catch Me if You Can!

Once the shock and numbness wore off after my husband's death, it felt like adrenaline began pumping through my body at an accelerated speed. It wasn't time to accept what happened. Nor was it time to feel the pain...because it was going to be explosive. And I wasn't sure I could handle it. So I had to run from it!

So what would make me feel good and forget my pain for a while? For some widows, it might be shopping or working. For me, it was going on road trips to visit family and friends. It had been 2 months that I had become a young widow. I HATED THAT WORD! We had lived in California prior to living in Florida so my intent was to visit my friends I hadn't seen for a few years. It started out as an innocent summer trip, cross country, from Florida to California, with my 2 daughters.

The more friends I reunited with on our trip, the more joy I felt. I quickly realized, this numbed my pain. When I began to slow down, I'd feel an ache. This made me run faster. I began to overindulge in drinking, eating, and gambling. We also drove to Las Vegas to visit family. After unlimited rum and cokes one evening, and not remembering how much money from sympathy cards I had spent on slot machines, I was running at full speed and had no intentions of slowing down.

Once we left Las Vegas, and were returning to California for one more week, I felt like I was on a Merry-Go-Round and couldn't get off. I knew I was running out of control, but I couldn't stop. If I stopped, I knew I'd feel the pain. The faster I ran, the harder it was for me to stop. I was on a high while seeing friends, eating good food, and drinking to numb any kind of pain that was trying to surface. I tried to convince myself that I could keep up the pace, and grief would never catch up.

But probably everyone knew, including me deep down, that grief would eventually catch up. It usually does. I couldn't run forever. I could only take so many trips. Money would run out. I did have to buy new clothes after summer because I gained 20 lbs.! And I didn't like the way hangovers felt. So at the end of that summer it all came to a stop. With God's help, I believe He pushed me off my ride and showed me that it was time to open my heart and grieve.

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