11.15.2008

Fielding the New Territory

I've been having lots of different kinds of thoughts lately and I was beginning to think I was going a little crazy. I've only known one person close to me that has died and that was a long time ago. I really didn't know what was normal. And, yes I know, nothing is normal about grieving. But I was worried and confused about how I was feeling. Olaf, being the considerate husband he is, made an appointment with a counselor so we could talk about things. He told me "It went against every man bone in my body."

We had absolutely no idea what to expect. Olaf works with a bunch of therapists and considers most of it pointless and useless. But he wanted to make me happy. We both went together and were kind of a little worried about talking to a stranger about personal feelings, but I at least knew I needed to talk to someone about how I was feeling.

We were pleasantly surprised by this visit. It was very helpful. I was worried about different things than Olaf and he had no idea I was worried about the things I was concerned about. For one, I was worried that I wasn't sad enough or crying enough (I'm not much of a crier to begin with) or depressed enough. I would catch myself having fun and joking around and then I would question myself "How can you be happy at all? How can you laugh?" I was also concerned that I wasn't caught up with any guilt that I should have been a better Mother. But once again I don't believe in the "Mother Guilt Syndrome" that plagues our nation. I think it puts way too much pressure on people and I just don't need that in my life. But I was worried because it's glorified to lay in bed for weeks and bemoan the fact that we're not better people and always feel guilty for not doing something differently. Olaf had no idea I thought these things and I informed him they're Woman Worries, definitely not Man Thoughts.

The therapist told me that it was good I was not caught up in the "Mother Guilt Syndrome" because it's not healthy. He said it's healthy for me to be happy and laugh and joke around. He reassured me that I'm dealing with Calvin's untimely death in a very healthy manner. I will still have days when I wish the world would cave in on me, but not every day anymore. When we left I felt like I had a new lease on life, I WAS allowed to be happy again. I didn't know if I'd ever get to that point again but it's finally come and I don't want to be depressed all the time. That doesn't mean I won't be depressed some days but I get to be happy most of the time. That knowledge alone made me happy.

9 comments:

Urban Parks said...

Yes, what you are doing is healthy. It is healthy for all of us to have similar feelings. I think we each approach our grief in different ways, but knowing we have each other makes all the difference.

sally said...

You know when I had my miscarriage, you were the only person I knew that had gone through it too. All I could think was, Donna's happy again - how is she happy. I felt so sad and consumed with the whole thing. Although I know Calvin's death doesn't even compare just knowing that you could be happy gave me hope that I could get over the lost baby and be happy again. Plus I've always thought laughing keeps us young and I know I need all the help I can get! We love you & Chris & Calvin & Clayton & Cole.

Leona said...

Donna, when I lived in England my friends and I would always make fun of "those crazy Americans with all their therapists"
However there came a time when my wonderful husband made me an appointment with the doctor who then refered me to a therapist for issues I won't bore you with, but my point is that it really can help to talk to someone who is not a part of your life and get all your feelings out there and be told that you are ok, and actually quite normal to feel what you are feeling.
No one wants to be sad all the time, and you deserve too be happy again, you are a wonderful person.

gravetti said...

That would be why he was acting odd before he left. And why he always is clear that we are not like all the other therapists and social workers... I am glad that it helped.

the HeartTongues said...

I think it's terrific that you went to talk to a counselor; I know I'd be in a MUCH unhealthier place had I not met with counselors years ago. And every now & then, I wish I had a counselor 'on call' that I could meet with. ...There's yet another reason I admire ya; not succumbing to guilt...can you teach me how to do that?? :) This scarily nails me on the head too often in my life, especially in recent months: "...lay in bed for weeks and bemoan the fact that we're not better people and always feel guilty for not doing something differently." I gots to gets it togetha!!

the HeartTongues said...

a post-script...who are the artists on the first two songs on your playlist? silly me, i can't figure out how to view the full line.

oh, and also, i didn't know you had a miscarriage... i did too... you'll have to share the story w/me sometime, if you don't mind.

mommybake said...

WOW! Look at all the people that love you!! And that are CRAZY and seen a shrink to:) I am really glad it has helped!! It helped when I went and talked to one too! OOPS - I guess I am crazy too:) Love you guys! Can't wait to see you NEXT week!! WOW! That is soon!! We are in Vegas right now till Tuesday. It has been great!!

Anonymous said...

Donna, Don't ever think that it's not good to talk with someone... some just have more training than others. When mom and dad did the big "D" I went on thinking I'm an adult, I should be able to be reasonable and understand but I didn't until I sat down and talked through alot of feelings and issues. Friends over the years ask how can I be "happy" with the tradegies in our familie's lives. It again boils down most of all to FAITH along with loving family and friends. Know you will have those good days and then along comes a bad day that something just hits you the wrong way and that day is just crappy. Hang in there....hugs and love. MO cousin Kathie

Petit Elefant said...

You can be happy, you can be sad, I'll love you just the same.