What is grieving?

Can anyone tell me the "correct" way to grieve? I have had a few friends say to me that they are surprised I am not upset and can actually laugh and joke. Huh? Am I supposed to curl up in a ball and cry 24-7? Believe me, I have my moments when I burst into tears. Family and friends who have been with me since Chris died can attest to this. It doesn't take a memory or anything associated with Chris to trigger this. Sometimes I just cry. And sometimes I don't.

When the friends who are shocked when they call me that I am not blubbering, I tell them they caught me at a good time. And I mean that.

Is there an etiquette book on the right way to deal with two deaths in one week? I don't think so. Everyone grieves in their own way. Some people *do* curl up in balls. I just can't do that. Now that I am on my own, I have to deal with everyday mundane things like paying the bill, letting the dogs out, getting the mail, calling the chimney guy to come clean the chimney, going to the eye doctor, etc. I have to be able to function so that I can get back to work. I don't have a full time job where I can take paid time off. So the longer I don't work, the less I'll be able to pay bills. With a mortgage and other bills to pay, I *have* to get back to work soon. And I will.

One thing I've noticed is that my sleep is irregular. I used to go to bed by 9 pm and get up at 7 am at the latest. I've been staying up until almost midnight, then waking at 4 or 5 am. It's not because I'm afraid to sleep in the house - I'm not. When I do sleep, I sleep well.

The mornings are the hardest. Chris' mom told me they are hard for her, too. That is when I am more likely to cry or be more emotional (so for those of you who don't think I'm sad enough, call me in the morning). It's weird.

I had to go to the eye doctor on Friday. It's hard to get an appointment with him and even though I didn't feel like going, I went. I had canceled Chris' appointment two days before. I got there, went in and gave my name. Everyone behind the counter stopped what they were doing and stared at me. I swear to God. I felt like I had a huge "W" written on the front of my shirt.

I knew they knew. Chris' obituary was in all the local papers last week. So I knew people in town would begin to know. It's a very small town. Most of the time it's a blessing, but now I feel like a freak.

The eye doctor sat me down and just stared at me. I said, "You know, don't you?" He said he'd read it in the paper the day before and I burst into tears. He was really nice and calm and actually got me to laugh later.

I have so many family and friends to thank for their patience with me these past two weeks. My dad and stepmother for letting me and the dogs stay with them that first week. All my sisters, brothers, aunt, nieces, nephews and especially my mom.

Chris' Marine friend, Jamie, for standing behind me at the funeral and holding tight onto my shoulders and just being there. Dick and Bill, Chris' best friends for calling me and visiting Chris' mom when they can.

Debbie and her daughter for taking the time to come to the funeral. Chris' other musician friends, the ship model guys and girls and I know I've forgotten someone, so forgive me.

I especially want to thank Vivi, who stayed with me at the house the first three nights I came home. We slept on air mattresses, had a fire in the fireplace, made dinner and talked and watched TV. She was there when I cried. Joanne, who is going to help me paint the bedroom and some other rooms, who has come by and called frequently. Debbie again for calling often to make sure I was okay. Dave and Bob who spent two entire days cleaning up the basement where Chris' workshop was set up (but very messy) and broke down the cardboard boxes stacked up for recycling. The other Bob for taking me out to dinner one night at my favorite sushi joint and calling to check in on me. Robin for helping me go through Chris' drawers and closet and sorting out his computer games and things in his home office.

Then there's Michael from Geneva & Dino from Australia, who called; Peter, his brother Alex and their mom who called (Peter's family "adopted" me when Chris and I lived in California); Carole, my brothers, sisters, mom again, and I know I'm forgetting someone - don't hate me for not remembering.

Then Cass, one of my WHOA volunteers from Canada, and her boyfriend, Stu came up from Boston. They were on a short vacation and took time to see me. I was so glad they took me out to dinner. It had been a rough day and I needed it. I took them for a little tour of the town where I live, then we ate at the York Harbor Inn, then went for a walk on the beach and by the lighthouse before heading back here to chat for a bit before they left. And I didn't cry once. They made me laugh a lot.

And then there are you, my online friends who have written such nice things in my blogs and sent me emails. I'm sorry for not replying to you individually, but do know that I cherish everything you've sent and am so happy I have so many friends online and offline.

Well, gotta go. The waterworks are starting up again.


deb said…
It is such a weird and intense time in every sense. *You* and only you know your way. Don't worry about what others think. Sorry to say this but it is just a tad nice to see you back being a bit irritated! You are one heck of a lady and are just fine being you.

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