When my sister passed away, I was the queen of grieving for others instead of for myself. I would be sad because my younger sisters lost their sister, bypassing the fact that I also lost my little sis. Or I would be really sad for my parents because what can be worse than losing your child?
Speaking of that, I always wondered how my parents kept going, and if I talked about this with others the standard answer was always that they had to keep going “for the other kids.” It sounded logical but I never realized how true this was until I became a mom myself and had a little guy forcing me to get up in the morning on the days I would prefer to stay in bed and cry under my blanket.
Because let’s face it, no matter how strong your grief is, with kids around you don’t have a choice but to keep going. They need to be fed, changed, dressed, bathed, and entertained and require you to be there for them every single day. So yeah, even if I need a lay-on-the-couch-and-eat-a-ton-of-chocolate-day while binge watching “Grey’s Anatomy,” it’s simply not an option with a one-year-old around.
On the one hand, this is a good thing. I probably wouldn’t help anybody while staying in bed the whole day. But on the other hand, it’s been almost two months since my dad passed and due to the constant action mode and having to take care of someone else, it’s often hard to find time for myself. Time to reflect on everything that’s happened in the past year.
Since I’m in this action mode most of the time, it might feel like things are going pretty well. But in the last few days I’ve realized that maybe I’m not doing so well.
The moment my son is gone and I’m alone at home to work, my mood shifts from action-oriented to some passive, miserable, I-don’t-feel-like-doing-anything modus. My train commute to work has changed from being my “work train,” where I got a lot of stuff done before even arriving at the office, to being my “grief train,” where I unconsciously force myself to think a bit thanks to my Spotify playlists and don’t get much of anything done.
All in all, I think it’s good to keep going and not dwell in only sad thoughts. No matter how sad the past year was with my dad getting very sick, thanks to my son I actually had (and still have!) a lot of fun every day. He makes me want to keep going and get the most out of my day. But “me time,” which is a much-needed thing anyway for every mom, probably becomes a little more of a necessity in sad times. Our kids might force us to get up in the morning and stick to our daily routine, but maybe we should force ourselves sometimes to reserve a bit of that time to deal with our own grief.