Grief Stares Back. 

I broke down in the shower this afternoon. 

There wasn’t any specific trigger, besides just missing him. No one has said his name out loud to me, there hasn’t really been a reason for everyone to mention him today. I was just standing there, letting the hot water pound on my back. Then I realized how long I’d stood there. This wouldn’t have happened if he was still here. 

That’s when I lost it. 

It’s these moments in grieving that people don’t see. Where I’m sitting on the shower floor and I  can’t differentiate the water from my tears. No one sees me trying to stand up and wishing I never had to. Then when there’s enough courage to stand, I feel like there’s so much weight on my shoulders. The tears didn’t do anything but put sadness more in my head. All I keep repeating in my head is why. 

Somehow I get up and look at my mirror. Instead of just wiping off the steam, I write his name. I take it in and say it out loud. 

His name deserves to be said. It’s such a strong, sounding name. He fit it perfectly. Then I look at it all written out.  I take in the curves in each of his letter, then savor this moment. The calm in the storm. 

As it slowly evaporates, I’m faced with myself: a bereaved mother. My eyes are all puffy and there’s some mascara left under my eyes, even with the heavy stream of water I just was under. I wish I could smash it to pieces and never have to look at myself after a breakdown again. It’s painful to see myself in such distress. I feel it constantly, but rarely see it staring back at me. 

This is grief. 

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Surrender & Embrace.

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I’m in a constant state of falling apart and picking up the pieces.

From the minute I was being wheeled out of my hospital room, I let myself surrender to the heaviness of sadness. The unfairness of leaving without Jensen was overwhelming. I wanted to scream, but no sound came. Instead, tears flowed so freely and I couldn’t stop them even if I tried. While we were in the elevator, I kept opening and closing my eyes wishing that when I did it I would finally wake up from this nightmare. When I sat in the front seat of the car on the way to my parent’s house, I felt like I was in a vacuum. In this vacuum, there’s no outside noise or reason. There’s just me and my uncontrollable thoughts. After we got home, I realized that I would never be able to fight off the pain and sadness. I promised myself that I would accept whatever feelings and emotions came my way.

I surrendered myself to sadness, anger, pain, depression, and even joy.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t. There are moments in life where feeling everything so intensely isn’t ‘acceptable’ or ‘normal.’ Yet, they’re right there. Sadness and pain are always reachable for me. Almost everything in my life right now can be set back to, ‘If Jensen was here.’ I love being able to imagine it, but breaking down at a restaurant when they ask how many people are eating and I always have to say one less than what’s in my heart, is unacceptable. Those moments I can breathe through. In the few other times where I’ve felt like I had to hold it back and tried to force another certain emotion, grief came back around in a few hours times; one-hundred times worse. Worse as in, the emotions were just more intense where I literally can only lie there.

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Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens.

Sometimes in the grief, I just want to scream and give up. It feels like there’s only glimpses of relief, only to be shut down again. Relief is a tricky word to use. I’m not devoid of all my pain and sorrow in the glimpses, just I can breathe.

There weren’t a lot of times this week where I could really breathe. Anthony started his new job this week and was gone for the majority of the day; leaving me with the cats, grief, and work. Being left alone during the raw moments of my sadness is scary. There’s nowhere to turn or no one to ground me when I want to rip my hair out. At his new job, Anthony can’t pick up his phone when I call sobbing; and this is only week one.

To celebrate his first week at his new job, and for me getting through the week in one piece and mentally okay, we decided to go on a little retreat. Well, more like Anthony bought tickets and I halfheartedly said I would go, scared to breakdown in front of everyone and afraid to disappoint him.

Retreat – a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax.

Our secluded place was Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron, Ohio. Secluded because there were probably hundreds of people there and three weddings going on while we were there. Thankfully our tour only had two other people in it. Ironically, Anthony and I relax around the hustle and bustle of museums and history.

Quickly, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens was the home of Mr and Mrs Seiberling and their six children. Mr Seiberling was the co-founder of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The tudor revival home has, around, 65,000 square feet, an indoor swimming pool, and a huge music hall. It’s absolutely stunning. They had a lot of money, stories, and love for their family. The estate echoed all of these when you walked into each room (well we only went through 30 of them), discovered each garden, and learned more and more about the couple. The Gate House on the property is also where Alcoholics Anonymous was created. Just a little Akron history for you all.

After our tour, we retreated to the gardens. The smell of roses and running water was constant everywhere you walked. It was such a hot day, but with the shade and water, it really didn’t feel as miserable as it should have. I personally loved the English Garden. It reminded me of a secret garden where Mrs Seiberling came to relax and get away from it all. It was truly a retreat. At the other side of the reflection pool was a women and cherubs. Little angels were all over the estate. It was lovely.

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