Sunday, February 10, 2013

How do you deal with grief now?

I interviewed Susan from the list of questions in the post from a couple of days ago. We didn’t get very far down the list. We were driving to Susan’s parent’s house in Vero Beach and I thought we’d be able to knock this thing out while Allie watched a video and we talked into a voice recorder. But the talking really took a toll on us emotionally and we only got through about five questions.
I made five separate mp3 recordings – one for each question. As I started transcribing the discussion, I deleted the first mp3 recording of the first question about one minute into it. I got the first few sentences, though.
Then I fully transcribed this question: How do you deal with grief now? Here’s a sample of how that discussion went so you can see some of the building blocks for this book.
Susan: I don't know how I deal with grief now.
Bryon: Does Ben and Jerry's ice cream play a role?
Susan: Potato chips definitely do. Comfort foods do, but, over the past couple of years, I've been trying to eat really healthy. When I feel sad, I go out and take my sister shopping. We go for coffee. We relax. I try and sidetrack myself. But I guess I'm not really grieving. I'm just stuffing the grief down.
Bryon: Are you stuffing the grief down or is this just a part of the healing?
Susan: I think I'm still healing. Like I’ve heard you say: grief comes in waves. When I'm grieving, I don't want to think about certain people. It keeps the wound open.
Bryon: Timmy's out of jail now.
Susan: Timmy's out of jail. You go on his Facebook and he's having fun. He's at the fair. He's out partying with his friends. He has his life back. Allie will never get her life back. Him being out of prison is opening up a whole new area of grief.
Bryon: Is it grief or anger?
Susan: It's sadness and anger. Bitterness. Like, why does he get to live his life? He'll get married. He might have more kids. Allie doesn't have that option. Her disability is for life. It's not something she's going to recover from. And, yet, after his three years parole, he's scot free.
Bryon: How come you can't just forgive him. And forget?
Susan: I have forgiven him.
Bryon: Even though he hasn't asked for it?
Susan: Even though he hasn't asked for it. I’ve forgiven him because I think that was the first step in healing for me. But you can never forget.
Bryon: So "forgive and forget" isn't even a real thing?
Susan: No. I think you can forgive somebody, but you don't have to forget what they did. You can't forget. I can't forget what he did to Allie. Everyday Allie is a constant reminder of what he did.
That’s just a taste of the discussion we had in the car yesterday to write content for this book.
If this is your first time on this blog and you have no idea what this is all about, read Allie’s story here.


Unknown said...

This is pretty tough ground to cover, but I think it will be valuable as a read, even an audio book. I'd read it! Thanks for sharing it. I'm trusting there will be a fair bit of healing and brokenness in the process.

Unknown said...

I know some of the anger and some of the bitterness. I have a little boy who will forever be different because his birth mother couldn't give up her alcohol. Forgiveness is a definite and deliberate act of the will. To forget about it however, would imply that there would be some level of trust that I'm not certain the other person has actually ever earned. You might be able to forgive an alcoholic for their foolishness, but that doesn't mean that I would trust them to run my liquor store.

Rick said...

Grieving is difficult to experience and even more difficult to put into words. Sorting out those other, peripheral emotions help cut through to the real hurt that's inside, though. I also think that healthy grieving involves all of those other emotions. I don't think you ever get to a point where you're 100% 'ok' with them, but acknowledging them and (in your case) tackling them head on together, they won't control your life. Some people never get there.

Bryonm said...

So true, Rick. Thanks for the comment.