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Confessions From My Shower: Coming Clean About My Grief

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There are personal spaces where grievers feel safe and secure enough to expose our open wounds. Within these spaces we express our raw, ravaged souls. We grieve alone, hidden in the safety of these places where no one can see us. These private, some not so private places were and still are inescapable. Whether encapsulated in our vehicle or within the safety of the four walls of a bathroom, grief rains down.

In this space is the memory of the panic, the agony, the only place we could silently scream so as not to be heard. The place we could cry so long and hard our heads would ache from the force of it. I cannot tell you how many times I have sobbed in my shower or car. My body shaking with grief. Even now, there are times I am reminded just by entering that shower of the pain expressed within those walls. I cannot make the memory of it go away. Ever.

These places we find ourselves in now — in the “after” — remind me of the shedding of my former self. I think of myself in those horrible moments, and I reflect on my journey to re-enter into life. What have I learned about myself?

I learned I am at times bitter. The realization of the tragedy, the remnants of what is left of me and the changes my family has gone through planted bitterness within me. This has left me stagnant. I did not understand how to cope with this anger. For this I felt guilty. Change will not happen alone, yet fear had prevented me from reaching out.

I am not afraid anymore.

There is no escaping the shadow of grief. It is not entirely an act of mourning a loved one, it is who we become. I am a griever. It is not my intention, yet I find my focus will often shift to the big empty. I am overcome by my loss. I have let grief rule, I have let sadness fester within me.

I have allowed grief to continue to block joy from entering my life. I was great at making plans on what I needed to do to get my life back, but I was lacking in production. I wrote about ways to achieve it, I thought I could do it alone. I was wrong.

I didn’t care enough for my own happiness to fight for it.

Then again, perhaps it isn’t that I don’t care, I am simply too tired to try. I am not motivated. It felt just out of my grasp. I feel so different from everyone else. Grief has changed me to such an extent I am left feeling unfamiliar with myself.

Social withdrawal and isolation created a huge communication gap between me and my friends. The longer I stayed away, the more difficult it became to reconnect. I don’t know how to talk to anyone anymore or what to talk about. I fear we no longer share common interests. Thus making the gap even wider.

I needed help.

The only way for me to step back into life is to seek help from those who have done it. I needed to voice my fears and admit out loud I do not know who I am anymore. Who is this person grief has taken control of? Admit I cannot keep going like this. Find out if others have felt this way and what they have done about it.

True understanding of grief may only be found in those who have walked the same path.

I needed someone who experienced what I had. I needed to hear what they did about it. I needed to connect to someone who knew my struggles without having to explain every painful detail. Someone who knew of those private places and understood the struggle to be normal, to live again.

I learned there is support in numbers.

I am getting help in a grief support group such as those provided by The Compassionate Friends. I have made a choice. I am not choosing to forget Konnor or put him behind me. I am choosing to find a way to live my life without him but in happiness. It does not do justice to our loved ones to live the rest of our own lives in sadness.

I am finding in this group not only the support I need but the sharing of thoughts and suggestions on how I can take the steps to move forward. Talking and writing about healing is not enough. I find I am quite the pretender. I wrote of “Healing My Soul” and “Reclaiming Hope,”  all very encouraging. I wanted to be that person to offer comfort and help to those grieving yet I could not take my own advice. It is so much easier to offer help to others than it is to help yourself.

Having been a part of a few grief support groups on Facebook I aways knew I was not alone in my feelings of grief. However, entering into an actual group is a whole different experience. I can now truly say, I am not alone.

I will always grieve for Konnor.

I will have bad days. However, I cannot continue to live every day in heartache, bitterness and pain. He would not want this. He would be upset to know that his death is causing so much sadness. I believe he still sees us, and I want him to see me happy.

These private spaces where we have mourned alone are reminders of our darkest times. Although we still experience moments of deep sadness and we will forever miss our loved ones, we learn to move forward some of us must take the step to seek help from others to keep from remaining or falling back into the shadows of grief.

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Originally published: March 15, 2018
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