Tuesday, September 20, 2011

changed

i started this post weeks ago, and thought it would be good to finish it up and post it, especially with Juju's angelversary approaching. and i apologize in advance for my post being all over the place. that's what happens when you don't post for a while, and have tons of thoughts running around in your head. ;)

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i was thinking the other day about all of the ways Juju's death has changed me. and i started listing the ways in my head. after a couple, i figured it might be a good idea to blog about it. i just don't think i ever realized how many ways grief can change a person. it's just not about being sad and crying. it infiltrates every aspect of a person's life. it changes your very foundation...

* i'm even more anti-social. to be honest, i was pretty anti-social to begin with. i'm an engineer, and we're stereotypically anti-social, but i learned over time to pretend to be social. it got to a point where new people/situations actually didn't scare me. i could do just enough "small talk" to seem normal. but now, i just can't. i freak out thinking about meeting new people. i freak out if a new person joins our group at work because that means that eventually they *may* make their way over to my cubicle, see all of the adorable pics of my son, and ask me about him. i require people to serve as my "buffer" and brief new people about my situation. i stay home on weekends, or if i do go out, it's with people who know my situation, are not afraid to talk about Julius, or are bereaved parents themselves.

i hate people. ok, well not exactly, but some days i feel this way. i just have a much lower tolerance for people who complain about nonsense. i have a low tolerance for people who seem to take others and life for granted. which i guess is one reason why i avoid people so much. i hate shopping. well, unless it's for something that reminds me of Julius. but other than that, i have absolutely no energy for shopping anymore. i can't even tell you the last time i went into target. i just avoid stores all together now. Juju was my shopping buddy. and it always seems like there's a huge number of babies lurking around corners with their blissfully happy parents. i just really hate anything that takes me out of my comfort zone and puts me around people who might pry in my personal life.

* i have no more opinions. i don't care about things anymore. no longer watch/read the news. couldn't care less who wins the next presidential election. i'm no longer interested in college football. and sadly no longer care about the environment. actually one of my "rebellious" changes after Julius passed away was to start using tide detergent as opposed to the free and clear, environmentally friendly detergents that i used in the past {hardcore, i know!}. i was tired of depriving my clothes from smelling so chemically good. i tried so hard to do the "right" thing for our family and for Juju, and it didn't work. so now, if i want something, i get it regardless if it has chemicals in it, is bad for you, etc. and i don't make myself feel guilty about it.

* i'm a terrible friend. i actually used to consider myself a really thoughtful, loyal friend. someone you could turn to if you were having an issue. but that's definitely not the case these days. i have cut a few people out of my life. and have given up on a few friendships because i just do not have the energy to put into them. right after Juju passed away all of my energy went into grieving. and now that i have a little more energy, it goes into doing the bare minimum that i need to do in order to make it through the day. i just don't have any energy to spare for anyone else. and along those lines, i'm a terrible daughter and sister as well. weeks go by without me contacting my parents or sister. and i really feel horrible about that.

* i'm no longer a planner {or as much of one as i used to be}. grief is one way to break a person of their type-a tendencies, i suppose. i really had my life planned out at one point {and Julius'}. i knew what school he would be attending, what sports he would be playing. it was all laid out. plans and organization made me happy inside. now, don't even ask me what i'm doing this weekend. planning for things seems like a waste of time. and it's not like i would have the energy to do that anyway.

*i'm super emotional. this is probably obvious considering what i've been through. but before Julius passed away i never really considered myself super fragile, like i am now. sure i had my moments of showing emotion, but definitely not to the level that i experience emotion now. and these days i'm really likely to crumble at the littlest thing that may trigger me. for example, these days i really stay away from tv, etc because i just can't be sure that i'm not going to be triggered. but recently i have been watching several gordon ramsay shows {hell's kitchen, kitchen nightmares} because i thought it was a safe show. i mean it's a food program where all he does is curse at people, right? i had months of success with this formula. and then one day, i'm watching one of his kitchen nightmares and as he's talking to one of the chefs, the guy gives him a really big hug. and he says "alright calm down, it's not like we've lost our children."

i seriously felt as though i had been punched in the gut. i tried so hard to press on and continue watching. but i felt SO betrayed by my safe show that i had to stop it. i was suddenly paralyzed by my grief. and ended up crying myself to sleep. it seems like nothing is ever safe. i will never be able to approach even watching tv shows the same way again. which may be the reason for #1.

* i hate holidays. i used to love christmas time - all the cheer, shopping, sending out cards, etc. now i hate it. i used to appreciate thanksgiving. now - hate it. i used to look forward to my birthday {not that i consider that a holiday}. now - who cares? it's all a painful reminder of who is missing. and now i have a deeper appreciation for characters like the grinch, and mr. scrooge. maybe they had it right all along. bah-humbug!

there are definitely more ways in which his death has changed me as a person, but those are the main ways. and i'm constantly surprised when i come across yet another thing that has drastically changed since the loss of my son. it really is a wonder how parents survive this.

and in completely random news...one of the ways i've decided to keep myself busy in order to get through october is to do little things around the house. i've already re-caulked my bathroom sink {which i learned how to do courtesy of y.outube}, but this past weekend i decided to hang a couple of the "expressions" that i purchased from the uppercase living fundraiser i had in Juju's honor. i hung these in our bathroom...


love is the thread that ties us together
 i know it's probably considered weird to hang something so sentimental in a bathroom. but well, i spend a lot of time there {considering i'm a grieving mother} and it's actually placed right above his changing table, which is not pictured. so to me, it seemed like the perfect location.

14 comments:

Kelly said...

I can relate to a lot of this. I've always been not so social. Now, I don't wanna do anything. I get nervous when I go to the same support group I've been going to since March, for fear that someone new will show up. I can't tolerate people either. And instead of being super-emotional, I'm like emotionless now. I can't even cry anymore. I used to express it all. I can't, and I don't want to. It's so strange. Sorry to hear that your safe show betrayed you. It actually made me really mad to read that. Life has changed. :(

My New Normal said...

Sometimes it's tough to look and see all the ways we've changed since our losses. I think perhaps part of our path forward is to learn to love the new people we are becoming. Hang in there.

B. Wilson said...

I feel like most of the time I've turned into such a heinous person. Who would want to befriend me-- someone who is antisocial, angry, hurtful, sensitive, etc.? But then I also know that I've become a more compassionate person amidst others' tragedies and I know I'll definitely be a kick-ass mother. If only I'd get that chance in real life. Sigh. Hoping, wishing, waiting.

ASHLEY ELDER said...

I could definitely have written this post. This most definitely will change a person. Thinking of you, especially as Julius's d. date comes ((Hugs))

rebecca said...

You are a thoughtful wonderful friend ((hugs))
LOVE the uppercase living expression, it's beautiful!

MrsH said...

I also gave up TV, Facebook, and just about all forms of communication with others except at work where it was necessary. I let my loss turn me into a more compassionate person though, and that was the one thing that helped, connecting with others that have also lost. The other thing is that I wanted to live my life for both myself and Adrian, and that meant that I had to pay particular attention to the things I would spend my time and energy on, and to make myself do activities that I thought Adrian would have liked to do in his childish energy, like toboganing (I did not feel like it, but ended up enjoying it somewhat). If environmental or social causes don't present an interest to you, how can they, who cares about them when you have lost so much, what can possibly compare to your grief. Don't spend a second feeling guilty about any of these changes, they are so natural and they are what you need at this point in time. I found that others tried to change me with their advice aimed at "moving on", don't listen to them, do things as they feel right for you. This post is a treasure for others who grieve.

Missy said...

Yes and yes to it all. Continuing to think of you and your beautiful Juju~

Tiffany said...

I 100% understand where you are coming from. I dont have any words of advice as we are all ships that have lost control of our steering... we are slowly drifting about this ocean of grief, going into uncharted waters. And though we are all drifting in our own directions and where the wind may blow us, we are still in the same ocean. Love you my friend <3

Brooke said...

I could have written almost all of these bullet points too. Although you made me laugh with the Tide detergent. You're such a rebel. But I know just what you mean about indulging in small things and not feeling bad about it, while at the same time feeling guilty for not being the kind of friend/wife/daughter I used to be. I know it's gotten easier, but damn it's still so hard.

Becky said...

I am definitely even more antisocial now. I feel I don't have much to contribute to a conversation unless you don't mind listening to me talk about my dead son.ugh! And I am completely dreading the holidays. It's amazing how much has changed for so many of us.
Thinking of you and Julius always...

Love the uppercase living sign:)I can't wait till my arrives.

Caroline said...

You have a special place in my heart. Always thinking of you & <3 Juju <3
{{{Hugs}}}

Natasha said...

It's crazy how the smallest things (like watching a seemingly harmless tv show) can send you down a road of pain. That's a huge part of what has changed for me since losing Aiden.

I think some things change in the moment too for me. One minute you think you're ok with something and 2 seconds later you realize you totally are not. I know I have become someone who just has to survive in the moment- which is what I think we are all doing.

Love the quote in your bathroom- just beautiful ♥♥♥

Deanna said...

I can relate to pretty much every word of this, sweetheart. I love the quote too... sending you lots of love. Remembering Juju always <3

NewYearMum2.blogspot.com said...

As I read your post, I could relate to each and every point... I have pulled away from friends, being social, caring about news etc too. Thinking of you and Juju xoxo

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