Okay…tonight is going to be short and sweet… (I think). I am hoping that somewhere out there, somebody is benefiting from my “baring of the soul”. 😉 Part of the reason I had wanted to create this blog was to help me work through the recent deaths of my Mom (December) and my 4-day old granddaughter (June 9). The other part was in the hopes that other people working through grief might be able to find comfort in knowing they aren’t alone in their feelings or struggles.
So tonight I’m going to add a new chapter… “Projection 101”. This is a very important chapter in the grieving process. Not to be presumptuous but… Kubler-Ross should have included it as a whole entity unto itself in the grief process… six part – not five.
Projection happens, in my humble opinion, when we subconsciously don’t want to deal with what is really bothering us. It happens all the time in the “real” world of non-grieving. We get angry with our spouse when we’ve had a bad day at work. Parents get angry at their kids when they’re really upset because the plumbing is leaking… it’s all misguided emotion.
Now, the problem with projection during grieving is that it’s magnified too… just like all of the rest of your emotions. This is a recipe for potential disaster – as if there wasn’t already enough shit going on! The problem is that you don’t realize you are even doing it until you’ve hurt people or relationships. With luck, those relationships are strong and weather the storm, and they should – but sometimes we’re not so lucky. If we don’t catch ourselves soon enough, we risk alienating those we love and hurting ourselves irreparably.
Sometimes, I think that’s also a part of the projection – the anger toward ourselves that we feel on a deep level, as we are subconsciously working through our relationship with the person that we lost. It’s inevitable… life isn’t perfect and we want to make right the things we didn’t while they were here. But the fact is, even if they were with us again… life happens and it still wouldn’t be perfect. We would still have regrets. It’s our humanness.
For those of us who have lost a loved one, you know that for awhile all of your emotions are very raw. For a long while. It’s such a balancing act just getting through the day sometimes. Knowing these things on an intellectual level is good, but unfortunately, the heart takes time to catch up. I think – I hope – that the first step in healing is recognizing that we feel guilt and anger, but also knowing where that guilt and anger is truly coming from. It’s going to take some mistakes, and it’s going to come at the expense of others… but that’s just another part of life we can’t control. We can only pick up the pieces and keep trying.
It’s just striking me so funny right now! The strangeness of it all. It’s so much work to lose someone! Who would have thought? So much looks good in black and white. All of the self help books or even something as small as what I’m writing… but bottom line … we have to do the work ourselves. Nobody can do it for us. They can guide us and be there for us to fall back on once in while, but nobody can grieve for us and we can’t get around it either. I just keep thinking back to after my dad died and how crazy life was then. I did the same things then that I’m doing now… I had the same insecurities with relationships then that I do now. And I survived!! And all of my relationships survived!! I need to let myself know that I can’t control the grieving process…. it’s here – like it or not. And even though I’ve been through it before, I can’t necessarily “learn” from it in the sense that I don’t repeat similar mistakes. I can only take responsibility for my actions when they are out of line and pray that I catch myself before the next episode of “Projection” comes along – and being aware now gives that a much higher likelihood of happening, thank God!
I have just lost two major physical, tangible, portions of my life. Nothing can change that or make the pain go away. The change is permanent, the pain lessens but it takes time. I realize I have to not put a time frame on myself for my grieving. I also need to embrace it more and not fight it. I’m not my normal self right now and it’s okay. My friends understand… I am the one struggling to accept where I am right now in life. It’s not where I want to be but it is where I am, so I will continue to muddle through – but I will guarantee you this much… I am going to be a lot stronger me when I make it to the other end of this rodeo!