Thursday, January 17, 2008

Distance + Loss = Teh Suck

No, this is not an excuse post about why I haven't posted. That is because I got burnt out. Now I'm burnt in, so I'm back. Last week we had a death in the family. My Great Aunt Ruth passed very suddenly after a short battle with Legionnaire's Disease. It was less than 48 hours from the time sister Sara-Anne told me Aunt Ruth was being checked into the hospital with a high fever until she was gone. She was a very sweet woman who will be missed by us all.

It was especially hard for me because I am so far away. I felt a bit lost. But it also got me thinking about how differently people grieve. I am sad that she is gone, but she lived a good long life and did not suffer or linger. But, for me, the grieving isn't just about losing her. It's also about mortality and the fact that the preceding generations' time is growing shorter. That's a lot to deal with when most of the people you care about are over 3000 miles away. (Don't get your hopes up. It doesn't mean I'm moving back. ;-) ) It's made even harder when the people you live with don't grieve the same way.

She-who-does-things-differently saw my grieving as just moping and wallowing. From her perspective, I was not doing anything about it and she was concerned I was going into a protracted depression. I had something resembling a plan. I didn't share it, but I had one. To her, the way you grieve is by going out and being productive. You feel better by proving to yourself that you can go on and can accomplish things.

My approach is different. I get some extra rest and then I do some mindless activity. I try to process the emotions until it gets too much. Then I go back to the mindless activity. I also found some time to exercise and gave blood. Those were the things that helped me. I'm doing much better this week. But it was a bit tense as I tried to do my thing while getting her to understand.

How do you guys do it?