I was working on my prompt for this week's 52 List (roadblocks to my happiness), and it made me pause and think about a question that we received during our live stream on Sunday. Someone asked if we ever get annoyed with the daily ins and outs of reliving our grief. I wasn't sure exactly what they meant by their question, because I was afraid they were asking it like "do you ever get annoyed of you like we do?" But I thought it was a pretty great question to ask, so I answered it anyway.
I do get annoyed of my grief. Quite frequently, actually. I don't ever get annoyed of missing our babies, but there are other factors in my grief besides sadness that drive me crazy. When I blame my grief for certain things, I often wonder if people think I'm using it as an excuse. And then maybe they think "when the heck is she going to get over it and move on??" I want to tell you here that, even though we miss our babies every single day, we actually have so many good days. Even if not every single second of every day is good, we have a lot of good times still, despite that deep sadness. That sadness though, is not what I mean when I blame my grief. I have learned to live around that sadness. The side effects of grief have not been as easy for me to navigate.
The biggest thing I've noticed since losing Carter is that I have far less patience for people than I used to. I have always considered myself a fairly patient person, but depending on the day, my patience is as thin as floss. Whether I'm driving, standing in a line near someone snapping their gum, or in a situation that just flat out ticks me off for no reason, sometimes that patience is right on the verge of snapping. It's something that both Brandon and I have dealt with, and that was honestly probably the hardest thing for us right after we lost Carter. We were impatient with ourselves, and impatient with each other, which usually led to stupid fights that were really only about not having our boy there with us.
The next biggest thing (that is very closely related to patience) is that I no longer had/have the energy to be in any social situation other than being home with Brandon. It has definitely gotten better, and since I started going to counseling my social anxiety has eased up quite a bit. Right after the miscarriage, there were so many times that I would just lay upstairs and cry because I wanted so badly to just be okay and go to a social function, but I couldn't do it. The thought of being around anyone besides Brandon terrified me. How would I know what to say? What would I do if they gave me puppy dog eyes or a hug? The thought of the unknown social script was too overwhelming to handle, and it was just easier to stay home.
I'll spare you the minute details of the rest of my grief, but those two things above are the two defining factors of my grief that I feel like inhibit my ability to function as a "normal" person. As normal as I was before all this, anyway. These last few months, especially since getting pregnant again, I have found myself getting so frustrated at my grief and the way it can make something so small seem like such a big deal. I've cried to Brandon more than once about how angry I feel at all of it: the losses themselves, and the aftermath we're dealing with now.
I was glad that our viewer asked if I get annoyed by our grief, because I absolutely do. I feel like it's important for people to know that just because someone is dealing with grief doesn't mean they are wallowing in sadness. If anything, the sadness becomes kind of routine (as awful as that sounds). The further along people get in their grief, as the shock wears off, there are so many different aspects of grief that come and go, and make life a little harder than it should be. I just have to laugh sometimes, because I am probably more annoyed at my grief than everyone else combined.
If anything, dealing with my own crap (because that's what grief is-crap) has re-instilled some of my patience back in me. It has taught me that no one needs an excuse to say no to a social situation. No one can be judged for wanting to leave a party early. And if people just want to stay home and be comfortable with the people they love, then they have every right to do that. In the beginning of all this, I would constantly say "I can do hard things." But now I've learned that I don't have to. I don't have to push and strain myself to meet other people's expectations, I just have to meet my own. And if the expectations are set low for one day, that's okay too.
So to the person who asked if I ever get annoyed of my grief (and you probably don't even read my blog since you found our channel while you were looking for live footage of the super bowl), thank you. Thank you for asking a question that reminded me that it's okay to have crappy days sometimes, but to be patient with myself. Because life is hard, and grief is messy and completely non-linear.
My definition of grief is not just sadness, even though I do miss our babies constantly. My grief is unique and complicated, and annoying as heck. But through my own strength and that of our marriage, the grief will not take over my life, no matter how hard it tries.
**This post was not written out of anger or a small grieving period. In fact, it was written on a really good day, and I had a moment of self-discovery in which I remembered that grief sucks, but I'm still tough.