I googled "stages of grief" this morning. I wanted to see if I could find an explanation for why I'm all off a sudden exhausted and sad so much of the time, just like I was in the first week or two following Daddy's death.
After reading up on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' grief cycle, I've decided I've hit the fifth of her seven stages: depression.
I'm having trouble sleeping, waking up very early. This morning it's was 3:30, after a dream in which I found another dear relative dead — slouched over in his car. Even if I do have a relatively decent night's sleep (5 or 6 hours), I wake up totally exhausted. Tired like I have the flu. No energy whatsoever. I have to make my feet move to get me from the parking lot at work all the way to my desk.
It takes almost nothing to make me cry. Sitting here at my desk this morning, I already have swollen eyes and red cheeks. Some days, I wear dark glasses at work because I'm naive enough to think the glasses will hide my tears.
I felt like this when I returned to work the week after Daddy died. Susan said she had similar feelings. But it got better for me. Apparently, the reality and the finality of it all has caught up with me. The endless chores are still piling up, including something as simple as driving the mile to the VA office to order Daddy's headstone. A therapist would probably tell me that I don't want to order the headstone because it's too final. But because I haven't gone, I feel guilty. I feel awful that Daddy's grave is unmarked, even though it's only been two months.
I cried yesterday when I opened the mail at Mama and Daddy's. One letter was my reminder that Daddy's handicapped status for the car needed to be renewed. I cried again as I said goodbye to our wonderful hospice CNA who has been reassigned; she took loving care of my parents for more than a year and was with Daddy when he died. I wasn't strong enough to stay home with him that morning and hold his hand while he died.
I cried again last night when I wrote checks for an ambulance bill and an emergency room visit for Daddy.
I cried Saturday afternoon when I rode out to Rock Ridge to pick up barbecue chicken plates from a church fundraiser. It's a fundraiser my Daddy helped with well into his 80s. Yes, his 80s!
Before I picked up the plates, I rode by the area where the tornadoes had hit a few days before, crying all the way. I'm not completely sure why. I know I cried for the people who lost their homes, but I think I was also crying because I was getting close to the Boykin homeplace. It was the first time I had driven out to Daddy's "garden" since his death. Trees had been damaged at the farm, but nothing catastrophic. I pulled into the driveway for the first time since we sold the farm three years ago. The new owner was there, cleaning up storm debris. I told him who I was, and he walked with me across the property, telling me his wonderful plans for this beloved plot of earth.
I was embarrassed, but I couldn't stop the flow of tears as I looked at the oak tree that once shaded the back of the house, smelled the damp earthy aroma that is unique to this plot of land, heard the owner explain he was going to restore the corn crib and tractor shelter as well as the outhouse. Oh how I wished I could run home and tell Daddy. But, of course, I couldn't.
My birthday was Tuesday. I spent much of the day remembering very happy birthday parties with presents and cakes and family and friends. I thought of the birthday cards my parents always signed and remembered one in particular that Daddy had written the sweetest sentiment in. I've been wanting to pull that card out of my lingerie chest since his death and to re-read those precious words. But I could never muster the strength to do it. I had thought I'd read it Monday, but I couldn't make myself read it then, either. It seemed too much like torture.
I know part of the reason, probably the overwhelming part, that I'm so sad is that Susan and I are making life-changing decisions for our mother right now. I think I'm starting the grieving process all over with her. I'm mourning the loss of our family life, of a life with my mother safe in her own home, where she belongs.
I miss Daddy so much that it makes my stomach hurt, my head pound, my chest grow tight.