Sunday, March 10, 2013

Coping with Death

This originally started out as a Facebook post, but I quickly realized it was much too long and people would start un-friending me deleting me with the quickness or something if I started posting novels such as this on a regular basis.

The main thing I've learned in the past 24 hours is the best coping mechanism for myself when dealing with death is to immerse myself in something completely different.  To stop thinking of the "why's" and the "hows" and just take a minute to breathe.

Last night, it was a call from one of my best friends who was making a late night commute from work and hadn't heard the news yet.  We talked mostly about things going on in her life. I didn't realize it at the time, but the laughing and talking got me away from the constant thinking and wondering for an hour or so.  It didn't fully hit me how much until we ended the phone call.  I have never felt anything even close to how I did when all of the sadness and disbelief came rushing back.  I would never fully be able to understand this without actually feeling it myself.  No explaining this to me would ever be sufficient.  It is like having the wind knocked out of you, breathing fine while having a tight feeling in your chest and borderline hysteria.  All at once.

That's the best way I can attempt to describe it.  I have had other family members pass -  they were either old, sick for many years or had been hospitalized - so you kind of know it's a possibility, even if it is only in the back of your mind and you never voice it. 

This is not the same feeling.  The unexpected abruptness of this is something I can't quite put into words yet.  It doesn't mean others who have died meant any less - it's just this is something I've never experienced until now.  It comes out of nowhere.  It's not a panic attack, but has similarities.  It's not depression, but feels very sad.  It's almost as if you want to sleep and wake up and have it all be gone.  To have never happened.  I know this is fresh in my mind and so many things have yet to be taken care of.  I also know that this too, shall pass and if and when that feeling hits me out of nowhere I need to temporarily change my focus to something that is less serious.

Earlier tonight, it happened again - I had been watching something random on TV and it was so absurd that I couldn't take my eyes off of the program (Millionaire Matchmaker - do not judge me).  I didn't even realize it until it ended and the overwhelming feeling came out of nowhere.  I am not a person who takes medication unless it's extremely serious, but I thought to myself, this would be the time for me to have something handy.  It's no surprise I didn't have anything much available.  So instead, I took a bath, called my sister and then a friend.  I felt OK for the past couple of hours.  A few minutes ago, I recognized the tightness in my chest and the feeling of wanting to breakdown and cry.  I thought of playing a game or downloading a book to read on my Kindle.  Then, I thought I should record and share this feeling in order to remember it in a way, but also if it could help one other person learn to refocus their sadness to something they enjoy - even a small distraction for a few minutes while trying to process the unimaginable - then it would be worth it to take the time and type.

As a side note - while typing this, the awfulness has passed.  For now.  Next stop, Safe Haven via my Kindle. 

Something sweet:  my always super articulate 8 year-old came up to me earlier, placed his hands on my knees, looked into my eyes and said, "Mommy, what's wrong? Why are you so sad?  You already know he (grandpa) has died and... (he looks around and kind of up at the ceiling, toward heaven) you don't need to cry anymore, mom". 

This child is seriously the best thing I have ever done and my dad, Dan loved him so very much.

My Dad, Dan (age 55) and Baby Sal (age 1), August 7th, 2005

July 11th, 2009 - Visiting Grandpa Dan in hospital, San Diego, CA

Rest in Peace, Dad.  You will be missed dearly.

Daniel Martin Drake was born December 23rd, 1950 and died on March 8th, 2013 due to injuries suffered during an accidental fire in his home in San Diego, CA.

Thanks for reading.  This is my first post via my phone, so please excuse any errors.