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The Difference Between Not Ready And Ready...


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In the beginning, it's difficult to get out of bed, buy groceries, clean the house, go out with your friends. I just wanted to hole up because I just felt so sad.

My question is...how do you know when you "should" go back to your old routine completely? I've done some of the things I should. I shop for food. Hang with people. Talk my feelings out a lot. Handle affairs. But I'm still not 100%. For a while, I stopped crying and began acting normal. So I thought I was getting better. But then the old shock returned, and I started crying again, and I realize that I'm not rested, not fully recovered, because I am still so exhausted.

There's this big move I'm supposed to undertake, but I feel I'm not ready yet. The real me, the essence of Em, is telling the Now Em to get a move on, get over it, and jump 100% back into life and all my business like nothing happened (because that life was fine, nice...wish I could return). But currently my heart is telling me not to yet, that I need more time with family, more time to sort out my head. I had just seen family, but now I'm away from them again, so I feel very alone. I could go back to be with them, and the thought makes my heart feel less heavy. When I was with them, I felt supported, comfortable, and more secure. On my own, I feel like no one can catch me if I "fall," and so I must work harder not to fall because I don't have that net.

Am I just weak? Do I just need to shut my feelings up and dive into my old live fully, back to business as usual? Or do I need to not worry about returning to my previous life and responsibilities and focus on the Now and what I need currently? Not sure if I am making any sense. I feel guilty for needing a long, long recovery. Feel selfish and stupid. Thinking of moving closer to my family for a while, but I don't want to shirk my responsibilities here (the old me really loved the old responsibilities, and I still do, but I just don't think I can jump back into my old skin yet). Advice? Thank you.

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The same thing happened to me a few times. I had stopped crying for awhile and after a few days it kind of sneaks up on you. I have been reading alot of books on grief and I see a counselor and she gave me some bits of advice.

Just do what you can, if you feel like it, but do it in baby steps, like 1 step at a time or 1 day at a time.

I really dont think one should shut off their feelings. We need to feel what we feel and let it out and go through it.

If we need to cry, then we should cry. Crying helps us to heal.

I've been getting all kinds of advice and suggestions from other members and they mentioned that while we are on this journey, it can sometimes feel like a roller coaster. There will be lots of ups and downs. That is so true.

Hope this helps.

Take care,


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Dear Em (and James),

There doesn't really seem to be a discernable time to go back to your routine. Mine came very, very slowly, like walking backwards up a hill; I'd trip, sway, look backward, take tiny steps, fall forward, take breaks, lose my balance....I started to do new challenges before I could do my old regular ones. By making little accomplishments, I gained a bit of momentum and was able to do more of what I did before...dishes would be done, beds made regularly, laundry became routine instead of an overwhelming mountain of disbelief. I pushed myself to get back to work before I "thought" I was ready because the opportunity was there and it worked for me. It was frightening, not knowing when I would be back into my frozen state. I still have grief moments and I still catch myself needing to slow down, rest when there are things to be done, take time to walk, look at pictures, and so on. That is okay.

It seems like the support I need comes from where I least expect it. Just yesterday, I signed papers for Bob's IRA to be put in my name. It has taken me over two years, because I just needed to hold onto this one last thing. I wanted it to be there and yesterday I was ready to let it go. The guy helping me, who I'd never met before assured me that it is entirely normal, then proceeded to explain why and it was exactly right on with how I was feeling. I don't know if he had experienced a loss, but I left feeling uplifted that this total stranger was there to help me that day.

There is a sense I often get because Bob died way too young, that I need to hurry and get back into getting things done faster because our time here is so short. Yet, my heart is opposite in telling me to take it slow, that those routines are not what is most important. It is when I forget to tell someone I care about them, or pass up a chance to hug them, that seems to take more of a precedence for me.

Your heart has been through the wringer, literally, and I feel you can't go wrong by listening to it.


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You can never go back 100% because part of that former life included your dad. You can go back to work and do your best (and I do better at work because it takes my mind off things) but at some time there will still be that emptiness. Although it doesn't compare to my loss of Tom and I can now think of my dad without crying I still miss his humor and how he loved life. He wasn't a huggy feely person but I was always daddy's little girl and always will be.

You just have to do what you feel is best and hopefully if that doesn't feel right after a while you can go to plan B whatever that may be.

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Em, I can't tell you what is best for you, because I am not you, and therefore my grief, my support network, my coping mechanisms, my inner turmoil is differerent to what you feel. I can tell you what has worked for me and you can think about whether this may or may not work for you ... does that make sense?

Initially, my gut reaction was to return to work. I craved escapism, a sense of normalcy and stability in a world that I no longer recognized. So I did. Too early, and fell over. My bosses knew this would be the outcome but let me try and told me that I needed counselling and more time off. After a couple more weeks, I tried again on a reduced week, along with the flexibility of being able to work from home when I could not be bothered to dress and wash myself. This was very helpful as I was so exhausted, and it took the pressure or worry about not fulfilling my duties off me. After more time, I decided that I would return to work full-time and I took this decision before HR took the decision off my hands. Because when you have a choice it feels better. If you make the choice vs. it happens to you ... you are more positive about it. Work still supports me today in respect of leaving early when I have a counselling session, and they still give me full permission to visit the Forum/Board during my contracted hours, as well as posting to my blog. In fact my bosses asked for the link to my blog and they visit it regularly, telling me they find it useful because it gives them an idea of where I am mentally and emotionally. Additionally they agreed that the first half of the year I would be rated as "not rated" as that would be fairer to me. I am now striving to hit objectives during the second half of this year. It gives me purpose and a reason to get up in the mornings, not to mention it is a wonderful distraction. I won't lie to you. I am beyond tired, but intuitively I know that even though it is soooo hard to get up and get there some days, when I get there, it's better for me. It's good for me to have the routine, the normalcy, the stability, the "raison d'etre". It was always my world, not ours. I miss his daily phone call immeasurably. I miss even more the end of the day when I would share any accomplishments or funny stories with him - it was like I was a little girl telling her father, "look what I did today" all proud and he would tolerate this monologue and smile and be proud of me.

So today I do this, hard as it is, make him proud of me. I feel better when I am there, and at the end of the day when I see my front door I feel the relief of knowing that I can go through it and release the tears.

I have had to push myself to get here but it was the right decision.

The trick is to know how hard to push yourself and it's very important not to set yourself goals that are too high, else you feel that you have failed and that sends you downward rapidly.

Try those baby steps. Try little by little and you will surprise yourself at how much strength you had that you had no idea that you possessed. Learn the difference between I can't do this in reality, and the other version of it which is your perceived and unconfident "I can't do this". On the days when you really can't do it, accept that and take time out for you.

Chat with Chai too and find out what the obstacles in her road have been, what has been hard, what was easy (but she thought wouldn't be), what coping mechanisms she uses.

Only you know when you are ready. Go with your intuition and feeling rather than sense of duty or what you feel is expected of you. What ever you decide, please don't feel guilt about your decision. Hard not to, but please try. Please don't push yourself too hard too soon.

Let us know what you decide and how you get on because we care xxxx

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