Friday, March 6, 2009

Minefield of Grief Bombs and "Functional Grievers"

Merry Katherine Prince

(By Tommy Prince)

2/26/09, Thursday, 2 a.m.

We're in Athens, Georgia (Angie's hometown, staying with my in-laws) helping my handicapped brother-in-law Rick who is in the Intensive Care Unit trying to recover from Aspiration Pneumonia; the family is each taking shifts so someone can be with him 24/7; Angie and I have the midnight till 5 a.m. shifts.

I got out a little today to go by Rick's business and talk to (our nephew) Curt and observe the goings on.  While I was there (Curt's wife) Michelle brought their daughter (our six-year-old grand-niece) Meredith by to visit her daddy.  

When she came in, she walked over and gave me a hug and put her arms around my neck.  I came close to losing it right there in front of everyone.  I quickly suppressed the urge to cry.  I quickly turned the conversation back to the business . . . .

Last night during my nap before going to the hospital (at midnight), I dreamed about Merry Katherine and that she was little, and (that) Nathan had hurt her in the Bennetts' basement. 
She came running to me and I grabbed her up and held her.  She said she was okay, kissed me on my eye, which smudged my glasses, told me she loved me and ran off to play.  When I woke up at 10 p.m.,
I sat on the edge of the bed and had a prolonged gut-busting cry that gave me a whomping headache.

As I mentioned earlier, (my 6-year-old grand-niece) Meredith had come up and hugged me (today); that (hug) set off my emotional insides that took me totally by surprise.  Every time I dream about Merry Katherine, I have always been hugging her and don't want to let go.  

When that little Meredith hugged me, she was the first little girl to do that in over 2 1/2 years.  I found myself wanting to grab her up and hold her forever just like in my dreams of Merry Katherine, which always mess with me for several days.  

I found myself immediately taking my hands off her as though she was on fire and I was going to get badly burned.  I used all my energy to suppress the intense hurt that was boiling inside me.

The lava flow of pain surfaced after the nap and dream.  The rest of the night and today, I have felt out-of-it.

March 6, Friday, 6:30 a.m. (back home in Tennessee)

I didn't sleep as much today as yesterday but feel pretty rested.  (We'll see.)  

I am astounded at how much deep hurt and intense sorrow I carry around inside of me.  

I don't have an awareness of it until something like what happened in GA suddenly throws me into an uncontrollable, deep, long, crying spell.  

(Having intense grief inside) is something like being an epileptic; you don't really know when the next debilitating episode will hit.  Like an epileptic, you do have some awareness of what kinds of things or situations might trigger an episode that will resemble a "throw-down" in wrestling.  These are the very things and situations you stay away from.

As a "functional griever,"* over time I have learned some of what to avoid.  

Tragically, I will always be tiptoeing through a minefield of grief bombs.  -->     

Now I'm beginning to see why fatigue and exhaustion (have) become such a prevalent aspect of daily life.-->        
These external minefields can easily set off the internal hurt and sorrow.  -->        

This (struggle to avoid emotional minefields) in turn requires tension.-->
This (tension) itself is tiring enough; -->     
Add the internal turmoil of dealing with losing your baby girl, -->    
And you have one wasted son-of-a-gun. 

*(Functional griever" is a term Angie and I have given ourselves that describes our life--yes, we can get up every day and somewhat function, but most of our energies have to be dedicated to processing our manifold grief, so we just call ourselves "functional grievers.")


brettUGA said...

I love you Aunt Angie and I hope the nearness of all our family can qualm the pain you feel today and always. Love ya Brett

Grieving Mother/Therapist, Angie Bennett Prince said...

I love you too, Brett!

Just having sweet nephews like you around comforts my grief. As you share your heart and your love for Merry Katherine, it's like you are reaching out and touching some of the pain - which helps to lift a part of grief's heavy load!

Thank you, Brett! You are so precious to me.


Aunt Angie

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