In learning anything, it seems the typical challenge is to assess the complex and attempt to make it simple. Take for example, learning the internet. How many of us were overwhelmed at the prospect of understanding such a massive and complicated concept? But when facing the complex, we learn that if we can break what is otherwise complex down into its simpler components, we can begin to have some learning success.
What then are we Child-Loss parents faced with, but the very opposite? Our struggles predominantly seem to be dealing rather with the complexity of the simple things in life! How do you grapple with that?!
Going through the many phases of the Anniversary Syndrome over the past two weeks, it seemed to exhaust us and slow down our ability to bounce back through life's normal, simple demands. A simple party for our grand-daughter, who turned one-year-old on a day in between Merry Katherine's death date and her funeral date, then became a rather complex issue. We knew we couldn't do a large party with both sets of grandparent families; we don't do crowds as there are just too many dynamics that can overwhelm our already overwhelmed systems. So we thought we were wisely suggesting that we wait till the end of that week after the usual festivities were done, and our little family could have a more private party. Sounds good in theory, but after the work week was over and the day was approaching, we each began to realize we still were not up to it. So, we had to cancel the festivities! What should be a simple thing had catapulted into a very complex one emotionally.
Getting a good night's sleep now seems to be complicated, and getting regular exercise that was once fairly simple, has now become complicated. Things we didn't give a second thought to before, now have to be dealt with on a different level. The simple task of cleaning out a bedroom becomes complex because of what time of year it is for us. Going to a store to buy a gift should be simple, but no, it too became complicated.
We've found that the danger is not so much in the complication, as it is in accepting ourselves for where we are and allowing ourselves to let down others' expectations. The danger then is in doing a number on ourselves instead of being kind to ourselves ~ recognizing that even the simple tasks can become a big issue when our systems are so overwhelmed. We worked hard to support one another to pace ourselves through those hard days until we could find our "new normal."
One of my sons asked me what I thought happened that wouldn't allow us to have a festive party. I looked at him in shock and asked him, "Are you kidding?! Are you wanting a rational response for an irrational situation? I don't have one to give! We don't totally understand it ourselves."
Usually the complex things in life take a lot of energy and effort as we need to figure out a strategy to tackle them, and then work the strategy. But typically if we can break those complex tasks down to make them simple ones helps us to function better. But what do we do when we are continually dealing with the complex so that when the simple things come along, there is just nothing left in us to tackle them? We sort of understand it, but how can anyone else around us "get it"? Typically they don't, and we just have to be tolerant and patient with our broken selves.
Picture - Challenger Sudoku puzzle, thanks to Google Images